Cannot export in SWF format

I have been working on this project now for a while. Real simple …just one scene with about 1,000 frames.
For some reason …when I try to export in SWF format lately …after about 60% completion the TBS just shuts down. I was able to export in “mov” but no matter what I try it just suddenly refuse to export in SWF.

Do you have any media element in your animation ?

Are you using some export options (like compression or protection from import etc) ?

Do you have a lot of bitmap images ?

This will help me find the problem.


Thanks for the reply.

I have one image element …for about 50 frames. I imported a JPEG object (~194kb).

At first I was exporting in the default mode. For a while I was able to export some 900 frames, SWF format …including the image with no trouble.

But for some reason it will not export the files in SWF format now. I have tried customizing the SWF export options …including compression etc …but the furthest it renders was up to 80% and then TBS crashes.

As I speak I’m trying to export (in swf) in increments to see if I can somehow locate any problems. So far I am successfull up to 500 frames.

But please provide any suggestions that you think will help. I don’t think this is a problem with my machine.

I can’t stand this…I’ve re-rendered and re-rendered this scene for the past 6 hours now and it will not freaking export! The dam thing will render to 99% and then TBS just crash! I’m near the end of over 3 months of working on this project and this happen. I can go back to a version saved a week ago …but then not knowing why this happen just scares the hell out of me to try this! Doesn’t TBS have any trouble shooting tips…GAWD!

I’ve actually tried deleting the elements added since this problem came about and nuthin works…why this arbitrary failures …why is this happening? I refuse to draw another frame until I know why this happen…because I just deadly afraid it will happen again.



I’ve deleted drawings, elements exported in just about every different combination …but it will never render this file …and only the FREAKING FILE IN SWF FORMAT …WHY…WHY???

Still cannot get this file to export in SWF …Every other format works but SWF!! Its as if the friggin thing suspects this is the format I care about …and refuses to export in SWF! I’ve deleted files completely restored my computer …transferred the file to another machine and it will not export in SWF!!

Why is this happening …TBS has no trouble shooting tips??

ok …transferred the file to a 3rd computer …can export in MOV, DV and AVI …BUT NO FRIGGIN WAY WILL IT DO SO IN SWF FORMAT!!
I will never …never stop trying to fix this … after 3.5 momths …some 3000 drawings …I am determined to not have this all be for naught!!

WILL the system administrator tell me if TBS has some inherent limitation on the number of frames and hence the file size it can adequeately process? It just seems that once I exceed a certain number of frames …BAM …TBS starts acting like some kind of bloatware on my machine!!

This GOD DAM thing takes 5 minutes on average to open …why? Up to 700 frmaes or so …it took several seconds …and now it just bogs down.

Has anybody ever done a 2 minute piece with continuous music in mpeg format as one element + some 16 or so element?

A little while ago I did a project about 3.120 frames, 20 elements, 2:09 minutes long.
The Toon Boom Studio file is about 24.4 MB.
This project was rendered to QuickTime with no problem.
If you like you might have a look here:;action=display;threadid=2187

I just loaded the file into Toon Boom Studio and rendered it to SWF with no problem,
Render-time was about 1:35 minute.

I am using Toon Boom Studio V 3.0.1 / G4 iMac OSX 10.4.7


Thanks for the reply. Great piece …I’d ask you more about the lip sync technique …but right now I don’t want to get off point here, …that is to render my existing file into the SWF format.

My TBS file size is 320KB …so I see no reason why this thing should challenge either my PC Athlon 64, 1MG ram, 128 ATI video OR my Gateway Tablet PC …Pentium M with 1.5G RAM and ATI 600 card.

It just seem like I need a SUPER COMPUTER …like they use to calculate the earth atmospheric conditions …to run TBS!!

I’m now trying ways to minimize the file size …but again I wonder if this isn’t a waste of time. Why should I need to do this …why, how is it able to render in AVI, MOV , DV …but not SWF?

Hi Tiger,

It would be nice to view your scene to find the problem.

I’ll send you a private email to fix this and then we’ll post the fix here.


Can someone please send me the instructions to ftp a file to TBS …thanks.

Hi Tiger,

We have sent you an e-mail about where to send the file. If you haven’t received it please let us know the e-mail you want us to send you the information to so we can resend the information.

Best regards,


I cannot get this thing to upload to the server. The same behaviour it displays with the original problem …failure to export in SWF …is what I see in trying to upload this file.

It sits there and GRINDS …and GRINDS … and at the end …when its almost completed …I get a failure message! Its as if this file actually knows what I’m trying to do and decides to just …F$#K with ME!!!

