Tips and Tricks


This is where users of Animation Master may post suggestions and tips on how to get the most out of their software. Please ONLY post tips here. You do not need to reply to these posts. You are more than free to create new threads to help in the refinement of the suggestions that are made here, but lets try and keep this thread specific to tips and suggestions about how to get the most out of Animation Master.


Mac users: If you change the following line in your preferences file
System Folder > Preferences > Master Preferences V8.5 (up to v10)

from: allow multi-pass render=FALSE
to: allow multi-pass render=TRUE

Then you get multipass rendering enabled!

Works on PC if you add the line in the registry too but
i’ll let some one else outline the steps there if they like.


This is really a tip for any Windows application but it really helps out with Animation Master. It also works on the mac but I’m pretty sure its not something that would work with all applications.

If you would like to quickly switch back and forth between the different windows you have open within your application, you can do so with “Ctrl-Tab”.

Popping back and forth between your bone placement and your action window makes adjusting those bones a lot easier.


Render as lines

I think this can be something that many newbies miss when using A:M.


Wings 3D is a free and powerful Polygon based modeling program, that can export Animation Master mdl files.
Wings 3D can be used for making simple architectural shapes and other things. That would otherwise be time consuming to do in Animation Master.
(Note! U can import any model from Wings3D. But if it´s a model with alot of smoothness. There willbe a great lot of tweaking in A:M on it.)

Been testing Wings for the first time today and it´s such a great modeling app. I am hooked!

(Tip on viewport navigation in Wings 3D. Which I had some problem with in the start of using Wings. Viewport navigation can be changed in the Edit/Camera mode/. Under camera mode menu one can choose between number of Navigational setups. I have mine set to Maya, which I find to be the best.)

Maya Viewport navigation.
Rotate View = Alt+Left Mouse B
Zoom = Alt+Left Mouse B+Middel Mouse B
Pan = Alt+Middel Mouse B


Wings 3D can import an .obj file and export as a .mdl file (geometry only). It may come in scaled tiny (even though the model may be very large in data size), but you can still export it and rescale it in A:M.

This works much more quickly and with fewer artifacts (depending on the model, etc.) than the .obj importer for A:M (though the A:M .obj importer will bring in surface colors, etc., which may be an advantage you want or need). It’s also much, much faster and saves steps & time instead of using the modified Xroads app to first convert to a .dxf file and then importing into A:M v8.5 (which can take up to 8 times as long!). The model may still have imperfections as after the old method using Xroads, but if it’s easier to import and tweak than build from scratch in A:M, it might be the way to go. Arthur Walasek’s neat .obj importer will work well for many models, especially smaller ones.
Use what works for you, your mileage may vary, etc.

If you just have a 2 button mouse, use the Nendo or Blender views in Wings.

Kevin Sanderson
AM Tips!


The major limitation of Wings3D as a replacement to the .obj importer is the fact that Wings can only work with “closed” geometry. Something most people don’t do when they are creating models. The “jam lots of crap in till it looks good” seems to be the norm for most modelers.

So my TIP is. . . to use both wings and the .obj importer if you want to work in the land of polygons.


I’m sure this is probably documented somewhere, but I don’t know where, and after stumbling upon it totally by accident the other day, I’m hooked! I felt so spoiled using Maya at work, having the convenience of simple kbd/mouse combos to easily adjust the view, and longed for something similar in A:M, and I’m so glad I found it. No more (or at least a lot less) searching for the M, T, or Z keys when I want to tweak the view!

With a wheel mouse (where the wheel also acts as a button)…

Shift + MMB: Turn
MMB click and drag: Move
Scroll the wheel: Zoom

(The first two should also work with a standard 3-button mouse. Not sure if there’s another kbd/mouse combo for Zoom.)

The Move and Zoom combos also work in non-3D areas like the graph editor and PWS. Just middle-mouse click in a window/area to make it active before trying to adjust anything.


Something else I ran across that is probably documented but I don’t know where… :slight_smile:

Instead of right-clicking on a container in the PWS to create a new thingamabob or load a file, just double-click. For example, double-clicking on the Objects folder creates a new model and opens the
window for it. Double-clicking on Choreographies makes a new chor and opens its window. For things like Sounds and Images, a file dialog opens.

Just a little time saver…


From David Rogers’s “Animation:Master 2002 - A Complete Guide”:

If a project won´t load or crashes A:M on startup, try opening the file in a text editor and deleting everything between [WINDOWPLACEMENTS] AND [ENDWINDOWPLACEMENTS].


Keyboard shortcuts are part and parcell of AM. Look at all of the shortcuts in the customise options box and see what might be usefull. For example, I have assigned “d” to make 5 point patches and “f12” to play range. You can also learn about features that you never knew existed if you take the time to look here.


