Scaling in Drawing View

Hi everybody on this forum,

I am new to TBS (4.0 on an intel Mac) and to animation as well. I have been drawing cartoons for several years now. But now I’d like to do my first animation - a photo cutout clip. So the learning curve is rather steep for me.

There has been a quite informative posting on “Scaling drawings in drawing view” already (;action=display;threadid=3323), which helped me understand the difference between Select and Transform Tool a bit better. I always try to build my drawings within the former, then switch to the latter to start animating, only using my drawing tools to refine or retouch my drawings when necessary. Problem is, I am working with very detailed, high res multilayered photography. So, if I import and vectorize, they are really HUGE. (They have to be, since I zoom in on them closely) E. g. my hero’s head is about 4 times the 12-field grid height. Zooming out so I can see the whole character on my 20" display, the grid, which I use to insure all the relations and proportions are correct, shrinks down to a black point.
On the other hand, my character consists of quite many layers (left eyebrow, rigt eyebrow, upper lip, lower lip, cheek, nostrils etc.). Therefore, I cannot just use the Drawing Select tool and scale my character’s head down to grid size. It would be impossible to scale all the other layers with exactly the same amount.

To make a long story short - Joshua Held asked in his post, whether there’s a way to scale a group of elements simultaneously in drawing view. Personally, I don’t mind scaling hundreds of elements one after the other (this is animation right? This whole project might take me a year at least…) But I keep asking myself: Is there a way to repeat a scaling operation in drawing view (like the “transform > Again” command in photoshop) to exactly the same amount - so my layers won’t loose the proportions I thoroughly built in photoshop before?

I know, I could do it in camera view. But I don’t want to set up any scene for now nor do I want to set any initial key values. Just putting pieces together…

thx for all the valuable information you spread on this forum.
this stuff is really helpful

Best way I could think of to do it in drawing view would be to do it before splitting the char into different layers. I suppose you could put all your elements back onto one, then scale it in drawing view, then split them back up, but that’s probably a pain, er… definitely a pain ::slight_smile:

I don’t have toon boom on this comp but I’m trying to remember the different options on the properties window. I’m not sure without looking, but I think you might be able to enter values to scale each element. Might need a calculator, but still probably less tedious than the first option. Again though I’m not 100% on this one without looking, just a guess.

Ultimately I think I’d still do it in camera view. You can position everything later to set up your scene & just do the scaling there for now to get things closer to the size of the grid.

Hope that’s helpful, maybe someone else has better ideas or can clarify.

thx, kdog, for your sugestions,

I thought it through exactly the same way. The problem is, that I use Photoshop rather like a drawing tool than just to cut out photos. Not only would it be tedious, but impossible to separate my character’s elements within TBS. I could, of course, scale my character parts in Photoshop before importing, but this would produce an inacceptable loss of resolution.

That’s what I tried in the first place. But those values did not change the size of my element in drawing view. And I am not sure, whether this sets initial key values for the active frame in my timeline, which means I could do it in camera view as well…

Perhaps I should do it in camera view anyway: Import and vectorize all my layers into elements, then create a character-peg and group my character’s elements under it, so I can scale them all together down to an usable size (the resolution of my parts/bitmap textures should not be affected that way), then rig the character, save it in a library for use in other scenes/projects and only then scaling it so it fits into my current scene - all within frame 1, so there are no key values stored except those I did during the last positioning? Or am I missing or confusing something important?


A couple of points of clarification the scale values in the properties panel are static values for the entire element for the entire scene and have nothing to do with drawing view, they are just for compositing in camera view. They are just like using the scene ops SELECT tool. Also the text box entries for scale in the properties panel are numerical percentages. So a value of 1 is 100%, .5 is 50%, 1.5 is 150% ect.

Technique wise a cut-out character is normally not rigged in the actual scene in which it will perform. The rigging is done in a “scratch” scene and then the rig is converted into a template that can be copied into future actual scenes.

As far as rigging goes it is advisable to have all the character’s body parts positioned and at the same relative scale before rigging. What I mean by that is if you looked at the character before your did anything as far as rigging it would look like the final character. It doesn’t have to be that way but it saves a lot of work.

Related to our off line e-mail conversation, an advantage of vectorize with textures is that you can use things like reposition all drawings in drawing view on your elements which lets you locate and scale body parts. Again not necessary but I thought I would bring that up as I failed to talk about that in the e-mail.

Finally, again as a matter of technique. You may want to consider several rigs for your characters based on your story requirements. You don’t have to import giant images for close ups ect. you can have a long shot rig and medium shot rig and even a close up rig for a character. If a shot is head and shoulders you don’t need torso, legs ect in that rig. So the size of your images can be varied based on the type rig of which the will be a part. Also saves on file size to not use huge images unless needed. And in some cases you can mix image elements and drawing elements (vectorized with texture) in the same rig. Just some ideas for you to ponder. -JK

Thank you so much for all the input, JK

That’s exactly what I thought about the text box entries… (Having just read the “Key Framed Animation” series on your blog)

Made up scratch scenes for rigging already - since my character design is so much work, I really DO want to use them in further projects. Have to learn about how libraries work by now.

Even though I will have to think very carefully about if and when to use your methods, your tips on making up different rigs for different purposes opens up a whole new way of thinking about the problem itself!

E.g. my “singer” character will sing the chorus 3 times. Therefore I think I’m going to animate this scene with the total giant rig, although he shows up in only one of them in a closeup - so that I can reuse this hard-to-lip-sync part later when zooming in on his face. On the other hand, there are characters who never will show up from close or at least everything below their hips won’t.

Btw, I myself have decided to use Vectors for a very simple reason: Cutting in Photoshop gives you very limited security, whether the character will be moving correctly when animated. I have already encountered minor problems (part of en elbow sticking out, when arm is rotated) that I easily solved by simply using the contour editor in TBS and not having to go back to Photoshop to start all over again.

Eager to learn. Dedicated to the “Illusion of Life”.
Thx once more,