Newbie to Toon Boom comments and questions about Xposure sheet

Hi all!

Been mucking around with the toon boom demo, broke down and bought my copy a week ago.

Very happy with it so far. I like drawing in TB much better than flash. It seems to be more responsive to my Wacom, or else I just like the interface better and my imagination’s doing the rest.

I think that I grok in fullness the use of the Exposure sheet in TB. If I do cut-out style characters and have more than one per scene, the Exposure sheet’s gonna be more crowded than a house party after midterms.

Would it be possible to have a folder-type thingie that I could put all the elements of a character inside and show or hide the contents of that folder with a single click? Kind of like how JK showed (in his blog) how to use pegs to simplify the timeline’s elements. But this would be an Exposure Sheet only kinda-thing. I think this would be a “good thing” and hope I’ve explained it okay.


Mike,Unfortunately there is no single folder solution for the x-sheet so you will just want to uncheck the elements you don’t want displayed. It is more tedious that a single hide folder solution so that’s a great suggestion for the future. -JK

Thanks JK!I’ve gotten used to the uncheck the elements routine, but it’s just so darn time-consuming and more tedious that it needs to be, imho.I was hoping to do some kind of cut-out/frame-by-frame animation, but the sheer number of elements has given me pause. Oh well, I can deal, I’m very happy with Toon Boom Studio in any case!

Mike,If you are using articulated cut-outs then the majority of your work is in the timeline where you can use pegs as folders to hide tracks as needed. You shouldn’t need the exposure sheet for much. Your cut-out characters are prebuilt elsewhere and made into templates so as you bring a template into the time line you just un-check its elements in the exposure sheet as part of that process and you should never need to view the parts of a cut-out character in that exposure sheet. The exposure sheet is more oriented to hand drawn animation and layout which is why TBS has both an x-sheet and a timeline. Cut-outs are keyframe centric and only require the timeline to animate. You should be constructing and fine tuning your cut-outs in separate “work up” scenes that can be in different project files or unchecked and excluded from the export of the current project. I certainly appreciate your thoughts on the un-checking of elements and I’m sure that Mathieu is reading this thread and the wheels are turning for future enhancements. -JK

Hey JK,Good points you brought up. What I’m trying to do is a “blend” of both cut-out and traditional animation. So a lot of the motion is going to be keyframe based, but the element used will have multiple drawings.For instance, I have a character who is lowering his head (side view) from the sky to eye level. Using cut-outs I can rotate the head from the pivot point (just behind and a bit below the ears). Then in the Xsheet entry for the head, I can draw the tweens of a profile to a front view. So I get the best of both cut-outs and frame-by-frame animation.I can do this in Flash, using symbols, the Animonger extension and naming keyframes. In ToonBoom, I will be going from the timeline to the xsheet to create these actions. So I’ll be using the Xsheet elements like I would use a symbol in flash.I think that what I’m really getting at is that right now the Xsheet is just a “standard” spreadsheet and I would like to see it gain more of a “database” ability; so that an element, such as eyes, could have exposures/drawings with user-defined labels (in addition to being able to name specific drawings) such as “Side View” “3/4 Front view” etc… then within these labeled groups I could have drawings named “open”, “closed” and so on. The labels would be seen on the cell properties palette.Even though Traditional animation would get bogged down with this kind of detail, doing cartoons “tradigitally” – this would be an asset, imho, because the Xposure sheet would contain all the drawings for a character/object/whatever and then in the timeline the actual cells that are needed for an action would be chosen and rendered out as an SWF, MOV or whatever. I hope this makes some kinda sense, as I’m still learning TB.

Mike,You have a couple of choices: (1) you can do all that you described inside your cut out character through cell swapping in the rigged elements. This is the normal approach.Or, you can create a special template just for the body part like the head for turns. In that case you would bring in that template and hold it on a “blank” position until you want to turn the head. Then for the head turn you move the head and associated parts to a “blank” position while your replacement head takes over. In either case you don’t need to use the exposure sheet of that scene because you build all of these actions in advance and place them in one or more templates. Remember that cut-out characters can have multiple cells for each element and you can use them interchangeably. Just like you would have one the characters hands change from open to closed to pointing a finger etc. or change mouth positions etc. Do some experimenting as part of your character design. -JK