Moho's menu bar contains commands for managing projects (Open, Save, etc.), as well as commands that apply to certain layer types (the Draw and Bone menus). This section will describe all the menu commands available in Moho.
Creates a new, empty Moho project.
Prompts you to open a Moho project file that was previously saved to disk.
Closes the current project.
Saves the current project to disk.
Prompts you for a name and location, then saves the project to disk.
Brings up the project settings dialog. As seen below, the project settings dialog lets you control the pixel width and height of the project, as well as the number of frames per second. You're free to change these values at any time, although it's easiest if you set up the values you want before you start creating your animation (particularly the frame rate). Also in this dialog, you can set the start and end frames of your animation, defining how long the overall animation will be.
In this dialog you can also set a background color for the project - just click on the color swatch.
Next are options for creating a depth of field effect. Depth of field simulates a camera, where a certain range of objects are in focus, while closer or more distant objects become blurry. The focus distance value is the distance from the camera to the plane of perfect focus. Objects that are within the "focus range" distance of this plane will also appear in focus. For this feature to work correctly, you need to set up multiple layers with different depth values so that some can be in focus, and others out of focus. If you move the layers (or the camera) in your animation, the focus will automatically change based on distance from the camera.
The next three checkboxes control some of the 3D features of Moho. If "Enable 3D camera" is checked, Moho will allow you to move around your scene in true 3D. Usually, you will leave this turned on, even if you choose not to move the camera in 3D - it mostly exists for backwards compatibility with older Moho files (older files will have this option turned off).
The "Sort layers by depth" checkbox allows top-level layers in Moho to move in front of and behind each other during an animation. Normally, layers are drawn in the order they appear in the Layers panel. However, with this option turned on, layers are displayed according to how far they are from the camera. See the Tutorials section for an example of using this feature. Typically, layers are sorted by their depth from the camera, but if you're trying to create a 3D object using multiple Moho layers (like a cube or pyramid), you may want to turn on "Sort by true distance". This tells Moho to sort layers by the distance from the camera to the layers' origins, rather than by depth. Usually this option will be left un-checked.
With the "Noise grain" field, you can set up some noise grain for the project. Noise grain is a subtle film grain-type effect that adds slight variations to the pixels in your project and leads to a more natural look to the final image. It can also increase the visual quality in some kinds of movie compression when you generate an animation. If you want to try out noise grain, a value of 16 is a good start for a subtle noise effect.
When you create a new project in Moho, your animation defaults to 320x240 pixels at 24 frames per second. If you create most of your projects at different settings, you can change these defaults. Just type in new values in this dialog, and click "Save As Defaults" to make the new settings the default settings for all new projects.
Moho can import several kinds of other media files into an animation project. The commands in this sub-menu let you import these files.
Moho Object This command will ask you to choose a Moho project file. Once you've chosen a file, a list of layers in the project will show up in the dialog below.
Select one of the layers to add it to your own project (a preview of the selected layer appears on the right side of the dialog). The entire layer will be copied into your open project, including any animation in the layer. This is an easy way to share objects between project files and reuse bits of animation here and there.
Several files are included with Moho that contain scenery, characters, props, etc. You are welcome to include these in your own projects by using this menu command.
Image Imports an image file as a new Image layer. The image formats supported by Moho are listed here.
Movie Imports a movie file as a new Image layer. The movie formats supported by Moho are listed here.
Adobe Illustrator File Asks you to select an Adobe Illustrator (.ai) file. Moho will import the bezier curve shapes in this file into a new Moho vector layer. These objects can then be further edited and animated in Moho. When creating a file in Illustrator, save it in Illustrator 8 (or earlier) format for use with Moho.
EPS File Imports an EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file as a new Moho vector layer.
Tracing Image Loads an image file to be used for tracing purposes. The image formats supported by Moho are listed here. This command is the same thing as "Select Tracing Image" in the View menu.
Soundtrack Loads a sound file to be used as a soundtrack for the current animation. The audio formats supported by Moho are listed here. This command is the same thing as "Select Soundtrack" in the Animation menu.
OBJ 3D Model Imports a 3D model as a new Moho 3D layer. Moho can import 3D files that are in OBJ format. More information about 3D layers can be found here.
Generates a preview image of what your project will look like. If you're in the process of animating your project, the image will be of the current frame in your animation. A preview image does not contain all the fill styles, and is of lower quality, but is quicker to generate than a fully rendered image.
When the Preview window opens up to display your work, you can save the preview as a still image, using the popup menu in the Preview window.
Generates a rendered image of your project. If you're in the process of animating your project, the image will be of the current frame in your animation. The rendered image is final quality, with all the details that you'll see in your final animation.
When the Render window opens up to display your work, you can save the rendered frame as a still image, using the popup menu in the Preview window.
This command brings up a dialog that lets you export an animated sequence and save it to disk. The Moho project file is where your work is saved, but to view the animation as a movie, to put it on the web, or to work with it in other programs, you have to export the animation.
The dialog asks for a starting and ending frame (these default to the entire animation), and an output format. You can output a sequence of frames, a movie file, or a Flash SWF file. Moho will then ask you where to save the result. Once the animation begins exporting, you are free to keep working while the animation is being drawn. A progress bar at the top of the animation window will inform you of the export progress.
