Screencam Tutorials & Sample Projects


Animation:Master is a powerful 3D modeling, rigging, texturing, lighting, animating and rendering program, that is used for everything from 15 second commercials to feature length films. Unlike other 3D apps that attempt to encompass all possible means of production, A:M focuses on a set of genuinely useful tools that can be used in many different ways.

Over the years I've had reason to create screencam videos that demonstrate some of these tools for Animation:Master users. Here are some of the more useful ones.

These are Quicktime movies.


Keyframing Options

Explains the right way to use the Make Keyframe button and how to control what bones it makes keys on.

Keyframing Basics

Keyframing Basics covers much the same ground as the above "Keyframing Options" but in a slightly less complete way. I include it just because seeing a problem described twice in slightly different ways may be helpful.


New animators are often surprised to see bones moving sooner than they wanted them to. This shows how to make bones stay put and only move when you want them to move. You may need to install the TechSmith Ensharpen codec to play this file.


Channel Bias Editing

You can adjust the bias of splines in your animation "channels" much like you can adjust the bias of splines of a model. Instead of changing the shape of a patch, channel bias editing changes the shape of a bone's motion.

Forum thread with link to movie



Does your walking character look like a marching robot? A lot of what you think you know about walks is wrong. This three-part epic applies some live action analysis to help understand the motion of a generic walk.

Generic Walks - Blocking

Generic Walks - Part 2

Generic Walk - Breakdowns

Rreference footage used in the above tuts:

There is more to know about walks but this is as far as I've gotten with the tuts.


Adding animation after an Action

This shows how to add new animation on a character after using a walk-cycle action. In this case, in the context of Shaggy and the "Door is Stuck" exercise.





The TAoA:M Giraffe

A walk-thru on how to model, not the whole giraffe, but just the legs. I'm thinking of doing a vid for the whole exercise, but right now it's just about the leg.

link to video at post #154


Think Ahead (cross section strategy for modeling)

So you've made a box and then want to add bevels to the edges? Nope. Make the bevel then add the box!

Fine modeling is easier in A:M when you think ahead to what you need.

Forum post (#9)with movie link.


Some notes on Spline Continuity

A look at an A:M user's model of a couch.. Forum post #6


Three Ways to Eliminate a Dead-End Spline

Dead-end splines are bad in A:M. They make creases on your model. Here are three ways to spline your way out of them.

Forum post with movie link and practice model.

Another thread (post #11) contains a movie showing a dead-end spline fixed on a new user's Giraffe model from TAoA:M.


De-bumping a spline surface

Some people call the odd bumps that sometimes show up on spline models "creases" but unless you've committed some ghastly spline continuity error, it's really more of a bump and you can fix it by correcting a CP bias.

Forum post show quick visual of problem and solution.


General splining solutions for common and uncommon shapes



The Simplest IK Leg


This version of an IK leg is not intended as the ultimate solution but it's an introduction to the idea of rigging a character with constraints to make posing the character easier. This is a good starting point for someone who wonders why constraints are used and what they do
Forum post with link to video.

Adding a Pose to Your Character

In animation a "pose" is a shape you put your character into. But an A:M "Pose" is a bit of saved posing that you can turn on or apply to your character at any time. So a Pose is a pose but a pose may not be a Pose. Got that?

Poses are useful for controlling things that might be time-consuming or awkward to do repeatedly manually.

This vid covers the basics of creating both Pose Ssliders and "draggable" Poses.


Fixing the twisted TSM2 Rear Quad Leg

TSM2 may incorrectly create some bones that cause a quadruped leg to twist when the TSM Constraints are turned on. The fix is fairly easy.

Using TSM2 "Parts" to Rig an Unusual Leg Configuration.

There are a million weird things you can rig with TSM2. This is one of them.
Forum Thread with screencam movie.



Creating Decals with Alpha Channels and No Halos

How to properly use transparancy in Photoshop to create decals with irregular outlines or fading/transparency effects WITHOUT a strange halo around them.

Forum thread with links to movie and needed plugins


Properly Applying a Spherical or Cylindrical Decal

For lathed shapes like spheres or cylinders it is easier to decal the whole mesh with A:M's spherical and cylindrical mapping than trying to unflatten portions and stamp them separately.

Forum Post #9 with movie

Note that when I say "Mercator" I really should have said "Equirectangular" which is a similar but better map projection.



the "Ward" Specular Plugin Shader

the "Minnaert" Diffuse Plugin Shader




Making an A:M scene look like "night"


There's more to making your scene look like "night time" than just turning the lights down. This forum post has a simple strategy for creating a moonlit night.


Sample Projects

These aren't full tutorials, these are really sample projects created to illustrate the solution to a specific question someone posed. You may need to read several posts back from the link to see the discussion history behind the issue, or several posts forward for more explanation.


Accordian pleat motion

A way to make a chain of bones pile up as one end is moved rather than move in unison or move with evenly distributed motion. Forum member MTPeak offers another solution in the same thread.


Hose that hangs between two points
Typically you'd think a dynamic simulation would be needed for something like a hose running from a gas pump to a moving nozzle handle, and that would be a valid solution, but this simple constraint system on a chain of bones works well also.


Making a Material move along a curvy shape

This thread addressed the issue of animating a material (or a bitmap) and making it appear to move in a non-linear fachion. Read the thread from the top to get a sense of the problem that was posed.


Object that follows another object but not rigidly so

A demonstration of using a lag constraint to delay the influence of a parent object upon a child object.


Moving a bitmap on a surface

It's not possible to directly animate the placement of a decal on a mesh, but if you use a "projection map" material you can animate its position. Materials aren't visible in shaded mode so you have to use Q-render to interactively check your work.


Water Spraying from a Showerhead

Although A:M has complex fluid simulator, particle "streaks" can be a simpler solution for some water situations

Forum post #22 with movie and sample project


I'll add other titles to this listing as I recall them and locate them.


Thanks to Hash Inc. for hosting these files!