Layer elements move when I change frames


I changed one of the frames for the hand symbol, the right and left hands only to see the previous symbol/hand off in space somewhere beyond the stage. I don’t understand how to “swap” images in the symbol library even though I’ve watched a video that deals with this. The instructor left out a couple of steps for those of us who are newbies. Ugh. How can I avoid please having my imagery swim around the stage when I want to change from one gesture/expression to another?

DO you mean swap symbols or Substitute drawings? Animate does not have a “swap” symbols feature like Flash. You have to substitute symbols. Watch the Drawing Substitutions video by cartoon smart -

Which video are you referring to by the way, maybe we can get an idea of what you are referring to.

Thank you Lily! this makes a lot of sense. I’ll type this out and then try it onmy other machine. I’m sure this is what is going on. There’s so much to learn and so many details to be aware of. Keeps our brains sharp for sure! Thanks for your patience with me.


If your symbols don’t have the same pivot point, then that might be why one of them comes in at a different place than the first one. If you’re doing something like making a series of hands, then what you should do to get the best results is extend the exposure on the first hand so that it covers two frames, then do a “Duplicate Drawing” so that you have a copy of that drawing on the next frame. The reason that this is good is because in addition to copying the drawing, is also copies the PIVOT of the drawing.

The you can make adjustments to make your new hand and it would be in the same exact position as the first hand when you swap it in with the library.

If you’ve already done your drawings and you want to fix them, then try to turn on your pivot tool and select the first drawing in your timeline. Do a Ctrl-C to copy. Now select your second drawing and do a Ctrl-V to paste. Now you should have the same pivot on both drawings.

If you’re working with symbols, you’ll need to do this INSIDE the symbol, and then you’ll need to promote the pivot to the parent symbol (inside the tool properties of the pivot tool there’s an icon for this). The reason you have to do this is because in a symbol you could have multiple drawing layers, and you need to tell it which drawing layer you want to use the pivot from out on the main timeline when you swap in your symbol.

I hope that makes sense.


No worries! Thanks for plugging along - I know sometimes it takes a while to learn, but once it all makes sense, it’s really easygoing!