converting pencil lines to brush strokes, your experience?

hey Toonboomers,

i work tradigitally frame by frame. it’s known brush strokes which vary in thickness along its lines give your character a richer non flat sort of look. though some may argue that viewers see masses and colors not stroke lines but i plan anyway to have my every character in this project am working on to have a brush stroke outline. which is sort of tedious to adjust every line in every frame.
i have experimented a little with this and found a relatively faster and consistent method: draw initially in pencil, then increase the thickness way up, maybe to 16 or even 20 then convert the whole frame/selected character to brush strokes. the result so far is not bad, the software some how seems to have a basic understanding of where should the strokes be thicker, but it’s not always perfect, but i can settle with this…

so if you have any experience with this, would you recommend i continue doing this? or is it gonna eventually mess everything up?

As you experienced converting isn’t perfect but if it helps you get the look you want go for it.I often turn pencil lines to brush strokes to edit the shape at the tips.

my worry is the possibility of inconsistency between one conversion and another. i have to maintain the same thickness of a line through out frames otherwise my character outlines would be all over the place.thanks for your reply TheRaider, i am curious to know if the Harmony new feature would in anyway come in handy here? from your experience with Harmony so far, does the new pencil feature offer something extra in this regard?

There shouldn’t really be any inconsistancy in width converting my pencil to brush strokes.Going from pencil to brush as much more reliable and true than brush to pencil (because brush to pencil there is a lot of approximtion going on). I never found it useful to go back from brush strokes to pencil lines.And yes the new pencil tool in Harmony would mean you can do it without converting. It is really awesome. It also handles textures really well with opens up tons of options.

Read this thread and got curious.Trying out, back and forth to see what happens don’t give me a full understanding of what is really happening.Converting pencil lines to brush strokes undeniably gives a more hand drawn look. But to me the varying of line thickness is less evident than the rounding of sharp corners.Is there a connection between the brush preferences and the conversion, or is the conversion unaffected by the brush properties.Ivar

Lilly is right, as usual ;)i just finished the clean up of that project i was working on and conversion results weren’t satisfactory, if not terrible! :(the conversion is not as smart and consistent as my first impression of it was… my advice to everybody who works tradigitally, to decide from the very beginning and before he starts the clean up whether he wants to use pencil or a brush, and stick to that!having said that, i enjoyed drawing with a brush this time, it does indeed give a feeling of hand drawing to your frames, i think i am gonna stick to it for a while…

On thing that is quite interesting with the new Harmony pencil lines is that it’s easier to keep the thick and thin variations consistent from drawing to drawing. Here is what I did. -You do roughs of your animation in brush line (maybe pencil too but I prefer brush here).-Then for the first clean you use a pencil line with constant thickness to get all the volumes and animation working good without worrying about line quality.-Finally you do a last clean up by copy and pasting the thick and thin variations using the Pencil line styles (Pencil Editor tool). I would create for example three different pencil line styles: a tapered at both ends, a pointy start and flat end and a flat start and pointy end. Then I go over my first clean drawing by copy/pasting one of these pencil styles onto the different parts of the drawing. Once I’m satisfied with a nice line quality of thick and thin on the first drawing I copy the thickness from the cheek line for example and paste on all the other drawings that are similar. This give me a nice consistency of thick and thin. I can always fine tune with the pencil editor as I go along but I get all the cheek lines to have the basic same thick and thin. Then I go to the next line and do the same. It might sound tedious but try do thick and thin lines with a brush line + eraser + contour editor and you’ll see that this is better. I had to do some Marvel comics character animated over time without the pencil lines styles and I really wish I would have them then.You can even divide the work according to the strengh of the artists. Key animator (roughs), animator (animation and first clean) and then the clean up artists.

When you convert from pencil to brush, it should take your centreline stroke and turn it into an outside contour stroke. There shouldn’t be too much variation in the line here - this conversion should be pretty good. It may be affected by the zoom level, however, but when I just tried this out, it didn’t seem to be the case, I had a pretty exact conversion in both cases.

The pencil to brush should not add by itself any variation in line thickness - it simply allows you to do so, by transforming it into a brush stroke.

The brush to pencil conversion is much messier, however, because it needs to take a line that has a variation in thickness, and discard the thickness information, and at the same time it needs to try to assign the centreline of the stroke. Sometimes it assigns the centreline in a way that you might not agree with. So indeed, I find this conversion much less useful.