how to mirror an object


I have a figure animated moving in one direction (and looking in it), is there an easy way to mirror the sequence if I want the figure to move in the other direction? Otherwise it would be a lot of work to mirror each element apart…

thank you in advance!

There are two ways to approach this depending on what you are wanting to accomplish. There is a static change in direction that is done using the properties of a element. And then there is a more dynamic approach using keyframing. I’ll explain both ways.

Static Properties Approach

Static properties of an element are global to the element for a scene and are only set as part of camera view layout prior to keyframe animating. You can access these properties through the “properties” panel where you can enter numerical values directly, or you can set these properties using the “scene operations select” tool (keyboard short cut “6”) Every element can have its properties set for a scene, so this would include drawing or image elements as well as peg elements.

In your example you mentioned a character with multiple elements so I’ll assume they are collected in a hierarchy attached to a main character peg.

(1) Collapse the main peg

(2) Go to the first frame that the character occupies in your time line and select that frame for this main peg track

(3) Select the scene operations select tool ( short cut “6”) to make it the active tool

(4) Go to the “properties” panel and enter a value of 180 deg for the “Skewing” property and 180 deg for the “Rotation” property.

Your character is now “flipped” 180 degrees from how it was oriented, and because these are static properties they are independent from any prior keyframing that you might have done, although I strongly recommend that you always set static properties prior to doing any keyframing just because it will save you from potential surprises.

Key Framed Approach

Suppose that you want to have your character reverse direction during the same scene, in that case you wouldn’t want to use static proprities but rather you would want to use animatable properties which are controlled by keyframes.

Again let’s assume you have a multi-element character attached to a main peg element in a hierarchy.

(1) Collapse the main peg

(2) Go to the frame for that the character in your time line where you want them to first change direction and select that frame for this main peg track

(3) Select the scene operations transform tool ( short cut “7”) to make it the active tool. (The active tool is always important in keyframing as it dictates which attributes are going to be keyed. The transform tool is the general purpose universal tool that addresses all attributes at the same time which is why we are going to have it active for this process.)

(4) Once you have selected your character’s main peg in the time line at a specific frame, with the transform tool active, you will see the transform bounding box around all the elements of your character. Go to one of the side grab handles (an unfilled square on the middle side of the bounding box) and drag that side grab handle horizontally across your character until you see the character’s direction flipped 180 degrees. This not only flips the character but also sets the appropriate keyframes. The character will remain oriented this way until you keyframe it differently on a different frame later in your time line.

If you have additional questions or want more clarification just ask. -JK

thank you very much for the detailed answer!

the static approach is working quite well but I have some problems with the key frames.

If I follow your 4 steps and I “mirror” the object I have 2 problems:
1) it´s a feeling thing… It´s not just 180deg mirrored but I have to guess when it´s ready

2) the keyframe just markes the point where it´s changing but the transformation is starting before and doesn´t stop afterwards… how can I prevent this?


Yes, it is a visual approach and I appreciate the desire to just enter a numerical value because that is so much more finite. Unfortunately TBS is not structured that way, so it is just a matter of visually determining that you have flipped the object and not stretched it or deformed it otherwise. I normally prefer using the static approach but sometimes the dynamic (keyframed) approach is more appropriate.

I’ll take a wild guess here and assume that this transformation keyframe is the first keyframe that you set on that track. If that is the case TBS enforces the first keyframe on a track all the way back to the beginning of the track. The easy solution and the appropriate general rule for all keyframing is to initialize each track with a set of keyframes at the start of the track. You want to have the transform tool active and just use the set keyframe command. This locks down your object or objects for that track or heirarchy at their initial state. Then you won’t have to worry about the influence of later keyframes on earlier frames.

As to the continuation in later frames, once a keyframe or set of keyframes are set on a track they will be enforced until another keyframe of the same type is encountered for that track. This creates a keyframe pair that is joined by a segment (a sequence of in between frames). If the segment is set to “constant” that means the first keyed value will remain unchanged until the keyframe at the end of that segment is reached. If the inbetween segment is set to “non-constant” then the value of the first keyframe is modified in increments until it becomes the value of the keyframe at the end of the segment. This is called “tweening” and the formula by which those increments are created is controlled by a function curve attached to that segment. Usually this is a default linear or equal increments type of calculation but it is totally under your control as the animator. -JK

thank you very much, helped a lot ;D