This is a collection of links to various explanatory posts I have made over the years on the forum.
Some are full stand-alone tutorial presentations but most are answers to an A:M user's question or sometimes mere interjections in a thread and you may need to read above and below for context.
They may be videos, annotated screen capture stills, example projects or just text explanations. Some videos may require installation of the free Ensharpen Codec (bottom of page at link)
They are arranged only roughly in broad categories below and not in any particular order beyond that. Some might fit in more than one category but none are listed more than once. I may regroup them in the future.
To search them I suggest using ctrl-f in your browser to search on a relevant keyword such as "glow"
They are not official Hash, Inc. productions nor are they necessarily endorsed by Hash, Inc. nor are they represented as being error-free. Occasionally, later changes in A:M may make the current interface appear differently than in the tutorial example. However, I hope they are useful and if you find a problem, let me know.
This list currently covers activity from January 2009 to the present.
Basic Navigation. Video demonstrates basic views and tools to adjust the view in the Choreography
Custom Toolbars, Creating and Editing
Text editing. Example cases of editing A:M files for unusual purposes.
Image Sequence. How to import an image sequence into a PRJ and add it to a camera as a Rotoscope or apply it to a model surface.
Frame channel; Notes on editing the Frame Channel of an image sequence to make the sequence hold or reverse.
Stereoscopic Movie editing. Using A:M's non-linear editing powers to edit stereoscopic image streams.
Adding Rotoscopes and assigning them to specific views.
RAW Camera export format. Some guesses about the meaning of its contents
CCD lens flare. Settings to simulate the streaks of a digital camera.
Horizon Line. Model that can be dropped into a chor to simulate a horizon line.
V17 Default Chor. Explanation of changes made to the default choriography starting with v17
Cloth Hi-Res option. Explanation of this new option for SimCloth in v17
Newton Object collision. Example PRJ where a ball knocks a spoon around in a bowl. A ball spinning a rotor PRJ appears later in the same thread.
Crashing Wing. Newton PRJ that make an airplane wing break up on impact.
Parachute. Simple parachute animation made with Simcloth with sample PRJ.
Simcloth Parameter comparisons. Movie compares variations of "Stretch Type" and "Bend Type"
Quickstart Missile. Simple tutorial for new users models a missile.
Basic Navigation and Splining. An extended introduction to fundamental operation of A:M and first modeling exploits.
Spline Continuity. Notes on how splines should and should not intersect.
Spline Continuity. Notes on a user's model of a couch.
Interior Patches. Video discusses problem of Interior Patches and strategy for eliminating them. Note that since this vid was made the "CutPlane" plugin has been added to A:M. It could have been used to add the spline that i stitch in manually in the video.
Lathing a perfect sphere. Use the Lathe tool to create a custom sphere with any number of needed subdivisions.
Lathing a wheel. Lathing is easy. Make it work for you when you're modeling.
Peaks and Valleys. Brief explanation of why fewer splines is better.
Mating two dissimilar meshes. Adding splines makes it easy to bridge gaps
Closing a Hole. Extending splines to close the small hole that lathed objects have at top and bottom.
Closing a Hole. Yet another topology for closing the hole at the axis of a lathed object.
Protrusion. How to connect a protrusion to a mesh.
Rerouting Splines. A mesh can be improved by changing the path of some splines
Dead End Spline. Locating and fixing a dead end spline in a new user's TAoA:M Giraffe model.
Dead End Spline. Video shows three ways to eliminate a dead end spline.
Copy/Flip/Attach. How to properly copy/flip/attach across any axis and how to fix splines that do not mirror as expected.
Bevels. 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.
Beveled N-Gon. Quick way to make a beveled shape with any number of sides
Editing a Dense Cube to add edge bevels.
Punching a Hole in a Cylinder. Several people contribute good suggestions in this thread.
Bar of Soap. Topology for rectangular shape with rounded corners.
Cross Pipe. Topology for intersecting pipes.
Drink Can Pull Tab. Demonstration of planning and modeling the tab on the top of an aluminum can.
Snail Shells. Example of using Duplicator Wizard to make spiral snail shells.
