mysteriously moving registration/origin point

It’s been a while, hello again. I’ve finally come across some free time to continue evaluating Animate2. Just now I’ve run into some mysterious behavior, and am wondering if there is an easy way to correct it.

This is using the non-pro version of Animate2, build number 7.9.0 (6015) (2010-09-15 03:47:49).

I have a character as a symbol. Her mouth in turn is also a symbol. The oddity is that when a particular frame is reached within the mouth symbol, the blue crosshairs in the camera view (which I assume marks the symbol’s registration point) suddenly shifts. If the character sets the mouth to use that frame (or any frame afterwords), the mouth is jarred off to a new position on the character.

Here are a few screen shots to offer a visual of what’s happening. I’ve made sure some items of interest are visible in these screen shots: The layer properties tab showing the mouth’s transformations (everything looks good to me), as well as the mouth’s control points (which suddenly shift when the mouth’s registration point does.) I’m not using 3D paths, but am instead manually placing the mouth to properly line up with each custom head frame.

The character with her mouth positioned correctly (frame 166 of the character’s symbol):
All character frames prior to this one also have the mouth properly positioned.

The very next character frame, with the mouth misaligned (frame 167):
All mouth frames after this one also have the mouth misplaced.

The “good” frame in the mouth symbol used by the good character frame. Note the position of the blue cross hairs:

The “bad” frame in the mouth symbol (again note the crosshairs):

The character symbol applies a rotation to the mouth symbol, which could account for to new position of the mouth given the new position of its registration point.

The mouth symbol displays this moving crosshair even when it is opened directly from the library (suggesting that the issue is not related to the character’s symbol.) If frame 167 in the character’s symbol is set to any frame of the mouth prior to the bad frame (86 or below), it is positioned correctly.
I have tried playing with the pivot tool, as well as using the rotation tool to change the mouth’s transformation pivot, but this has not addressed the problem.

For now I’m just going to redo all the work of hand-placing the mouth at each offending frame. However I feel uneasy that the issue could raise its head again in future projects, and I’m not aware of a way to prevent it from happening.
Is there a way to change/correct a symbol’s registration point?

Thank you for any help,

- Rashid


So even though I’ve moved on in development, I’ve kept a copy of the project around which is in the state described earlier. Out of curiosity I tried diddling with it further today and was able to get the blue crosshairs to remain in a constant location within the mouth symbol. This was done by playing with the various pivot tools, copying ranges of pivot locations, etc. Although I don’t remember the exact steps, just that it was not the intuitive approach (which would be simply copying a “good” pivot over all the “bad” pivots. It involved more experimentation than that, with inconsistent results between trials.)
however, even after getting the crosshairs to remain stationary, the mouth still was positioning itself incorrectly within the character’s symbol in the same way as before.
This “stationary crosshair” file was saved out as a new project for reference, and then I went to report these findings here. However, when opening the newly saved project just now, the mouth is now positioned correctly on the character.

Hi, Lilly. That’s quite a full response, thank you for your effort on these forums, it is appreciated.

To double check: Am I interpreting what you had written correctly in understanding that the overall symbol’s grey cross-hair should be displayed in a consistent position throughout the course of that symbol’s frames? The oddity I’ve been seeing in this example is that the cross-hairs within the mouth symbol suddenly shift.
As illustrated in the screenshots, the mouth symbol contains one drawing layer, attached to a peg layer. The frame at which the cross-hairs suddenly shift is a frame which does not have a new drawing on it, nor does it have a new keyframe. However the peg layer it is attached to is in the process of tweening between keyframes.

When trying out the third step you had listed, I ran into problems. That is, using copy/paste while the pivot tool is selected shall paste all qualities of the frame for me, not just the pivot. (Previously, I had copy/pasted pivots by using the pivot feature of “paste special” instead.) That is, what drawing is displayed shall also be pasted.
With the pivot tool selected, if I copy the frame just before the cross-hair shifts and paste it to the frame just when the cross-hair shifts, nothing happens (as those two frames share the same drawing.) The cross-hair still jumps.
“Paste special” did properly update the pivot between the various drawings within the mouth symbol. However, the issue with the the grey cross-hairs remained. Then pressing “copy pivot to parent symbol” still kept the shifting behavior of the cross-hairs.
After bringing all of the mouth drawings to share the same pivot, and having used “copy pivot to parent symbol”, I then tried saving the project, closing it and then reopening it (seeing as how that was necessary when I had chaotically fixed it before.) But the cross-hairs were still shifting midway through the mouth’s frames, as before.

