Tips and Tricks


Hello, all.

Here’s a tip about naming Control Bones (the bones you actually animate with). Add a number in front of the bone’s name. Bones in the same general region of the body should share the same number. This helps organize the list in the timeline, and makes offsetting, etc. easier.


Carl Raillard


Don’t know if this is obvious to you but…
When you go to Tools>Customize you can totally rebuild the interface if you want. You can make a new tool bar. But what I found useful was that you can drag and drop all the buttons on the screen anywhere you want (to any toolbar you want). So I just drug the mode buttons I use, the timeframe controls, and a couple of modeling buttons onto my menu bar (which you can’t get rid of) and thats the only toolbar I need now. I turned off the other toolbars, and am using my Project Workspace as my timeline across the bottom, my adjusted menu bar right above it, and the rest is all screen baby.


I just made a tutorial on how to take World machine displacement maps and bring them into A:M. This is just a simple tutoral for those that don’t how to use A:M very well yet.

Heres the link:

Anyways have you noticed that the displacement maps have been rendering much faster than the old ones in v9.5 and with better quality?


This is a re-post of another thread - I put it in the wrong place…


If you’ve ever used a package that doesn’t have Quaternion rotation interpolation (like Lightwave or older Messiah), you’ve gotten used to having to deal with “gimble lock” and all that that implies. You usually have to set things up very carefully, or risk having your joints “lock up” at some inconvenient time.

Recently, I was trying to get a particular setup to work on a character - the test rigs I was building were working flawlessly - but when I put the same rig on a character, they didn’t work at all - then it hit me: AM is hiding certain things about how their bones work, and by adapting a little trick I learned in Lightwave, my setup became rock solid on my character.

Basically, the jist is this: Child bones get their “knowledge” about their relationship to the world from their parent bone. So, the parent determines which direction is X,Y, or Z rotation. With Quaternions, you add that demonic “W” element into things, and if you’re too close to a particular rotational relationship in the world, you get flipping and wiggy behavior so that the bone can maintain it’s IK committment.

What I did was add a small bone at the root of my chain that is created with the same orientation as the model bone - so that the chain has the same local orientation as if it were just sitting there by itself (which leads to more stable behavior). Here’s an image that I hope will explain it better:


If you’ve ever built a model with the intent on adding hair guide splines later, or added hair splines THEN tried to drag the material down that looooooooooong list of splines (only to slip your mouse cursor outside the window and have AM puke) - well, there’s a little trick that will save you some time and pain. Go ahead and create your model and your guide splines. Now, pick your guide splines and Copy them to the clipboard and paste them back in. This will put the splines at the TOP of the spline list and save you from having to look all over for them (delete your original splines).



I’m re-posting this from another thread elsewhere, but thanks to Pequod for getting me started in understanding the Relationship Beast…

I played with Folders at the weekend using your tip as a start and here’s my findings -
1- PLAN WELL AHEAD!! Finish the modelling before you ever start creating relationships in 10.5 or 11.
2- DONT create relationships in the Relationship folder or by right clicking on the model icon IF you want to organise your folders. Drag and Drop doesn’t work for me - at least not on my Mac.

My results were -
follow Pequods advice and expand on the little user properties triangle or right click and in the pop-up choose “new property”

To Organise -
plan on paper what you wish to have for a filing system first then try the following -

1- Create a New Folder, pressing F2 will allow you to re-name it. For example “Face Poses.”
2- Now for sub folders, right click on that folder and create more as required (“Lip Sync” for example…)
3- If you are now at the level that you wish to create a slider type pose, right click on your latest folder and select Percentage. (DO NOT SELECT RELATIONSHIP YET) You can press F2 and rename this percentage as the pose you require i.e “F V MouthShape Pose”
4- Now you are ready to create the relationship that the slider affects. Right-click on your newest addition and now ask for “New Relationship” A relationship window will pop up and you can work away here. I couldn’t however set varying keyframes as the software only seemed to work at frame 0 but at least my folders could now be organised.

5- If you have further Relationships (mouth-shapes for example) to create in the same sub category, just go back to step 3 and 4 as required.

Doing it this way, you get nicely organised folders so that similar poses / relationships can be stored or organised. No more scrolling through hundreds of pose sliders to find that one little pose you need! You can still create Relationships normally but I found it difficult to organise the relationships after they where created.


Hello, all.

For the sake of posterity, I’m going to post a link to a particular thread, which contains some cool tips about getting a Lightwave Model into AM:

Thanks to Joe Williamson & Co. for this info.


Carl Raillard



Animation Master has a neat ability that allows the user to animate several bones simultaneously. Just hold down the shift key and keep selecting bones. Whatever you do to the last bone bone you select (rotations, translations, etc.) will be done to all of them. Note, however, that this feature works most reliably if the bones are oriented the same way, in the Bones mode of the modeller. For that reason, you may want to consider positioning the major target bones & nulls of your model so that they face the same way. I’ve attached a picture, to show you what I mean.

That’s all for now.


Carl Raillard


This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.