Layering Help


I am working on a bone animation, and I want to position a drawing outside of the Skin group in between two drawings inside the skin group, is there a way to do that?


Fortunately “layering” in TBS can be achieved not only by hierarchical order in a track list but also by positioning in z-space (3-D space).

There is another degree of layering available in Toon Boom beyond ordering in the exposure sheet or the time line track list and it involves using the “z” direction of 3D space also referred to as the Front/ Back position of the element. Elements in the exposure sheet or time line track list all start out with the same Front/Back position in 3D space. Essentially they are all on the same picture plane even though they are in a stack. So their relative layering order can be adjusted by positioning an element forward or backward by a fractional amount.

The Front/Back position of an element can be changed by using the scene planning “Select” tool (6). Select your object. Go to the Properties panel under the Drawing tab change the offset for the Z-direction which is the last Offset input box to the viewer’s right. Just a slight change of a .01 units either F (front) or B (back) is all that is required.

You can also move elements back and forth along the Z axis while in Camera View. Useful keyboard shortcuts are [Alt] + [Down Arrow] to bring the element one increment closer to the camera, and [Alt] + [Up Arrow] to push the element one increment back away from the camera. Using these shortcuts in Camera View will move elements in .01 increments. Again, you need to use the scene planning “Select” tool to select the desired element in the Camera view panel before trying to adjust its Front/Back position.

Hopefully this moves you in the right direction (no pun intended) to resolve your issue -JK

Thaaaaank You!! That definitely helped. I have a couple other questions if you don’t mind. When I move a drawing in the z-plane, does it get re-sized? Also is there a way to hide the bone influence lines? Last question, is bone animation or cut-out animation better to use? Thanks again man.

Moving an object in z-space can effect its scale but for layering considerations a displacement of .01 is so small that it’s not noticeable.

As to the influence lines you can uncheck the show influence box on the skeleton properties panel. You can also change the skeleton color if you don’t like the default color or it conflicts with the color of your art and you want improved visibility of the bones.

I think it’s not a question of either/or when it comes to bones or cut-out. They are complementary and in fact bones can make a nice addition to basic cut out methods. My only suggestion to anyone starting out is limit the complexity of the method and focus on the basic animating techniques. As your skill levels grow you will naturally expand your tool set of approaches.

Also bones are not just for character animation. The are a great effects tool as they allow you to do shape morphing for props etc. -JK

Thanks again JK!