A newb in distress.

Hello folks at Toonboom

This has to be one of the saddest questions you’ve had.

I am currently working in the 1st tutorial, and on the subject of multiplane scening which has caused me endless stress!

Just what the heck is the ‘‘trackbar’’ on the timeline?
Is it the red thingy? Or is it the orange thing you drag along?
Whatever I’m doing, I’m obviously doing it wrong and I need your help!

The only sad questions are the ones that people do not ask.

Here is some background that may help you with your question.

TBS has time lines and exposure sheets which are used to organize your work in table forms. Traditional 2D animation only uses exposure sheets. The time lines and exposure sheets in TBS are fully integrated and work together.

A TBS exposure sheet, like a traditional one, has rows and columns. The rows are representational of frames also referred to as exposures. (This is traditional terminology relating to a frame of film which is also referred to as a photographic exposure.) The columns are representational of elements which are the TBS equivalent of a stack of traditional animation cels. Each row/column intersection represents a single animation cel. And the entire row combined across represents a composite of multiple layers of animation cels.

The TBS time line also has rows and columns. The rows are representational of elements and the columns are representational of frames (exposures). Each row of the time line is often referred to as a track or track bar. Track bars can be different types of elements or pegs or color transform effects or masking effects or cameras. You can navigate along the time line between exposures using the “red” frame slider which marks which frame number is currently visible in the camera view window.

Time line layering in TBS is from the top down. So elements or track bars (layers) at the top of the timeline are closer to the viewer and elements at the bottom of the timeline are farther away from the viewer.

Layering in the exposure sheet is from left to right. (This is a change from earlier versions of TBS which were from right to left).

One additional interesting thing in TBS is that you can designate a type for an element that will establish it as a foreground or background element or just a normal element. Foreground elements are automatically put in the foreground of a scene and background elements are automatically put in the background of a scene although there can still be hierarchical layering in the foreground group of elements and in the background group of elements.

Multi-Plane Camera

There is always discussion about the fact that a positive strength of TBS is the multi-plane camera. Now for those readers who are not familiar with multi-plane cameras, they were an invention of Ube Iwerks at the Disney Studios and they revolutionized animation. The basic premise was to take the concept of the transparent cel to the next logical step. Each picture (art work) plane in a multi-plane camera is a transparent surface and by actually providing distance separation between pieces of 2D art on cels this camera creates an improved representation of depth. Now for those familiar with classical animation camera stands the art work is registered by means of pegs and these pegs are mounted on precisely positioned bars called, logically, traveling peg bars. (This is the reason TBS uses the term pegs for dynamic elements to control animation changes over time.)

Now a single picture plane on an animation stand can be incrementally moved north - south, east -west, and rotated 360 degrees in the same plane and these moves can be in combinations. To move things in terms of depth, the camera is positioned up and down, and / or the various picture planes of a multi-plane camera stand can be positioned higher or lower in relationship to the other picture planes as an additional directional move.

So using the top and side view windows in Toon Boom Studio you can position elements in the “z” direction which represents depth. It is just like moving the picture planes on a multiplane camera stand. You can also move the camera for additional control and effect.

Hopefully this helps, keep asking questions and we will try to help you. -JK