Smart Magnet Rigs

Last update: March 2019

In 2013 with EDAP Tools v.2.0 the Electric Dog team proudly introduced Smart Magnet Rigging to the world.
With each new version we keep expanding the scope and the range of what SMR can do with added features, commands and tools.

We first introduced Smart Magnet Rigs in 2013 and since then countless studios and individual animators around the world have adopted this ground-breaking approach to flexibility, efficiency and control.
With chain selection, magnetic joints and automatic clean up of arcs, Smart Magnet Rigs are unmatched in the current Flash or Animate landscape and light years ahead of Adobe's own attempts at layer parenting or IK.

The Electric Dog team is actively working on expanding the scope of the SMR toolset, adding features and improving user experience, while always maintaining compatibility with older files.

Smart Magnet Rigs and EDAP Tools work with all versions of Flash and Animate, starting with Macromedia Flash 8, providing power, flexibility and unseen before features to all animators reluctant to move on to Animate CC and its monthly subscription-based model.

Table of Contents


Overview


Smart Magnet Rigs are a powerful addition to the Classic Tween workflow in Flash.

Smart Magnet Rigs allow animators to handle structurally more complex and detailed characters with greater ease, which results in more subtle and organic-looking cutout animation.

Smart Magnet Rigging enables the use of Smart Magnet Joints, Smart Transform, Clean Up, Smart Transform Point (CW & CCW) and KineFlex Tool.
Via the Smart Magnet Rig panel users establish the hierarchical structure of cutout elements and assign metadata IDs to symbol instances on the stage. When this is done, each element's relationship to others is established and can be restored or constantly maintained whenever necessary by a simple press of a button.

Important note: Smart Magnet Rig panel is used only to assign metadata IDs to elements. Once this is done the panel is not needed for animation. Posing is then assisted by KineFlex tool, Smart Magnet Joint, Smart Transform, Clean Up and Smart Transform Point commands which are accessed via keyboard shortcuts and need the metadata IDs to function. Best practice would be to close the panel after rigging is completed.

The metadata IDs are assigned to Symbol Instances on the Stage.

  • If a symbol is deleted and reintroduced from Library it will lack metadata ID*.
  • If the instance type is changed, for example from Graphic to Movie Clip, it will lose its ID*.
  • If an instance is swapped using the default Swap Symbol function, it will retain the metadata ID.

*To repair, metadata can be transferred from 'healthy' instances onto such that have lost it, using Roll Over Rig Info, located in the Smart Magnet Rig panel.

Download the latest version of EDAP Tools from the Downloads page


Smart Magnet Joints


Smart Magnet Joints do not force users to always keep their rigs perfectly hinged. Smart Magnet Joints do not interfere with the traditional Flash workflow, but they are always there and at a press of a button a dislocated limb is perfectly attached again or a broken joint (due to tweening along a line instead of an arc) is fixed during clean-up. Elements know where they should snap to whenever the animator needs them to.


Smart Transform


Smart Transform allows chain selection of all linked children (forward) or parents (inverse), placing the transformation point of the selected group of symbols at the Reg Point of the highest ranking parent for easier-than-ever posing.


KineFlex


KineFlex is our revolutionary on-the-fly skeletal system, introduced for the first time in EDAPT v.4.0 in 2018.

KineFlex uses Smart Magnet Rig metadata to allow an animator-friendly implementation of a Forward Kinematic system, with bones that exist only during the current transformation and do not impose any rigidity or structural changes to the Classic Tween approach.
Essentially it is an instantly generated skeleton which takes the current location and position of the elements as initial state (on MouseDown) and disappears after the end of the transformation (on MouseRelease).


All our videos are 1080p. If for some reason full HD is not available here, try watching them on youtube.


Clean Up


Clean Up utilizes Smart Magnet Joint functionality and automatically adjusts the positions of child elements to move along arcs, once timing is complete and the animator is happy with the poses and dynamics.

It works on Classic Tweens and can even allow easy and efficient ways of getting overlapping action between keys.


All our videos are 1080p. If for some reason full HD is not available here, try watching them on youtube.


Smart Magnet Rigging process


When work on the traditional character build is completed it can be easily turned into a Smart Magnet Rig.

For a detailed step-by-step tutorial with video demonstrations on Character rigging + transitioning to SMR follow this link.

