DanceForms Exercises are From: The Practical Guide (see the PDF)

Handout #04

Moving into Part B of the Practical Guide

Exercise 7 - Basic Terms

Learn to:
1 start a new figure
2 name the basic plans of motion and the basic movement directions

To add a dancer

Anatomical Position

Anatomical: This is normally the body face forward to you, feet slightly apart, palms of hands to open the front
DanceForms version: all the same except that the palms of the hands are facing the thighs (toward body)

Anatomical Planes of Motion

Sagittal (forward and backward) - flat from the side
Horizontal - flat from the top
Lateral - flat from the front

  1. Flexion (or forward flexion) - movement of whole arm or leg forward
  2. Hyperextension (or backward flexion) - movement of whole arm or leg to the back
  3. Extension - movement back to "neutral" (from forward or backward)
  4. Rotation - movement around the long axis of and arm or leg
  5. Lateral Rotation - rotating arm or leg outward
  6. Medial Rotation - rotating arm or leg inward (to the body centerline)
  7. Abduction - moving arm or leg outward (straight out, side move)
  8. Adduction - moving arm or leg inward (straight) toward center of body
  9. Circumduction - composite action (all of the above)

To view what each joint can do in terms of movement see Apendix A.
To view the range of motion load RangeOfMotions.lfa and click the play button.

From a Blank Slate

Start from Scratch:
  File Menu ->> New Animation
Get a new figure:

  Figure menu ->> New Human ->> Female Modern

  Make sure the Studio window is also open (Windows ->> Studio, if not)

Exercise 8 - Moving a Body Part

Learn to:
Move specific body parts
Bring up the body parts menu to select specific part
Which parts move other parts down the line

Open One File:

Body Parts Menu

To select a specific part it is sometimes easier to use the body parts menu than it is to click on the correct body part

  1. In the Studio window
  2. Position the cursor somewhere near the body
  3. Click and hold the mouse
  4. (make sure to hold [wait]) for a second or so
  5. The body parts menu will now pop up
  6. You can make a selection from here

    Computer Trivia Note: the popup menu and all overlapping windows were made possible by Diana Merry in 1972/73 working for the famous Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) which is properly credited with inventing the entire windowing and electronic office environment. The particular piece of machine-language code which Merry invented is called BitBLT for the Xerox Alto computer and stands for "Bit Block Transfer". Diana Merry invented this for the Smalltalk-72 language. Until Merry's solution for transfering memory to display memory the electronic office was being bogged down with laborious memory copying operations.

  1. Click on the title bar of the Studio window to activate it
  2. To view from the front - press the "F" key on the keyboard.
  3. Click on the Pelvis
  4. Put the cursor near the top of the pelvis, hold down the mouse button, move the mouse to the left
  5. To position the figure horizontally type "90" in the "Z" box on the lower left of the Studio window
  6. To return to the start: pull down the Edit window and click on "Reset to Default Shape"

Arms and Legs
  1. Arms move from the shoulders.
  2. To move the whole arm click on the Upper Arm. The rest of the arm is carried along.
  3. To move the whole lege click on the Upper Leg. The rest of the leg is carried along.
  4. Notice all the other items in the Studio window which change (X, Y and Z boxes)
  5. You can also move the arm by typing and angle into the X, Y or Z boxes
  6. Return to the start: pull down the Edit window and click on "Reset to Default Shape"
  7. Legs move from the hips
  8. Forward and Backward
  9. To view from the side - press the "R" key on the keyboard
  10. Click on a thigh
  11. Drag the limb forward
  12. Note the other controls (X, Y, Z boxes and graphic controls.
  13. Leg Rotation
  14. Change the view to the front - press the "F" key on the keyboard
  15. Click on a thigh (RUpperLeg)
  16. Move it outward about 45 degrees
  17. Get the same turnout on the other leg using the Mirror command
    1. Click on the other thigh (LUpperLeg)
    2. Press the Control-M key
  18. Return to the start: pull down the Edit window and click on "Reset to Default Shape"

To Bend at the Knees click on the calf (LLowerLeg or RLowerLeg)

To Bend at the Elbows click on the forearm (LLowerArm or RLowerArm)



Flex the Foot
  1. Get a side view (press the "R" key)
  2. Select the left foot directly (click on it, or use the body parts menu)
  3. Now click the "S" key to zoom in on the selected body part
  4. Move the round slider in the "X" box window to flex the foot
  5. To return the part to Neutral Hold the Alt key and press the "/" (forward slash) key Alt+/


Point the Foot
  1. This is progressive and moves a set of parts, one after the other
  2. Start with the foot (above) and decrease the "X" box value
  3. Do the same with the arch
  4. Then the toes
  5. -
  6. To make the other foot the same (the mirror command again)
  7. Select the other foot from the body parts menu and...
  8. Again get the body parts menu. Now select All Descendents command (near the top of the body parts menu)
  9. As before, Hold Control and hit the "M" key. Control-M to give the opposite foot the same settings


Studio "Cheat Sheet" keyboard shortcuts


A key

All of the model is scaled for size and moved to the center of the window



F key

Front view


L key

Left view - because this is from the right side I have to assume they mean audience left (??)


R key

Right view - always shows left side so I assume (as above) they mean audience right (??)


T key

Top View


M key

Each hit on the "M" key moves the model upward in the window


Z key

Scales the image up, leaving the floor line where it is in the frame.


X key

Scales the image down, leaving the floor line where is is


S key with a selection

1 - Select a body part then ...

