Questions on ToonBoom

My girlfriend and I have been using ToonBoom v4 for a few weeks now. We’ve managed to put together a range of cut-out animation and stored many in our own ToonBoom library of templates. Great. But there are still some things we’re stuck on. Can anyone help us out?

Q.Does ToonBoom have Autosave?
ToonBoom seems very stable but I have had two crashes (probably not from ToonBoom) and my work was lost. Surely Autosave is standard now on most software??

Q.Moving anchor points
You create an animation with multiple elements and pegs, e.g. and arm.
You want the last keyframes to match the first keyframes so you can Loop the animation. How do you do this? If the first and last keyframes don’t match, all the elements end up migrating across the screen.

The ‘obvious’ answer would be to copy the first peg keyframe and paste it at the end peg keyframe…but it doesn’t seem possible to copy a peg-keyframe. Why not? The peg keyframe is just a container for the position of the related drawing element. If you paste the peg keyframe into the same peg-element, but at a different frame…what’s the problem? How should you do this?

Q.Loops and Cycles:
Took me a while to understand that there are two terms in ToonBoom for an animated sequence. Each, for some reason, has a completely different menu option to get it to repeat multiple times. Cycle uses the main menu-element-cell-create cycle (could it be anymore hidden). For Loop you can right-mouse-click the peg cell. Having some consistencies, albeit with different animation ‘types’, would remove some confusion.

What I can’t understand is how to Loop a cutout character. It’s not shown in the Gerber(?) cutout tutorial. If I have ALL elements and pegs nested within a single character peg I’d expect that selecting Loop on that top-level peg element would result in ALL child elements being looped. Even when I ‘collapse’ the elements, it doesn’t appear to work. Instead, I have to Loop every child peg element. What am I doing wrong???

The other problem I’m having with Loops is repeating the animation sequence, not contiguously, but with gaps between each Loop. How do I do this?

The ‘obvious’ answer would be to make it possible to be able to select the top left most peg cell of the animation sequence, press SHIFT, and then select the bottom right most cell and COPY the whole animation “blob”. You could then paste the “blob” anywhere on the timeline. When pasting the “blob” of animation, ToonBoom could ask which keyframe you want to start pasting into.

Q.Inserting extra frames across ALL elements:
I create an cut-out animation sequence: head, arms etc. On review, the head moves too quickly. I want to add more cells to the head-peg. The head is then out of sync with the rest of the animation. So how do I insert a series of new frames across ALL elements? I want to push all the elements out by 4 frames.

Q.Inserting peg-keyframe
When inserting a peg-keyframe, ToonBoom’s default behaviour is to make the keyframe inherit the properties of the keyframe to the RIGHT. However, at least in my experience, you really ant the keyframe to inherit the properties of the keyframe to its LEFT (the earlier keyframe).

Because you can’t appear to copy a peg-keyframe it then is nearly impossible to make the newly inserted keyframe identical to the keyframe to its LEFT…resulting in jerky animation. Is there a way around this? When adding a peg-keyframe can ToonBoom ASK you which keyframe you want to inherit from?

Q.Duplicate multiple elements (e.g. upper arm, lower arm, hand)
How do you do this (including pegs)? Looks like you can only copy one element at a time.

Q.Mirror image duplicate (or clone)
With cut-out animation you’re often repeating work. For instance, the right arm (upper, lower and hand) is often identical, but the mirror image, of the left arm. Lining up elements and marking anchor points take time. Is there anyway to just press a button and have ToonBoom “duplicate and mirror” a collection of elements and pegs?

Q.Importing from Photoshop
I normally create the different parts of a cut-out character using Photoshop 7. Is there any way to import and vectorize ALL of the layers in one go, having them pasted into different ToonBoom Drawing elements, and assuming the same names as used for each of the Photoshop Layers?

I see something for Adobe Illustrator, but not for Photoshop. I can save from Photoshop to ai but ToonBoom doesn’t recognize the file. I can save each element as PDF, PSD, or PNG but this takes a LOT of time.

Q.Drawing element start frame
You can right-mouse-click a peg cell and select “Change start frame”. Why can’t you do that with a drawing element?

Q.What’s the difference between a peg-keyframe and drawing-keyframe?
If the drawing is a child element of a peg then why would the drawing need a keyframe? Why would you animate using keyframes on the underlying drawing. This is annoying if you’re in a rush an accidently add a keyframe to the drawing element rather than the peg.

