Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Assigning drawings to different layers, Drawing Substitution

Here is a short video showing a work in progress (also a learning process). I have just exported a scene from our STORYBOARD PRO animatic into ANIMATE. The sound track has been imported too, and the animatic drawing is in its own layer in bitmap format.

Assigning drawings to separate layers

At this stage I have (roughly) animated the camera move and roughed out a layout drawing over the imported bitmap layer. There is a neat feature in ANIMATE where you can quickly copy or cut out drawings from one layer and "Paste In Place" (to use Flash lingo) on other layers. First, use the Cutter tool to cut out that drawing, then use F9 to assign it to another new or existing layer. This beats going through the motions of Copying and Pasting...

Our only gripe is that the ANIMATE Cutter tool isn't very precise and we wish that it worked more like a Flash or Photoshop lasso where you can select parts of strokes, rather than entire strokes...

I have also started drawing rough key animation poses for each character (Rocquita, Indigo and Joe 101) and when I want to reuse an earlier drawing, I can swap using the Library's Drawing Substitution Window ... just scroll to the drawing you want to swap with... This is really cool. In Flash, only Symbols are swappable, but in ANIMATE, ALL drawings on a layer are swappable.

I also think it's super cool to be able to animate the characters with the camera move already done.

SIDENOTE: My OS is Windows Vista 64-bit and it is painfully slow to draw and paint. Especially when the Auto-Flatten feature is enabled in my BRUSH Tool Properties Window. Also when I have the Onion skinning on. I was sketching with both these features enabled, and ANIMATE suddenly crashed and shut down on me. Must remember to keep SAVING!!!

UPDATE: Thanks to Eric for the tip about holding down "Alt" when using the Cutter tool. This helps!!!


  1. Hey guys. I love your videos but I have some help for you. When in the CUTTER tool hold down the ALT key and the cutter tool becomes a lasso for cutting.

  2. Thanks, Ronald! Someone else sent in the tip too :)Please feel free to comment and share info anytime! I hope that we can all keep helping each other out (<-- saves time!)

  3. Hi, i just started animating in toon boom animate and i have a question about the opacity of the layers. Can you ajust the opacity of 1 layer in any way?

  4. Yes - go to your effects and add a transparency layer. Then drag the layer you want effected onto it (make sure the transparency layer stays on top).

    Double click the transparency layer and adjust the value. From memeory I think it defaults to 50% transparency.

    Remember - you can only see the effect in render mode.