2 - Click the "S" key to zoom in to a particular part.


C or V key

Tilts floor up or down

C = up

V = down


B or N key

Rotates floor right or left, depending on key


> key

Move image to right


< key

Move image to left

    View Image as:

Y key

View image as stick figure


U key

View as bounding boxes


I key

View as countours


O key

View as outlines


P key

View as surfaces





Key Shortcuts

Please note:
On Two-Button Mice,
Shift Right Click = Middle Mouse Button

MB=Mouse Button

LMB=Left Mouse Button
MMB=Middle Mouse Button
RMB=Right Mouse Button




Select All figures in Stage, All joints in Fig. Ed

Cmnd A

Ctrl A

Select All Frames in Timeline

Cmnd [

Alt [

Fit selected joint to view (Figure Editor Only)



Fit entire stage to view (Stage Only)



Fit Figure to view






Back Step

Left arrow

(Also Cmnd-B)

Left arrow

Forward Step

Right arrow

(Also Cmnd-F)

Right arrow

Return to first frame



Go to last frame



Open the Goto dialog box

Cmnd G

Ctrl G

Select Pasted Frames

Cmnd J

Ctrl J


Display Front view


(also Cmnd-1)


(Also Ctrl-1)

Display Top view



Display Right view



Display Left view



Zoom in (fine-tuning)



Zoom out (fine-tuning)



Mouse Controls for View

Pan view



Zoom view

Cmnd + MB


Rotate view

Option MB


Other View Nav keys

Tilt the foreground of the Stage down



Tilt the foreground of the Stage up



Rotate the stage to your right



Rotate the stage to your left



Pan up



Pan down



Pan to the Right



Pan to the Left




Open or make Figure Editor active

Cmnd E

Ctrl E

Open or make Stage window active

Cmnd L

Ctrl L

Open or make Timeline window active

Cmnd T

Ctrl T

Open or make Rendered window active

Cmnd R

Ctrl R

Open File Browser

Ctrl O

Ctrl F

Open or make Joint Material window active for Selected Joint

Option + Cmnd J

Open or make Panel window active

Option + Cmnd P



Display or hide paths of Selected Figures

Cmnd K

Cmnd K

Toggle Always Display Path of All Figures

Option + Cmnd K

Display selected figures in Sticks Style

Cmnd 5

Ctrl 5

Display selected figures in Bounding Box S

Cmnd 6

Ctrl 6

Display selected figures in Contours

Cmnd 7

Ctrl 7

Display selected figures in Outline

Cmnd 8

Ctrl 8

Display selected figures in Surfaces

Cmnd 9

Ctrl 9



Stop Playback







Cmnd C

Ctrl C


Cmnd V

Ctrl V

Paste Special

Option + Cmnd V

Insert Blank Frame

Space bar

Space bar

Import Figure

Cmnd I

Remove Selected Figure

Option + Cmnd F

Mirror selected joints

Cmnd M

Ctrl M


Cmnd Z

Ctrl Z

Playback selected figures

Cmnd Y

Ctrl Y

Playback in whole screen (toggle)

Cmnd U

Ctrl U


Ctrl P

Open Walk Generator

Cmnd ]


Keyframe all attributes in current keyframe

Cmnd ' (tilde key)

Alt ' (tilde key)

Reset to default shape

Cmnd /

Alt /


Cmnd -

Alt - (keypad)

Add to Palette

Cmnd =

Alt =

Mouse Controls for Rotating Joints

Rotate around X axis

Ctrl + MB

Ctrl + LMB

Rotate around Z axis

Ctrl + Option + MB

Ctrl + RMB

Rotate around Y axis

Ctrl + Cmnd + MB

Ctrl + MMB


Workspace management

Arrange windows

Cmnd D

Ctrl D

Hide All but Top window

Cmnd ;

Alt ;

Bring next animation's windows to front

Option + Tab

Ctrl + Q

Make next window active

Ctrl + Tab

Ctrl + Tab




Shift + Cmnd + R

Alt + Shift + R

Snap Same as Previous

Shift + Cmnd + P

Alt + Shift + P

Position Same as Next

Shift + Cmnd + N

Alt + Shift + N


Shift + Cmnd + S

Alt + Shift + S

Auto Snap

Shift + Cmnd + A

Alt + Shift + A

Clear Snap

Shift + Cmnd + C

Alt + Shift + C

Snap Altitude

Shift + Cmnd + T

Alt + Shift + T

Snap Location

Shift + Cmnd + L

Alt + Shift + L

Keyframes Only

Shift + Cmnd + K

Alt + Shift + K

Adjust Following frames

Shift + Cmnd + F

Alt + Shift + F

Left Toe Tip

Ctrl + Cmnd + T

Ctrl + Shift + T

Right Toe Tip

Option + Cmnd + T

Ctrl + Alt + T

Left Toe

Ctrl + Cmnd + B

Ctrl + Shift + B

Right Toe

Option + Cmnd +B

Ctrl + Alt + B

Left Heel

Right Heel

Left Fingers

Ctrl + Cmnd +H

Ctrl + Shift + H

Right Fingers

Option + Cmnd + H

Ctrl + Alt + H




Cmnd O

Ctrl O


Cmnd S

Ctrl S

Save All

Option + Cmnd S


Cmnd W

Ctrl W

Close All

Option + Cmnd W

New file

Cmnd N

Ctrl N


Option + Cmnd E




Cmnd Q

Alt F4