Important questions from a clueless TBS user

I was given by my Dad the express version of TBS 2.5 as a gift, by paying for it and legally downloading it via the internet. I’ve already traditionally made some cool background-less and colorless simple animations, though only via experimenting. Since I do not have a starters manual like which would probably come with the boxed software, I need to be filled in on these things in order to get my feet off the ground so I can develop actual animation shorts-

First of all, basic questions and money issues
-What exactly is this “express” version?
-How much is it limiting me to compared with the full version?
-If my Dad bought it for me 4 months ago, how much was it?
-How much more do I need to upgrade it to the full version?

Then questions about learning how to use it
-Is the Help archive included with the program meant for TBS 2.5 express, or the full version?
-Is it possible for me to order in an actual user’s booklet for v2.5, since it’d be a more reliable way to learn it?

I ask this because many of the things mentioned in the help archives I am not finding in the program, so it’s become too hard to learn to use it via the Help archive. Even though video tutorials would be the most ideal for me in learning the basics of 2.5, I want to learn it so badly I’d be willing to read a boring manual, because the Help archive is just not working for me.

Finally, some specific questions so I can at least add more life to my experimental frame-by-frame-drawn animations until I efficiently learn how to operate the program
-How can I make a simple background, or merely add a background color to my drawings/frames?
-Can I color/paint my drawings without needing my lines to perfectly connect?

If you answer any of these at all, answer those ones, because they’ll enable me to really make some great stuff. I’m not trying to save time yet, because I’m not doing this professionally.

Thanks so much in advance to anyone who may help me out here.

Hi True,

First of all, if you look here you will see the differences between TBS Express and the full program:

You will see that TBS Express is a great way to learn the program and do some basic animation. You may even find that it’s adequate for your particular needs, but if you should decide at some point that you want to use multiple cameras & scenes and more than 2 pegs, you’ll want to upgrade to the full version. You’ll find all the prices (including upgrades) in the online store.

In my TBS Express Starter Guide it states that the User Guide and online help were written for the full program. I know you can purchase an excellent Users Manual for the full program, but I’m not sure if one is available for Express.

You can indeed paint different areas in your drawings without your lines connecting. You do this by using the Stroke Tool (in with your paint tools.) Use the stroke tool to draw invisible lines to connect your pencil or brush strokes. These lines will confine the paint but will not be seen unless you click on View>Show Strokes. You could even create a new drawing element and use the stroke tool to create a large shape that you could paint (with no outlines) and use as your backdrop.

Finally, let me suggest that you check out these five helpful videos:

Hope this helps. Good luck and have fun!


Hooooly craaaap that is real freakin’ helpful. 0% sarcasm. Thank you thank you thank you, this is a big leap for me.

What can you do to keep your strokes consistent if there are segments of different drawings that are the same? Just copy and paste?

You really are making video tutorials?!! And they’ll be ready within a couple months?! Ohhh I’m so happy! I’m such a visual learner, so that is so exciting! Thank you! Still, even after I upgrade from express to full, do I have to worry about my v 2.5 becoming too outdated for the videos?

Ok these gap-closing and stroke features are so incredibly useful and valid that I have to wonder what other amazing features toonboom has that make the process easier yet genuine. I’m glad I know that only the auto-lip-sync is not a feature in express. Question, though… Is there an actual TBS 2.5 Manual I can buy, and (try to answer honestly here) would it be worth the money, compared to using the help menu for free?

COUNT on it, Mr. Admin. And Thanks

I’ve also just bought TB Studio and ordered the user guide and just spent a whole day ‘playing’ with an animation and now feel a little closer to becomming a master animator ;-).
Some software companies produce free training movies for their user base - which also serves a very good marketing tool for potential users, see:
Is this the idea you have in mind?

Administrator, having said what you did about the auto gap feature, you realise that sometimes it wont work right? Sometimes gaps that didnt fill, do, when you zoom right in…is there any reason for this, cos its quite annoying when you have to zoom riiiiight in to just fill a simple shape.


as for gap closing issue:
i spent 3 or 4 times more work on filling my film with color due to unclosed shapes. i imported illustrator vectors and while modifying them some lost their compactness. i zoomed in again and again, drawn gap closing lines and stroke lines (sometimes twice), because those bloody shapes wouldn’t apply color fill.
thank god i had some spare time before my deadline, otherwise i would have failed on that.
i must also look closer onto the stroke tool which sports some strange straight lines while drawing. i suppose these are section markers to bridge in order to have a closed shape.

an update to gap closing issue.

one who can read is definitely in advantage.
i oversaw the ‘auto gap’ main menu feature comment. jeeez, it could have saved me a few hours of work.

anyway, the medium gaps close option works well even with my raw drawings. a great, time-saving item.
:-* to all female developers, and a handshake to the rest of you :slight_smile:


Ohhhhhh snapzz…

I’ve been working on a high-frame short for a long time now thats been made 98% traditionally… but I’ve been neglecting to color them until I finished the key animation. I also didn’t turn on auto-gap or w/e yet with my drawing…

Does that mean I’ll have to go back and manually connect every gap before being able to paint each frame in ease?

MORE IMORTANT QUESTION: When the admin said those videos would be done by the end of the year, did he/she mean THIS year? Because that was said at the doorstep of December. I’m wondering if I can really expect to be seeing those vid tutorials in a month.

uhmm, i don’t think so. try activating the auto gap trick before you fill your drawings with color. it should work…

Hi guys !

Sorry for the late reply,

Just a few comments since last post:

1- The videos that are coming up (January 2006) are for beginners and trial evaluators who want top get started right away. It will cover the basics. It will look sort like Steve’s Ryan movie which I was referring in the previous post. Auto-Gap features and advanced features won’t be cover.

In a near future, we are planning to release training DVDs that will cover the software, workflow integration and much more.

2- True, the auto gap feature needs to be on when you paint and not when you draw. So even if it was off, you will be able to put on and use it on your drawings.

3- talk2cotton, there is no reason for the software to close gap more easily when you zoom in. I tried a couple of tests with different gap size and I didn’t notice this behavior. Do you still have this problem ?


Hi mathieu…well it doesnt always happen, its just from time to time on certain things. Like, i had an aliens hand recently and in some of the frames it filled first time (with “fill large gap” enabled) but in others it wouldn’t until i zoomed right in.

I have just tried with a file i was having trouble with in the past and it still seems to have some problem…although, this time, it’s if i zoom right out then it WILL fill, but if im at a reasonable zoom level then it won’t.

It hasn’t just happened for me either, my friend also had the same thing happening on his, with different files on a completely different PC.

Im suprised it isnt happening on yours mathieu, i thought it would be the same for everyone…although maybe its because you have version 3 and im using 2.5…i dont know, but anyway its not THAT annoying, i just wondered why it happens. Thanks,


OMG Auto-gap is sick! To think it would actually put up with gapping of my incompetent level!

But dude, if awesome things like auto-gap aren’t going to be covered in the upcoming newbie videos, I’m just going to have to upgrade to version 3 and order the full user’s guide (because help the help menus suck for me! ;D) Of course, I still have the express version.

In any case, I’m looking forward to those training DVD’s. Until then, reading is my best bet for the advanced stuff. :stuck_out_tongue:

Those free begginer’s video tutorials must be finished by now… there just in the regular tutorials section of the site for download, right?