Importing Cut Out Character from Another Scene


I’m doing cutout animation and wanted to bring a rigged & animated character from one scene (in another project) into another project/scene. (I want to keep the pegs and hierarchy as well.)

I’ve tried to copy everything from the timeline of one project then paste it into another and it says, paste not allowed.

Is there a way to do this? It seems like it should be pretty straight forward, but I’m obviously missing something.



Yes, you want to take advantage of TBS’s reusability functionality which works through libraries and templates.

To create a template that includes a heirarchy and multiple frames and keyframes you need to select all of the desired tracks in your timeline panel and attach them to a top level peg element. (a template content grouping peg so to speak)

Usually a rigged character will have a top level peg often referred to as the “character” peg. Then above that peg you usually put special animation pegs like motion pegs. To create a template you just collapse the highest level peg for the content you want included in the template and open your library panel and select the destination library for your template. The global library is normally where you put templates that you want to be able to reuse in different projects. The local library is where you put templates you want to reuse between scenes of the same project. So once you decide on the library destination for your template, you just drag and drop the collapsed peg with your attached content from the timeline to the library panel pane on your right. The left library panel pane is where you see the libraries and navigate between them.

Once you have made your content into a template you can just drag and drop that template from the library to the current timeline whenever you want to re-use that content. And because it is a template the copy you created is totally independent from the original content or the library copy, so you can modify it freely and not worry that you have changed anything in those other places. If you need more help with this , just ask.- JK

Thanks, JK.

At first it wasn’t working–I would just get the white “no” symbol. But then I noticed there was a “media” element under one of the pegs. Fortunately, there wasn’t anything in there, so I deleted it and was able to put it in the library. (which, of course, begs the question–if there’s a media element in your animation can you not copy it to the library?) It’s a shame you can’t just grab a whole scene from the animation library put it in a new library and then just drop it into another project when you need to.

I come from a video background and I find TBS a bit counter-inuitive in terms of it’s workflow and sometimes, just downright finicky, perhaps even buggy. (For example, if I do a quick preview of my animation with sound, it’s always out of sync–and if I go back to the beginning of the preview, the soundtrack continues while at the same time restarting, so I hear 2 soundtracks simultaneously and completely out of sync with each other. I’m running a pretty robust system–MAC G5 dual 2.7gHz - 2.5 gig of RAM and 256MB video ram.)

But all of this could be due to my inexperience with the software. I use the manual, but even it is quirky. For example, the manual says “copy element” under the EDIT menu, but my software says, COPY CELL. I can only assume it means the same thing and that’s only one example. If I use the interactive help from the help menu, I can only search one time. If I try to search again, the browser just hangs. It’s quicker to quit the browser and reopen the file from the help menu again–which isn’t very effecient, just faster.) Ultimately, I’m just thankful for this forum and people like yourself willing to help us noobes out.

Thanks again.


I’m not sure why you had a problem with it, & I haven’t even done much with media elements, so I don’t want to say too much, but as far as I know, the whole point of media elements is to be able to link elements through multiple projects for the purpose of reducing file sizes. You should certainly be albe to drag a media element into the global library, unless I totally misunderstand the concept of them. (which is possible) Overall though, if you use media elements, I believe that when you make changes to them, those changes will be made in all instances of that element in all projects. This reduces file sizes since you don’t have to save separate templates of each little change you’ve made to a character/background/whatever… The flip side is that any changes you make are permanent & apply to all instances of the element, so use media elements with caution. If there is a specific template you want saved & unchanged, save it as a drawing element. Hope some of that made sense, let me know if you need more clarification.