Cell swapping for cut outs

I’m having no luck with the cell-swapping function - using the slider - and I think it’s because I’m missing a bit of information on where to store the drawings.

Let’s say I want to create extra mouths for lip syncing or eyes for blinking. Do I draw them on different layers in the timeline? If so, should they be linked together somehow?

I’ve tried drawing them on different layers - made them visible - tried to turn visiblity off - I’ve also drawn them on one layer to see if that works - I’ve also left one in the timeline and dragged others to the library. Nothing works. The slider shows me the active smile drawing and when I slide it, the picture goes away. On - or off. No other drawings unless I click on the next one in the timeline.

I’m sure it’s a simple thing - but I can’t seem to figure it out! Where do I draw the extra drawings so the slider will see them?

Thanks for you help. Always appreciated!


The Cells panel shows all the existing cells for a single element. Therefore to use it for cell swapping you must draw all the different mouths or eyes or whatever in a single element. The cells that you create for an element remain in that element even if they are not currently assigned to any frames on your timeline. I’ve written a detailed description of the cell swapping process HERE in the Cartooning In ToonBoom WIKI. Hopefully this will help. -JK

My thanks again, JK. It would never cross my mind to put different drawings on the same bar of the timeline! Even though I saw the word “element” in the lesson material, I wasn’t equating it to what it meant. Terminology means everything sometimes! Years ago I took a few lessons in 3D modelling and animation and I suppose my mind was stuck in what I learned back then about timelines and exposure.

You’ve really helped me save hours and frustration. I’m ready to go ahead with my first animation!

Thank you! Paula

Thanks, I’m usually around to help. Yes terms can be confusing particularly when switching between disciplines and even software applications. Elements in TBS are the same as layers or tracks in timeline “speak”. The origin of the term, I believe, is picture element meaning a component of the composition of a picture. Each frame is after all a composited picture. Exposure is a photographic term so each frame is analogous to a camera picture exposure, a snapshot. Any way I’m glad I was able to save you some time and help you move forward. -JK