Referencing or swapping templates and rigs?

In a production environment, the director will often require design changes of characters, props, or backgrounds. It’s almost impossible to nail down design 100% before animating. For example, the director wants the character’s head shape to be different, or a mouth shape is changed.

In programs like maya, you can reference your rig so if a change needs to be made, you can update the rig, open your scene and all of your animation is preserved (unless there was a change to an animation related part of the rig, like a pivot). You can also copy and past animation curves on the whole character so you can swap out the rig for an updated rig.

How can you do this in Toon Boom Animate Pro? I’ve read the user guide and watched the video tutorials looking for the answer.

The way I understand templates is, you are just importing the template. If you need to make a change to the character after you’ve animated the template, you have to manually copy and paste changes to rig parts from your master template to your animated template that’s in your scene.

Is there a way to “reference” a rig/template, swap out a rig, or copy and paste anim curves from one rig to another, so you can make design changes as the production goes along?


Thanks for the info. I will give this a try. :slight_smile:

Well there’s a couple of ways to do this, but keep this in mind - that the size of the drawing matters. In Animate Pro, when you define the pivot point of a drawing, you’re defining the point at which that drawing layer is going to rotate. But if you connect several drawings in a hierarchy, then you will be stringing together those pivot points. So if you change the length of the drawings, this is going to change your rig, and your animation will be off.

But if you’re only moderately updating your drawings, but the general size is the same, then this is definitely something you can do. It’s actually really simple - you don’t touch the animation at all, you just simply swap in the new drawing.

You can save the new character template in the library, but if you want to drag and drop a whole character template in, then you need to make sure that the structure and the hierarchy is the same. If it changes, you won’t be able to drag it in - but you can update it layer per layer.

If then drag and drop the updated rig onto the timeline, hold down Ctrl while you’re dragging it in to get your Drag Special options. Then hold down Always Create Drawings, and it will create new drawings on each drawing layer. So let’s say you had drawing 1 on the hand, leg, chest - now the new template will add drawing 2.

Then you just go back to the exposure and switch it to 2, and you have the new drawing there, without the need to adjust any animation.

You can adjust the drawing in the Library’s image swapper, in the XSheet, or in the Timeline Data View, or with the [ and ] shortcuts.