MASTER CONTROLLER - Only useful if you can script

Hi All, H15 installed, and just starting to play around with some of the new features, the one that interested me more than most is the Master Controller feature. I used something similar in MOHO and was really hoping the TB approach would be similar, but oh boy was I wrong!

So unless I’m mistaken then, you need to be able to script to make any use of this feature or have a in-house ‘IT guy’ ( I wish, just a small studio!). I was really hoping for something intuitive, perhaps able to do basic tasks with scripting for advance stuff, but a more visually intuitive tool for us less tech types. But it seems this feature is solely aimed at bigger studios or those who can code.

In this video it show’s the potentially daunting level of coding needed:

I can imagine there will be some useful scripts in the community at some point, but seems this is is a feature I always wanted but will never use. :frowning:

Cheers, Jason

Harmony Premium and Storyboard Pro User

Hi all,
I wanted to give you an update - we are working on readying the Master Controller webinars and will have more news next week.

Have a great weekend,


The implementation is ridiculously complicated and should have been no more difficult to use than deformers…and I am being generous.

It is a simple tool. The basic structure should have come in something like a node with a properties window.

This feature could have been something widely used.

I don’t care what someone might be able to do with it if they figure it out and are comfortable with scripts but as it has been presented it rates an F because it will be useless to most people.

I took a look at the master controller rig sample and rotating the head there were glitche galore. Like, if you have that moving circle on frame 1, and then move the circle of head on frame 6, and you go back to 1 and try to move it, it will jump to whatever position the circle/mouth was at at 6, requiring you to entirely reposition it. Parts of the mouth/head/nose/ear/etc will clip through if you position it at not exactly just the right angle, requiring you to reposition it. It’s starting to feel like it’s trying to work lik a 3d rig but with the limitations of being 2d, at that point i’d rather just work with a 3d rig.

Yeh I agree, it would be easier for me to do the work in Cinema 4D at this point. It’s a shame as I love working in Harmony, there’s a lot that’s good. But this especially compared to something like MOHO which has actually done a decent job of this feature, TB’s approach falls short of being easy to use to the typical user, which is a real shame :frowning:

Cheers, Jason

Harmony Premium and Storyboard Pro User


Cheers, Jason

Harmony Premium and Storyboard Pro User

Hi, the script is great, this will give us greater reach to the tool, do not forget that they can reuse code, it is only rename and add more frame. we no longer have an excuse to learn code, nor is it complicated.
we do not need to develop a video game for ps4!!!.

Cheers, Adelmo Morales

From Harmony 15’s documentation about Master Controller:

The end goal of master controllers is to give studios the ability to create tools that make it easy for scene planners and animators to manipulate rigs and objects in the way they were designed to be manipulated. Because master controllers are created using the Harmony scripting interface, they require a solid grasp on scripting in order to be made useful. Hence, rigging with the master controller should be done by project collaborators with experience in programming.

That should give anyone a clear indication of ToonBoom’s area of interest - studios. They do not care nor build tools for independent animators. They cater to studios.

This is why ToonBoom needs to be more forthcoming and open and honest about the features that go into future editions; because, this should have been stated upfront about this tool. It definitely feels like shadowy, shady marketing. Another bad taste in the mouth from ToonBoom.

So far, yes a disappointment. Even a mammoth like ‘Maya’ can do a fair amount of controlling and advanced rigging without scripting elements- I’ve done it!
I can’t see most people being able to use this at all. Even studios with the ‘I.T. Guys’ they apparently should have will probably think twice implementing anything as it takes so much effort. An average commercial for example, would need a pretty quick turnaround and extensive scripting would kill the process dead.

Now if there were some stock scripts supplied into which workflows could be positioned- rather like the auto-lipsync mouth labelling system- “A,B,C,D,E,F,X” THEN I can see this taking off.

In England, where ToonBoom is not nearly as used as in America, it’s down to individuals to ‘sell’ the Harmony gospel to a nation who is pretty much tied to Adobe Animate.
There have been two instances where I personally have tried to convince large, Oscar and BAFTA winning companies to make the switch, and was rather hoping that the Master Control system would be easier to implement. It would have made the last job I did for one of these large companies- a bit of R&D for a future series- actually possible for them to make.

This sort of thing doesn’t help ‘sell the system’ to be honest.

I’m going to try and go through the scripting tutorial to see if this is truly impossible, or not, but to not build any kind of GUI front end to this process is a bit cheeky. That’s what apps are for after all!

Here’s the Tutorial link for the bold who wish to try:

It’s left a very sour taste in many mouths I think. A bit of a PR misfire. Shame. Hope they do something to mend the rift that seems to be appearing on these forums.

Yeh I agree, especially when we know it’s possible to come up with a solution that doesn’t require code, as you mention and we all know, other software like C4D, Maya can deal with complex rigs without the need for code, plus MOHO has shown in a 2D environment it’s certainly possible, and MOHO does this really really well!!

Sure, I understand that some things may require more advanced coding, and that’s great to be able to have that there as an additional level of depth. But I’m a creative, not a techy, I use TB to save me time and streamline my workflow. I need software that’s intuitive with Labour saving features, the complex coding work should already be in place, just give me some input fields and some configs and I’m happy.

For the most part TB does things really well and I love working in it, it’s just a real shame this potentially game changing feature is not at all what I had hoped, made worse when I know it’s possible in other (cheaper!) software, and the results are pretty impressive.

Cheers, Jason

Harmony Premium and Storyboard Pro User

I can only agree!
This NEW feature “master controller” everybody was waiting for since the advertising is running, is a joke, and a slap in the face of most users.
Who is not able to write and understand scripting simple can’t use it. Bang!