Bending Text. Using distortion Box to bend font wizard text to fit a curve
Penguin Beak. Suggestions on splining a penguin beak.
More Beak. Sample MDL for another possible beak topology.
Beak modeling. Video shows simple techniques make it simple to make a non-simple shape.
Glow that shrinks with distance. A solution that uses concentric shells.
Adding a Smile Line. Resplining a face to have a proper "smile line" contour.
Planning an ear. Attempting to prejudge the flow of splines in human ear model. Ear model in Post#18
Boolan Cutter. Example PRJ shows use of render-time Boolean cutter. Another sample PRJ is found here.
Modeled Holes. Example PRJ shows topology for modeling a hole in a surface without a Boolean cutter.
Five-Point Patch Closing. Video on how to close a 5-pointer that seems no to be closeable.
Biased vs. Perpendicular Normals. Video demonstrates rarely used buttons that set biased/perpendicular normals.
Bias Smoothing. Some mesh lumps can be solved by adjusting the bias at spline intersections.
Smoothing a Mesh. Some notes on a user's face mesh and suggestions on editing it for a smoother result.
Smoothing a mesh. Notes on solving user's "crease" problem. Don't model creases!
Smoothing a mesh. Video shows fixing some lumps with bias adjustment. Since making this video I've decided that good meshes with reasonably spaced splines can reduce/eliminate the need for this maneuver.
Smoothing a mesh. Tips on adjusting bias to smooth a mesh.
Unwarping an image. Example of using A:M Splines to unwarp a poorly scanned image.
Splining. Video has corrective suggestions regarding basic splining on a user's face mesh
Normal Map. Example PRJ shows how to create a Normal Map representation of a modeled object.
Terrain Plugin. Notes on use of Terrain plugin that creates meshes based o grey-scale images.
Ragged Edges. Modeling ragged edges on a cone.
T-Rex WIP. Example of building a low-splineage Tyranosaurus with screen shots.
Triceratops head. Example low splineage wireframe Triceratops head
Al Capone WIP. Example of building a low splineage human head.
Puppets. Thread follows modeling and development of traditional Punch and Judy style puppet and Sock Puppet.
TAoA:M #11 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.
Decals and Materials and Particles and Cloth
3DPainter. A brief introduction on using 3DPainter with A:M
Decaling for Painting. A strategy for using Cylindrical Application decals (instead of flattening a model to use Planar application) for "UV mapping"
Decaling a Sphere. Video demonstrates results of Cylindrical and Spherical application of a decal to a sphere.
Europass Soccer Ball. Example of equirectangular map for spherical application in use.
Decals with Alpha Channel. Video shows how to properly use transparency in Photoshop to create decals with irregular outlines or fading/transparency effects WITHOUT a strange halo around them.
The Material preview ball is 30cm in diameter
Moving Decal. Example PRJ for using a Projection Map Material to move a bitmap image around a surface
Glossy plugin shader. Example of settings for harder specular highlight.
Glossy Thom. Example PRJ uses an Environment map to create glossy appearance.
Whitewall Tire. Example material and model create old-fashioned wide whitewall tire.
Wood Rings. Sample PRJ demonstrates use of combiners to make wood ring pattern.
Ward Specular shader. Notes and example PRJ on shader for LPs and CD style glints and brushed metal effects.
Minnaert plugin shader. Sample PRJs show use of shader for odd shading effects that are peculiar to objects like our Moon.
fBm turbulence combiner. Example PRJ uses turbu8lence combiner to create rocky terrain.
Brushed Metal. Screencap shows settings to make brushed metal look with a scaled turbulence combiner.
Stripes. Combines gradients in a material create RYGB stripes.
Union Jack. Material makes British Union Jack Flag.
UV map consolidation. Simplifying a UV map captured from a wireframe screen so that decals seams are at teh edge of the UV Map.
X-Ray look. Example material
Polar Bear Hair. Example of dense, short hair suitable for a large mammal.
Hair Comparison. Comparison of render results with different lights on hair. Sample PRJ later in thread.
