What are manipulators

Manipulators are tools for managing objects in a scene. You can select the desired manipulator on the toolbar or using hotkeys. To work on animations, you will need manipulators to select, move and rotate objects.

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Exercise 4.1. Selecting objects
Sample scene: cube

In order to work with objects, they must first be selected. This can be done in several ways:

  • Switch to point controller mode
  • Select the selection tool (Q)
  • Click on point controllers to select them. The highlighted points will turn yellow.
  • Double-click a point to select that point and all its childs.
  • Hold LMB and move the mouse so that a red frame appears. You can select several point controllers at once with a frame.
  • Hold Shift to add new controllers to the selection or exclude the selected controllers from the group.

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Exercise 4.2. Moving objects
Sample scene: cube

  • Open any standard scene
  • Select all of the character's foot points
  • Select the translate manipulator (W)
  • Select the green arrow of the manipulator and move the foot up
  • Select the blue arrow of the manipulator and move the foot forward
  • Select the red arrow of the manipulator and move the foot to the side
  • Select the circle in the center of the manipulator to move the foot on the screen plane.
You can select and move different objects or groups of objects in a similar way!

For example, to move a whole character, you have to select all of its points.

And if you select only the upper part of the body and pull down, the character will sit down.

The parts of the character's body in Cascadeur can affect each other! If you pull the foot too hard, the other points of the skeleton will also move with it.

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Exercise 4.3. Rotating objects

  • Select all three points of the character's head
  • Select the rotation manipulator
  • Select the axes of the manipulator to rotate the character's head in the appropriate direction
  • Select a large circle of the manipulator to rotate the head in the plane of the screen
  • Select the space between the axes.
You can rotate other objects and groups of points in a similar way. For example, you can select all points of the upper body and rotate the character's body.

Warning! Rotation will not work if only one point is selected.

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Exercise 4.4: Choosing a pivot point

  • Select all points of the character's foot
  • Right-click on the toe point to rotate the foot around it
  • Right click on the heel point to rotate the foot around the heel.
  • Right-click in an empty space to return the default pivot
Use different pivots to make it easier to pose a character.
For example:
  • Highlight the pelvic points and move the pivot to the belly point to rotate the pelvis.
  • Highlight the shoulder points and move the pivot to the clavicle point to rotate the shoulder.

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Local and global modes

Objects have global coordinates, which describe their place in the scene. The direction of these coordinates is the same, regardless of how the object is rotated.

In global coordinate mode, it is convenient, for example, to move the whole characters to the desired location in the scene, or to move the foot on the floor surface.

But also objects have their own (local) coordinates. The axes of these coordinates rotate together with the object.

The local position of a character's body part is its position relative to its parent part. In this example, the character's arm retains its local position relative to the shoulder, although the global position of the arm (as well as the entire torso) changes.

You can switch the coordinate system with the button in the toolbar or with the ~ hotkey.

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Exercise 4.5. Rotation of the arms and legs

There are hinges in the character's elbows and knees. These hinges limit the rotation and allow the arms and legs to rotate on only one axis. If the other axis is used, the parent points will shift.

For correct rotation in the arms and legs, you should use only their local bending axis.

  • Select all points of the character's arm, starting from the elbow.
  • Switch the coordinate system to the Local mode
  • Rotate the arm along the X axis.
  • Select the leg points from the knee
  • Rotate the leg along the required axis

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Tail mode

The Tail mode allows you to rotate all objects in a chain at once.

  • Open the Dino scene
  • Select all points of the dinosaur's tail
  • Turn on the Local mode
  • Select Local Tail mode.
  • Enable the Tail button (a spiral icon should appear near the manipulator)
  • Rotate the tail of the dinosaur

Tip: Tail mode can also be applied to local or global coordinates, but in most cases, local Tail mode for the local coordinate system will work!

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Exercise 4.6: Standing on toes

If you pull any points too hard, it can cause other points in the chain to shift as well.
If you don't want to move inactive points, you can fix them.

Such fixations can also be used to set some poses more quickly. 

  • Select the three toe points of the character.
  • Press the R hotkey. Red frames will appear around the points.
  • Select the base point of the foot.
  • Pull the base of the foot point up on the Y-axis. The character is on his toes!
  • Press the R hotkey again to undock the points.

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