Ah, thanks. That’s what I was missing. Copies/pastes fine now.

The cross-hair has two different positions during the course of the symbol’s timeline, neither one of which updates to a pivot’s location when using the “Copy Pivot to Parent Symbol” button.

Ok, thanks. I’ll report the issue to to support.

Pardon the repeated question, the close relationship between the words “pivot” and “cross-hairs” has a danger of causing a misunderstanding. So just to make sure I understand correctly when writing up the report: When a symbol is open for editing, is it or is it not acceptable behavior for the large, grey cross-hairs (which span across the entire viewport) to be shown at different positions depending on which frame number is selected in that symbol’s timeline?
My understanding is that yes it is a feature.

In case anyone with the same problem finds this thread, here’s a simple work-around Ron at support had found:

“There are two ways to fix stuck pivot. The simpler method is to simply move the pivot away and then back to the original olocation before copying it to the parent element. The other method to fix it is to go into the Drawing View first but this involves more steps.”

The first approach works fine for me, just a move and an undo.
Thanks bunches!

Well let me see if I can explain the symbol pivots in a way that kind of makes it make sense.

What happens with a symbol is that there may be multiple drawing layers inside of a symbol. With each drawing layer, there may be multiple drawings. So, let’s say, for example, that you have a symbol for the mouth, and inside this symbol there are two drawing layers - one for the lips, and one for the inside of the mouth, or the teeth, or the tongue, or whatever have you.

You may have separate pivot points on each of these drawing layers, for each drawing. So when you swap from one mouth to the next, then the position of the pivot on the lips might change, and also it might change for the inside of the mouth, or the teeth, etc.

When you have a symbol, however, and you go back out to the main stage, how does it figure out which pivot point you want to use as the pivot for the whole symbol? Each drawing layer has a pivot on it. Should it combine those pivot points together? This might result in unpredictable, or undesired behaviour.

This is where the cross-hairs come in. Going back inside your symbol, for each drawing on each drawing layer you can set up the pivot with your Pivot Tool like normal.

But then, you need to select one drawing that has the pivot that you want to use OUTSIDE the symbol, and promote that pivot to be the pivot of the master symbol.

With the Pivot tool activated, if you use the option Copy Pivot to Parent Symbol, from the Tool Properties window, you’ll notice that the grey cross-hairs will now update to be in the same position as that pivot. The grey cross-hairs indicate the pivot point of the overall symbol.

If you ever did get them all misaligned, it’s not that hard to fix. I’d do it this way:
1) Go inside the symbol.
2) Use your Pivot Tool. Make sure that each of the drawing in here has the pivot positioned where you want it to be.
3) If you want all the drawings to have the same pivot point, then you should copy the pivot from one drawings to the other. With the Pivot Tool selected, simply do a Ctrl+C on the frame with the good pivot, then do a Ctrl+V on the frame whose pivot you’d like to change.
4) Once all the pivots are set up appropriately on those drawing layers, then use the option “Copy Pivot to Parent Symbol”, in the Tool Properties of the Pivot Tool, to update the Symbol’s pivot (grey cross-hairs).

Hope this helps!


Hmm. Well, one thing that I probably didn’t state accurately enough, is that when you use the Pivot tool to copy and paste the pivot, you need the focus (red outline) to be around the Camera view. If you simply select the cell in the Timeline, it will copy the exposure. So with the pivot tool activated, copy the pivot from the camera view of the first drawing onto the camera view of the next drawing. Then copy to the parent symbol.

Are you saying that when you adjusted the pivot, and then used the Copy Pivot to Parent Symbol button, the grey cross-hairs did not adjust to the position of the pivot that was displayed?


Hmm this is very odd indeed. The symbol’s pivot can change over the course of the timeline, but should always be defined by that (but it always starts in the centre by default).

Perhaps it’s best if you write in to so that they can take a look at your scene file.


You definitely are able to have the Symbol Pivot (grey cross-hairs) at different locations on different frames. This is a feature. The problem that you were describing to me was that you were changing the position of one of the pivots on the drawing layer with the Pivot Tool, and then you were trying to update the Symbol Pivot to match this pivot, and the grey cross-hairs were not updating properly to match that pivot.