Scene layouts - Multiple files or single file?

Hey everyone, I’m just getting into animation and I’ve spent a LOT of time on tutorials with Harmony Premium. I’m really enjoying it, just trying to keep my head from exploding from the shear volume of information.

I completed my first cut-out character rig (3Q front) and was starting on the rest of the character’s positions when I realized I had no clue where to put them! That got me thinking about scenes, characters, full cartoons, etc. I’ve spent days searching, but no answers.

For further information, I’m working on a simple cartoon series. Each episode will be a few minutes long, and will involve multiple scenes/characters per cartoon.

Question 1: When creating a character for use in cutout animation, is it better to create all of his poses in a single drawing file, so you can cycle through them using drawing substitution, or to create a different file for each pose and insert them like symbols as needed? I’ve been assuming that you would put all of the poses in the same file, but I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

Question 2: How much would be included in a single Harmony file? For instance, if I have an episode with 3 scenes in it (scenes “1”, “2”, and “3”). And then each scene has a total of 5 characters in it (named “Ba”, “Be”, “Bi”, “Bo”, and Bu"), and each character has a total of 5 poses. For the final cartoon, how many different Harmony files would that be? Would it just be one episode file with all of that information in it? Would it be 3 files (for scenes 1, 2, and 3) that I would edit together after the fact, and all characters and poses would be in each? Would every prop/background/extra/character/etc be it’s own file?!

I’m assuming it would be 6 files: a “Ba” character file (with all 5 poses in it), a “Be” file, “Bi” file, “Bo” file, and “Bu” file, then an overall episode file with all characters imported in from the library. Relevant background/prop/etc would all reside in that file. Thoughts?



Generally you want to avoid using symbols because it requires an
extra step to go inside the symbol to edit the layers contained in
the symbol.

You want to make separate layers for each body part and put all
the variations of that body part in the same layer for easy drawing
substitution in the Library window. It’s generally easier to use
character templates of a single orientation than to make a full
turnaround rig otherwise you have to scroll through a lot of
drawings for drawing substitution. Keep the structure of the
character the same in the different orientation rigs. Make a
keyframe before and after the section in the timeline if you are
inserting templates of a different orientation so that stuff does
not fly off, out of position.

Make one scene for each character template (or for each orientation
of a character template.)

Backdrops can be stored in a library folder you create called
backdrops, another folder for props, vehicles, incidental characters,
etc to organize yourself for importing into he actual scenes you
will create to do the actual animation for your project.

Thanks so much for the help!

I was about to open myself up to a lot of irritation. I’m so glad you pointed me in the right direction.

I’m off to animate!