A very important prerequisite for the flawless transition to Smart Magnet Rigging is to have all Registration points of symbols correctly and logically positioned, i.e. upper arm's Reg point must be in shoulder, lower arm must register in elbow, thigh – in hip joint, lower leg – in knee, etc. Registration must always facilitate forward kinematic. (Reg points can be easily edited via Set Reg Point To Transform Point command Ctrl+T)

Smart Magnet Rigging happens in three steps:

  1. Place Magnet Targets (MT) inside symbols, using Create Magnet Target command Shift+`(tilda/~ key).
  2. Create a node-based representation of the character structure in Smart Magnet Rig panel.
  3. Using the panel's Link tool, link each element of your character to a node in the panel. This assigns hierarchical metadata ID to the symbol instances on Stage. Linking is done by clicking to select a symbol instance on stage (left hand for example) and then clicking on the corresponding node in the SMR panel. When tagging is successful the node icon changes to show the presence of a tagged MT.

Test your Smart Magnet Rig by dragging the Master Parent symbol away from the others and while it is selected, press 1(for­ward) and then `(tilda/~ key to the left of 1/! and below Esc). This should select all children and assemble your character around the Master Parent (represented by the blue node in panel).

Video demonstrations


The videos below give detailed explanations and a practical demonstration how Smart Magnet Rigs Work and how to convert your existing Flash character build into a Smart Magnet Rig.

Note: All keyboard shortcuts mentioned in the video presentations are the EDAP Tools shortcuts which come as a part of our package.

Flash CC (all versions) and Animate CC (all versions earlier than 2019.2) users, please, also read this important article.

1. Introduction to Smart Magnet Rigs – the first video demonstrates what Smart Transform and Smart Magnet Joint do; how you can use them during animation for quick and flawless posing.


All our videos are 1080p. If for some reason full HD is not available here, try watching them on youtube.

2. Smart Magnet Rigging Basics – this video introduces Magnet Targets and Smart Magnet Rig panel and demonstrates in a step-by-step manner how to create a hierarchical representation of a 3-symbol limb and assign metadata IDs to it so that you can start using Smart Transform and Smart Magnet Joint.


All our videos are 1080p. If for some reason full HD is not available here, try watching them on youtube.

3. Character Smart Magnet Rigging (part I and II) – the last two videos show how actual characters are put together. Topics discussed are Registration points, Magnet Targets, Center Markers, Smart Magnet Rig panel as well as the three commands Create Magnet Target, Smart Transform and Smart Magnet Joint.
Flash CC and Animate CC users read these important notes!


All our videos are 1080p. If for some reason full HD is not available here, try watching them on youtube.

Download KineFox and Smart Magnet Bot Smart Magnet Rigs from the Downloads page

4. Converting the EDAPT Rabbit to a Smart Magnet Rig - final part of the step-by-step tutorial on how to create character rigs for Flash or Animate.


All our videos are 1080p. If for some reason full HD is not available here, try watching them on YouTube.

Download the latest version of EDAP Tools from the Downloads page
 
Comments
Wasib Qureshi

Hi nick,
Great Tool buddy, not yet use but i sees lot of potential watching the demo.

I'm starting to use it and not able to find Create Center Marker in my commands menu. Any idea how to fix this. (Installed EDAP Setup using Adobe Extension Manager CC 2014 for Adobe Flash CC 2014)

Hi Wasib,

If you load the EDAPT shortcuts and press Alt+` you should get a Center Marker instead of a Magnet Target.
The Magnet Target command does two things (MT and CM) and 'listens' for a second shortcut which has to have Alt+ assigned to it.
You can't do it via the menu. You will need to assign a shortcuts. Shift+anything for MT and Alt+anything for CM. Or just use ours if you want to give them a go!

Check this link to see what our keys do
http://flash-powertools.com/edapt-keyboard-shortcuts-set/

And here is some more info on the command
http://flash-powertools.com/create-magnet-target/

Have fun!

Hello love the magnet tool! but just one question, on the Smart Magnet Rig set up,
How do i delete nodes if i accidental put one down? or maybe i need to reorder the linkage?
i wonder if it would easier just too add nodes first then link after if you needed to edit
thanx

Hi Ian,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

If you mean a node in the SMR Panel which you don't need, you just drag it over the bucket icon (the bottom-right corner of the panel) with the panel's move tool. When you drop it over the bucket the node will disappear.

If symbols have already been tagged with rig info (metadata) and you need to remove an element that is in the middle of a chain, you can delete the symbol, but will have to tag again its children as they will be orphans, because their parent will not be present.
Remove their rig info first using the broken chain button at the bottom of SMR Panel.
(You can also use Roll Over Rig Info to fix the orphans. That should be done before removing the unnecessary element in the chain.)

For a full description of SMR Panel functionality and methods of use, please follow this link:
http://flash-powertools.com/smart-magnet-rig-panel/

There is an expandable section which gives full description and also information and video on the rig repair tools provided in the panel.

If you don't find the answer to your question there, please send us an email with the problematic file so that we can look into it.

Enjoy using EDAP Tools!

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