Q.Nest audio element within parent peg
You don’t seem to be able to nest an audio element with a character (peg) element. This would help tidy up the timeline when you have multiple characters and associated audio.

Q.Lip sync tutorial out of date
I read (a number of times) the ToonBoom tutorial on Lip Sync. It baffled me for a while because it recommended that you add each mouth image into different cells in the exposure sheet and renumber each cell as “1”, 2" etc. so they matched the Lip Sync mapping. Have you tried that???!
ToonBoom, by default, names each new cell in the mouth element ALPHABETICALLY - as “Mouth-A”, “Mouth-B” etc. If you rename the cell to “1” OR “Mouth-1” the cell and image ‘disappear’.

Q.Can ToonBoom mark Lip Sync cells (“F”, “Th” etc.) on Timeline?
Obviously if the cells on the timeline are small (you’ve zoomed in) this won’t be possible, but if the cells are larger, why not mark them so you can get a better idea of how your lip sync is working?

Q.Does ToonBoom have Autosave?
Nope

Q.Moving anchor points
Set pivot points with rotation tool before doing any animation. Pivot points set with the select (arrow) tool are temporary and affect all frames, and pivot points set with transform tool set a keyframe for the pivot point value at that frame. Give you odd results. You can imagine.


Q.Loops and Cycles:
right… loops are for pegs and cycles are for sets of frames

Looping pegged actions requires that you start and end at the same value for all keys. You can copy a keyframe by Control-dragging it in the timeline. You can copy keys in a hierarchy by doing same with hierarchy collapsed.

I’m not so good with loops, really. ;D


Q.Inserting extra frames across ALL elements:
Not sure, but there is a shortcut (“R”?) for inserting blank cells in x-sheet. Try this with a row of cells selected in x-sheet across element columns.

Q.Inserting peg-keyframe
Try using Control-drag on the key in question in timeline view.

Q.Duplicate multiple elements (e.g. upper arm, lower arm, hand)
right–only one at a time. I programmed shortcuts in preferences since I use this (and clone) a lot.

Q.Mirror image duplicate (or clone)
Use clone, then use Element/Transform/flip horizontal(or vertical) in the menu.

Q.Importing from Photoshop
I normally create the different parts of a cut-out character using Photoshop 7. Is there any way to import and vectorize ALL of the layers in one go, having them pasted into different ToonBoom Drawing elements, and assuming the same names as used for each of the Photoshop Layers?

I don’t think so.


Q.Drawing element start frame
You can right-mouse-click a peg cell and select “Change start frame”. Why can’t you do that with a drawing element?

[just double click it in timeline and drag it around.]

Q.What’s the difference between a peg-keyframe and drawing-keyframe?
If the drawing is a child element of a peg then why would the drawing need a keyframe? Why would you animate using keyframes on the underlying drawing. This is annoying if you’re in a rush an accidently add a keyframe to the drawing element rather than the peg.

[I have trouble here also]

Q.Nest audio element within parent peg
You don’t seem to be able to nest an audio element with a character (peg) element. This would help tidy up the timeline when you have multiple characters and associated audio.

[true enough, but you can’t–I put all my sound elements at the top]

Q.Lip sync tutorial out of date
I read (a number of times) the ToonBoom tutorial on Lip Sync. It baffled me for a while because it recommended that you add each mouth image into different cells in the exposure sheet and renumber each cell as “1”, 2" etc. so they matched the Lip Sync mapping. Have you tried that???!
ToonBoom, by default, names each new cell in the mouth element ALPHABETICALLY - as “Mouth-A”, “Mouth-B” etc. If you rename the cell to “1” OR “Mouth-1” the cell and image ‘disappear’.

Q.Can ToonBoom mark Lip Sync cells (“F”, “Th” etc.) on Timeline?
Obviously if the cells on the timeline are small (you’ve zoomed in) this won’t be possible, but if the cells are larger, why not mark them so you can get a better idea of how your lip sync is working?

I’m so used to the TBS system that I don’t really think about it when I see A or B. 'Course, that’s in X-sheet view… I may not be able to help here…

Hey, thanks Rob. Quick answers…I might finish before 2am at this rate :slight_smile: