Combining Animations!?

Hi! I am using Toon Boom Studio Express V3 and I was curious if anybody out there knew how to combine different Toon Boom animation files into one animation!? For instance…say I have two different animation sets saved of a dog walking and a cat walking; how can I combine the two walk cycles of the cat and the dog so they appear in the same animation!? As a test I tried copying and pasting the drawing cells from one exposure sheet to the other. Sure enough I could see both animation cycles in the view window! I was too apprehensive to save the Project File of the combined animation cycles because I was afraid that editing the drawings in this new Project File would be detrimental to the orginal drawings! I was also reading about the Library in Toon Boom Studio Express and I thought this could be used to combine animation cycles from different animation sets but so far I haven’t found a way to do this! If anybody out there knows the ins and outs of combining animation drawing cycles from different animation sets (project files) please let me know!

I presume a good idea would be to save your walkcycles first into the Library
then you can use them in any animation scene you like.

Just an example:
If you have the Halloween-Folder (Toon Boom Templates) installed
on your system go to the Cycles and drag the “Mummy Walk Cycle”
or the “Skeleton Walk Cycle” or any other file in the Library
into the Timeline.

To manage all your scenes, characters, cycles… from the Library
is a very easy and efficient way to combine animation sets.


Thanks for the reply Nolan! Yes I did presume that the library was the key to re-using animation cycles! There is a section in the HTML Help file in Toon Boom Studio Express V3 that explains the process of saving animation cycles to the library. I am currently reading that section! Specifically I read the cycle needs to be saved as a template which can then be reused in any animation by dragging and dropping the template file into the exposure sheet or timeline. When using templates in your animation there seems to be two ways to do so. The first is by copying the template to your animation which creates an independent copy which can be modified without affecting the original template. The second is linking the template to a media element which creates clones of the template that I believe can be modified but when done so affects the original saved template in the library! In other words a global change is made to all linked templates!

Yes, that’s right.

Some information on saving Templates:

Open the Library-Window and click the Global-Folder.
(maybe it is a good idea to create a few subfolders first –
like “Characters”/ “Animals” /”Houses” / “Trees”…aso.)
Right-click the Global Folder and choose New Catalog
and give it a name.
Highlight one of your new Folders and drag your drawings
either from the Timeline or the Exposure Sheet into the
Library Window.
When you close down Toon Boom don’t forget to click
Save changes to Global Library.

Some information on importing Templates:

First of all I presume you have to put your Templates you want to import
into the Global-Library-Folder.
Make sure in the Preferences that this Folder is choosen as your Global-Library.

Open your Library window / Control-click your Global folder and select open or
maybe create Library / and import your Templates.
Select that Folder / should the Library window be empty / Control-click
that window / choose import / and select all the Templates you want to import.



Here is an excellent explanation about Colours and Templates
by “Monsieur Mathieu Lavigne” from Toon Boom:

Hi Guys,

Let me explain something about colors and templates. TBS uses color ID to display the colors. The color ID of a template is different then the color ID from a scene even if the color is really the same value.

This is to be able to have multiple templates (or poses) of one character and then drag them in a scene where all the color would be the automatically the same.

I have a character with a red hat, If the hat is red in all templates but in a scene I want it dark red (because of shadow or something) then you don’t need to update all your templates. Just change the red color (from the character’s recovered Palette of the scene) drag your template and the color will be updated for all templates using this color because I would update the color id of the scene and not in the template itself.

When you modify the colors in a template, you don’t change the color in a scene. If you want to modify the color of one or multiple templates, modify the color you used in the scene to paint this template and not the color inside the template.

This is also I don’t recommend naming your color red or blue but something like “hat” “shirt” “eye balls” since you don’t want all red painted regions to change to dark red when I change the red color of my hat. Two similar (or same) red color could be used to paint different regions to eventually save time when it’s time to retouch the animation and adjust the colors. Creating palettes will also help organize all your colors.

Now this the default behavior of Toon Boom Studio. When changing a color in a template, you don’t change the color in a scene but you can have other behavior (like the one you are looking for).

Alternative method:

If you want your scene to take the new updated color of a template (for all instance of this color in a scene on all templates using this color ID e.g. changing the hat color to for all templates using this hat) drag it in the time line, one a frame (not on the left side with the layer) and hold alt. This will bring the drag and drop properties window. From this window you can change some options including the “Update Color” option.

Click that option and the color ID of the scene will update from the template color. Note that every drawing using this color id will now have the updated color.

Now if you want only one instance of this color to be change in a scene, hold alt while dragging in the left side of the timeline. Holding alt when dragging in the left side of the time line will, as Rob explained very well, create a media link. A link to the template in the library will use the color ID inside the template and not the scene’s color ID compare to a template that was dropped in a drawing element that will use teh scene’s color id.

All this is of course to let the users choose which color to use and this can be a time saver when working on a production and you want all your templates to look the same.

Any questions ?

I hope this is not too confusing. Experiment with these tricks to get comfortable using colors in templates with Toon Boom Studio.


Thanks for the replies Nolan! I took a closer look at the template section in the HTML help and decided I would experiment using the library as a means of storing a walk cycle to use in other animation sets! I imported a walk cycle into the Global library and sure enough this seemed to work fine! Once you import an animation cycle or drawing file into the Global library and make a template you need to save it by choosing Save Global Library from the file menu! After saving the walk cycle to the library I copied this template into another animation project file by dragging and dropping the template from the library window into the exposure sheet! I edited this copied template ever so slightly by changing the color of one of the drawings! Sure enough the copied template remained independent as the original drawing file that was part of the template I used did not change color!