The Export Animation dialog also has several options for adjusting the output quality of your animation. These default to the highest quality rendering, but you may sometimes want to lower the quality to increase rendering speed or to output animations with smaller file sizes for streaming over the internet. The rendering quality options available are:
Moho's batch export window lets you line up several Moho project files to be exported one at a time. This is very convenient when you're working on a large project with separate project files for different scenes, and you want to render them all at once (like during lunch maybe). The batch export window has many of the same controls as the Export Animation dialog:
To queue up files for batch export, drag the Moho files into this window, and they will appear in the list view at the bottom. You can remove a file from the queue by selecting it and pressing the <backspace> or <delete> keys (this will not delete the file from your system, just remove it from batch export).
You can change rendering options by selecting a file and then changing the options at the top of the window. The options that are set before you queue up any files will apply to all the files as you add them. The output file format you select will be the same for all files in the batch.
When all your files have been added and the options set, press the Start button to begin batch export. The window will display the progress of each file as it is exported. When a file is finished and disappears from the list, you can find the rendered result in the same folder as the Moho file itself.
Quits Moho. Prompts you to save any unsaved projects.
Choose this command to undo the last operation. You may undo up to 8 of your most recent editing operations in Moho.
This command will redo the last operation that you "un-did" with the Undo command.
These are the traditional clipboard commands. They can be used together with the Draw editing tools for vector layers, and operate on the currently selected group of points.
This command is the same as pressing the backspace or delete key: the currently selected object in the working area will be deleted from the project.
Selects all the points in the active vector layer.
De-selects all the points in the active vector layer.
Selects the opposite points in the active vector layer. Selected points will become de-selected, and de-selected points will become selected.
Selects all points that are connected to any other currently selected points. For example, if you have a complex shape like a character's head, just select a few points on it, then choose this command: if all the points on the head are somehow connected together, the whole head will now be selected.
Brings up a dialog that lets you customize some aspects of Moho, such as the display colors used in the working area of the Moho window.
A dialog will pop up with controls to type in some text and choose a font. When you click OK, the text will appear as a set of curves in Moho. These curves are just like any drawing in Moho - you can manipulate them with any of the Moho tools, like any other object. There is also a checkbox that lets you decide whether to create the text as a single fill, or as separate fills for each character (in case you want to color/style them differently). The text will be filled using the current fill color/style.
There is no font size control when you create the text: the Moho scale tool should be used to control the size of the text after you create it.
If the grid is turned on in the working area, then this command can be used to snap all selected points to the nearest grid intersection.
Using the Line Width tool, you can adjust the width of a line at any point. Choosing this menu command will reset your custom line widths at any selected points.
Use this command to randomize the width of the line(s) through the currently selected points. You will be asked to specify the minimum and maximum width, and Moho will assign random line widths within that range.
Select this menu item to raise a shape in the stacking order. This will move it in front of the next higher shape. The stacking order only applies to shapes within the same layer - all shapes in a layer will appear above any lower layers and behind any upper ones, regardless of stacking order. Note that if there is no shape overlapping the selected one, you may not see any change when this item is selected, even though the shape gets moved higher.
Select this menu item to lower a shape in the stacking order.
Works like Raise Shape, but raises the shape above all others in its layer.
Works like Lower Shape, but lowers the shape below all others in its layer.
Moves the selected points back to their original positions, adding a new keyframe for them at the current time.
Same as above, but moves all points in the layer back to their original positions, not just the selected ones.
This command detaches the selected points from any bones they may be bound to.
This command binds the selected points to bones in such a way that they will influenced by all the bones in the parent bone layer, depending on the strength and region of influence of each bone. This results in more of a "squishy" type of motion when the skeleton is animated. This is the default behavior for all drawings in Moho, so you usually won't have to use this menu command - the points are probably already flexi-bound.
This command detaches the current layer from any bone it may be bound to.
This command binds the current layer to the bones in the parent layer in such a way that the child layer will influenced by all the bones in the parent bone layer, depending on the strength and region of influence of each bone. This results in more of a "squishy" type of motion when the skeleton is animated.
Hides any bones that are set up to have their angle or position controlled by another bone. These types of bones are often not animated by the user (their animation is "automatic" through the control feature), and hiding them can clear up some of the clutter in the workspace. This function is not available when the time is set to frame 0.
Moves the selected bone back to its original position, adding a new keyframe for it at the current time.
Same as above, but moves all bones in the layer back to their original positions, not just the selected one.
Normally when playing back an animation, Moho will display each frame one at a time. Depending on the complexity of your animation, the display quality settings, and the speed of your computer, the animation may play back slower than its specified speed. Select this command to force the animation to play back at actual speed. In order to accomplish this, Moho may have to skip some frames to keep up to speed, so the animation will play back at the correct overall speed, but may not appear as smooth. The best way to see the animation at final speed and quality is of course to use the Export Animation command in the File menu.
This command removes all animation from the current layer.
This command removes all animation from the entire document.