Sample Hair Test. Sample images of hair with different lighting. Note that "Spinning lights" are probably no longer needed as a substitute for Ambient Occlusion since "FakeAO" and "SSAO" effects have been introduced in A:M.
Jet Thruster. Sample PRJ and notes on using Streaks to create variable width jet thruster effect.
Steam. Example of the Steam volumetric effect with sample PRJ
Clouds. Clouds made with sprite particles. Example PRJ in Post #13
Misty Clouds. A fluffy cloud effect created with material.
Cumulus Clouds. Sample PRJ has another approach to creating clouds with sprites.
Propeller. A procedural material that makes... a propeller!
Shamrock. Procedural material makes a three-leaf shamrock.
Fireworks. Sample Project creates Chrysanthemum style fireworks explosion.
Sparks. Material creates welding torch style sparks. Video higher up in thread.
Shower Head. Example PRJ demonstrates Streak particles as water from shower head.
Cigarette Smoke. Sample PRJ makes slowly wafting cigarette smoke with streak particles. The rendered movies will appear rather dark on some monitors.
Sun Surface. Material made with cellular combiner creates look of Sun surface.
Aurora. Example PRJ creates Aurora Borealis effect.
Jacob's Ladder. Animation of sparking device commonly found in mad scientist laboratories. Example PRJ and movie. Also, stereoscopic version with better appearance.
Fast Glass. Thread offers suggestions on user's need to model faster rendering thick tempered glass.
Cracked Glass. Several user suggestions on imitating cracked glass appearance.
Iris Out. Sample project for old-fashioned Iris-out camera effect.
Dome Panels Retracting. Animated material creates appearance of retracting panels on a dome.
Rotating a Material. Example PRJ shows material rotated on object.
Gradient Adjusted by Pose. Example PRJ shows gradient material with parameters changed in a Pose.
Edge Gradient Demo. I'm not sure what the user's need was but this PRJ demonstrates usage of Edge Gradient.
Cloth Rope. Floppy rope made from Sim Cloth
Cloth sleeve. Sample PRJ demonstrates simcloth as a sleeve for an arm.
Cloth Chain. Example PRJ for chain links made from Sim cloth.
Metal cloth. Very stiff cloth used to imitate crunching metal.
Shrink Wrap. Sample PRJ uses simcloth to create the look of a shrink wrapped label.
Cloth Attach Groups. Jason Hampton's tutorial on using Simcloth Attach Groups to manipulate cloth.
Boat Wake simulated with Cloth. Semi-successful attempt to create the look of a boat moving through water. Sample PRJ in post #8.
Bump Map AO. Method to create the appearance of Ambient Occlusion in bump-mapped surfaces.
Hair Color change. Animating the color of hair to change over time with contributions from several people.
Unusual Specular Color. Example drawn from real life case.
Dust. Example PRJ for A:M's "Dust" material. mtpeak2 contributes a much better solution later in the thread.
Rigging and Constraints
Bone Creation and Heirarchy. Video shows creating bones and effect of "heirarchy."
Simplest IK Leg. If you want to know more about how the basic leg constraints work, here's a walk thru on the simplest possible IK leg
Adding an IK Leg. Video shows process of adding a simple IK leg to a character.
Simplest IK Arm. The absolute minimum needed to rig an IK arm.
Assigning CPs. Basics of assigning CPs to bones.
CP Weighting vs. Fan-Boning. Thread discusses the merits and limitations of ways to create a smooth bend across a joint.
Making Poses. This vid covers making both the usual Pose Slider type of Pose and also the mysterious, rarely sighted "draggable and droppable" Pose.
Color Pose Slider. Sample PRJ uses pose sliders to vary color property of a group.
Enforcement Slider. Comments on editing the enforcement curves of Translate To and Orient Like constraints to vary with a Pose Slide
Rotation Limits. Video show how bone posing can be simplified by turning on rotation limits.
Thumb Position. Notes on proper placement of thumb bones in a typical hand.
Rigging a Penguin. Three videos look at issues of rigging a user's penguin model
Penguin Legs. Five videos in this thread step through the challenge of rigging legs that are short and fat on a user's character.
