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To finish each exercise post your results here in your production journal.

There are several ways to seal the deal on Exercise 1, the easiest of which is to pose Keekat in the dynamic pose (as outlined in Exercise 1) and then render out the results.

Post that image here in your journal.

Exercise 1 is entirely too easy but you should take the time to get fully comfortable with posting attachments to the forum (assuming you aren't already a master at such!)

Enjoy the good life... as the exercises do get harder.



Render Keekat to .png format (and note some of the various render options that will be useful in later exercises).

As technically rendering hasn't even been covered yet in the manual this might be a good time to outline an alternative method to getting images posted to the forum (or your desktop).

Another way is to capture your screen and then crop and post that image (on a PC grabbing a screen capture of screen is as simple as using the [PrtScn] button and then pasting the results into any image editor).


Additional Considerations

Those of that have completed the manual should be able to set up additional dynamic poses of their own.

A few examples will be provided in Exercise 3 and beyond so look forward to those.


Image format is a subject not covered in depth within the manual.

It's good to have a firm grasp on the various image formats available to you and be knowledgeable about the strengths and weaknesses of each format.

For instance, knowing which image formats are best used for display on the internet (png, jpg) versus formats used for obtaining the highest quality possible (EXR).

Being familiar with techniques for rendering sequential images will also be essential.

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Hmmmm.... something isn't quite right there.

Your rendering should look more like the attached image


If you haven't done so already, watch the Exercise 1 video and see if that makes sense.

You can find the video tutorials here:




Don't forget to maximize the size of the video to full screen or the video will be really hard to see. ;)


Note that the video has you render to tga image format but you should chose jpg or (preferrably) png so that you can post the image here to the forum.

TGA is a very useful format but not for sharing imagery on the internet.

Exercise 1.png

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My video card was acting up really bad


We should look into that. Any issues we can avoid will make your experience so much better.

Where it comes to graphics card problems the standard rule apply... update your video drivers!

(Back in the Windows ME timeframe I suffered for about a year with a nagging video refresh problem thinking I didn't have any other options only to find out the video card manufacturer had long ago fixed the problem and posted an updated driver. Folks in the form had recommended the driver upgrade but I was convinced it wouldn't help (I probably installed the wrong driver... it didn't work... so I gave up). Doh! Lesson learned the very hard way. On very rare occasions some folks have to dial back and install a previous/older driver.)


I was like let me show you that I can get a pose out of the little fellow.


And that you did! :)

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if you are working with an AMD gpu I highly recommend the new omega drivers available for a few weeks now... they are rewritten from the ground up and they are much faster (about 15%) and more stabel than before... u should uninstall the old once before installing the new once...

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I"m still at a loss to explain why your Keekat from Exercise 1 is so... how shall we say this... malformed.

Perhaps this would be a good time to master the art of embedding models (or consolidating a project file) and posting that project file to the forum?


To embed a project:

- Save your project at the stage you wish to share or finalize

- On the Project menu dropdown select 'Embed All'

- Choose yes to any prompt that appears asking if you really want to embed all files

- Save the Project file again to a known location

- Upload the Project file here to the forum

Pros of embedding - quick and easy way to share a project with others

Cons of embedding - Not all files can be embedded - images for instance must be shared separately (if necessary)

Note: As they already exist on the other end when using files that are common to all (such as Keekat) the image files will be retreiveable on the other side



To Consolidate a project:

- Save your Project to a known location

- On the Project menu dropdown select Consolidate/Project as zipped project (.ZIP) - Note that the Consolidate option will be greyed out if the Project hasn't been saved first.

This will prompt the Project file to be saved again but will require it to be saved under a new name (add a 1 or something similar to the end of the file to differentiate it from the original

- Upon accepting the procedure all the files will be saved into a zip file with the project file's name.

- Upload that zip file here to the forum.

Pros - All files associated with the project should be collected in one zip file

Cons - Consolidation saves the entire organizational file structure of the project's assets - if the project is disorganized so too will be the structure within the zip file


As for Exercise 2... looking good! We can call that one finished.. final... in the can can... done.

And the audience stands and breaks out into spontaneous applause!!! :yay:


So, we'll call Exercise 2 done. :)


Still in production:

Exercise 1: Still trying to figure out what is going on there. Are you sure you are adjusting the Dynamic Pose slider to 100% Under Keekat's User Properties?