Resets all channels in the current layer to their initial values, adding a new keyframe at the current time.
Selects all the keyframes in the current layer. This is useful if you want to move all the animation in a layer forward or backward.
With this command you can rescale a group of keyframes so that a portion of your animation takes more or less time. For example, you could rescale the range of keyframes from 30 to 60 to take twice as long by setting the start frame (and new start frame) to 30, the end frame to 60, and the new end frame to 90. (90 - 30 = 60, which is twice as long as 60 - 30 = 30)
To reduce the amount of time the animation takes (in other words, to speed it up), you could set the start frame (and new start frame) to 30, the end frame to 60, and the new end frame to 45. (45 - 30 = 15, which is half as long as 60 - 30 = 30)
You can also shift a section of your animation by changing the start time. For example, to shift the range of keyframes between 30 and 60, you could set the start frame to 30, the end frame to 60, the new start frame to 90, and the new end frame to 120. The duration will be the same (120 - 90 = 60 - 30), but the animation will take place between frames 90 and 120, instead of 30 and 60.
You can rescale a portion of the entire document by clicking the "Rescale entire document" checkbox. Or, if you just want to rescale the current layer, you need to select the animation channels that you want to be affected. For example, you may want to rescale the bone animation, but leave the layer rotation alone. The icons representing the various animation channels are described in the Timeline Window section.
With this command you can copy values from the current frame in the timeline to any other frame in your animation. For example, if you position some objects in a way that you really like at frame 243, you can use this command to copy that position back to frame 0, to make it the starting position as well.
You can select which animation channels to copy to a new frame, or you can copy everything in the document by selecting the "Copy entire document" checkbox. There doesn't need to be a keyframe at the current frame in order to copy the current value. This command will copy the current value, whether it is a keyframe or an interpolated in-between value.
An important note about bones: if you position a skeleton system during your animation, and try to copy that pose back to frame 0, the bones themselves will take on that pose at frame 0, but anything bound to the bones (points in vector layers, warped images, other sub-layers) will not take on that pose. This is because frame 0 is a setup frame - bones are set up at frame 0, but they have no influence over other objects at frame 0. If you're trying to copy a pose back to frame 0 in order to set up an initial pose, consider copying it back to frame 1 instead - frame 1 is actually the beginning of the animation, and the bones will influence other objects starting at frame 1.
Use this command to assign a soundtrack to the project. Moho uses QuickTime to handle audio, so you must have QuickTime installed for this feature to work. Any QuickTime-supported audio format will work, but we recommend an uncompressed format like WAV for best results when playing back in Moho
If you assign a soundtrack, you will hear it play back when playing your animation in Moho. This can be a useful tool for synchronizing audio with animation. Also, if you export your animation to QuickTime format, the soundtrack will be included in the QuickTime file. If you export your animation as AVI, the soundtrack will be included if it is in uncompressed WAV format. If you export your animation as SWF, the soundtrack will be included if it is in MP3 format.
Removes any soundtrack from the current project.
Mutes the soundtrack when playing back your project in Moho, but the soundtrack is still a part of the project. Just un-mute it to hear it again.
The Scripts menu is documented on separately here.
Resets the view of the working area to the starting pan and zoom values. Use this command when you want to jump back to the original view of the project.
This sub-menu lets you select a direction to view your scene from. The default view is through the camera - however, sometimes when you're working on a scene with a 3D layout, you may want to view the scene from a different point of view.
When the grid is turned on, control points will snap to the nearest grid intersection as you draw them and move them around. Select this menu command to disable grid snapping - that way you can use the grid as just a visual guide, without it interfering in your drawing.
This command turns on the display of NTSC "safe zones". When creating output for video, it is important to keep important action and titles within the safe zones, because most televisions cut off some portion of the outside of the picture. (The inner rectangle is the safe zone for titles, and the outer one for important action.)
This command will hide all artwork that lies outside the final output rectangle. This makes it easy to visualize the final staging for your shot. Of course, it's hard to edit what you can't see, so be sure to turn this option off when you need to edit an object that lies outside the visible area of the project.
Use this command to select a tracing image to display in Moho's editing view. This image will not appear in your final output - it's just used as a tracing guide to help you draw your artwork in Moho.
To use a background image for tracing out a drawing, just drag the image into the working area of the Moho window, or use the above menu command. Then, you can use this command to hide or show that tracing image. To use a different tracing image, just drag a new one in.
Re-arranges Moho's windows to fit your screen.
Shows/hides the Tools window. The Tools window is shown by default when you start Moho.
Shows/hides the Layers window. The Layers window is shown by default when you start Moho.
Shows/hides the Timeline window. The Timeline window is shown by default when you start Moho.
Shows/hides the Style window. The Style window is shown by default when you start Moho.
Shows/hides the Actions window. The Actions window is hidden by default when you start Moho.
Opens this document, the Moho User's Manual.
Displays some information about Moho, including which version of Moho you're running.
Displays some information about all the scripts currently loaded by Moho. All of Moho tools, and all the entries in the Scripts menu are implemented in a scripting language called Lua. Although some programming/scripting experience is required, Moho users are welcome to write their own scripts to extend Moho's built-in features.