Accordian folds. Sample PRJ demonstrates rigging accordion folds, also useful for "Lost in Space" B9 robot arms.
Accordian pleats. Sample PRJ shows 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.
Rubber band. Several users contribute example PRJs for ball hitting a rubber band.
Breaking a Sphere. Easy way to break a sphere into parts. Example PRJ and movie.
Lag Constraint. Example PRJ of using a lag constraint to delay the influence of a parent object upon a child object.
Surface Constraint creation example.
Pivot Point. Video talks about the Model Bone as the default pivot point for a model and how to add a Null to create a different pivot point.
Changing pivot point. Earlier example PRJ of adding a null to a chor to change the pivot point of an object.
Turning OFF a Translate To constraint. Demo
Pose Keyframe Mirror. Silent video shows process of copying a deformation from one side of a mesh and mirroring it to the other side in a Pose.
Mirror Bones. Using the Mirror Bones plugin to flip bones.
Mirror Smartskin. Demo of standard procedure for mirroring smartskins.
Smartskin, manual mirroring. How to manually mirror a specific smartskin rather than "Mirror All"
AW_Transfer plugin. Video showing how Steffen Gross' AW_Transfer plugin can simplify weighting complex meshes.
Path Constraint to animate a chain of bones along a path like a snake or worm.
Rigging a Spring. A two-bone solution to the problem of rigging a compressible spring.
Waving Flag. Cycling Wave motion created with bones
Material moves on curvy shape. 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.
Rigging a Book. One approach to rigging a book with pages that need to turn and not look like cardboard.
Elephant Trunk. Example of using smartskin to make two bones control a smoothly bending cylinder.
Vine growing. Example PRJ demonstrates how to make a vine grow and wrap around something.
Rolling Coin. A coin that rolls in faster and faster circles until it falls flat.
IK or FK? A:M's unusual ability to FK interpolate a chain of bones that were manipulated in IK
Gas Pump Hose. Simple boning solution for a hose that must hang from both ends. With example PRJ.
Lego Man Rigged. Lego man model by Marcos Resendez (Xtaz), rigged by me.
LED Meter. Using a Pose to move both a knob and an LED meter together.
Hiding Bones. Video on creating a Pose that will hide/unhide bones in a model.
Glow Pose. Example PRJ has "Glow" varied with a Pose slider
Inside-out Cube. Several users contribute ideas on rigging cube that turns inside out.
Linking Properties. Video demo that shows a right stereoscopic camera focal length linked to a left camera focal length by an expression.
Saving a value. Thread on using expressions to save a randomly generated value for later use.
TSM2: Note that TSM2 currently works only on 32-bit Windows versions of A:M, v11-16
TSM2 General notes on the basic geometry bones in TSM2
TSM2 Case study videos of using TSM2 to rig a nonstandard creature, in this case, a fly.
TSM2 Rigging a Pentaped. Video shows how to use the Parts Tab of TSM2 to rig an unusual creature with five legs.
TSM2 Controls. Video overview of basic controls in a TSM2 rigged character.
TSM2 Quadleg Fix. Instructions for how to fix error in how TSM2 rigs a quadruped leg.
TSM2 IK Neck. Notes and example on using the TSM2 IK Neck
Rule of Thirds Grid. Rotoscope image you can add to your camera to help compose scenes by the Rule of Thirds.
TAoA:M #9 Flower Power. Video discusses problems with and solutions for a user's "Flower Power" exercise.
Quickstart Missile Path. Simple tutorial for new user makes missile follow path.
Keyframing Options. Video explains the right way to use the Make Keyframe button and how to control what bones it makes keys on. Quicktime video link
Keyframing Basics. Keyframing Basics covers much the same ground as the above "Keyframing Options" but in a slightly less complete way.Quicktime video link.
Pose to Pose basics. Basic workflow for doing pose-to-pose keyframe animation. Quicktime video link.
