Beginner question on animation techniques

[This refers to any and all Toon Boom software]
As I understand, not all graphic content is created in Toon Boom. The animated parts are created in ToonBoom, but the backgrounds, with more complex graphics (textures, gradients etc) are made in Photoshop.
- is that true?
- if it is, another question: there are backgrounds that need careful positioning, whose contours must closely fit some of the animated parts.
How does the animator do that fine-tuning, if the “animated parts” are done in TB, and the backgrounds in Photoshop?

Hi userr

That was a good question. Hope there will be many answers.

Its absolute possible to make the backgrounds in Animete/Animate Pro.
But for painterly effects and Photo realism, pixel based softwares have sometimes more to give.
Myself, when in Animate pro, I make a rough sketch of the BG( and any other part for export to pixel software).

Especially if BG and action is important to make fit well together. ( not all scenes show feet on ground while walking, and so on)

First rough sketch BG(back ground)
Then do the animation rough.
Adjust and see that things match up.
Export rough BG( turn of all other layers in the timeline and export first frame -File -export -Open GL Frames. Set export to the number of one/1 of the frames containing actual BG)
Open BG in pixel software(Photoshop, Pixelmator, Sketchbook Pro, Painter)
Paint your BG but do not cut or rescale.
Save and export.
Import back into Animate Pro and it should fit the scene.
You will maybe have to do some adjustments when you see the scene reassembled. The process can then be repeated.
There may be some problems with maintaining transparency all the way through the process and Photoshop (8) has so far been the most reliable for me.

Hope you are up making new scenes.


I would appreciate some help on these 2 points, maybe with some details.
For example:
-where do I rough sketch it? ToonBoom or Photoshop?
-what is a rough sketch- only the contours or more?
-what exactly is an animation rough?
-do I export only the unfinished BG or the BG and animation rough?

In answering, it may be worth noting that I have never animated before, so I don’t know almost nothing.

You can make the background from anything – you could paint it on canvas with oil paints and scan or take a high-res photo and use that as your background (imported as a raster image)… or use Photoshop, the Gimp, MyPaint or any other graphics software, including Toon Boom. It all depends on what you want with your background – if you want more realistic or painted backgrounds, you’ll want something like PhotoShop or the Gimp. You can create a background in Toon Boom also, or even do a hybrid – do the layout in Toon Boom for perspective, line art, etc., and then export that layer and do the painting in another program and then bring it back into Toon Boom.

a rough sketch is just anything you do quickly to get an idea of something.

People do their sketches in different ways. Storyboarding is whole unique step of the process.

Some backgrounds are done in photoshop, but some people do them in Animate. For example Adam Phillips does everything in Animate/harmony and it is totally awesomeee.

also unless it’s part of a perfectly planned team based work, defer backgrounds til after you’re done with animation and camera movements. then take a snap shot/export image then open it in photoshop then on a separate layer start drawing your background, so everything fits.

You might want to check out the video tutorials, particularly on how to draw in the software.

About half the people I know do their backgrounds in Toon Boom software directly, the other half bring in backgrounds from outside.

Pretty much everyone does character animation in Toon Boom directly to take advantage of the colour palettes. If you do character artwork outside, you won’t be able to easily adjust colours.