Exercise 3: Note that I am assuming this is actually exercise 3 which you have posted. If this is actually Exericse 1 repeated with Rabbit then please disregard. :)

While the posted image meets the general requirement for Excercise 3, the final image could be refined (see note below about certificate). As such I'd like to suggest the following:

In the Project Workspace listing open the Choreography.


As the results of each exercise factors into the imagery that will be displayed on your final certificate you may want to refine and/or personalize Rabbit's pose even more.

Play around a little with Rabbit to get a unique pose you can call your own. Crack open Rabbit's group properties. Change the color of his shirt... location of ears...color of his fur (that'd require changing a material which isn't covered until later but I know you are up to it.


The intent of Exercise 1 is to roll out a pre-existing pose but in Exercise 3 you want to get really comfortable with a given model/character and begin to call him your own.

The manual text suggests using the poses found in the book but you can find any pose on the internet... or in real life... or make up one entirely of your own.

It is good to use reference at this stage so if creating a pose from your imagination I would also suggest creating a few from reference photos.

Getting use to manipulating those bones will come in very handing later when you dive deeply into animating your characters (and modeling them too!).


Rendering options aren't delved into very deeply at this stage but this a good time to start to play with those.

Exercise 3 rendering recommendation:


- Crack open the Choreography in the Project Workspace listing

- Locate the Ground shortcut, Right Click and list it's properties

- Find the 'Active' setting and turn that to off

(Alternatively, you can select the Ground shortcut in the Project Workspace listing and hit Delete to remove it from the Chor entirely. This will be the preferred way generally if you have no intention to ever use that Model)

- Locate the Camera shortcut in the Project Workspace listing and adjust the settings to get a better view on the character/model

(While it will be useful at this stage to try to move the Camera entirely via the properties you can also adjust the Camera from a Right View/Top View or from any other angle you prefer.

*Make sure you are on frame 1 or else you'll be animating the properties!


When you get Rabbit where you want him in your Camera... you are set to render your image.

When rendering select PNG as your image format and down at the bottom make sure that the Alpha setting (under Buffers) is set to 'On'.

This tells A:M to render a transparent background behind the character.

This transparent background will appear to be black but when posted to the forum (or composited with other imagery) the background will be 100% transparent.


That's a lot of instruction so hopefully I haven't lost you.

Where necessary I'll be glad to put together a video tutorial to walk you through the process. :)


So, in summary here's our status thus far:

Exercise 1: Troubleshooting

Exercise 2: Done!

Exercise 3: See notes/recommendations for going final on the shot

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Can this movies be seen on an i-pad somehow?


If you install proper software it can.

My daughter won't share her ipad with me so I can't say which app that might be there are sure to be many.





If you just want to convert the movies to another format then Handbrake comes highly recommended.

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This is a partial test for Shaggy.


Hey! I'm liking that. Keep that up and you'll be going places. :)

If you can finish that with a unique gag that will be impressive.


Behold a knight!!!!!


I'd say that one follows the exercise to the tee.

Thanks for posting both front and side renders as that helps a lot.

If you are up to the challenge I'd say sandwich that shot inbetween two others... one that shows Knight just before the pitch and then one immediately after.

You've met the intent here and your skill is showing through so I say go for the gold and take this to the next level and really own this exercise.

Long ago I use to suggest adding a baseball but that is a bit complex for newbies that are just getting up to speed with the software but you are already past that.

The Thom constraint exerise near the bottom of the video tutorials page goes into detail on how to accomplish things like that: http://www.hash.com/video-tutorials-23-en


P.S. I"m trying to recall what video tutorial I owe you as I mentioned several different things/processes in that post and you didn't specify any specific area of interest.

I suppose I can try to cobble everything I mentioned together but if there is something specific I should focus on please let me know and I'll be sure to address that.

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Oh, hey, I see you've added a rabbit pose to "Move it".

Now we are getting someplace.

(That also reminds me where we wanted to launch that video tutorial... thanks!)



We'll mess with the Embed and Consolidate later as it'd be good to have something better to go with/compliment that.

I'm guessing there may be a video tutorial out there already for that but a short one that only deals with the most basic aspects of that would be nice.

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What we use to do with this exercise ("The Door's Stuck") long long ago was upload the project file to the forum (or if using other proprietary character sending via email).

In this way direct feedback can be given regarding specific points of interest and you get to see suggested adjustments from the perspective of editing your file.

(A copy of any changes then being shared back with you along with video review/commentary)


Let me know if that is agreeable to you. In future editions of TaoA:M I hope that might be the default way to turn in a project... by posting the project file rather than a rendered image.