Making Bones Stay in Place. New animators are often surprised to see bones moving sooner than they wanted them to. This video shows how to make bones stay put and only move when you want them to move.Quicktime video link
Paired Keys. Workflow for blocking animation with "paired keys," a common animator technique
Un-paired Keys. Workflow for animating motions like walks that do not have holds as in the "paired key" situation
Channel Bias Editing. Video shows how to adjust the bias of splines in animation "channels" much like you can adjust the bias of splines of a model.
Keying Shaggy. Explanation of workflow for keyframing characters in A:M
Counter animating. This video shows how to raise the heel on a rig that doesn't have an independent heel bone.
Why to Force Keys. Video shows simple case of why it is good practice to force keys on bones after making a pose.
Basic Pose-to-Pose Walk. Making a Walk cycle as an action that will be put on a path.
Generic Walks. Discussion of keyframing essential, standard walking motion. Not finished, but included as it may be useful none-the-less.
-----Generic Walks - Blocking *Broken Link*
-----Generic Walks - Part 2 *Broken Link*
-----Generic Walk - Breakdowns *Broken Link*
Five legged walk. Example of creature walking with 5 legs.
Keying Multiple Bones. Video shows how to select many specific bones and force a Key on them all at once.
Keying Multiple Bones. Video shows special case of keying multiple bones when transitioning from an Action to the Chor Action.
Second Chor Keyframing. Ignore this. Only here for my reference. And this.
Transition to next Action. Video on using "Transition to Next Action"
IK to FK. Video show s a method for changing from IK to FK in the middle of an animation on a character not rigged with a "seamless" IK/FK switch.
Path Essentials. A video in which the interplay of paths, actions, action "chor range" and action "Crop range" is introduced.
Ease. Example PRJ and notes on editing the Ease channel to adjust speed of an action.
Walk Cycle on a Path. A:M's basic drag and drop functionality for putting a model on a path and adding a walk cycle Action to it.
Sliding Keyframes. How to re-time events by adjusting the keyframes in the timeline.
Curtain. Sample PRJ creates curtain motion with muscle mode animation.
Head Turns. Some notes on animating the head and spine.
Jumping. Some text comments on animating jumping motions.
Jumping. Notes on animating jumping motion.
Jumping again. Notes on a user's jumping animation written on the frames of the video.
More Jumping. Yet more comments on the mechanics of jumping
Jumping Cube. Video aimed at non-A:M users to demonstrate some spline animation in A:M
Side-step. Notes on posing a character stepping to the side.
Simple Walk. Video shows workflow of posing out a walk with IK legs.
Rotating objects. Notes on animating rotating objects and sample PRJ of turning helicopter blades.
Robot Turn. Some comments on posing a Giant Robot to animate it turning.
Squat. Example PRJ of posing a TSM2 character into a squatting position.
Unicycle motion. Sample PRJs and notes on unicycle animation with additional suggetions in thread from actual unicycler.
Accenting a Beat. Anticipating motion to accent a musical beat
Tentacle. Example of animating a tentacle with bones.
Rubber bulb. Example PRJ of a rubber bulb being squeezed.
Flying Cards. Example PRJ shows playing cards flying into a predetermined arrangement
TAoA:M #3 Notes on posing the arms in the TAoA:M tutorial "Move it"
TAoA:M #4 It's a Pitch. Some annotations of problems on a user's Pitch animation.
TAoA:M #x Notes on "The Door is stuck", particularly general Shaggy posing workflow and AM2001 Rig circumstances.
Adding animation after an Action. This video 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. Quicktime video link
Appropriate Squetch. Advice on how much squash and stretch to use.
Action Precedence. Explanation of how different Actions on the same character have priority over each other.
Jog/Run Reference. Footage that compares the mechanics of jogging and running.
Setting Default Interpolation for splines in the curve editor.
Setting Default Interpolation II. Another explanation of a fast way to set default interpolation on many bones at once
Hold Interpolation. Setting Channels to Hold to prevent wander between frames.
Flipping a Channel. Video show how to reverse the direction of a motion by flipping a Channel in the curve editor.
Setting Post Extrapolation. Using the Curve editor to make an automatic infinite loop.
Knee Pops. Managing and preventing knee pops in characters.
Random Jitter. Using Expressions to add random movement to a bone.
