Dealing with Image Sequences and Symbols

Right, so I’m decently new to Toon Boom, and I have a question about importing image sequences and making them ideal for coloring in the future.

I was originally animating in Photoshop and have a fair amount of scenes done through that program. Knowing about the coloring awesomeness of Toon Boom, I imported image sequences of my Photoshop files and vectorized them with the Color Art layer into a bunch of symbols–every frame of my original artwork done in Photoshop is now a symbol.

Now, while the artwork looks great and I can color each symbol on the color art layer, it’s a SLOW process. To color each symbol, I have to click on the symbol in the main timeline, then click the drawing inside the symbol, then color in the color art layer, then return to the main scene which automatically brings the playhead back to the beginning of the timeline. This takes a while, and I’m currently on a bit of a deadline for this project.

I noticed that if I copy-pasted the drawing inside of each frame-symbol into one mega-symbol, I could easily color quickly and also use the Apply to Multiple Drawings tool, which saves me a TON of time for most of my animation. However, the current method, which is click the symbol, copy the frame, go back to the main scene, click the mega-symbol, paste the drawing, repeat x infinity, is also extremely slow and time-consuming. I was wondering if there was a way to batch copy-paste the drawings inside each of the symbols into one mega-symbol or just onto the main scene timeline. I was thinking this might be possible with the Substitute Drawing tool, but I’m not quite sure how.

So yeah, from now on in this project, I’m going to be doing the lineart in Toon Boom itself and that will be easy to color without having to do much with symbols. However, I still have a lot of work in Photoshop that I really don’t want/have the time to redo. Any help/advice with this topic would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! :slight_smile:

This isn’t something I really do but why not just keep them as drawings to colour them and once you have done that you can change them into symbols if you wish.

Then you can use the colour all to massively increase your workflow speed.

Is there a way to import the vectorized drawings as just that, just drawings? Because when I import them, they automatically become symbols, and I was under the impression that’s the only way to import them.

There should just be a checkbox on import which you have deselected to import as a drawing.

I just tried and had no trouble importing an image vectorized as a drawing.

You can also break symbols up back into drawings but off the top of my head I can’t remember how since I never do it.

Ahh, I figured out why I was trying in vain with your suggestion–that toggle option is only available in Animate 2, which I have on my personal laptop. Unfortunately, all the other people I’m working with are working in our school lab, which only has the first version of Animate. So that works for my personal stuff, but I need a different workaround that works in the original Animate. Also, if you or anyone else eventually recalls how to batch break all those symbols into drawings, that would also be great. Thanks!

Don’t select the symbol, just the frames on the time line.

Then go to the edit menu and choose “Expand Symbol” then the all the drawings will appear on the time line.

When I select multiple frames on the timeline, the Expand Symbol option is greyed out. I can select each frame individually and expand it to a drawing at the beginning of the timeline, but not multiple ones at once, apparently.

Also, thank you so much for replying so quickly and helping me. I’m trying to learn the ins and outs of Animate the best I can, but it’s a little hard on the fly when working with a deadline.

No worries ;D

When I select the first frame of the symbol and expand the rest automatically expand (which is why there is no multiple frames because they are either all expanded or all not).

Am I right in guessing each image is a seperate symbol(layer) and that is why that doesn’t work?

Yeah, each image from my original image sequence is its own symbol. It’s reaaaaaallly annoying, let me tell you.

Okay then, what you need to do is when you import choose “create single layer” and each drawing will appear on a new frame of the symbol instead of a ton of symbols like you have done.

(I am only have versions 2 but this worked fine for me)

Unfortunately, I think this is one of those problems that was fixed in the update to version 2, because in my copy on my laptop here, I’m having absolutely no problems doing what I want to do: importing the image sequence as drawings, not symbols. But in Animate version 1–which is the version I need to work in so that others may work on it too here in the lab–it seems impossible. Even importing on the single layer, each frame in that layer is its own symbol, so I just a have a layer of symbols. Gahh, curse you technology!

Actually it did the same thing in 2. I don’t have 1 anymore to play with.

I am out of ideas sorry.

Hopefully you can figure something out. I don’t know how many frames you have but you could just click frame then press shortcut for expand symbol etc to do it pretty fast by hand.

I think I figured out a workflow that’ll work for me in the end with the differing versions of Animate, so it shuold be good after all. But thanks a lot for all your advice anyway. I’ll probably be back sometime in the future, asking (many) more questions, so see you then! ;D

This is definitely something that we improved upon in Animate 2.

I do have one workaround that might speed up the process a little bit for Animate 1. When you import your sequence of images, it will create a bunch of Symbols in the Symbols library. If you drag and drop each one onto the timeline, and hold down Option (mac) or Ctrl (win) then it will expand the symbol and you’ll have the drawing. Then you can drag and drop them onto one layer. I know this isn’t ideal, but that’s why we changed it for Animate 2.

I hope that helps a little bit. :slight_smile:

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