how to - scrolling background

Since I’ve started working with Animate, I’ve been looking at animation differently. For example, when I saw the animation on Fringe, I thought that I could do something similar using the “bones” in MicroSmith’s Anime. It had the same “stretchy” quality as that program (e.g., when a character’s jaw moved, the edge of the eyes was pulled down). Familiar stuff.

I just saw an episode of Family Guy (Three Kings) and they had something that I’m puzzled about how to do. If you’ve seen the shows you know that the style has changed a lot since the first season - the lines are thinner, the colors are brighter and there’s a lot more detail. In the final arc of this episode, they were doing King’s “Misery.” Brian was driving on a mountain road and they had the terrain scrolling by in a curve. It reminded me of a merry go round, what with the trees moving by and getting smaller. They had it on a cycle and it looked really nice.

How would you do that in Animate Pro?

Lily, thanks for the link. That shows the background scrolling left to right. I was wondering about the background scrolling away and on a curved path. It would be like scenery out the rear window as the car is driving around a long curve.

They have done that a few times in various situations and I think there was no trick in involved.

I am pretty sure they just did a frame by frame loop.

sketch the first frame and then slowly fill in the missing frames until you get a loop. When I approach that, first of I draw sketch say every 4th or 8th frame. Then insert blank frames between each one. Repeat until i have the nice smooth loop. Then actually draw them.

it works really well in that you can actually had variety to the loops a little if it is a background nobody notices and it stills looks good.

They used a loop cause of the time it would of taken.

If you remember, you gave me some hints when I was playing around with perspective (trucks headed towards the horizon). I started that with a featureless plain and then added some signs and trees. This is more complicated, so I’ll do the frame by frame loop.


I don’t remember, but sounds like something I would of said since that tool is perfect for disappearing into the horrizon.

But yeah this is far more complicated and there aren’t too many tricks/big shortcuts. However you could potentially use that tool help.

The animated bgs in Family Guy are done in 3D and composited with 2D animation in Toonboom software. I believe they use Opus but will move to Harmony soon.

were you talking about the first ep of the new series on the way to the house where the reporter is killing everyone?


I got short ‘inbetween-questions’ for that I wouldn´t open an extra thread (hope that I don´t destroy that one).
I just got some skills in drawing ‘backgrounds’ (with a horizontal line, one or two vanishing points). Let´s say I want to animate indoor scenes in TBA, for example, what is the most timesharing way to do this?
As far as I understand, there are two ways:
1. Draw every single view (for example, a kitchen scene - people are talking while sitting on the table: got to draw the table frontal, and diagonal (to show a view of the corner / side of the table)).
2. Building 3-D-Objects, so you just have to move the camera (but I´m not able to do this, so - PLEASE! - there´s another way :)).
3. What about that scrolling technique:
Would it be good enought for convenient animation (should be something like Simpsons / Family Guy, but, of course, less ‘perfect’).
Is this generally comparable with the thing that is explained by the TBA-tutorial video with the tower, the plant, the moon, …?

I am sorry if my questions are to much ‘beginner’, but I´m strongly motived to get to know what I´m looking for when I start my project in a few months (I´m a little ‘in’ charakter design, allready draw some characters, got a concept, many ideas, …)!

Thank you!!!

Do you mean just panning on a background from the link you gave?

I imagine the simpsons and family guy do a lot for points where you aren’t really going to notice the changing perspective.

→ Jep, exactly. I was wondering if something which was looking good in an old video game could be used in a ‘modern’ animation.
Ok, I was a little confused, but I allready did´t get what´s about that scrolling. Most objects in the back are drawned flat, so it´s supposed to look bad on an animation like I´m looking for…

→ Thank you! I asked because I found some information about ‘building rooms’ in the TB Studio tutorials, but not in Animate Tutorials or in Animate documentation, so I thougt there could be a ‘special magic way’ to design an (indoor) environment in TB Animate…

There are some advantages of using 3D-models, but it´s a lot of work to build every object in 3D - specifically for scenes that are just shown for maybe 1,5 seconds…By thinking about that I lost my ‘fear’ of drawing many single backgrounds ;D

I´m sorry at all: tried´ nothing but asked, but cannot wait to start thinking and planning on my project (it will take some month before I get enought time for it)!

No. You can see the effect three seconds into this clip:

I don’t have a tutorial that I can link you to for Animate Pro, but the procedure’s very similar to what you would do in Toon Boom Studio. Here’s a tutorial in that software for a scrolling background:

So the basic procedure is you make your background twice as long, then you put two keyframes, then you can extend the exposure of the drawing for the length of your scene and copy your keyframes and do a Paste Cycle.

Hope this helps!


Most of the time people will just draw different background sets. So you’ll have one drawing layer that will be your walls, floor. You could put props like tables and chairs on their own layers so that you could move them around. Anything you want to move should be on its own layer.


In Animate Pro, you could actually build kind of a 3D-set - by putting the walls and ceilings and floor on different layers, then rotating the layers in Space. In Animate and below, you can’t rotate the planes, you can only set up a multiplane.

However the need to do this is really on a case-by-case basis. Most of the time you wouldn’t need to build a set like this, only if you want to do a really sophisticated camera move.