Path Deformer, Example PRJ show Distortion box used as a Path Deformer.
Distortion Box. Demonstration of how to put a model through a distortion box in a Chor.
Plane intersection. A:M user shows me how to capture the intersection of an object with a plane with Booleans for a water simulation.
Two Gravities. There are two settings that can create "gravity" on particles.
Decal fading and cross-fading. Demonstration tutorial of how to animate decals to fade in and out.
Spiral reveal. Example PRJ shows spiral progressively revealed.
Amoeba Split. Example PRJ animates large blobby thing to split in two.
Head room and Nose Room Notes and links to advice on properly framing shots with people in them. Note: article link in 1st post is dead, use archived version via Wayback Machine.
Lighting and Rendering
Jeremy Birn "Digital Lighting and Rendering" Long thread contains annotations and translations from generic terminology in very informative book to equivalent terms in A:M. Note that these comments are on the 2nd Edition. An expanded 3rd edition came out in late 2013.
Reducing Render Time. Thread discusses common strategies for reducing render times.
Frame Range and Step. For those wondering about the mysteries of "Frame Range" and "step" settings
Three Teapots. Benchmark scene PRJ that has become a common way for A:M users to compare the speed of CPUs.
Light Lists. How to create and use light lists to limit a light's scope in a scene.
Frame Burn. Sample PRJ shows Frame Burn Post effect.
Semi-sunny day. Suggestion for quicker rendering daytime look.
Night. She said she'd love me forever if I showed her how to make her scene look like nighttime.
Penumbral lights. Strategy for using z-buffered lights for penumbral shadows without long render times of ray traced lights.
Car headlights. Example PRJ uses volumetric lights as visible lights on a car.
Radiosity without radiosity. Tactics on creating the radiosity look without the render times.
Flashlight Beam. Example PRJ shows Volumetric Light to appear as a flashlight beam in dusty air.
Depth of Field. Settings to use A:M's Depth of Field effect in renders
FakeAO as a post-effect. Using Jenpy's FakeAO plugin as to add AO effects in post rather than at render time.
Extracting Depth Maps. Using an A":M Composite Project to extract the depth map from an OpenEXR render to an 8-bit grey-scale format.
Fake Depth of Field. How to take A:M's OpenEXR renders to a post program like After Effects to use a simulated Depth of Field filter. AE's native DOF effect is very basic. Third Party plugins do a better job.
Altering colors in a Composite. Using an A:M Composite Project to alter the color of already rendered footage.
Light Attenuation and Intensity. Some comments on setting these light properties.
Heat Distortion Effect. Work around for small bug in refraction rendering.
Dispersion. Example PRJ creates Dispersion/Chromatic aberration color-fringing in glass.
Caustics. Thread has several users contributions and sample PRJs toward creating the distorted clear plastics look.
Caustics. Another thread about jewel-appearing caustics.
Aerial Perspective. How I created a Chinese Painting-inspired scene with flat planes
Shadow Buffer. Example PRJ renders object's shadow in the alpha buffer
Shadow Catcher. Example PRJ shows makes shadow of object appear on Front Projection rotoscope.
All-Around Drop Shadow. Example PRJ creates hazy, in-all-directions drop shadow around text.
Scaling Image Sequence. Video on how to import a rendered image sequence and re-render it to a different size.
Phenakistoscope. Instructions and PRJ to put your own animation into the classic toy.
These are not general purpose tutorials but are intended as diagnostic comments on a specific user's project. They may possibly be informative to others, none-the-less.
David's Bouncing Ball
Bouncing with parabolas
Drop test example footage
Using Original Fall to calculate later bounces
Ball Drop Time visualization of ball parabolas
Squash notes Comments on timing and amount of Squash
How much Squetch More comments on how much Squetch to use
Danf's Bouncing Ball. Several posts in this thread have notes from me on Danf's bouncing ball animations.
Simon's Heavy Lift
Thejobe's Jumping character. Long thread with comments and crits through out about animating a jump.
RS3D's Walk. RS3D Walk Notes
Gerry's Reel. Notes on making a character fall over.