Also …since it failed to export in SWF …because of this …I spent hours restoring my system. Completely wiping clean my Hard Drive …and reinstalling windows, and all the drivers anew! This took HOURS …and still no change …I then added a few more drawings …and guess what? IT NO LONGER EXPORT IN ANY FORMAT! Oh I can preview the file allright …but this baby is making DAMM sure that if anybody wants to see my work …THEY MUST COME TO MY HOUSE!!

I tried to export the file incrementally. I can export in SWF …up to 500 of the 1100 frames. After that TBS just crash! I looked at the several frames beyond 500 to see if there is anything wrong …but can see nothing. I also discovered that I could export in SWF …frame 500 to 1100 …which is really bizzare!

Will somebody please tell me whats going on?

Nolan Scott showed me a piece that runs even longer than mine …great piece. But I noticed that his looks very repetitive and looks like he used cut-out style animation. My work has much more individual drawings than that. Not sure how this is different but there seems to be a difference.

've actually started a new file added some 20 elements but only one or two individual drawing per element. Then I created cycles with these drawings for over 1000 frames…and it quickly rendered with no problem. The trick is when you start adding individual drawings…instead of repeated cycles…that seems like a whole new ballgame to TBS?

This problem to me begs the underlying question. IS TBS MEANT TO PRODUCE SIMPLE 15 -30 MINUTES LENGTH FEATURES. OR are these 1, 2 or 3 minute pieces its limit?

I can open the software …add drawings to it …but this thing just refuse to render …HOW CAN THAT BE? I’ve tried things like deleting the sound track element, deleteing the small image element …but this $#@$#%& SOB WILL NOT RENDER!!!

Another thing I noticed is that when you work on a piece …as the file size grows …at some point the software starts acting like bloatware! That is …it opens and close very slowly. This file I’m working on is 530MB …IT TAKES OVER 3 MINUTES JUST TO OPEN?


The worst part is …this software will huncker down and wait and wait until your in WWWAAAY DEEP …and then BAM!! Gotcha!!

So I’m here thinking that maybe TBS is only meant for these 1 or 2 minutes demo stuff on the web …and nothing else. You cannot actually produce a half hour feature DVD from this…and only this software can you?

TBS developers need to stop trying to add new features …and try to make this software more robust. These issues it seems are not easy to test. I need to have some comfort knowing that this thing will not bail on me after I’ve invested hours and hours of my time. I want to animate …and not spend my time TROUBLE SHOOTING THEIR SOFTWARE!

God DAMMIT I don’t want to spend hours learning how to FTP a FRIGGIN FILE TO YOU TO TROUBLE SHOOT!!!

I don’t work for Toon Boom, I am user just like you. But you really need to stop being so combative even if you are frustrated. People, TBS staff and users in this community all would like to help you, but most folks really don’t care to be berated or to have you swear and blame your every problem on Toon Boom.

You claimed to have moved the file to other machines, can you not copy the project folder to a floppy disk or to a CD? That takes Windows not TBS. Just copy everything and mail it to TBS Tech support if you can’t manage using FTP.

I am not an expert in TBS but I have used computers for 30+ years and my experience tells me that some part of your animation set has been corrupted. That means that there is some “data trash” that got written to one of the files that makes up your animation set. Toon Boom only shows a problem when it encounters that file area. That would cause it to seem to slow down as it tries to interpret something it doesn’t understand. The renderer also is having that same problem when it reaches that data corruption and it just bogs down trying to get past it. This sort of thing happens in Flash also when an FLA file has some data corruption. There are two ways to “fix” this that I know of, (1) send the whole animation set folder to Toon Boom (FTP it or mail them a Disc with it) and they may have tools to view the internals of the file and spot the corruption and remove it (2) go back to a back up copy that existed before the corruption happened.

Now we all know you from your posts here and you are absolutely sure TBS is at fault but more likely it could be a defect area on your hard drive, a power spike while you were saving your file, or some other gremlin in Windows that sometimes just happens. But the truth is file corruptions just happens we have all experienced a boogered up file before.

I didn’t post this to start an argument, you asked for help and my advise is (1) please stop acting like the world is your enemy (2) recognize that you have a damaged data file and start working to get it repaired or replaced. Trying to add or delete stuff in Toon Boom now that the file is corrupted will not help because no software can understand “data that has been corrupted”. -JK

JK, you are such a helpful, patient teacher, willing to share your knowledge and help us ToonBoomers figure out how this complex, but excellent animation software works.

