Locking Elements?

Alright, I don’t know what this is actually called but is there a way to keep various elements in place as you have a camera movement toward them.

For example, I drew a character and then I made his arms a seperate element.

I then had the camera move in towards him.

How can I keep his arms, which I said are separate, from not moving when the camera moves.

Something tells me I should have hased this question awhile ago…

Thank you for your help.

-Evan Jacobs

Is the problem that the arms move when the camera moves because they are at a different Z position than the rest of the character?

I’m not quite getting what’s going on, but I wonder if this is attributable to z-space positioning. Compare the f-b values of the various elements and see if that has something to do with it.

Somehow I’m guesing that’s not it–you’re no noob to TBS.


Hello, good to chat with you again.

Yes, I am assuming it has something to do with Z positions.

That said, how do I compare the f-b values you are talking about? Sadly, I don’t have any idea what those are, sir.

This is what I meant by I should have asked this awhile ago… probably before I made my first feature length film with the program!

Good to hear from you and thanks for the continued help.


Evan Jacobs

Glad to chat you up again as well. Checked your site recently to see what was up–looks like you’re busy!

There are a couple of ways to check this out, and you should do all of them. Use Window/Top View or Window/Side View to see your elements in z-space. Select the main body element, then the arm elements to see where they lie in space.

A more precise way, however is to select each element and look a the Z-values in the Properties Panel–these is the last settiing in the panel, indicated by a value followed by F or B. If you find that your elements are not aligned f/b, you can manually change the values to fit each other by entering the value–F (toward the camera) is a positive value while B(away) is a negative value.

If one of the elements is attached to a peg, you’ll want all of them on the peg together as the Z-position of the peg may also contribute to the issue.

Hope that helps and makes sense. Be well.


So do I need to make the separate arms the same F value across the board as the body they are attached to?

How do I know which ones are right?


Evan Jacobs

Yeah, you want matching z values for all attached pieces, otherwise when you move the camera you’ll see the separation.

Pick the one that makes the most sense. I’d run with the torso since it sounds like that’s the first one you made. Again, if you have attached the torso to a peg, be sure to add the other parts to the same peg.


Any chance I can email you again and show you what my properties window looks like and you can show me what I need to change?

I tried just changing the F values but that didn’t seem to work.


You bet, Evan. I might be on the wrong track, too, but this has been my best guess.

You may want to send a whole screen shot that also shows the problem as seen at one point in your camera move where the arms separate.

You may also want to send a shot of your timeline. I want to be sure you didn’t accidentally move the arms with the transform tool and wind up giving them a move.

You’re using 4.0, right?


Yes, I am using 4.0.

Where should I email you at?

-Evan Jacobs

(click on the profile button in my post and you’ll find me email)

Perhaps I don’t fully understand the problem on first read, but since you have a character (body) and separate arms… making the arms a child of the body’s parent should keep everything in place. It works like grouping and worth trying if you are not already doing that with your related animation elements.

If you’ve never used parent/child elements, switch to “timeline view” and just drag the arms element on top of the body element and when you see a vertical line appear through the body element’s icon, let go of the arms, and they will always move and stay with the body (like glue) --In this example, the body would be the parent to the child (arms) If you need to remove the child element from the parent, just drag it out and above and to the left of the parent until the vertical line is outside the parent and let it go


Thank you for the advice!

I sadly have not been able to do it as you say. I move the elements on top of one another but I really don’t see what you say is supposed to happen. Am I missing something?


It would only not work if you are moving the little green frame rectangles in the right side scrolling timeline window. What you need to move is the elements in the left most gray panel area of the timeline window. These “named” elements are actually folders, and when you pick one up and move it, all of the frames for that named element move with it.

Try it again, it has to work, write back if still a problem, and I’ll try to think of another way to describe the method to you. Or go to the help window from you TBS program and seach “parent” or “child” and the TBS explanation may show you better.

I just thought of another reason you may not think it is working… the way it works is kind of awkward, when you click to move an element, it will highlight, but stay where is is until you drop it into a parent name. Only the mouse pointer moves, and then a vertical line appears running through the icon of the element you are dropping it into. So, if you were expecting a physical movement of the element with your click & hold, that could be why you think nothing is happening… if so, do it and when you release the mouse, the element will move.

Good luck!

Hey there, Evan,

Some of the issues robmack is trying to explain are covered in my cut out tutorials, maybe actually seeing what he’s describing will help you with parent/child relationships and with the Z-axis stuff Rob was telling you about.

There are 2 parts to the tut & it’s a rather large file, so they may take a little while to load, but they should give you a better grasp on how to attach elements to each other & establish peg hierarchies as well as playing with the depth on the Z axis.

Keep in mind I did these on version 3.5 so there are som subtle differences such as the properties window, but it should all translate. If you have any questions of course let me know.


Good luck,