Repairing Mistakes

I introduced a walk cycle at the start of a scene. Later I copied a string of character frames (contracted peg element) from the walk cycle and pasted them further along the timeline. I didn’t use paste special - just paste new object. Each copied character frame was repositioned along the x axis by selecting with the transform tool and moving the contracted character peg along. Only after much more work I found the original range of frames I copied in the walk cycle had shifted. When I move them I affect the copies. Is there a way of disconnecting the relationship of the copied frames to the originals? I’ve tried cutting the copied frames and pasting special without parameters - but this ruins the positioning.

If you want to use a walk cycle or any cycle that moves the character from place to place you will want to separate the physical position change from the basic cycle movement. If you go to my Cartooning In Toon Boom blog and study any of the articles and tutorials I present there, you will see that whether I am doing a fish swimming cycle or a character walking cycle, that I have the cycle itself attached to a motion component for it to move across the scene. In general, cycles don’t have forward motion embedded in the cycle loops themselves.

One of the things I often stress in my articles is understanding traditional animation techniques (pre-computer software). Cycles in limited animation are made to appear to move forward by one of two methods: (1) The character walking in a cycle is fixed and the background elements are attached to traveling peg bars and they move in relation to the stationary character art. (2) the character cycle art is attached to a traveling peg bar so that it advances across in front of the background. In the software world of TBS, motion paths are actually simulating and replacing the classical camera stand functionality of traveling peg bars and compound table movements.

As to repairing your mistakes, you need to go back and get a solid foundation of conceptual understanding of how things are done in animation and avoid hacking and blind copy and paste. I normally tell people “don’t copy and paste” unless and until you fully understand keyframes and how they work in instructing the render engine and metaphorically replace the camera stand. It isn’t like copy and paste in a word processor, it is like coping and pasting code snippets in a computer program, context is everything, just because you can copy and paste something doesn’t mean it should be copied or pasted. It has to make sense in terms of the instructions you are trying to give the render engine at a specific time to do a specific task. -JK

Thanks again for your response. Of course I’m new to ToonBoom and animation, and consequently I’m committing common mistakes. I have read your articles, the guide, followed the Bundle tutorials and subscribed to the VTC video. But like learning any software package, understanding how things should be done usually comes after wondering why things are going wrong. I’ve never read a guide or range of tutorials yet that cover all eventualities. And that’s just as true with Toonboom. The exigencies of the program are perhaps too elaborate to allow a comprehensive guide on correct use of its functionality. So thank goodness there are experts out there who can assist. Though I suspect you sometimes feel like a school teacher - facing a new brood of students - having to repeat everything from scratch.

There is a lot of truth in that statement, but that is also a major plus in helping people learn a craft, you get to share the magic of their success for each person you help.

There are times though when I feel compelled to warn someone that they have jumped in to the deep end of pool before having learned how to even tread water. The only danger in this case is that they will have a lessened chance for success and an increased chance of becoming frustrated and disillusioned.

The learning curve is often misunderstood based on the easy access to the tools. Just because software is purchased and installed, it doesn’t mean that the complexity of the craft has changed. There are many layers of learning involved in animation of which software usage is only a small part. There are fundamentals of animation to be learned (this should be the first step and only requires minimal software mastery). There are fundamentals of cinematography to be learned. There are fundamental of direction and production to be learned etc.

Unfortunately most new users of the software look at keyframing and cut-outs and think that they are a shortcut around the real fundamentals which are outside of just software usage. That is not true and unfortunately a lot of people just end up getting frustrated and quit after getting very little real success and missing most of the joy of bringing their art to life. They blame the software for not being able to turn their visions into treasures. A hammer never built a house, a word processor never wrote a novel, and animation software never made an animated cartoon. These are all just tools that aid a skilled crafts person in creating their vision. The emphasis is on skilled and craft both of which are mostly independent of the tool beyond a small amount of usage knowledge. -JK