So am I the only person that hadn’t noticed the “Manipulator Options” for bones and nulls?

For example I have a heel raise null that only rotates and it does so in only the X axis. By setting the manipulator option to “Rotate Only” and then setting the “Limit Manipulations” to ON and having it only show the X Axis rotation, whenever I select that null it automatically goes to rotate and the manipulator only shows the X axis rotation. I don’t even have to bother with setting a Euler constraint if I don’t want to (though I still will to speed up IK solving) How in the heck did I miss this??!!?? It’s not huge, but anything that cleans things up and makes thing more efficient while animating is huge to me.


Wings can only work with “closed” geometry

This is only partly true.
Inside Wings the geometry has to be ‘closed’ but an imported model does not have to be ‘closed’.

This mean that you can import a model that is not closed. If you for example have a box with one side removed that you try to import into wings then the removed side will be closed on import and the added suface will be assigned the ‘_hole’ materiel witch by default is a semitransparent blue material.

Now that the model is a ‘closed’ model you can work on it in wings.

Let’s say that you also would like the bottom of the box to get removed.

Well I suppose you allready guessed it, just assigne the ‘_hole’ material to the bottom face. Now when you done with you model and export it you will get a box open at both the top and bottom because the faces assigned the ‘_hole’ material won’t export.

So Wings can handle none ‘closed’ models by temporary ‘closing’ them inside Wings.

What it can’t handle is , and here I Quote the Wings developer Bjorn:

Wings uses the winged-edge data structure (WE) internally. The WE can only represent a well-ordered polygon mesh where each edge has one face on each side of it

This should probably be read as an edge only can have two faces connected to it. Nothing less and nothing more.

On import Wings tries to fix this by temporary welding and adding of faces and by using the ‘_hole’ material and it works well on most models.


Ran into this while rigging something…loving the fact that the constraints and visibilites can be imbedded in poses now…

Whereas bone rotation and translation values in Action are relative to the constraints already applied on them, Version 10’s “Object properties” in the drivers shows absolute rotation and translation even after constraints are applied.

So, when applying constraints to a fanbone which may or may not be aligned perfectly, zeroing these values automatically corrects the rotation offsets of the constraints so that the bone is correctly aligned.

Edit–This is so cool! I just tried importing a rigged model into another model, and the relationships imported–unfortunately, it won’t work for the same part twice in the same model without changing the names of the fanbones and pose before importing, but still…!


I know, the stupidity of bumping a pinned topic…

Using Wordpad or any text editor that can perform find/replace to edit a model file, you can potentially change the markers in name of every bone in a model before importing it into another. The most obvious use of this is boning one half of a skeleton, then changing “L” or “Left” in each bone name to “R” or “Right”…


Originally posted by John Keates
Keyboard shortcuts are part and parcell of AM. Look at all of the shortcuts in the customise options box and see what might be usefull. For example, I have assigned “d” to make 5 point patches and “f12” to play range. You can also learn about features that you never knew existed if you take the time to look here.

If anyone would like to see a complete list of the keyboard shortcuts (as of 10.5), feel free to take a look at the list on my site here


Muscle pose creation for the perpose of deforming things as they press on other objects or making sure that things don’t intersect is a breaze.

You can de-form the object that you are working on in a chor then copy that info into a pose window. Now you have re-usable, animatable muscle motion. Just delete the pose motion then you can use the slider to animate that motion.



One of my favorite of the newer features added to AM is how it now allows multiple selection of bones. Click on one bone. Hold down the shift key and click on another bone. Hit “R” to evoke the Rotate Manipulator. When you rotate bone2, bone1 shall also rotate by the same degree! :applause:

This makes fiddling with fingers a whole lot faster.


Carl Raillard


Hmmm… I just tried this but to no avail. Rotation goes realy wacky and translatoin only effects the root of the bone. Anyone else getting this? (v 10.5n)



Well, shoot. The procedure works like a charm for me. My specs:

A:Mv10.5N – network version
Asus P4P800 Deluxe motherboard – Intel Pentium 4/2400
1024MB RAM
120GB HD
Windows 2000 SP3
Asus V9560/TD (Nvidia GeForce FX 5600)

About a month ago I had some difficulty rendering avi files with A:Mv10.5L. I wrote to Steve Sappington complaining about it, and he replied that they had no problem generating avi files. So I asked my brother Hans (who is a lot more tech-savvy than I) to do a technical uninstall of Animation Master. You know, scrubbing out the registry, the whole nine yards. Then we reinstalled A:Mv10.5L, and the problem was fixed.

Maybe you want to try uninstalling and reinstalling A:M, and see if that helps? :shrug:


Carl Raillard