Onion skinning current layer?

I think many using TBS can attest to the idea that its onion skinning system is pretty awful. Unlike Flash, you don’t have a lot of control over how many frames back and forward you can see, and for some reason, everything gets blended together.

It’s a mess and an absolute nightmare for me, since I’m practicing animating smoke right now. I’ve created two layers for this; one for the main smoke blob, and the second for the shading (I did this because TBS doesn’t combine strokes with fills when using “Draw Top Layer”). The blob is completely animated, but when I begin to outline and fill the shades on the upper layer, onion skinning doesn’t display the previous frame. Instead, the main blob on the layer below covers the previous frame of the shades layer. It doesn’t matter whether I use color transparency or not (this is another thing Flash does better, since the translucency of frame ghosts are too opaque half of the time, making it difficult to distinguish other frame from the current drawing).

Does anybody have an idea on how to counteract this problem, or does Toon Boom simply need to update the onion skinning tool?

Oh, and another thing: Given the exposure sheet, why can’t I exclude certain elements from the onion skinning while still allowing them to show in the currently viewed frame?

Flash may do everything better than Toon Boom Studio but so does Toon Boom Animate, Animate Pro and Harmony.

There is some flexibility with Onion Skinning in Studio. You can choose incrementally from 1 to 3 previous and next Drawing Layers to be displayed. You have the option of using Colour Shading. You can also change the colours of Next and Previous skins.

Without seeing examples of the various conditions you are experiencing I cannot say whether any of these will help you.

I think Colour Shading unchecked or changing the colours of Previous skins might help.

Can you post screen capture samples?

An image has been attached. It’s a little small from compression in uploading, so let me know if there’s a problem.

Go into Preferences and turn off Colour Shading. As a result you will get an onion skin that is an echo of the original (current) with the shading faded but the line significant instead of a unique colour context. It may be more perceptible in this situation. Trying it is the only way to know.

If you can see in the image provided, I’m using onion skinning without color shading. The problem is how hard it is to see the next and previous frames with a flood-filled drawing. Flash seems to blend the ghost frames with the current one to make this easier. What I want to now is if anything like this is possible in Toon Boom or if some kind of update is simply needed for it.

Sometimes you need to see something to judge and then use as a benchmark so I asked for something specific.

It looks like this does not have an outline, at least not one in a different color. I have found that an outline helps make the onion skins stand out clearer. Does it have an outline? Is the artwork in gray, black and white or did you remove the color to reduce the file size?

Have you tried changing the color of the onion skins?

The drawings do have outlines, but I intentionally made them the same colors as their respective fills for a purely stylistic purpose. Change the onion skin color wouldn’t matter since they silhouette any drawing with fills.

I suggested changing the color of the Onion Skin because it might help if it were a different color.

I would try many things quickly if this were my problem on my computer. It produces solid data to go by. Actually doing it doesn’t always produce what I think so I don’t dismiss ideas at the mere thought of them.

There are differences when color, transparency and shading are adjusted in various combinations beyond transparency or color alone that could help when things are muddy.

Good luck.

Well, I can generally manage with what’s here. My ultimate issue is better visibility of the current frame next to the ghosts. Is there some way to turn down the opacity of the onion skin without changing the alpha of the actual drawings?

I would experiment with the various options and see what they look like. To some degree the results are not what I would imagine. Seeing them is the only way to know. Maybe something will work better.