Tiger 372, life is hard for us all, but JK has a point–your anger not only makes it harder for you, but it is repellent to others. JK has been trying so hard to help you and you return his generosity with cursing and bitterness, blaming the software and those who make the software, NEVER once considering the possibility that at least some of your problems could be your impatience or lack of skills.

When I was first trying to puzzle out TBS, it was extremely frustrating–you are not the only one here who has had technical problems in addition to the steep learning curve. But you might want to take a deep breath and think about other ways to deal with your anger which is most certainly not triggered by the Toon Boom software alone.

I am very thankful for those who take the time to help us when problems arise and, as you can see by JK’s response, he is becoming weary of your rants. Calm down, be more appreciative of other users who take the time from their busy schedules and you’ll eventually get to the root your problem. Then, you can get back to being creative, leaving behind some good will instead of a swath of bitterness.


;D Elwood, thanks for the kind words, I’m not weary of the rants or the swearing or the dissing. Heck I’m not even a shareholder in Toon Boom Technologies so he’s not unfairly trashing my products. I’m just trying to offer the benefit of my experience. He’s welcome to take it or leave it. -JK

To all others:

I want to get response from people who are serious about animation and serious about their work. Notice I still get help from TBS techs…wanna know why? Because they run a business …and understand that its in their best interest to fix problems

A year or so ago TBS had problems crashing because of something very fundamental … if you went to a different scene and right click the PEG option it crashed …they fixed it since. But what I was surprised at was that the software existed so long with that defect. To me that was like driving a car that couldn’t make a right turn.
One of the reason I think …is because of how its used. I suspect that most people use this to do simple and short demo type work.

This is what I suspect after spending the entire week-end still trying to fix this problem.

TBS has a stability problem when the file size becomes large. And I don’t think it matters how you get there. At first I pinned it on the number of frames …but that doesn’t tell the entire story. Its the file size thats at issue here.

So my question to the serious users is …do you often do work where the TBS saved folder exceed 400MB? Or where the TBP file is greater than 300 to 400MB? Do you see any irregularities? How long does a file this big take to open and close? What type of system are you using?

Since TBS is promoted as being used in professional productive environment … what happens when you work on a short 15 minute feature that could run way beyond 400MB in size? Whats the work around?

TBS help section claims that using the pencil tool is advantageous over the brush tool in terms of reducing file size …but I wonder if thats really true?


I actually started looking this work frame by frame over the weekend. I saw some instances where a frame size was larger than expected by looking at the drawing folder. I started to redraw a few frames …but in the end gave up, because its like doing the work all over.

If the files were some how corrupt …why would it render/export in every other format but “SWF”?
Another thing is … I could export in SWF different sections of the file. I did this exporting 300 frames at a time. And was able to adequately do so. No matter what section was chosen. Its just when trying to export the entire 1000 frames that I incurred problems.

So the corrupt file argument while still a possibility …seems less so. And what seems to be the issue is the file size. At some point TBS begins to become unstable … a situatiom “I suspect” goes un-noticed because many of the user never really do that much work to challenge the software.

Hi Tiger,

One thing I am wondering, do you have a lot of bitmap in your animation? If so about how many files you have?

In theory it is possible for a project to be 300-400 mb depending on it’s content. If it contains only vector though I would really start to worry since a 1000 frames of animation in vector shouldn’t really be much more then 50 mb.

Now the thing is, if you are using a lot of bitmap in your animation it really would be a better idea to export as quicktime instead of swf. In the end your swf will be much heavier then your quicktime when you have a lot of bitmap present since swf is a vector format and all of the bitmaps in it are not compressed (unless you do compress them at the exportation which don’t give such a good result). In the end, you really need to plan on what type of media you will use (bitmap or vector) and this usually decide what export should be taken to have optimal results.

As you mentioned I don’t think the file is corrupted. We are aware that there are some bugs in the software and are working our best to solve them.

Now since we did not manage to get the scene could you provide us with the Size report… of your scene (the location should be written on the first line of the report) so we can see if there is something anusual.

Best regards,


Hi Tiger,

Just received the scene thank you.

There is definitely a usage issue here. There are 10k drawings in your projects when there should have been less then 1000.

Instead of using exposure and cycling, you copied your cells over and over and that creates new drawings.

Example: Your hand layer contains over 1000 drawings because it’s cycling. Only about 20 drawings were necessary. You should reuse assets when ever it is possible. Especially when you plan to export to Flash for the web since Flash will create a new symbol for each drawing (that explains the crash when you render to flash).

I’m cleaning up your scene to show what to do but you will need to update the rest of your project.

I’m sending the files back to you soon.

I thought of posting the solution here so other users may benefit from this post.