So unforgiving ...soo un-forgiving!!

Why is TBS designed to be so unforgiving??
I’m working on this project …after 1500 frames with some 30 elements …there is this one scene where I wanted to repeat a movement several times.

Go to the timeline …copied the frames to repeat …pasted it several times. All of a sudden several elemets peg position are off. Hands and feet are all over the place. Now I’m either going to have to fix some 1500 frames or more …or abandon the project!!

Ok …ok …before this …I had a backup version …I always keep a backup version. So lets just copy the new drawings from the existing version and paste into the back-up …fix the peg position for only some 20 of the new drawings and I’ll be on my merry way …right??

Wrong …pasting the new drawings into the backup still screw up everything!!!

I made very sure the select tool was never check and used the transform tool instead for Peg position. So why the hell won’t it allow a simple copy paste without screwing up some 1500 frames?

I tried copying and paste element from and to the exposure sheet only …it still screws up everything.

I tried creating pegs at the last element before pasting new elements in the timeline …still mess up everything!

Its either go fix the Peg positions for the 1500 frames …or abandon it!!! >:(

I think I’ll abandon it!

Please TBS …I must have done something right to have created 1500 frames …whats the problem now?

Well here’s a piece of what I was working on … its a relatively big file (almost 3MB) so it may take a little while to dowload depending on your connection .

…if anybody knows why a simple copy and paste of frames within the same scene throws things awry …I’m all ears!

Hope it’s not you at 6 in the morning, annoying the neighborhood ?

What an excellent work of animation - I really enjoyed this -
the facial expression and his movements are just marvelous.
(I wouldn’t bother about a few little “inconsistencies” here and there,
just keep your artistic style and freedom - don’t be to hard on yourself)

What is it really, what you don’t like ?


SWEET!! don’t stop that’s outstanding. -JK

Yeah, I watched it expecting his left arm to fly off at some point, but that looked a hell of a lot better than anything I can do. I wouldn’t knock it too hard. Whatever you do please dont abandon this piece, it’s way to good to drop.

Thanks for the kind words everyone. I worked my way through it after the encouragement …but more importantly through another post on this forum I found what may be the best way to copy and paste sections of work within the same scene …without the heart-ache.

I guess I’ll move the section I want to copy to the library first …then paste it in the appropriate section. Some one gave this explanation for scene transition…so I co-opted it here.

good to hear :slight_smile:
I’d have hated to see you drop all that work, & I know how frustrated I would have been if I thought I lost anything close to what you had. It’s great stuff man, can’t wait to see the whole band.

BTW I remember you talking about this in a different thread, but did you end up modeling those drums in 3d as you talked about? If so, which program did you use? I just picked up anim8or & blender, probably gonna go with anim8or for the same reasons as everyone else. (I can sort of understand it) But just curious if you used one of those for the drums or made them strictly in TBS. They came out looking awesome.

Hi Tiger,

I am not sure if that would fix it but you might want to try to use the paste special next time (Cntrl+Shift+B). This being said moving your stuff you want to re-use in the library might be the best way to work.

In any case keep up the good work.

Best regards,


TBS …you have problems with this software…and its directly tied to having large file sizes.

You don’t move the object in the drawing view, you use the transform tool with the PEG to move an object in frame 2000. Do it again in frame 2001 and bam…FRAMES 1 through 2000 …IS ALL SCREWED UP!!!

Its so frustrating …every time now I draw a line or move an object I have to double check that the entire project isn’t screwed up!!

Perform five or 6 actions in a row …and at some pont every friggin thing is screwed up!!

Its as if for every 10 new frames I add, I have go back and fix the first 2000 frames …unbelieveable!!! :’(

I talked about this a year or 2 ago …and it still persists!! Please TBS …please don’t give us any new functions in the next patch or release …just fix what you have now!!! Test the dam software before you release it!! Its not robust enough …as soon as the file grows to a certain point it behaves erratically!!

