Exiting Edit Symbol mode bug?

Here’s my problem - every time I exit Edit Symbol mode/view, the timeline view goes back to the very top layers and the beginning of the scene. I can’t stand this!!

I have about 20 to 30 layers in my file, and it’s about 300 frames long. So when I’m editing a symbol that’s like the 25th layer down, and say on frame 200 or so, as soon as I’m done editing or playing with it, it takes me back to the top of my layers and the start of my scene. Am I the only one who is really irritated by this? It seems like a huge waste of time to constantly have to go back and search for where exactly I was. I really wish it’d go straight back to the view in the timeline that I left off at.

I’m using Animate 1. I tried Animate 2 PLE and it seems to do the same thing.

I really hope it is something stupid I’m overlooking, and there’s some way to change this, but I have a feeling that’s not the case.

Has anyone else had this problem? Is this a bug or is this just something that was overlooked in development?

For me this has happened before using animate…but it isnt a constant problem its happened maybe twice and I restart the program and its fine afterwards…save your progress and restart

Unfortunately, I’ve tried this several times. I wish it would be solved by just quitting and restarting the program! I’ve noticed a lot of bugs come up when I’m working and I do save/quit and that seems to solve it. This however isn’t one of those things. :frowning:

Anybody else have any ideas?

This is not a bug it is simply the way that the software works. Most of the time we discourage the usage of symbols because it’s easier to work with straight drawings in our software, and there are only a few cases in which it’s beneficial to use symbols. If you don’t work with symbols, then there’s no need to constantly enter them every time you need to adjust animation.

If you would like this feature to be changed, then you can feel free to submit this as a feature request in the feature request section of the forums.

Toon Boom Support

I thought a huge advantage and main features of Animate was the way it handles symbols? It seems like a lot of tutorials I see, and even in the Animate 1 User’s Manual in chapters 9 and 10 suggest using symbols. This way you can easily swap out different drawings in the library. Is there a better way to do “puppet” animation without using symbols?

Right now I’m using symbols for all my character’s parts because that’s how it was shown in the kickstart videos and a couple tutorials I saw unless I misunderstood. I drew up my character, cut it apart into body, head, arms, legs, hands, etc, then converted all the layers into symbols so that when I change views it will be easy to just swap out. And now that’s fine for when I already have a drawing in the symbol that works and can just swap it out.

But for example when I’m drawing a new hand position inside my hand symbol and everytime I exit the symbol editing mode it goes back to the beginning/top of the layers and timeline, it wastes time and drives me nuts having to find and go back to where I was.

Like I said, from what I understood, Animate encourages the use of symbols for easy swapping of drawings. I’ve read about templates but I don’t fully understand them yet, maybe I’m supposed to be working with those instead? I know you can also swap drawings within a layer without using symbols, but then you couldn’t reuse those drawings in another scene, right? Could you please explain or give an example of how I would work with “straight drawings” instead of what I’m doing now?

I will go ahead and make a feature request anyway, but I figure it will be a very long wait for it to get changed, so I need to either deal with this issue (I’d rather not but I guess I don’t have a choice), or find some better way to do what I’m doing.

You can definitely do it that way, but overall there are no advantages to doing it that way, and it can be simpler to swap drawings and whatnot without using symbols because you don’t have to go inside the symbol to create a new drawing.

We changed the documentation for Animate 2 to show how to create a cutout character without using symbols. Also the new tutoral videos should reflect these changes as well.

Basically you would just skip the step where you create the symbol. When you create a drawing, it automatically stores it on the file system. Then, if you use the cell swapper in the library view, you can always swap drawings. To illustrate this, just create a new drawing layer. Draw something in frame 1, then draw something else in frame 2, then draw something else in frame 3. With this drawing layer selected, if you go to your library view, you will see the drawing substitution window. If you go to a new frame, you will be able to drag on this slider and choose any of the three drawings that you’ve already drawn. It’s that easy.

The advantage to not working in symbols is that you can animate the nested layers on the main timeline. Meaning, if you have a head layer, then you have the facial features on a separate layer on top of the head layer, you can make the facial features a child of the head layer (without putting them in a symbol). This allows you to animate the head, bringing the facial features along with it, but you can always still animate the facial features themselves - for example, you might want to animate them from side to side to “fake” perspective changes (a head turn).

When it comes time to save your character in the library, this is the same whether you use symbols or not - you will want to collapse the main peg of the character then drag and drop this into the library, so every time you start a new scene you can drag and drop your character into the scene.

Toon Boom Support

Wow, thank you so much for going over all of that!! I am definitely going to check out the new Animate 2 documentation and kickstart videos now. I guess I will finish up my current project in symbols since I’m already pretty far along, but I will definitely try it that way without symbols for my next projects.

It’s funny, I actually knew about swapping drawings without using symbols before from when I was doing frame by frame animation, but I have never really done “puppet” animation before so I watched some tutorials, and they all said create symbols so I never questioned it.

Just out of curiousity, you mentioned there are only a few cases where it’d be beneficial to use symbols, so when/what case would that be? A mouth symbol for lipsync maybe? (I’m just guessing here, I have no clue.)

Thanks again for describing all of that, I think it pretty much cleared it up. Hopefully I will have a much better experience without symbols next time. Live and learn! :slight_smile:

One case that a symbol could be useful is when you want to group together a body part with a patch (to cover up a joint). The reason this is useful is because sometimes you might be animating and you don’t want to accidentally grab the patch instead of the actual arm. So if you group the arm and the patch together into a symbol, then you don’t run the risk of grabbing the patch on its own.

Another example is like in the getting started guide when they talk about the skateboard. If you have some repeating cycles, then it can be useful to have it in a symbol, because when you drag and drop this symbol onto the timeline then you can hold down alt and let it go on the right hand side of the timeline, and this will pop up a “Paste Special” dialog. From here, you can choose to paste all frames of the movie and then paste a certain number of cycles, so it just saves you a step from having to copy and paste the cycles.

Lip sync you don’t need to have it in a symbol. In fact, in Animate 1, I believe you can’t map to a symbol. But in Animate 2, they introduced this feature, so now you can map lip sync to a symbol if you want.

Hope this helps!

Toon Boom Support

Thank you so much for your help. You guys and gals at Toon Boom are great! :smiley:

Personally I think symbols were added a lot to keep users coming from flash happy cause they love putting things in symbols.

Another big plus of not using symbols is you can name your drawings so when you flick through your drawing subs it has names rather than numbers which is gold if you have like 30 or 40 drawings.


I am in the same boat…I am a newbie Animate user and I started my project using a ton of symbols for the puppet parts instead of just drawings on the layers. I feel the same…it’s too late to go back and not use symbols. Here’s a question though…

I already built my puppet and saved it to the library. I also created a lot of mouths, eyes, head turns, etc …all symbols. But I noticed when I start a new scene, MOST of these symbols aren’t in the new scene’s symbol library anymore. I can’t see an easy way to just import all of the mouths and other puppet parts back to the new scene. Are you having trouble with this also? Any easy solution so using the same puppet in various scenes is consistant??


You should not be seeing ANY of your symbols from a previous scene in a new scene. Symbols are local to the scene that you work in, and are not available in the library for re-use.

If you want to be able to use your symbols in a new scene, then you need to save a TEMPLATE with those symbols inside it, and then drag and drop the template into your new scene.

Toon Boom Support

I have a similar problem in Essentials, every time I exit a symbol instead of returning to where I was Toonboom takes me too frame 1, every time this happens, so gets frustrating and annoying!