This would remove the issue Jost has of watching .MOV files because... there wouldn't be any. ;)


The down side of sharing project files is that (in theory) all one would have to do to 'complete' an exercise would be to steal someone else's project file BUT that is the reason every exercise should be personalized. If each exercise is uniquely your own then it would be very obvious where the creativity originated. The added benefit of course being that shared project files can be studied by peers and THAT is where TaoA:M online excels... in the peer to peer interactions that occur as everyone works through TaoA:M.


I'll try to dig up the "Door's Stuck" project file that was shared several years ago that others often use as reference.

At a guess I'd say the author was Robert Holmen.

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I hope this works. I am bad at this zipping of files.


The good news... you'll be an expert at it in no time at all. :)


The bad news... the zipped file appears to be password protected (which if you put a password on it is fine... I just need to know what it is so I can open it. If you want to send that via email send it to rodney dot baker at gmail.com and I'll take it from there).


The size of the file is pretty small so that makes me wonder if it's all there.


Keep in mind that you don't have to zip anything in many cases with the TaoA:M exercises because (unless you add other elements to the files) everyone has those assets on their harddrive.

What you usually will want to do though is embed all the files in your Project, save it and then upload that Project file.


I guess the question at this point is what you want to do? Use the password protected zip file? Embed and share the Project file?

So many options to choose from. :)

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Still password protected.

I think we are making this more difficult than it needs to be.

Try the embed method and post the Project file.

The trickiest part of that is just remembering where you save your Project file.


The forum can upload .prj files (as well as most other A:M specific file extensions: .mdl (Model), .act (Action), .mat (Material) etc.).

Embedded Project.mp4

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Still password protected.

I think we are making this more difficult than it needs to be.

Try the embed method and post the Project file.

The trickiest part of that is just remembering where you save your Project file.


The forum can upload .prj files (as well as most other A:M specific file extensions: .mdl (Model), .act (Action), .mat (Material) etc.).

I don't know why winzip did that argh!!!!!! I will do it the ebedded way.

Don't look now but you are already famous!

You've made the first TaoA:M banner of 2015.



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I hope I did this right. I tried the embedded way.



Yes, you did!

I was able to access the zipped project via password as well. Thanks!

Let's stick with the embed method as it is easiest. Other methods can be used as alternatives.


A few notes:

- I like that your keyframes are organized! This will serve you well.


- There is a pass-through of the legs and arms that distracts the eye a bit. It's right at frame 17. If frames 16, 17 and 18 could be adjusted that would cure that.

In my recent review of the exericse I was reminded that the initial pose of Shaggy with feet on the door is very important as that will make all the difference in whether that pose interferes with the hands. In a way, the primary action of the shot is the door bowing outward (assuming the animator actually did that) and the door knob stretching back as Shaggy pulls on it. All other activity must therefore be subservient to that as secondary action. The performance by Shaggy then providing the hint of how hard he is trying to get through the door and just how stubborn and motivated he is.


- Story-wise... I would encourage you to think in terms of a three (or even four) act setup. Your current project sells Act 2 pretty well. Act 3... the payoff or punchline... is lacking.


At 00:05:11 forward Shaggy begins to move forward and push the door open.

At 00:06:00 the door begins to open

At 00:06:05 (only 5 frames later) the sequence ends.


Those five final frames aren't going to be enough for the final act to resonate.

It could almost get the job done *if* the door were opened wider within those five frames

But... the real payoff is surely going to be Shaggy's reaction (or non-reaction).

This has been variously animated but one option would be to add a final scene where Shaggy notices yet another door... shrugs... and proceeds toward it (starting the cycle of failing to open the door all over again).

So... the first Act and Act 3 could *technically* be exactly the same. ;)


But that's all what if stuff... let's look at the performance you already have.

I like the foot stomps and the head butts.

The first head butt almost looks like a moment of thought/reflection from Shaggy where for just a second he thinks "That didn't work. I'll have to try something else." Then proceeds with the head butts.

I guess what I'm saying here is that the transition from footstomps to head butts provides a great 'acting' opportunity.

If nothing else he could give out a visibly pregnant pause and just breathe.

The head butts work but... for the last head butt it'd be nice to have a hold of his head against the door as if to internally say, "Whaddya know, that didn't work either."

He then steps down and pushes forward leaving the audience to ponder if he realized his mistake after the final whack on the head.


Something like that anyway.


You are doing great things.

