Rigging Question

the length of your scene doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to choose when you start. You can add and remove if you wish.

Say you have a character throwing a ball.

You would draw key frames of the motions of throwing the ball (maybe start 5-10 frames apart then you can add in between drawings or move them around.

Then you can play this and get an idea of if the throw is the right speed. If you don’t like it you modify it until the pace is right. Then you can use this as a background in your scene to “trace” your animation over.

If you haven’t ever seen any storyboard around the net search and have a look. If you look in the WIP for alexf he has some excellent storyboard which he using for scene pacing.

I am actually considering showing some of mine via my yourtube channel, but I am somewhat embarassed by how simple they are.

Are you saying that you can simply copy/paste frames without any problems? to add more frames to a scene?

And, I don’t understand this:
Then you can use this as a background in your scene to “trace” your animation over.

What do you mean?

This is very helpful.

I think yesterday you said I could put the facial features as children and the head as parent, but now when I tried the features don’t show up in the TOP view because they are behind the head. I changed the way I did the drawing and decided to make the eyes, nose, mouth, etc. as separate elements, so now I have those on top of the head, although I agree that they really should be parented by the head to make the movements much easier. Is there anything i could do at this point? how could I make the head’s elements show up inside the head. Sorry to be such a bother. you are such a big help!!!

yes you can simply copy and past frames without problems. To add more frames use the options in the drop down menus (i can’t remember which one as i don’t have animate on my phone obviously). So if you need more frames you can add them.

For the second part. With my example for a throw. You now have a layer with a stick man drawing of a throw you are happy with. You can throw it in your library and then drag it into your actual scene. Now you can use it with the light table for a guide as you create your animation. Then your actual finished animation will have the same pace as your storyboard.

For your third part. You need to nudge the layers in the z axis to bring them in fron of the head.

It is a forum, it is meant for questions :slight_smile: I would love to see a more active animate community.

I’ll try this, but not sure I understand:

For your third part. You need to nudge the layers in the z axis to bring them in fron of the head.

Could you explain this better?

I’m so tired from doing this that I need a break! it’s hard, but so wonderful.

Thanks for the help. I do appreciate it greatly.


In the Animate Pro 2 User Guide, you can find more information about the Z nudging on:

Chapter 10: Building a Character > Rigging > Ordering the Layers > Nudging Parts Backwards and Forwards page 441.


I realize now that when Raider mentioned the stick figures he was actually referring to using them them in your storyboard so you can work on the timing and pacing of your scenes. Which is very effective, specially when you take your Storyboards and create the Animatic with sound and all.

However, You are referring to actual timing and spacing for your character’s movement or animation, like what you learn when studying the bouncing ball. Did you check out that link I gave you? Jrawebinar? He has 2 tutorials on Timing and Spacing.

As you will see Jason opens the tutorial by saying that "Timing and Spacing is one of the easiest principles (of animation) to explain and to find, but one of the hardest to master because it is so subjective.“

For years I would see The bouncing ball in animation books, and tutorials, and I always said to myself, “Oh god not that stupid bouncing ball thing again”. My biggest challenge when animating, as is yours at the moment, has always been Timing and spacing.

I would animate a walk cycle it would look like the character is running instead of walking, or like someone hit the Fast forward button on my movie. Recently I have been REALLY studying that stupid bouncing ball and it turns out the bouncing ball was not the stupid one all along… IT WAS ME! :stuck_out_tongue:

Since I’ve started learning and actually animating that Bouncing Ball, I think I am starting to understand Timing and Spacing much much better. I haven’t Mastered it, but I have a better understanding of it.

So my point: As Richard Williams says “you don’t know what you don’t know” when you are trying to learn animation. So when you asked …

” I don’t want the action/speed to be fast and I’m not sure how many frames I should allot for each new gesture. Any tips with that?"

What you are really saying is, “I need to learn Timing ans Spacing”.

Start with the Bouncing ball ( It’s a smart Ball) :wink:

Thanks Marie-Eve I will look that up, but I’m using Animate, not the Pro version.


Good points made. I’ll check the tutorial you mention here and thanks again!


In the Animate 2 user guide, the same information is on page 442.
It is the same process in Animate and Animate Pro.


Here I just made a Quicktip on how to do it
Quick tip - Nuding in Z axis


This quicktip didn’t work for me for some reason. I tried option and I don’t have arrows I do have up and down keys. But, nothing happened the facial elements didn’t come in front.

How are the facial elements setup? Do you have each on separate layers? The eyes, nose, ect? You have to do them each one by one. Make sure the animate button is turned on, and that you are using the Transform tool.

If possible can you put up a screen shot of your timeline?


Thanks I’ll check on what you say here.

I am using the Drawing Substitution method and I’m wondering what the pros and cons are between constructing an object this way, or using the Symbol method? which is what I’ve been doing? I studied the Tutorial about Drawing Substitution and it seems simple and direct.

Drawing substitutions are one of my Top 5 favorite features of Animate. definitely the way to go.

So are you saying that you can’t say take facial features and use drawing substitutions? because the eyes, nose, are on the face? I wasn’t able to “child” these features into the head anyway. Didn’t work last time.

You can cycle the drawing substitution layer too, can’t you? I believe Jason did in the tutorial that Alex mentioned.

This is the correct behaviour. Whenever you select a parent, it always selects its children. You cannot in this case modify the thigh on its own without modifying the lower leg and the foot.

If you want to be able to modify the elements independently, then you should create a peg layer for each element, then you can connect the pegs themselves (NOT the drawings) in a hierarchy. Then you should still be able to click on the drawing layer itself and modify it without modifying the other drawing layers.


Let me clarify: If you select the peg for the thigh, then yes, it will select all the children. But if you select the drawing layer itself, not the peg, then it should just select the drawing layer.

I’ll try to make a screenshot later and post it here.


Just make sure that the focus (red outline) is around the camera view when you try to nudge with the transform tool. Sometimes what happens is you select the layer in the timeline and then the focus is still around the timeline when you try to nudge - in this case a nudge won’t work. You can click in the grey space next to the “Camera” tab at the top to get the focus back in the camera view, or you can hold down spacebar and click to get the focus back in the camera view. Or there’s a “Focus on Mouse Enter” option in the Preferences that will let the focus follow your mouse.


Personally I prefer using Drawing Substitutions. There are no downsides to this and it makes it easier to work with because then you don’t have to go inside of the symbols every time you want to edit a drawing.

The only time it’s handy to use a symbol is when you want to put multiple layers into a container, or when you want to do a cycle type of animation.