cut out animation problems


I’m new to toon boom - just getting stuck into it for the first time - and the area im currently getting under my belt is cutout animation.

Im using TBS 3.5 (im also a classiclly trained animator who has been using flash for nearly 10 years as both a web dev and character animation tool. So im very familliar with terminology and the concepts behind cutout animation).

the problem im encountering is this.

I have my character all rigged with pegs for each part - tested all the movement to make sure things will work - but when it comes to actually animating the character weird things start to occur.

for example - i have used the rotation tool to change the rotation of a body part across several keyframes, i then discovered i could use the main transform tool to do the same job. sounds great, but when using a different tool the rotation was changed globally across the whole timeline. So my leg (which was doing a nice walking motion on the ground, was suddenly walking at a 90 degree angle to the body out in mid air)

Is there some fundamental steps that should be carried out after rigging but before animating that i have missed?

any pointers greatly appreciated


I tend not to use the transform tool much as it does too many things and I haven’t mastered it yet.

Your problem could have to do with rotation point. After you get the character rigged on pegs, check that each pivot point is at a joint (rhyme not intended). Test it out.

If I’m not mistaken, the pivot point for the rotation tool and the pivot for the transform tool are two different deals.

Glad to have you around.

re: "the pivot point for the rotation tool and the pivot for the transform tool are two different deals."

ok - sounds like you might be right. that would explain the global change. I was starting to get very confused

already got my pivot points in all the right places.

cheers for the advice

I sorta had a feeling you had the pivot points figured out, but thougth I’d toss it in just in case.

Welcome to the forums. As a long time Flash user myself, I can appreciate the difficulties which you will face in transitioning. I can say without reservation that you will be “banging your head against your desk” often if you try to force TBS to be “just like Flash”, so the best transition tip I can give to you is that TBS and Flash can get you to the same place but they do it along very different paths.

It is difficult to pin point what specifically caused the problem you encountered. The important thing to remember about the application of key frame parameters is that there are many different types of animatable parameters that can be key framed and the scene planning tools are very parameter specific. The transform tool is universal and therefore the most versatile parameter setting tool, which is good and bad. It is good because it saves time and bad because it sets multiple keyed parameter type values at the same time.

So here is a great tip. Work from course to fine when key frame animating. By that I mean use the transform tool to do all your rough key framing then if you want or need to fine tune a specific type of parameter you can address just that specific parameter type by using the appropriate targeted scene planning tool. If you work from fine to course ( rotation tool first then transform tool as an example) then you risk the problem that you have not set earlier keyed parameters that the transform tool sets. This can cause unpredictable chaos.

Also, whenever you are key frame animating always set the Tools>Turn Peg Only Mode On function. This prevents you from accidentally selecting a drawing object. If you accidentally select a drawing object and move it you may in fact be moving it at the cell level which has global consequences. It is like making a change inside a Flash symbol and then seeing that it changed every instance where you used that symbol.

One additional tip for rigged character animation. When manipulating a puppet it is also best to work from course to fine which means collapse the main character peg and animate the character, then on your later passes you can un-collapse the main peg and fine tune individual parts in the hierarchy. Collapsing a peg does much more than just hide things in the timeline it controls the ripple effects of keyframe settings down thru the children of that peg. -JK

Hi frasermu and welcome to this forum.

My first guess here is that you took the select tool (the black arrow) instead of the transform tool.

The difference between the two is that the select tool will transform the element itself and not animate it. So the transformation looks to be applied for the entire duration of the animation.

I explain this behavior a little bit in the animating elements video on the feature page.

Hope that helps,

thanks for all the tips. definately sorted out a few of the issues i was having. but im positive there will be more.

thanks everyone

I am attempting to learn how to rigg my charactores. The word rigging only apears ones in the manual, but dose not say how to do it? Or am I wrong?

For example I am attempting to rigg ‘Maria’ but can’t put the eliments together in one screnne so how do I do that.

Wena Parry

Rigging is a term that probably originated in puppetry. Basically in TBS it is being used to talk about assembling a cutout character into an easy to animate template. There are numerous way to rig or construct a character. The way a person chooses depends on how they plan to use the character and what sort of movements they plan to animate with the character. Now one misconception that many people have when they start trying character animation with cut-outs is to think that they only will be building one rigged version of a character. That might be true for a character that you plan to use very minimally but in general if you are planning to spend the time to design and construct cut out characters you plan to use them extensively and therefore need to build many different rigged versions. You will want versions from several points of view and for each point of view you may need several different rigged versions. The points of view that most people start with are profile, perspective, front/back views. Then you will have different style rigs for walking type activities and other activities like sitting activities. Then with in a single rig you will have multiple versions of various parts like mouths, facial expressions, hands. As you can see, although cut out animation may allow fewer drawings for many movements it has a high up front cost in terms of planning and designing and building rigged versions. -JK

Thank you JK, but how do I get the individual parts to the body of the charactor?


Hi Wena, you may want to check out my tutorials if you haven’t already.

Also be sure to check out the Der-der tutorial on the TBS support page. If you need more clarification after that, feel free to ask away.

Other than the video tuts mentioned above, also check out JK’s tips & tricks thread in the tutorial section of the forum & read up on peg heirarchies, you’ll need to have a decent grasp of that to get much accomplished with cut-outs.
Good luck & keep asking questions.