A question about templates


I rarely use templates because I feel they don’t work the way I’d like them to work. This maybe because I am misunderstanding how and when to use them, or maybe I’m just doing something wrong. I’ll give two examples:

I’ve just completed a minute’s animation across multiple scenes. Then the client says that instead of the main character having a t-shirt with a yellow zig-zag I should make it a t-shirt with red stripes. Fine, I think - I’ll just update the master template and watch the change propagate across all the scenes I’ve used it in. At least I wish I could do that, but I just can’t, can I?

Another example. I’ve created a template of my main character, and I’ve included every possible hand shape I think I’ll ever need. Then I get to the last scene and realise I need to draw another hand shape. No problem, I’ll just update the template and add it. Then I go back to the first scene I animated and realise I also need that new hand shape in that scene. But it’s not there, because the template is not ‘live’.

Of course I realise the importance of locking-off your character design before you start animating… but in the real world changes always seem to happen.

Am I doing something wrong? Is there a better way of working?

Thanks in advance,


In your first example, that’s not what the library is used for.
You CAN use it for that but you would need to update the template
and re-import the character to have the change applied.

One way you can change the shirt colour in the entire scene is
to just modify the colour pot used to fill the shirt colour. If you
used the “Linked” palette option to link to a single instance of
the palette file you could conceivably just make one edit to change
the colour in all scenes.

For your second example, select the frame of the layer that you want
the new hand to appear in and go to the library to use the drawing
substitution slider to select the hand you want to appear there.
This assumes that the layer has the hand loaded. If it does not,
create a new “frame” in the Xsheet where you can see the cel
labels and give it a unique name (or more commonly a number).
copy/paste the hand into this frame to have it available for the
drawing substitution slider to find later.

I’m probably explaining this badly so here is a link to one of our
tutorial videos where this is explained better:

Thanks Rkriz,

Can I re-import a character template though once I have animated it, and keep the animation? For example - Say I have been working with a master template of my character in a scene, and I’ve done a heap of animation and added a zillion keyframes. Then the client asks me to change the type of clothes the character is wearing. I edit the master template to reflect this change. Can I then re-import the template and KEEP all the keyframes I have set up?

I’ve have tried playing around with this and can’t see anyway to preserve the keyframes. Of course I can manually copy and paste the keyframes to each new peg or layer, but I’m looking for something simpler.

I might be asking my question above the wrong way… I’ll rephrase it:

Say you’ve done a piece of character animation. The animation is spread across multiple scene files. For argument’s sake you have been working with templates of your character. Then the client asks you to change the character’s t-shirt from a yellow zig zag pattern to a red-stripe pattern. (Note that this is not just a colour palette issue, it involves redrawing, but that the essential form of the character does not change.)

What would be the most efficient way to affect this change across the multiple scene files?

You would probably want to modify the existing scenes manually.
If you load the shirt in the drawing view and modify or paste over the
original drawing, it will change it everywhere it is used in the scene.

In the Library use the “Edit Template” feature to make changes to the character
templates so that future scenes you create will also use the new shirt colour/texture.
Keep in mind that once you bring a template into a scene it creates an instance of
the character rig that is no longer linked to the template itself.

Thanks Rkriz - that’s what I thought, and it confirms I’m not doing anything wrong. The reason I have been asking these questions is that I sometimes do cutout animation in After Effects and Photoshop. If you need to make a last minute design change with that system you just change the Photoshop file and of course everything else updates automatically. I was hoping for the same kind of functionality in Harmony, because I’d much rather be animating with it. :slight_smile: