I’m doing a short film and when we go from one shot to another, should we add a new drawing layer or just insert a keyframe and keep it on the same layer? Is there another way beside adding a new layer for every shot and every element. Also is there a way to lock off a scene/shots after they’re completed to preserve them? It seems cumbersome because by the end the project we’ll have 10000 layers.


When moving from shot to shot you should change of project file. Then put back then final thing together with an editing software at the end.

Best regards,


does this mean … one shot - one project/file? 2 shots = 2 different projects? sorry just clearing things out… :slight_smile: then maybe edit it with a movie editor? am i right?

sorry again… im still learning… ;D

Yes. I just finished up a 4 minute animation which I ended up splitting up in to 10 different scenes, any where from 150 to 1000 frames, then merged them altogether in Adobe Premiere.

I’m glad I found this thread, as I was just about to post on this subject.

So, the prescribed method is to create each shot in a different project (kinda odd, as the word “project” suggests something a little more inclusive).

I am working on an animation where I’m handling many shots in one project. Basically I am using the full length of the timeline, which is around 10 or 11 minutes (you can’t scroll any further than 16000 frames).

It’s true that Toon Boom does not make this convenient, but there are still advantages:

There is a huge creative advantage to having everything in one place, instead of spread around different software. You can make changes spontaneously, and instantly see the outcome. For example, changing the timing of a cut could lead to changing the duration of a character’s expression. If I were using multiple software packages, I’d have to make the decision to change the cut, and then go back into Animate and alter the source file, and re-export it. That takes way longer, and if I’m not happy with the first result, I have to repeat the whole process. It’s much nicer to just move a few keyframes on a single timeline, and see the result.

Obviously it’s also much more efficient. I can sketch out an animatic (slideshow/storyboard) version, then flesh that out into a finished animation, all in the same place. Again, I can make changes spontaneously. If I were composing each shot separately, I would have to do a great deal more advance planning, determining the length of each shot, and its exact place in the overall work, before creating anything. Of course, traditionally animation is heavily planned and timed just like that, but I like a more spontaneous style that’s not so steeped in tables and time codes.

This approach might be prohibitively cumbersome if you have a lot of layers and assets, but it’s been manageable for me because my scenes are relatively simple. I have a background painting, and usually just one or two characters on the screen. Each character is composed from several layers: body, mouth, eyes. The body layer contains all the body poses, for all shots. Many of them are very similar: the same general pose, with the hand moved slightly, for instance.

(Of course, if I’ve got 5 mostly-identical poses, with just the hand moving around, or the legs crossing or something, if I want to change any of them, I have to manually copy-and-paste the modified region of the drawing to each version. So that could be more convenient. It could be avoided by making each part of the body on a different layer, like torso, hands, etc. But the trade-off is that I’d have to do a lot more timeline work, keeping all those layers straight. More on that later…)

Say I’m working on a scene with 3 shots, A, B and C. They may be a shot of one character, a reverse shot of the other character, and a wide shot of the room, with both characters. The first thing I do is put the soundtrack on the timeline (I am creating visuals for a pre-composed dialogue.) Then I set up the shots, switching between A, B and C depending on who is going to be talking and what I want to show at the time. Once’s that’s done, I do a second pass where I sketch in the characters’ bodies. Again, each character has all his body poses on a single layer. (Note that I’m working with discrete, static poses, not fluid animation! They are kind of just swapping poses as they talk.)

Putting aside my argument for doing everything in one place, it’s true that Toon Boom does not make this approach as easy as it could. It has its own unnecessary tediums. Namely, for every camera cut, every layer has to be changed. I change the background (of course), I change each character body to the pose corresponding to the camera angle, as well as each character’s mouth and eye layers. It’s about tolerable at this level of detail, but if I had more layers, it would start to be a huge pain in the ass.

What would be amazing is if you could compose separate “shots,” which would just be a collection of keyframe settings for any/all your layers. For example, you could have a “shot” layer on the timeline, which gives directions to all the other layers. When you paste a keyframe into the shot layer, say the keyframe called “wide view”, it would automatically set the background layer to the wide view background, and set all the other layers to correspond, as well. So the layer for a character called Bob would be set to the keyframe where Bob is in the right place for the wide view.

One thing this doesn’t solve is having different poses for a given character. For example, say Bob is sometimes standing up, sitting down, or crossing his legs. If he’s crossing his legs in shot A, when we cut to shot B, we’d want him still to be crossing his legs. So maybe there’s a clever way to allow that, also.

Anyway, I typed all that for the benefit of anyone who’s doing something kind of like I am, but also to welcome comments and advice about how I could achieve what I want more efficiently.