I want to practice my art …and not waste my time jiggering with the software …and right now …its in my way!!

yeah–me, several years ago. Or me, when I was learning Flash.

We’ve gotten to a place where we expect to learn stuff instantaneously. TBS isn’t all that buggy at this point. I’ve got a classroom full of Flash where little things go wrong on occasion and don’t work the way they should. Sometimes I have to tell a kid to start over.

The kids don’t have access to TBS at this point, so I don’t have a comparitive experience. But I can say that there are a set of rules within TBS, and that learning some of these as you go by experimenting with a process in a non-crucial project can help you understand how to use it where it counts without going completely ape–and I’ve been there.

Our first impulse is to go after the software, the manufacturer, the tech support. I’ve done it!! Recently I stopped just short of it with an email to tech support at Blue, the maker of a mic I use. Turned out the issue was on my end and I just had to be patient enough to get past my own frustration.

This may not apply to you, they are just my own experiences with learning and living. Feel free to throw tomatoes at me.

Let us know your specific problems and maybe we can help. -JK

You saw the music video animation I was working on. The music itself is just over 9 minutes long (almost 14,000 frames ). My intention is to do this in 6 to 7 scenes …each about 2000 frames.
You watched the first 2000 frames, and now I’m at the point where I can now pick up considerable momentum. That is, I have enough individual drawings to create cycles and re-use stuff throughout the rest of the video.

However I am having trouble copy and pasting from earlier frames to the section I’m working on.

For example I’m now on scene 2. I want to copy say …10 frames from a section in scene 1 and paste it into scene 2. I tried doing so several different ways, but each time I try it screws up everything in the first part of the scene scene 2.

Now keep in mind that I’m always pasting at the end of the scene.
For example I’m at a point where the charcater hit the drums in scene 2 at say frame 300. ANd he did the same thing in ten frames in scene 1 (say frames 51 to 60) I want to copy those frames and paste it into scene 2.
At first I tried to select the frames from the timeline in scene 1 and then paste it in scene 2. Did that and everything from frames 1 to 299 is messed up. Arms and feet all over the place.

Next I tried to select the frames in scene 1, move it to the library, then from the library move it to scene 2. This worked for a while …but not now. Now …arms, feet all over the place on the earlier frames.

Ok …lets try to use the exposure sheet and copy from scene 1 and paste it to scene 2 using the exposure sheet. With this method I understand I’ll have to add key frames and fix it in the time line …but only for the 10 frames. Didn’t work …I got the same results.

Now I’m down to …get this… copy the actual drawing in the drawing scene …and paste it to a new drawing…one by one. And this is getting ridiculous.

I also encountered the same issues when I was exclusively in scene 1, and it got progressively worse the more I add to the work.
The file size is about 5.2KB now. When I open the file …it takes about 2 to 3 minutes to open. And sometimes hangs up when I try to close it.

In addition when I tried to move stuff into the library, I’m only able to do so with 10, maybe 20 frames for the 9 element character. Anything more than that and TBS crashes.

The funny thing is …when I open a new instance of TBS …I’m able to do all these functions easily. And I was able to do so quite easy as well for the first say 1000 frames. But at some point this no longer work quite as well.

This is why I conclude that the file size is what matters!

Last time I made this assertion I was doing some things that wasn’t optimizing TBS. Back then, I wasn’t drawing eyes and mouths for example on different elemnets making it necessary to redraw every head, for example.

I got a lot of help from Ugo and have made a lot of changes since, but even then I thought…even if I was practicing the most un-economical way of animating …it should only slow down the machine …not crash!! The fact that I have lines over-lapping shouldn’t make the software crash??? The fact that I use the pencil tool to color in the eyeballs of my character …rather than draw a circle and use the paint tool should make TBS crash!!

So in my mind the software just isn’t robust enough.

But JK …I really really hope you read this and find that its me …and not TBS because I just want to animate!!