Anime Studio (Moho) has that feature a long time already without any script writing, but well, it doesn’t work that good, so I was hoping TonnBoom will nail it, …but they just kidding. LOL

I can see here that I am not the only one who is disapointed.

To fix that “Joke” ToonBoom should at least make a tutorial, better written than on videos that do not explain the way they did it, with a standard script for download, where we can adjust/fill in the number and names of drawings or something.

That should happen better today than tomorrow!

The most professional way should be a pop up menu from the master controller where we can drag and drop in the drawings and functions, without manual script-writing.

My IT was just laughing, and suggested a new ToonBoom call center for Master-Controller- Script writing, 24/7.

+1 on this not actually being a feature. It’s more like a hack and should be pulled from the marketing as it’s completely misleading and probably borders on false advertising.
Too bad, it would have been nice. It’s great that like Maya you can code tools that you need in TB, but there is a clear difference between that and a “feature”.


I’m probably one of Harmony’s biggest advocates, but I was really surprised how little was provided to help with the workflow here.

I think the community can build some useful assets to share- I’m going to try and mine some of my programmer friends and see if I can get some kind of stock-set up started. But it seems totally daunting.

I think Harmony is a wonderful piece of software. It’s a pleasure to work in. I think they just dropped the ball on this one.
Not sure what the beta program is like for Harmony, but red flags should have been tossed left and right on this one.

It would be great if someone from TB would chime in here and give us their perspective.


That would be cool!

And I have to say that, from a programmer’s point of view, the learning module for Master Controllers is not that daunting at all.
It’s even very detailed. So, a programmer willing to build something with this code has a good documentation in his hands.

Indeed, TB’s marketing communication for this feature was or is misleading. But, I also like software providing tools allowing people to create their own tools. :slight_smile:

This is very encouraging to hear, Marc-André! Thank you for the quick response.

Do you know if there will be tutorials made for character head turns like the video for master-controllers advertised? That would be an excellent help as the current Learning Portal does not show much a tutorial going over that yet, but would be exciting if that would be added in the future. Believe me, we all want to jump into this and show its potential, seeing it in action can be ground breaking, especially if we can apply it to full turnarounds, which I am sure after some more breaking ground can be beautiful to achieve and speed up productions. It’s just frustrating and hard to go into this after the initial shock of its interface, but regardless, I am still happy you all have given the master controller feature in this latest update at all. It is nice seeing it exists and is not just a paid plugin for big studios alone.

I hope we can all work together to really push this feature forward when more tutorials come out. Thank you again for taking the time to respond to our concerns.

Hi Guys,

Thank you for your comments and feedback on the new Master Controllers in Harmony 15. The Master Controllers complement rigs - they introduce a new way that facilitates how cut-out animation is produced in our software and they rely on the rigging techniques that our users are already familiar with. The scripts involved vary and can range from simple to more sophisticated ones. We do understand, however, that not all our users may be comfortable coding these scripts - so we will be holding a series of free live webinars with Q&A to take you through the master controllers, scripting, and explain where we are going with them. We are planning the webinars now and will share the dates and registration page with you by the end of this week.

Toon Boom’s Learn portal is a key place to find examples, templates and explanations on master controllers. We are committed to keeping the portal updated and are in the process of providing more templates that will require minimum or no scripting at all so that all users can eventually take advantage of our master controllers. Along with our efforts on the Learn portal, as more and more users get comfortable with this feature, we anticipate many of them will share their knowledge on scripting of master controllers with the community via this online forum and/or You Tube channels.

Harmony 15 is our first step with master controllers and there will be more innovation to come with these! As the master controllers get adopted by a larger audience, the user interface and feature will evolve for non-technical artists or for those that do not have access to such a resource. We didn’t want to box ourselves in - we’ve built the master controllers in Harmony with a scripting interface that will enable limitless ways to manipulate and control rigs so we can push the boundaries further than anyone can imagine.


Marc-André Bouvier-Pelletier
Harmony Product Manager

@ShadowLillium - Thanks for the support! The short answer is yes, we are planning a series of webinars where you’ll see examples of what you can do with the master controllers including head turns. We also are planning on adding content to the Learn Portal to expand on what we show you in the webinar series. We’ll keep you posted! - Marc-Andre

Hi all,

Adding to Marc-André’s answer, we will have good coverage of the Master Controllers on our Learn Portal. As well, we are adding new content about creating 360 rigs, including head rotation and body rotation. The reason I say this is because this will also provide a higher degree of expertise on how to rig in general - beyond what is already covered in the Rigging 1 and Rigging 2. The new rigging course will also tie in nicely with creating Master Controllers that are used with advanced rigs to further simplify head rotation and orientation during the animation phase.

As a note, in the upcoming webinars, we will show you how Master Controllers can be used in all sorts of different ways, not only 360 rigs.

Thank you very much for your feedback,

Marie-Eve Chartrand
Director of Customer Success

i have to echo stefman’s point of view above that this could be a wonderful toolset for those that’ll put in the effort to learn the syntax. while i can certainly draw my way out of a paper bag, i actually make a living as a javascript/web developer so i’m quite looking forward to exploring this stuff. hopefully i can produce some rigs for y’all to utilize later on :slight_smile:

i know folks that own harmony premium and never use the node networking system because they are afraid of it, and that is such a waste of a vital, unique part of the harmony package.
i use it extensively with every single harmony project, even for still images that i’m exporting for poster prints. adobe after effects also becomes exponentially more powerful once you get handy with AE (javascript) scripting (or can even just competently edit existing ones).

while moho may offer a pre-defined macro toolset, i doubt it could approach the depth or flexibility capable w/in harmony (with the tradeoff being, of course, you must start from naught in h15.)

thanks to the toonboom staff for jumping in and providing some hope regarding harnessing this powerful system, i’m looking forward to it.