Skip to content

Developer Tools (DevTools)

DevTools is our solution to help you prepare your models for use with our animator and retargeter. Models are sent to the tool from our Unreal and Unity plugins. Here you will define the skeleton by labeling the bones and creating chains. When you are done you either send the skeleton definition back to the plugin or you can export it as an mskl file and import it into your implementation manually.


It's hightly advised that you have a basic understanding of the MANUS Skeleton system before trying to set up a skeleton. Refer to the following article for more information on the skeleton system.


alt text

  • Hierarchy On the left you can find the node hierarchy. Here all the bones are visualized as a hierarchical list.
  • Status In the right top corner you will find the current skeleton status.
  • Node selection Below that a list of the currently selected nodes.
  • Chain list Below that the chain list.
  • Viewport In the center you find the 3D viewport.
  • Chain properties Below that the currently selected chain's properties.



Controls are divided into two control groups. When holding the right mouse button you are able to freely fly around. The key bindings are described below.

Input (Regular) Action
RMB Look around
ALT + LMB Orbit
Mouse scroll Zoom
ALT + RMB Zoom
F Focus on selected nodes
Hold RMB Free fly mode
Input (Freefly) Action
W Forward
S Backward
A Left
D Right
Q Up
E Down


alt text

You can switch between different viewport presets using the control cube in the right top corner of the viewport. The 2D and 3D buttons switch between perspective and orthographic camera modes. And the T (top), F (front) and S (side) buttons switch between their respective camera positions.

alt text
Top 3D
alt text
Side 3D
alt text
Front 2D
alt text

Hierarchy Panel

The Hierarchy panel shows the models' node hierarchy. Each node can be selected, collapsed/expanded. Their visibility in the viewport can be toggled using the eye icon. On top there is also search box to quickly traverse the hierarchy. Every selected node is also highlighted on the skeleton in the main view and highlighted within the hierarchy view.

alt text

Node Selection

Selecting nodes can be done by clicking on node in the Hierarchy panel or directly on the skeleton. Selecting a bone will select it's two corresponding nodes and selecting the node will just select the node.

When selecting nodes the following shortcuts can be used to speed up the process.

Select Node Action
LMB Selects one Node
Shift + LMB Selects from the last selected Node to the selected Node
CTRL + LMB Adds the currently selected Node to the selection

In the selected nodes menu a list of the currently selected nodes is shown with it's ID and Type.

alt text


alt text

The status view shows you the current status and availability of chains.

  • Green signify a correctly configured chain.
  • White means the chain is present however it has no nodes.
  • Dark gray means there is no chain currently present of that type.

Chain list

alt text

The chain list shows a list of all currently created chains. The Create Chain button only lights up when a node is selected and will create a chain containing the currently selected nodes. The Auto Allocation button will attempt to automate the process, to learn more about the auto allocation please refer to the following chapter.

Chain properties

alt text

The chain properties window shows you the properties of the currently selected chain. It's chain type, the side if there is one to that chain. A list of all the nodes currently assigned to that chain. And the chain settings, these are specific for each chain type. Please refer to the skeleton article for more information on these settings.

Opening the application

There are three common ways to open the application.

alt text

  1. When right clicking the MANUS Core tray icon, you navigate to More and select Dev Tools.

  2. Opening a mskl file will open the DevTools and load the skeleton.

  3. The app opens automatically when sending a skeleton to DevTools from the plugins or when opening a mskl file.

Unreal Engine


alt text For the DevTools to function an active connection to MANUS Core is required. When the application opens, it will automatically search and try to connect to a MANUS Core instance. If not successful, the Core Selector Panel will open automatically letting you pick which MANUS Core instance you want to connect to manually.

The icon in the right bottom corner will be green when connected and red when not connected to MANUS Core.

Disconnected / Connected

Setting up your skeleton

If a model was sent to the tool through the Unity and Unreal plugins, the application will automatically attempt to load it. You can also click the button Available Models to load an mskl file or switch between previously loaded skeletons.

A popup panel opens with a list of active sessions and the models available. You can then either select a model or click Open Model to load a previously saved mskl file from your file system.

alt text

Creating Chains/Adding Bones

Chains are collections of bones that have a relation to each other. For instance, the upper and lower leg bones form the leg chain. And all the bones that make up the spine together make the spine chain. More information is available in the chains article.

Setting up your skeleton for animation boils down to creating and defining all the neccessary chains. There are two ways to setup your skeleton. Manually assign all bones to chains until you have all required chains, or let the automatic allocation take care of it.

Automatic Allocation

During the automatic allocation, MANUS Core will attempt to assign the chains. After loading the model into the Dev Tools click Auto Allocation to start the process.


Please make sure to properly set the Skeleton Type before sending your model to the Dev Tools (Hands / Body / Both).

Verify successful allocation using the animation system. If the skeleton animates correctly the allocation was likely successful.

If this is unsuccessful, it's likely the specific bone naming conventions and structure are not correctly identified. You'll have to manually assign the skeleton completely, or manually find errors and correct them. Misidentifications of chains (side, type) or incorrectly assigned nodes can both happen.

Manual creation

To create a chain manually you go through the following steps:

  1. Select the desired nodes to be included in the new chain. More info on node selection.
  2. Click the button Create Chain.
  3. Specify its Type and Side. For chains that don't have a side, select center.
  4. Configure the current Chain settings by setting the values in the displayed form. More info on chain settings.

alt text

Adding Bones

Nodes can also be added after creation to existing chains.

  1. Select the existing chain where nodes should be added.
  2. Select the desired nodes to add to the chain.
  3. Click the Add Bones button.


All operations (excluding loading and saving a skeleton) can be undone or redone by pressing the key combination Ctrl + Z (Undo) or Ctrl + Y (Redo).

Preview Animation

It's possible to test a skeleton setup by having it animate through Core. There is a animation dialog in the left bottom corner of the viewport. Select one of the preview animations from the dropdown and press play. Changes can not be made to the chain assignment whilst the preview animation is playing, so close the dialog when making changes.

alt text


If the skeleton does not animate (correctly). The chain assignment is likely incorrect or missing essential chains.

Saving a Skeleton

The skeleton definition can be exported using two methods. Either send it back to the plugin when the model was initially sent from the plugin or save the file as an mskl file.


If the connection to MANUS Core was severed at some point during the editing process, either in the plugin or in DevTools, it's very likely that you are not able to send the skeleton back to the plugin. In this situation it's advised to save the skeleton manually and import the mskl file into the plugin.

  1. Send to Plugin: This will send the skeleton back to the plugin that was used to send the skeleton to the DevTools.
  2. Export to File: This will save the skeleton onto the local file system using the mskl file format, this file can be later loaded back into Manus DevTools or directly into the plugins.

alt text