leaving frames blank when drawing animation?

I enjoy doodling animation in Harmony very spontaneously and freely, just painting dots or lines on consecutive frames using F and G to flip between drawings and/or using onion skin to see the patterns I am creating, but sometimes I would like to leave a gap in the movement, some blank frames where nothing is on the screen. Unfortunately, if I skip a few frames and then try to draw in a cell a bit further along, Harmony replaces my empty cells with copies of the last drawing, creating a hold where I desired a blank screen. Is there any way that I can get Harmony to either leave my empty drawing cells alone or put in blank cells as place holders. It is annoying and interrupts my flow to have to go back an delete or replace all those unwanted cells.

Either click on the “Create Empty Drawing” button,
Or use the keyboard-shortcut…

Check out the Preferences / Shortcuts / General / Create Empty Drawing…
If no shortcut is assigned, you might like and create your own…
Then use that shortcut to create your empty drawings…

Thanks, I was really hoping that I could simply add drawings in the timeline wherever I wanted them without having to create blank drawing frames in between. I don’t know why the software fills in the gaps and doesn’t just leave them blank. It looks like I will have to lay down blank frames first before starting my animation if I want to be able to simply draw at the time points where I want animation to appear.

I know what you mean about getting into a rhythm of drawing, but having to stop and do things that stop that flow.

What about this idea, would this work for you?

  • Instead of using F and G, use the > and < keys. Since they let you go forward and back one frame at a time, even if there no drawings yet.

  • Then, in your Drawing layer, from within the Xsheet, click on a blank frame and rename it to X.

  • Now, as you continue to draw, hitting on < and > to advance, when you get to a point where you want some blank frames, click in that frame in the Xsheet, type in X, which will place your blank drawing there. And forward in your timeline as much as you like, and hit F5 to extend the exposure of the blank frame.

  • The thing about this idea is that although you have to reach up and click to put that X in, and hit F5, it’s pretty fast. And by only having one blank frame in your drawing, named X, it is the same drawing re-used each time. So it doesn’t create a bunch of blank frames in your scene files.

Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn’t thought about using the < and > keys. What mystifies me is why I need to put in blank cells at all. I can drag a frame from one place in the time line to another if I just want it to start a bit later, but if I just want to leave a gap in the animation, suddenly the software extends the exposure of the previous drawing, and I don’t really understand under what conditions these extra exposures are created. I was trying to leave gaps by feel by playing the animation as a loop and stopping where I want to add stuff. I could perhaps create a blank drawing X after my last animation segment and then when I create the next bit, the extended exposure for drawing X would give me my blank frames automatically.

As I learn ToonBoom tools, it might help to think about it from a traditional animation standpoint. As everything I love about these tools is that they are very close to using paper and a light board to draw on. So if you think about why would there be a reason to extend the exposure, I’m thinking if there were somebody drawing on paper, flipping between cells, they wouldn’t want to flip through blank papers. They are usually working at such a small amount of frames at a time, and moving on. So assembling something long enough to need gaps in the timing would be done as its own thing. Probably not during the drawing part. I’m not sure how often you do this, but would it make sens for you to create a new layer each time? If you only do it now and then, what if you just reach up and hit the new layer button, and start drawing, then you can maybe drag that new layer wherever you want in the timeline.
Of course doing this, you’d get a lot of layers, but maybe not too bad for quick pencil tests.

I am a classically trained animator and in traditional animation, the cameraman did not shoot a hold if the animator did not mark a hold on the X-sheet. It is as if the cameraman decided to shoot extra exposures without being told to do so. There is probably some internal reason for it. When creating a character scene, it is also necessary to put in blank cells where there is no applicable drawing for a particular view of the character. For example, on the back of the head, you would not see the eyes, so you need to put a blank drawing on the layer for the eyes, In traditional cut-out animation, you would not need to have a blank cell. You would simply leave off the unnecessary part of the puppet. There would be no need for the blank drawing if the software supplied a blank drawing as the default for the empty cell. This implementation decision probably made implementing templates and drawing substitution more straightforward. Before I studied animation, I was a software engineer, and I find it easier to understand how the software works if I know something about how it was implemented. The timeline and the x-sheet are both visual representations of an internal structure that is more complex than it appears to be on the surface. Different kinds of keyframes behave differently. It isn’t as simple as just having a drawing on a layer at a particular frame. The programmers have made implementation decisions that I find odd and I would like to understand them. What I am trying to do with Harmony would not be possible with paper, but it was possible with my old Amiga.

too bad you didn’t get the simple answer i think you were hoping for; i wish there were techies employed in these forums to ensure questions always get ‘best practice’ answers. alas; only sometimes…

so- in harmony 12, for instance, auto extending ‘exposure from the previous drawing’ is a preference to check or uncheck thusly: prefs>exposure sheet/drawing creation/check or uncheck.

I am reviving a very old thread but, Thank you very much! This was the exact answer I was looking for, haha