Cut Out Animation

Hi all,
I am new in this Forum and I hope that I can get a little answer to my beginner question :).
I also hope I am in the right forum category.
I use ToonBoom Studio 4.0 and it is the first time I work with a program like ToonBoom.
Now I have to make a character animation. But before I have to create the Cut-Out animation.
I know there is a nice Video tutorial, but nevertheless there are some problems -.- .

In the Screen I have made a Point in which I can rotate the arm easily but if I scale my figure the Point won’t move, so that I can’t rotate my arm after rotation.

I moved the single body parts of my figure in the Camera View. Is that right? The problem is now, that body parts in Drawing View do not fit. Or can is there a little trick to see all parts in Drawing view too, so that I can move the parts there?
One last question :). Can I add my figure later to the library?
In the library is a Cut Out character which is called “little boy”. With this character fits in Drawing view and in Camera view and the rotate point move together with the figure. Can you say me what I have to improve and what my mistakes are?

How you can easily see, my English is not the best : D but I hope it is good enough that you can understand me and I would be very happy if you can give me an answer.

Thank you very much
arnonym :smiley:

Try zooming in on your selected arm to see if there are drawing marks around the arm. If so, erase them and try selecting again.


In constructing a cut out character you have the option to do the character’s assembly in either drawing view or camera view but all the rigging and animating should only be done in camera view.

What that means is that when you are creating the various body parts in drawing view you can use the auto light table (L) to see multiple elements in a stack one on top of the other. Therefore you can draw and align these elements into a complete character where all the body parts are in scale and are oriented on the drawing grid so that the character assumes a pose. This is a common practice in cut out design.

Then you switch to camera view to “rig” the character. By rigging I mean arranging the elements in a pegged hierarchy and using the scene operations rotation tool to set the rotational pivot point for each element and for each element hierarchy. For example the foot, the lower leg, and the upper leg all need rotational pivot points and that entire 3 piece assembly also need its own rotational pivot point.

Check out the example I used in this article INTRODUCTION TO PHOTO CUT OUT ANIMATION PART2 which shows the assembly of the panther character pose and the setting of rotational pivot points for the elements and the assemblies. It also shows the characters pegged hierarchy in the time line track label list. NOTE: My Cartooning in Toon Boom blog is full of helpful articles and tutorials you should read if you haven’t already done so.

You set rotational pivot points with the scene operations rotation tool (8) but you animate rotational movements with the scene operations transform tool (7).

As to scaling, any scaling that you do after you have rigged the character should be done using the scene operations transform tool (7) if you want to animate the scaling during the scene. Also as a general rule to scale the entire character you want to collapse the top level parent peg (I call this the main character peg) first and then using the scene operations transform tool (7) with that top peg selected you can scale the character as a unit.

CAUTION: Any scaling or other setting done with the scene operations select tool (6) is applied for the entire scene and is static and can only be done once before you start animating otherwise you will destroy your previous work and have to start over.

Additionally if you draw scale and assemble your cut out character in camera view entirely then you don’t ever want to switch to drawing view to work on that character because it won’t match up. This is the reason that I always recommend that drawing and initial pose construction for a cut out character always be done first in drawing view and then the character is “rigged” and animated in camera view.

Absolutely. To create a template with your character you collapse the main parent peg, the character peg, and then drag it to your global library. You can include all frames or just selected frames when you do this. I typically make a template once I finish rigging a character and before any animation work is done on that character, then I make separate templates of cycles like walks or runs ect.

Please continue to ask questions if you need additional assistance. -JK

JK - TGRS I thank you veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery much. All my questions are answered with only one post.

No, I did not see it until now, but its great, another Thanks to your helpful tutorials :).


I am very glad that I was able to be of some assistance. I really appreciate your kind words. It takes a great deal of time and effort to answer questions and to publish articles and tutorials and it is always nice to hear that my efforts are helpful. -JK