SMR Forward Kinematics (FK)


Introduction


SMR FK takes away all frus­tra­tion and uncer­tain­ty from the default behav­ior of Flash / Ani­mate tools. Selec­tions become pre­cise, fast and easy. Pos­ing – enjoy­able and intuitive.

SMR FK brings plea­sure to ani­mat­ing and makes Flash and Ani­mate rel­e­vant again in the sec­ond decade of 21st century.

SMR FK uses the great vec­tor and tween­ing capa­bil­i­ties of Flash / Ani­mate and pro­vides a mod­ern-day UX to an ever more demand­ing user base of ani­ma­tion pro­fes­sion­als and enthusiasts.

SMR FK is all that Flash ani­ma­tors of the late 90s and ear­ly 2000s dreamed of and begged for, but nev­er received from Macro­me­dia or Adobe.



Overview


What does SMR FK bring to the animation process?

Flex­i­ble and reli­able For­ward Kine­mat­ics tools have always been part of EDAPT since the intro­duc­tion of Smart Mag­net Rig­ging in 2013.

Ini­tial­ly these were Smart Trans­form, Smart Mag­net Joints and Clean Up – three com­mands which rev­o­lu­tion­ized pos­ing with the Free Trans­form tool and allowed auto­mat­ic gen­er­a­tion of arcs.

Over the years all three have had their func­tion­al­i­ty pol­ished to per­fec­tion, cov­er­ing all pos­si­ble chain selec­tions and types of mag­net­ic snapping.

Lat­er on, in 2018, we intro­duced SMR Kine­Flex – a unique tool, specif­i­cal­ly designed to work with Smart Mag­net Rigs. It brought intu­itive pos­ing with easy switch­ing between organ­ic soft rota­tion and hard rota­tion – all in one inter­ac­tive trans­for­ma­tion assist­ed by a mod­i­fi­er key. Kine­Flex is so well-suit­ed for char­ac­ter pos­ing, so effi­cient and so enjoy­able to use that it has become the pre­ferred tool of all SMR animators.

SMR FK in its entire­ty is avail­able as part of the free ver­sion of EDAP Tools.


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

How does it work?

The char­ac­ter has to be rigged as a Smart Mag­net Rig, using one of the avail­able rig­ging meth­ods. This cre­ates a hier­ar­chi­cal SMR struc­ture, which is real­ized at the lev­el of Sym­bol instance. The rig ele­ments con­tain SMR info – meta­da­ta, describ­ing each ele­men­t’s posi­tion in the hier­ar­chy and its rela­tion­ship with the others.
This meta­da­ta is then inter­pret­ed by the var­i­ous SMR tools, such as Smart Trans­form, Smart Mag­net Joint, Clean Up and Kine­Flex to cre­ate FK and IK* chains and transformations.

*Note: Inverse Kine­mat­ics is a fea­ture avail­able in the Pre­mi­um ver­sion of EDAP Tools.



SMR FK Tools


SMR KineFlex

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

Kine­Flex uses Smart Mag­net Rig meta­da­ta (SMR info) to allow an ani­ma­tor-friend­ly, pro­fes­sion­al-grade imple­men­ta­tion of a For­ward and Inverse* Kine­mat­ics 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 ceas­es to exist after the end of the trans­for­ma­tion (on MouseRelease).
*Note: Inverse Kine­mat­ics is a fea­ture avail­able in the Pre­mi­um ver­sion of EDAP Tools.


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

Smart Magnet Joints

Smart Mag­net Joints do not inter­fere with the tra­di­tion­al Flash / Ani­mate work­flow, but are always present and at a press of a but­ton a dis­lo­cat­ed limb is per­fect­ly posi­tioned again. Ele­ments know where they should snap to when­ev­er needed.
Smart Mag­net Joints bring pre­ci­sion and unseen-before ease to work­ing with com­plex mul­ti-part rigs.

The knowl­edge that ele­ments can always be brought back into posi­tion elim­i­nates all stress. This allows ani­ma­tors to feel more relaxed and open to exper­i­men­ta­tion, which in turn yields bet­ter-qual­i­ty results.
Sim­i­lar to the inven­tion of Undo and lat­er mul­ti­ple Undo, Smart Mag­net Joints reduces the cost of any mis­take to zero and in this way empow­ers creativity.


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

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 Reg­is­tra­tion point of the high­est rank­ing par­ent for eas­i­er-than-ever posing.

It is the most nat­ur­al and log­i­cal enhance­ment of the Free Trans­form tool in the con­text of the needs of a char­ac­ter ani­ma­tor, tak­ing away all the guess­work where to put the Trans­for­ma­tion point of a select­ed group of sym­bols, while sav­ing all the time wast­ed to select mul­ti­ple sym­bols and con­stant­ly drag the T‑point after chang­ing the selection.
Smart Trans­form saves the user from the need to do a huge num­ber of unnec­es­sary clicks and drags and allows to redi­rect this pre­cious time and ener­gy toward bet­ter and more pol­ished animation.


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.

Layer Parenting Toggle

Lay­er Par­ent­ing Tog­gle uses the SMR info to cre­ate a Lay­er Par­ent­ing hier­ar­chy (PL Shell) at the press of a button.
Because Par­ent­ed Lay­ers tween along arcs, Lay­er Par­ent­ing Tog­gle can be a viable alter­na­tive to Clean Up in Ani­mate 2019 and new­er, where Par­ent­ed Lay­ers are available.


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

SMR Helpers panel

SMR Helpers pan­el con­tains a set of but­tons, which allow alter­na­tive access to var­i­ous FK-relat­ed functions.
It also con­tains but­tons, which trig­ger unique func­tions and can only be called from the panel.

Unique func­tions:

Ele­ment Welder for Kine­Flex – Read more…

But­tons avail­able for convenience:

Cen­ter Mark­erRead more…

Mag­net Tar­getRead more…

Edit M Tar­getsRead more…

Change Mas­terRead more…

SMR Break ApartRead more…

Roll Over Rig infoRead more…

SMRize Par­ent­edRead more…

Make Edapt­ableRead more…

Remove Rig infoRead more…

Con­tin­ue with the next arti­cle in the series – SMR Inverse Kine­mat­ics.


 
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