please clarify line art and color art layers

Please help me understand the purpose of having line art and color art layers. In the TB tutorials (Pack 5 Adding Colour), it appears a lot of the painting is applied to the line art layer. In Ch. 24, the tutor is covering separating line and color art layers and demonstrates how to do so, but she doesn’t explain why. She is able to paint and edit areas all on the line art layer throughout the tutorials. I can kind of understand that keeping color and line art separate from each other could be desirable, but I haven’t been successful in performing the separation to match the tutorial’s results. My color art layer looks like an emaciated stick figure. The only reason for a color art layer seems to be to be able to see (and edit) the color areas without the line work. Is there a purpose I am missing?

Does Toon Boom recommend painting on the color art layer and keeping the line art layer for outlines?

I’m new to this and using Animate2. I very much appreciate any input from y’all.



Mostly there isn’t a recommended way but multiple methods. So both approaches are fine, it is a matter of what suits you.

Personally I would recommend not using unless you have a reason to use. Just adds extra complexity.

I’m not exactly sure what you’re doing wrong but the line art / color options worked perfectly for me. The purpose for separating the original line art from color is so that you can use the line art for fill shapes while keeping your inking separate. Basically you are using shift + clicking on the configure line art to color art button to make a duplicate version of your line art under the original.

Some artists like to use a darker version of the fill colors for their character outlines instead of black. Line Art / Color layers will allow you to quickly paint your original inking without disturbing the rest of the colors. This method is also useful when you want to paint with multiple colors that have a cell shaded look, such as a base color, highlight or shadows. It’s the closest thing animate has to making a quick mask to constrain your paint strokes. To clean up the strokes you put down for shadows or highlights you would just use the base color again.

If you’re only going to use base colors with no highlight or shadow and only want to use black or a single color for your outlines then the dual layer method probably isn’t worth messing with. It would be easier for you to simply ink the artwork and fill in the colors.

I’m also not sure what you mean by, “an emaciated stick figure”. is your actual drawing changing after you perform a certain function? If your line quality has gone wonky try using the D key to toggle strokes on and off? Also make sure that you toggle the right layer to color in. It’s easy to forget that you’re on the line art layer instead of the color layer before you start painting. If you are using standard animate don’t forget you have to turn on the advanced options.

Hope this helps.

This is a timely topic! I was just talking with a co-worker about this whole business of line art/colour art and here’s where I came down on it. Painting on colour art makes sense for “paperless/traditional” style animation so that you don’t accidentally affect the original linework (and, like Tony said, it allows for greater flexibility with the linework after you’ve painted) and painting on line art is best for cut-out style because you can’t move both colour and line layers simultaneously (I think?) We do both styles of animation here, but I feel like using colour art works best when the painting is the end of the process and the drawings are where they will forever be. As always, I could be totally wrong about all of this but it seems to make sense to me - I’d love to hear Lilly’s take on this too!

Just to clarify, when you use Colour Art and Line Art, they are kind of sub-layers within a drawing layer, so when you animate your drawing layer, they both follow the animation.

I’ve seen people that have used separate Line Art and Colour Art on cutout productions, but sometimes it can be a little more tedious because whenever you want to create a new drawing, like a new set of hands for example, you would have to create the line art and the colour art separately.

I think there are a few scenarios where it works great.
1) Paperless/traditional productions - especially where you have coloured lines
2) Productions where you may want to do special effects on one layer and not the other
3) Using Line Art and Colour Art to achieve a better joint/articulation - Animate Pro or Harmony only

Let me explain that third one. Sometimes what people will do is they will use the two layers to create a patch, and then they can filter out the Line Art and Colour Art using those modules in the module library. They could then take the Line Art and put it underneath the part they want to patch, then they could put the patch itself in the Colour Art layer and put this on top, forming a sandwich.

The reason that this can be a nice approach is that you don’t accidentally grab the patch instead of grabbing the other layer, since they’re both actually on the same layer. Another way of solving this issue is to put both parts into a Symbol, and that’s the way I would generally get around this when working in Animate. Or another good method is how they do it on the Video Tutorials on the website.

There’s always many ways to accomplish a task!

Regarding the “stick figure”, I’m assuming that what you’re doing is taking your line art, then going “Convert Line Art to Colour Art”, then when you go to your Colour Art layer, you’re looking at the blue strokes that were created from your Line Art. This is normal - it creates invisible lines on your Colour Art layer so that you can paint in.