Sequencer questions

New to animation and TBS. Nice to be here.

Couple of questions:

I’m trying to create a short that’s barely animated - think Dr. Katz. I’ve created different versions of the eyes, like half closed, fully closed, open, looking left, looking right etc so that I don’t have to redraw them in every frame (it takes me forever to draw something decent). I want to create sequences of these to provide expression. I’ve tried creating multiple drawings on one layer, and I’ve also tried creating different layers for each eye type.

1.) What’s the best approach for that effect? It seems like it might be multiple drawings on one layer, but it’s hard to know what’s going on since the sequencer doesn’t allow different colors to break up the chunks in each layer.

  1. Is there any way to paste something in a cell upstream without it filling the gaps behind it? Paste shouldn’t be the exact same as Extend Exposure. That’s really, really annoying =/


I would do the multiple stages of expression on a single layer for some parts and might even use more than one layer for different parts of the object like the eye brows to enable variety and precision.

If you really want to convey a lifelike quality I believe you will benefit from building some flexibility into the pieces of the puzzle.

I would create a project sequence for each emotion, activity or whatever expression theme you have in mind then copy/paste/resize/customize when advantageous.

Just some things to consider.


What do you mean by creating a project sequence for each activity?

Thanks for your help so far.

If the different eye versions are on the same layer, I would use ‘image swapping’ to switch between the different eye types. For example, if I want the character to blink in frame #X, I can go to that frame and pick the closed eye drawing from the ‘Cells’ tab (lower right pane). That way, I can change the eye versions at any frame simply by reusing/swapping the images I’ve already drawn.

Update: As an example, my Little Owl character ( uses the above ‘image swapping’ technique for its eyelids.

As for pasting upstream (or is it downstream, i.e. later in time?), I’m getting the same auto-filling of frames, too. My workaround is to go back, select my ‘intentional gaps’ that Toon Boom happily extended, and hit the delete key.

What I mean is that I would take a feature in which I would like to build smooth high-quality expression in and create a new project (whatever it is that you create when you start a new file when opening TBS and set up the file with a name and so on) just for that movement/expression. I might call one “Surprised” or “Laughter” or “Running” or “Dancing” and within each I would focus on conveying that expression/movement the best I could. Later I would be able to go to this library of feature animations and use the data created for other projects/animations that required that effect.

At this point I am speaking from theory. I just acquired TBS and do not actually have experience with using this approach to see whether it is practical. It is what I would do and if it didn’t work I would have learned things and perhaps thought of an alternative during the process.

Good luck!