Cartoon Robots

Animation Master Character Rigging Basics (Part 1)

Section 1: Introduction

Model for practice rig.

(This tutorial is geared for users of the computer modeling and animation software called Animation Master.  For this tutorial I used version 14c)

When we talk about rigging a character model for 3D animation we are generally talking about creating a way of controlling the models that we use so that they can give a performance.

“Rigging” is the process where you install a skeleton into your model so that each bone controls the part of the model that you want it to.

Rigging is not the easiest task in the animation process to understand at first but this step is very important.

When a model is not rigged it is, essentially, just a statue in your 3D world. You won’t be able to make it walk, talk, fight, flee, or whatever it is that you want it to do.

So what we need to do is to rig the model to make it possible for it to do what you want it to do when you pose it for still images or for animation.

Rigs can have simple or very complex designs but they always should be easy for the animator or artist to use.


Extra special thanks to David Simmons (aka itsjustme) at the A:M Forums for sharing his time and knowledge with me.  David provided valuable constructive criticism and other suggestions to help make this tutorial more beneficial to artists who want to learn about rigging.


Here is Table of contents for the Rigging Basics section:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Stone Cold Basics.
  3. The Model’s Default Bone.
  4. Real Bones.
  5. Bone axis.
  6. Bone Hierarchy.
  7. A Brief Introduction to the Action Window.
  8. Using an Action Window to Check Your Rig.
  9. Nulls and Null Hierarchy.
  10. Getting Acquainted with the Model.
  11. Hips
  12. The Thigh
  13. The Shin
  14. The Foot and Toe
  15. Checking your work in an Action window
  16. Using the MirrorBone Plug-in
  17. The Spine
  18. The Neck and Head
  19. The Arms
  20. Conclusion
What you should know a little about before you start:

Besides having a basic understanding of how to model in A:M, to rig a character in Animation Master we need to be familiar with several aspects of A:M’s user interface.

These aspects are:

The Project Workspace (PWS)

The Modeling Window

  • The Modeling Mode
  • The Bone Mode

Action Window

  • The Muscle Mode
  • The Skeletal Mode

If you aren’t comfortable with those areas in A:M then take some time to become acquainted with them before you start this section.