Thanks for your help.

I’m not too tech savvy so this may have nothing to do with it, but how much RAM are you working with? Is it possible that the application would run smoother/not crash if it had more memory to draw from? Also, what are your settings like in preferences/display? I don’t know if playing with the memory usage in there would help, but it might be worth a shot.

Sorry if that’s got nothing to do with it, just a thought. Hope it helps though.

First off I really enjoyed your first drum piece so I certainly hope you will continue animating. I really can’t give much of an opinion on if the problems are you or the software’s limitation. I can tell you that there are work flows that are better than other work flows and there are ways of doing things that can be harder on the production environment than other ways of doing things. I don’t need to defend TBS because it is a great product. I can only express my own opinion based on more year experience than I might often want to admit. The easier a software application is and the more flexible it is, the more complex it becomes. What seems simple on the surface is built on massive complexity. And the more flexible the user’s demands for supporting infinite work flows the more complicated the software gets under the hood so to speak. This is universally true, whether we are talking Flash or Toon Boom Studio or Microsoft Vista etc. User expectations tend to drive complexity and the result is more fragile software because it is trying to satisfy infinite combinations that are difficult to anticipate. The software designers have to be disciplined enough to understand and accept limitations on complexity and the software users have to learn to pull back on their demands. Why ? Because we all want robust stable software. No actually we just want to be able to easily use and depend on the reliability of the software.

I understand and appreciate the amount of time that you have already put into your project and I understand and appreciate your desire to finish it. But you made a choice, when you chose to do such heavily dependent cut out animation and that choice was that you needed to design your work technically. I know there are people who try to look at animating as purely “artistic” and it certainly has major artistic aspects, but when you cross the line from hand drawn to computer assisted you stepped into a technical world that may seem the easier approach to animating because it uses puppets but it is that old simpler is actually more complex and to use puppets may not require as much drawing skill but it requires significant thought, planning and technical skill. That’s my usual long way of saying you are trying to swim in the deep end of the pool and it’s not the water’s fault that you are not experienced enough, yet. I’m not trying to sound harsh, but what I’m saying is that there is an approach to TBS that relies more on artistic skills and an approach that relies more heavily on techno skills and the people who have the most problems are the ones who chose the techno approach without being willing to invest the time in learning and gaining the requisite knowledge. They see what they think is easy and then try to attack projects that are way past their skill level and blame the software. -JK

I’m working on windows platform, using 2G ram with a dedicated ATI mobility video card. I’m using a Tablet. But even when I worked on my desktop running an AMD Athlon and better video card …I had the same issues. This is a good question, I understand that no matter what hardware I have it will have limitations, and I said earlier that I yield to slow processing not crashes.

JK here’s the way I see this. I’m not a professional who’s job is often dictated by paid assignments. So I need to work on stuff that will keep me engaged. I know this because I’ve started and abandoned many projects because after a while I loose interest.

I’m not technically a cut-out-style artist, because I think the movements often don’t look believeable. I will agree that cut out works because often this style is coupled with a decent story. But right now I’m into practicing the pure heart. So in a sense I take a traditionalist approach, and borrow pieces of the cut-out. My characters have 7 to 9 elements and I draw pose-by pose. I have many parts stored in the library, and when I work on a project at some point i reach a stage where I add very little new drawings …since I have enough to re-use.

Now here is where I’m a little bit at odds with your rationale. TBS lay claim to being a somewhat more traditionalist environment.

But back then and now …when I hear I have to draw a certain way, I cant have over lapping lines etc, and now talk about the type of project I’m suppose to be working on…it just seem to place me in a box.

It just seem that the software is dictating how I draw and what I draw! Now if I was being paid for this …fine …I’ll put up with whatever. But I’m in it for fun …when I have these limitations and constraints…where is the fun?

In QT, AVI etc …these little 30 - 50 second pieces barely makes sense to me, I want to do more substantial pieces. And the music video was alluring to me.

