Drawing workflow to get a perfectly flat object?


I’m just wondering if there’s a proper way to flatten pencil lines in order to get a really flat vector object, as you would in Illustrator. I come from a bitmap background, so I tend to fill in the tiny areas that the filler tool often misses with small lines, and end up with really messy objects that behave erratically at best when retouching them with the eraser/ repaint brush tools. Whenever I try to flatten the image via Drawing/Optimize/Flatten, I get pretty funky results that are still full of unneeded bezier points.

I guess this question is rather vague, but what I need, in a nutshell, is to know how to get really flat drawn objects that only have bezier points in their contours, and not all over the place (other than having a cleaner technique where every contour line I draw is just the way the fill tool wants, which may take quite a lot of time…)

Thanks a lot, and all suggestions will be GREATLY appreciated!

I think it could be several ways to solve your problem.
There are different ways to flatten your objects or what you want to do with it. Sometimes it needs to be easy to uopdate, or you have it in a peg and dont need to touch it.

If you explain more how your work and where you want things to change it could be easier to say what could be done.

One way to do it is to enable the “Auto Flatten” property of the
Pencil Tool in the “Tool Properties” window to automatically flatten
the lines as you’re drawing.

If it’s already drawn, select all the lines and from the menu-Drawing-Optimize-Flatten
(or Alt+Shift+F)

Mattias, rkriz,

You’re my guys today. :slight_smile: Thanks!

I’ll try to sum up my process, and maybe you can find what I’m doing wrong:

  • Line work with the pencil tool. At times, I find some lines cross a bit further than I would like (I work in long, quick strokes, which I try to correct later. Maybe I should try to be more precise). I correct them with the cutter tool if I can, but at times they are off by just a teeny bit. and the cutter just won’t grab them. That’s when trouble starts: I’ll erase the ends of said lines and redraw them to fit. Of course, this adds more points than I really need. Auto-flatten hasn’t been that great at cleaning/ joining these extra lines.
  • I try to use minimum correction, because at times, when working on these small lines, it creates artifacts and lines that don’t look at all the way I’d like them to.
  • I then fill the objects on the same layer, using the minimum close gap option. This normally works fine, but at times leaves tiny patches of empty space that I fill with the pencil in draw behind mode. More extra vectors, as one would expect.
  • I will add a different shade using the repaint brush over the solid colour while protecting adjoining ones, much like you would do with selections in photoshop. And here’s where things start going crazy: I guess because of all the extra points, the areas I paint are sometimes erratic and show strange artifacts, which I correct by… yes, adding more lines, and hence more bezier points, which I guess contributes to the mess.
  • If I want to edit an object’s outline, I often have huge clusters of bezier points that make editing pretty difficult. Again, I opt to erase and redraw, which sends me further down this rabbit hole.

I may be too picky, or too used to working on Illustrator and Clip Studio, but I’d like to be able to really flatten my objects, ending with less points to edit, and “optimize” just doesn’t do the trick as far as I know.

Anyway, thanks again for the help!

Why not make a reference rough layer and later draw the final version in a
real layer (using the light table to see the reference image). Keeping the
flatten property on for the drawing tool will also help reduce the number
of vector lines.

Deleting the rough layer later will help keep the memory usage reasonable.

Note that you can also do the shading using the “Tone Shading” nodes if
you have the Premium version.
http://docs.toonboom.com/help/harmony-14/premium/effects/about-light-shading.html?Highlight=tone shading

Hi Odiolitos,

I also work much in illustrator and there are things that are different of course. I am familiar with to much points etc.

I dont know if this is the best way but here are some sollutions.

  1. If you draw direct into Harmony draw the sketch in a bitmap layer. It could be an new layer or in Underlayer Artlayer

  2. Then you ink with the lines on another layer or in the Line Art layer. Use the pencil tool.
    You can set the pencil to make smooth lines if you want.
    Then you ink the lines so they go clearly across other lines.

3, Then you can use the cutter ( select its Mouse Gesture Mood ) and remove these parts sticking out.

  1. When you want to adjust the lines you can use the pencil editor tool and makes lines broader or thinner where you want. And the contour editor to change the direction of lines

  2. When the inks is ok Select that drawing with the selection tool and create color art from line art.
    Then the vectorlines will be copied to the color art layer and you can paint it there.

  3. If you want to have a shade on the color there are several ways but one is to go into the color art layer and use the stroke tool to draw an invisible line ( press K to see it ) and the you can paint another color in there.

I hope this was of some help.

/ Mattias

Hi guys,

First of all, thanks a ton for taking the time to read and reply to my lengthy post.

I was actually considering the tone/ shading combo for future projects, which I guess would be more precise than my current workflow, and from what I gather, that’s the answer to have more control over shade shapes, which my many points just mess up terribly.

Another mistake I guess I’ve been making is ignoring the usefulness of the colour layer: I do use the underlay for bitmap sketches, but didn’t see the point in a colour layer. Now I do, thanks to you!

Thanks again for your advice! I’ll keep pestering you if there are new developments. You’re great!