Hand Drawn / Traditional Workflow in Harmony

Hello, I’m relatively new to the software-and there’s a lot I like about it so far! However, I do have a couple questions about certain things I don’t.

When you’re doing traditional animation you kind of draw inside out, you have your key frames, extreme positions and inbetweens, and as long as you stick to that hierarchical convention you can kind of go in whatever order you want. (what I typically do is draw all frames in a row using a timing chart and then rearrange them after the fact)

One problem for me is that Harmony seems to do a lot of stuff by default and even by design that kind of interrupts this process

  • I hold shift + drag to insert one frame between a pair of others (something a traditional-style animator has to do constantly, both in the beginning and later as adjustments are made) and, unless there’s at least two unique drawing frames between the origin frame and destination frame a frame is replaced with an exposure

  • I shift + drag a frame between a pair of frames, one with multiple exposures, and the frame being dragged replaces those exposures and adds to them rather than being inserted in front of them on the timeline

  • I drag a frame backwards on the timeline and ToonBoom automatically adds exposures from the origin frame and destination frame, or from the nearest frame between the origin frame and destination frame

  • I drag a segment of multiple frames away from another segment of multiple frames and exposures are automatically generated filling in the gap created by that segment

  • I drag a frame anywhere near another frame or group of frames and exposures are generated to fill in gaps automatically

These things can kind of be worked around-but I truly don’t understand why they exist to begin with, and dealing with them gets exponentially more troublesome the more complex a project gets; I would sincerely appreciate any advice. Thanks!

OT is interesting but seems to have much more limited drawing tools.

One program I’m really encouraged by is Krita. It’s still a bit unstable and it’s raster only so it’s not really ready for professional or power-user use just yet, but its “Flash-like” animation timeline is about as close to perfect as it gets in my opinion. You can manipulate frames in the timeline (drag and drop, copy paste etc.) without any of the unexpected nuisances I’ve mentioned and the only “automatic behavior” (which is that a drawing frame is considered "exposed "until broken up by another one) is actually pretty useful as you never have to directly mess with exposure length at all. Harmony is certainly more impressive, feature-rich and reliable software, but some of these miscellaneous design choices are pretty irksome (I don’t personally see the point of them even if I was doing “straight-ahead” style animation or tweening stuff), and the fact you can’t disable them as far as I can tell is definitely disappointing.

I’m sure I’ll adapt in time, but I was hoping that it would adapt to me, I guess.

This is really confusing. let me note a few things

There are 2 buttons on the lil pannel thingy, one that will erace the entire frame you have selected, and one that creates a new frame.

And you can go back, and create that new frame between the other two, and work on betweening and inbetweening etc like that

My problems don’t involve creating frames or removing them, but reorganizing them after they’d been created. This is something that has to be done in the process of “feeling out” the right motion in a hand-drawn workflow pretty regularly, especially as mistakes are made or changes are desired.

Drag a frame backwards and exposures are generated.

Try and insert a segment of exposures between multiple exposures and the old drawing is replaced

And that other stuff I’d said in the original post.

There’s a lot of things like that which have no-or little-utility for that specific kind of animation process and I was wondering if there was any way to turn them off.

Here’s an image kind of explaining what I mean I guess:


None of this is “end of the world” stuff-but most of it is kind of annoying to deal with over and over again. Because key frames can sometimes be dozens of frames apart I’d really prefer to make the method I’m most comfortable with as painless as possible, but if I have to put the frames where they “should go” according to my timing chart to get around this crap I guess it is what it is.

Mind your drawing numbers and use it properly (as per setting rename in preferences as ‘Exposure Sheet/Dwgs Creations’). A lot easier.

One thing I do like about Harmony A LOT is that you can alter multiple frames at once if they have the same drawing number. However having to keep track of drawing numbers manually rather than just interacting with the timeline itself seems like it could get confusing as complexity is built upon a project. Is there really no way to just stop ToonBoom from engaging in any-and-all automatic behaviors when it comes to the timeline? That’s pretty frustrating if that’s the case, but I guess it’s probably my fault for thinking that a modern software would be friendlier to an old fashioned method.

Playing Devil’s Advocate here :slight_smile:

OpenToonz does exactly what you want. Shift-drag to drag and insert cells. OT’s timeline / XSheet is arguably much friendlier for more traditional workflows. Would be nice if Toonboom would look at the competition more for ideas.