Stick with this exercise as long as you can... this is where the gold of TaoA:M really is. :)

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I like the extended ending. That definitely tells the tale of why Shaggy was having so much difficulty.


I'll look at this one further but in the meantime while you are waiting for my response here's your last with a slight camera move.

I just wanted to see what that would allow me to see with regard to Shaggy appearing on the other side of the door.

I'm not convinced it's much better but at least with the camera move Shaggy is no longer hidden by the door frame.


I hear Robert Holmen's voice in my head and I'd like to delve into an analysis of the keyframes a little.

We'l see what we can do.


I do note that the arm/leg pass-through is now most prevalent on frames 20, 21 and 22.

I think the only way you are going to defeat that is to move Shaggy's butt (and therefore entire upper body) down more.

The Door's Stuck_13_c (w slight camera move).prj

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I'm just getting around to looking in here. i think the big goal of TAoA:M is to get new users introduced to the different things A:M does and show you a bit where they are in the program. I think you are mostly getting that.


I am sort of wondering why the arms in the Rabbit Walk are so jerky unless that was a choice you made.

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I am sort of wondering why the arms in the Rabbit Walk are so jerky unless that was a choice you made


I don't know what is up with the arms also. I will try and do that again.



This is just a guess but I'll say that perhaps there are too few frames between the down and up positions.

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I tried some camera movement. Argh!!!!


Well, it doesn't look like you struggle too much from here. ;)


I don't think I shared this with you before... at least I don't see it posted.

The attached has side by side comparison of your Choreography and one where I experimented with delaying a few keyframes to produce a little more fast and slow and holding effect.

It might help if you have your timelime open for this as I'm not sure that'll be prompted to open via the project file itself.


The specific areas I tried to target were those I mentioned above... foot stomping (tried to progressively speed up the first two and delay a few frames just after the last)... head butting (again tried to vary the timing with a prolonged pause after the last. The final delay was to exaggerate Shaggy's pull but holding him back at the peak of his pull a few more frames. I don't think I exaggerated any of these enough but hopefully you can see the difference.


The point here being that those pauses and changes in timing are extremely important to character animation.

They convey intent (by giving the character time to think, breathe.. live) by demonstrating force/resistance/weight and ultimately by giving the audience a chance to 'read' something (hopefully something important or entertaining) that is in the process of changing.


I've got a few tips for camera moves... I'm already behind the power curve on making video tutorials but I'll add that to the list! ;)



The Door's Stuck_13_c (fast and slow).prj

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Okay, I know that your camera view doesn't really require much adjustment of Shaggy's Eye Target but I thought I'd test my 'whisper voice' for use with an audio tutorial.

The whisper voice being somewhat of a necessity so that I don't wake up my family at oh dark thirty in the morning.


Please pardon the many stray clicks and such as I get more in tune with these video tutorials.



Note to self: Explain some of the various ways to create new cameras from the current Chor view.

Adjusting the Eye Target.mov

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I just noticed something very interesting...


The Shaggy in the "Door's Stuck" project still has his 'Balance Rigid' and 'Balance' poses turned on (30% for the former and 100% for the latter).

This can cause some degree of problems when moving the character into and out of 'unbalanced' poses.

Several interesting things about this:


- Your animation does not appear to be hampered by this and truly... if we were to turn those poses off at this point it would cause some problems (you'd have to reanimate portions of your poses).


- The Shaggy in the main Actor Library has these poses turned off by default (I believe Robert Holmen campaigned for that adjustment).

- The Shaggy in the 'Door's Stuck" project has the poses on


Just an observation. No cause for alarm. :)

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I've been straying a bit far afield so I want to bring it back to the basics.

Of particular interest to us is going to be the key poses and the transition into and out of those.

Here's what I see as your current key poses (see if you agree/disagree):


I note that the majority are contact poses:

0000 Firmly planted on the ground anticipating movement

0016 First (right) foot planted

0025 I believe this is the most energetic pull on the door (in the entire animation)

0115 Rest/Reposition just prior to head butting the door

0220 First head butt on door

0320 (Not shown) the third and final repeat of the first head butt (no difference between any head butt nor delay afterward)

0419 Now pulling at door with feet back down on floor

0521 First push forward/initial point of door opening

0628 Shaggy successfully moves through doorway


The underlyingl question being: Can you strengthen any/all of these key poses?

If you had limited time and needed to turn this assignment in asap which might you deem most important?


The ultimate questions:


Does the performance successfully tell the story?




Is the performance entertaining?

Key Poses.jpg

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