morphing symbol substitutions?

I saw in a video(from the toon boom youtube channel) for Animate and Animate Pro that you can morph between symbol substitutions so you get a smooth transition say for mouth shapes. It didn’t really show how to do it because it was a lecture and not really trying to teach the software. When I try this in animate the shapes disappear. I can’t go back in and add help points because the symbol isn’t visible. What am I doing wrong? There really should be a video for this as I suspect it is something most people wanting to use this awesome software would want to do. Thanks,


Hello Kenzie,

You can’t morph between symbol substitutions - you can, however, morph between drawing substitutions.

If you want to morph between your mouth shapes, the best thing to do is not to encapsulate them within a symbol. Go ahead and follow this method:

1) Create a drawing layer, with your mouth shapes A-G and X. Draw your mouth shapes in here
2) Do auto-lip sync on your sound layer
3) do map lip-sync
4) Now all your drawings will be laid out on the timeline with the appropriate timing. At this point, this is where you would want to go ahead and do your morphing. If you really want to have your drawings in a symbol, this would be the time to create the symbol - after you have all your timing laid out. You can then do your morphing in the symbol. However I’d recommend just leaving the symbol out entirely if you want to morph - you really don’t need it.

I hope this helps!

Thanks for the information. I have a follow up question. And keep in mind I am not coming from a Flash background. I am actually a 3D artist in the game industry and I just wanted to learn this software. I figured symbols were the tools you should be using so I made everything into symbols. So the question is, why use symbols at all? If I wasn’t going to take advantage of the morphing tool there are several other software options out there that do most if not all of what this program does(anime studio, Flash etc…). Don’t get me wrong, this is a great program but it just seems strange they would build the work flow of the software around using symbols and substitutions and then leave out one of there most powerful tools.

I really wish they would get some tools that other software has like magnet tool, liquify, warp and better spline tools. Drawing in this software is better than most other flash type programs but compared to any art 2D software(photoshop, illustrator, manga studio, SAI, painter) it has a long way to go. Thanks again for the answer.


1 more question. Is there a way to convert the drawings in a symbol back into regular drawings? I put all this time into making mouth shapes and expressions. I turned them into a symbol. I would really like to bring them back as just regular drawings. Thanks,


hi kenzie,
just double click on the symbol in its timeline cell or on a symbol part in the camera view and then you’ll get to the symbol subwindow.
there you can edit the drawing with the usual drawing tools, copy and paste into any other drawing layer.
to get back to the main window just click on the ‘top’ button (with a house symbol) in the left part of the icons bar under the main menu.

Just to clarify what Gester said, go into the symbol, then copy the frames, then go back to your main scene, and paste the frames into a new drawing layer.

In answer to your question of why use symbols, my answer would be, why indeed? I usually try to stay away from symbols unless doing something more like a cyclical animation, for example like a smoke effect or a ball bounce. When doing character animation, I try to stay away from symbols as much as possible. There is one instance, however, where I find symbols useful with character creation - and that is when I am creating a cut-out character with patches to cover the joints. Although you don’t strictly have to encapsulate the patches in symbols, I usually do, just because it makes it easier to grab that body part without inadvertently grabbing the patch instead.

Working without symbols can actually be quite freeing, and I find that to be one of Animate’s more strong points. Think of it this way - if you couldn’t work without symbols it would be significantly more limiting.

Symbols and drawing layers each have their uses. Unfortunately from a programming side it just doesn’t make any sense to be able to morph a symbol. You can morph inside a symbol, but morphing a symbol itself is a software limitation, and I don’t see this being something that can be improved upon.

I will pass on your other suggestions regarding the other tools you’d like to see made available. I come from a 3D background myself, and so I’m sure you’re aware, after working of a variety of products like Maya, Modo, 3DS Max, Mudbox, Photoshop, etc. that each product has its limitations and its strengths, each one creates its own tools in its unique ways. And all softwares are constantly improving and evolving. Animate is extremely powerful when it comes to doing what it was meant to do - vector graphics creation and animation. I urge you to continue your exploration.