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There's no time like the present to get back to the basics and explore Animation:Master.


Not everyone has time to commit to completing all of the exercises in the manual but almost everyone has time to work through one.

So, that is the challenge placed before you; to dust off your skills, select a favorite part of the manual and put all your available effort into it.

The Challenge (Three tracks and an escape clause)

In all tracks you should only complete one exercise to meet the intent of this challenge.

You can take on the challenge myour imagination and creativity to chart your own path. Can you get the same, similar or superior results? Will others applaud your efforts? You are fearless. No pressure!


Track 3. Target Practice.

Follow the exercise as closely as possible but apply strategic variations that make it your own 'story'. For instance, work through Exercise 6: 'The Door's Stuck' but use your own character (or one you've borrowed from a friend (or enemy).


Track 4? I got no time for this but would you like to see my etchings?

Locate an exercise from another source and present that experience to the masses in lieu of actually taking on the challenge. Extra points if it's an exercise from an earlier Hash Inc manual or book emphasizing use of Animation:Master.


Yes, you can select the same exercise as someone else. Show them they really need to revisit the challenge!

Extra points rewarded to those who record their session and share the experience!

Extra points rewarded to those who share their project files (so that others may steal their work and raise the bar even higher)


All appropriate accolades and special privileges will follow your completion of this special challenge.


Fine Print Disclaimer: If you pick Exercise 1 to complete your challenge you will indeed be a splinepatch hero but if you are not a newby select citizens of the realm will secretly and merciessly ridicule you.

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I'm taking on Exercise 1 as a challenge* but specifically on Track 2 in hopes of diving in deeply to see what there is to be seen.

One part of that I've already posted in another area of the forum related to Benchmarking where I initially clocked in a render at 1:57 seconds but then got it down to a more reasonable (and repeatable) 10 seconds per frame. I still think I can get to 1 to 3 seconds per frame but so far 10 seconds is a best time for my system and that particular frame.


On the surface Exercise 1 is deceptively simple; find Keekat in the Library and drag/drop him onto the stage (Choreography), then render out an image.

Pretty straightforward.


But there is so much more just under the surface of Exercise 1 to be explored.

Not to mention mastering the process of uploading files/images to the forum and interacting with other A:M Users.




*Yes, I read the fine print above but I know who wrote it and I ain't a'feared of them.


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Right as 'Exercise 1: You're the Director' gets started a slight tangent is (appropriately) taken to discuss filmmaking.

This can be a little confusing for those that prefer step by step approaches because they won't find specific steps related to Exercise 1 to follow in that section.

This can lead the newly initiated director to wonder if they've accidentally missed a step in their very first exercise.


Attached is a modified page that combines information contained on pages 18 and 19 onto one page (adding the title 'Filmmaking' at the top).

This page can make for a useful self contained handout to get directorial concepts introduced without delving too deeply into technical aspects.

An unmodified page 17 is then added to complete the directorial tangent.


(This modified page is notional and presented here only for informational purposes)

p18  Filmmaking Mod.png


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What the previous change accomplishes...


With the Filmmaking information all on one page Exercise gets directly (pun intended) to the point.

Here then is the sequence of pages directly related to completing the exercise combining the split parts from the bottom of 19 and the top of page 20.

The theme/direction is then Pose and Render.


Aside: It's interesting to note that in Exercise 1 there is no rendering to file. The rendering in Exercise 1 is to screen.

I had forgotten this because as an element of the online TaoA:M certification rendering Keekat out and posting the image online was 'proof' of completing the exercise.

I must admit that having Exercise 1 not render to disk is surely preferred in the grander scheme of things because as much as is possible we want to avoid final rendering to file... but more on that at some later time.


So the entire execise becomes...









p19 Mod Pose and Render.png

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Of course... the chapter isn't quite over for Exercise 1.

The final modification is that which contains Shortcut Keys.

Because we've moved the Render section to previous page the shortcut keys can now have a page entirely to themselves.

An expanded page might appropriately take the user into A:M's Tools/Preferences where they can export an html listing of all their currently assigned shortcut keys.


Here's the (basic) shortcut key sidebar as it appears in TaoA:M on the bottom half of page 20.

It's good not to overwhelm new users with too much information but when revisiting this page advanced users might learn more about shortcut keys and where to locate and modify them.


Establishing good habits with shortcut keys early on can save a lot of time.

It should also be noted that since the publication of TaoA:M a whole lot of other features have been added that can have shortcut keys assigned.

For instance, I have assigned 'Shift+R' to Render to File.

Shortcuts Keys from page 20.png

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