How to organise my drawing substitutions


I’m working in Harmony 11 standalone on a cut-out animation.
I have a large amount of substitutions for the eyes, hands, heads, etc. of my character.
In the drawing substitutions section of the Library box, these substitutions are shown, but they are not organised.
For example if I want to change the head, I can only scroll between all of my substitutions (heads, eyes, hands). Is there a way to only get my head substitutions shown if I select my head?
I am starting to work on a 52 episode series, so some organising will definately be recomended…


Thanks for your replies.
I will try your suggestions. I have been importing my PSD files as TB bitmaps, same problem.
I guess the best sollution is to do all the artwork in Harmony, but since the designers on the project I’m working on do their drawing in Photoshop, this is not an option for me.
Oh well, luckily I am being paid by the hour on this project :slight_smile:

Thanks again

This may be a long shot but have you tried importing your file into Illustrator and exporting from there? I use Illustrator to do all my artwork and it imports into Harmony beautifully - on individual layers and the layers will have the same names as they were in Illustrator. You need to make sure you export as a CS2 Illustrator file though, or it won’t work. I’m at work so I can’t test it in Harmony until I get home, but here are some instructions on importing PSD into Illustrator (I was able to test this and it worked really well, the layers were preserved):

Importing PSD files into Illustrator

• Opening PSD files into Illustrator

  1. Turn on your computer and launch the Illustrator program.
  2. Open a new document by clicking File>New in Illustrator’s menu bar.
  3. To open your Photoshop document, go to File>Open and then select the document you want to open when prompted.

• Placing PSD files into Illustrator (Editable)
This method is ideal if you wish to incorporate a Photoshop document within an existing Illustrator document which can then make the PSD file editable within Illustrator.

  1. Launch the Illustrator program, select File>Place
  2. Locate the PSD file you want to import and click “Place”. Make sure the “Link” option is not selected.

Placing or opening an unlinked Photoshop file will prompt a dialog box with options, choose the most appropriate option and then click “OK”.

• Convert Layers to Objects: This option will convert the Photoshop layers into Illustrator objects to be able preserve masks, transparency and blending modes.


Do you use something other than Harmony when at work or were you just saying you could not take the time to test this while at work?

I have another non-fun non-animation job where I’m a Business Manager a few days a week, so that’s why I can’t test it right now :slight_smile:


When I import my PSD into Harmony my layers from PS are distributed onto seperate layers in Harmony along with the names (as long as I group them in PS), that’s not the problem.
The problem is that when I go to the Drawing substitutions box in the Library and say select the Body layer, I not only get to choose the other Bodies (that were in the same PS group) but I get all the other parts as well (heads, eyes,hands, etc.)
Since some of the characters consist of 20+ parts this is very inconvienient.
Thanks for taking the time.


Yes, I understand completely what your problem is. All I meant is that importing from Illustrator to Harmony imports exactly as you have your artwork set up, and imports exactly as you wish it would from Photoshop: on separate layers, named AND with only that one drawing in the layers substitutions, NOT with every single drawing from every single layer in the substitutions. I just thought because everything imports so perfectly from Illustrator, if you tried opening your PSD file (using the instructions above) saved your file as Illustrator instead it might get rid of all those extra drawings on the layers.

EDIT: Having said all that don’t worry about it. I just tried opening it in Illustrator, saving as an AI file and importing into Illustrator but it won’t work. The imported template is blank.

Thanks for your effort DessieX, much appreciated

im also not sure what would happen if you imported it as a “toonboom bitmap”. it might import it more cleanly, however it will no longer be able to be edited in PS.

I see what you mean, what a pain. Another way to get rid of all those substitutions is to import the psd file like you have been, and then manually delete the unwanted subs on each layer. But this, too, is very time consuming. If you do decide to delete them, I find it easiest to expose every single drawing on the layer in order and use shortcuts to go from frame to frame, deleting (make sure you delete the drawings properly using right click, drawings, delete drawings or whatever shortcut it is). I also like to rename all my drawings at the same time cos I’m a bit obsessive like that :slight_smile:
(if you do rename just make sure you do it the right way otherwise you’ll end up with lots more subs! Right click, drawings, rename drawing).

Yes, I tried that and that does seem to solve the problem.
I have to make a seperate PSD file of every body part and substitution.
I emailed my question to the TB helpdesk, and they gave me the same answer. Import every body part one at a time. They don’t have a feature (yet) to seperate the substitutions from 1 PSD file…
Kind of disappointing I must say, since this is something everybody must encounter when doing a cut-out animation with a character made in Photoshop. And very time consuming having to do it this way.

Thanks for your reply

Have you tried importing each body part’s drawings separately?
Even the left-right versions should be imported separately because it seems as though the library substitution list is made at import if it’s made from the same drawing.

I guess im slightly confused as to why you have a hand drawing in the same layer as a head or eye blink drawing?

the best way to have it organized is to have every part of the puppet on its own layer. the hands are on their own layer, the head, each eye blink, etc is on its own layer. any drawing you add to that layer, say a new hand pose, will automatically be added to your Library. if you spend some time keeping all new drawings registered to each other, it becomes very easy to swap out to new drawings by selecting the drawing in the Camera view and using the bracket keyboard shortcut to flip through your Library.

Thanks for your reply.
I do have everything on seperate layers in Harmony. Every layer is also connected to a peg, which I animate.
I did import all my layers and substitutions at the same time from a PSD file.
The PSD file consists of a folder for every layer, and in this folder its substitutions.

When importing the PSD in Harmony the Photoshop layers are automaticly distributed to seperate layers in Harmony, the substitutions are on the next frames in every layer…

Can’t see what I’m doing wrong

Thanks again