When I first started encountering these …“file-size” problems, while I agreed back then there was much to learn it still seemed that there was something wrong. And what I mean was …many of the fixes could get me over the hump in where I was at the time …but it was just a band aid.

It may have allowed me to animate for another few hundred frames …but in the end I’ll end up with the same problem depending on the limitations of my hardware. If I used all the best practices in TBS I may get up to scene 3 in …but not the 6 or 7 scenes intended for this piece.

Thats why a few years ago when I realise how finicky TBS was I was asking for GIF exports. Because I was thinking I could work on shorter stuff to use more on the web, or integrate with a customized microsoft office assistant project I was thinking of creating to manipulate with their scripting language.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am trying to say here. You seem to be asserting that TBS is deficient and incapable of supporting longer projects. And what I am telling you is that how you are trying to use the software may be more the issue rather than less. By designing technically, I mean there are work flows and techniques that can be used that will yield the desired results and there are other approaches that create problems. This is not necessarily the software’s deficiency as no application can reasonably be expected to support every variation of approach that a person can employ.

I often read post here in these forums where people get frustrated with the software because it doesn’t allow them to do certain things the way they are trying to do them. In most cases it is their misconception of the technical requirements. For example they think of cutting and pasting sections of the time line as if it were cutting and pasting text or graphics. It isn’t. The placement of keyed frames significantly impacts what will result when you grab a chunk of timeline and paste it in a new location. If there are influencing keyframes outside the copied chunk then unexpected results will occur. Yet inexperienced users want to blame the software for their inexperience. More significantly so many people have unrealistic expectations. They assume that they can tackle very complex projects without going through the steps of learning and trial and error that helps a user discover which approaches work and which approaches are poorly conceived. If the software is at fault it is only in the fact that it doesn’t sound a buzzer and say “stop trying to do that” every time someone decides to try to follow a poor workflow. Maybe it should but then people would say it is too inflexible. Just because the software will let you do certain steps doesn’t mean those are technically appropriate for all situations. It all depends on where you are trying to get and the demands of your project. That’s where user knowledge and experience built up over trial and error comes into play. TBS will support significant projects, just not poorly designed and implemented approaches. If people find that artistically limiting and too technical then perhaps they are being unrealistic. There are artistic aspects to creating animation and there are technical aspects. When a person chooses to be a one person production company they choose to wear many hats. Some hats are as artist and some are as technician. Wearing each hat effectively requires the attainment of skill and knowledge. The more complex the project the more difficult the task. Start small and develop the skills, have reasonable expectations and build on your smaller projects until you reach the skill levels desired to be successful on the larger projects. Don’t get discouraged, just keep on learning but try to be realistic in what you tackle. The software is a tool, how that tool is applied is a craft which is learned over time. -JK

Ok …would you mind telling me what these techniques and workflows are? After all I’ve been using the software for over 3 years now …its not like I bought it last month.

And in the case of copy and paste …whats the explanation when I copy and paste just from and to the exposure sheet? Is that copying external KF that may influence stuff after its pasted?

Of all the things anyone would think they are able to do with any application …its copy and paste!! And after 3 years …one would really hope they can do this!! >:(

And is there anybody who have done say a 15 minute piece …in one file with TBS? In my case because of the music I havn’t found a way to somehow use multiple files and splice it together seemlessly. So right now I have to use a single file with multiple scenes.

my reply was

I don’t have access to your project nor do I have a way to look over your shoulder while you work. I’m just replying to what you have written and described. I’m not sure if you or anyone can produce a single TBS project with 15 minutes of continuous animation. I have never tried to create that long of a cartoon is in a TBS project. I’m not sure you could do that in a single Flash project either. Most people who would have a need for such long a piece would build it in multiple sub-projects and assemble them in post production in a compositing or editing system. And certainly not try to produce a single SWF file. If your expectation is a Quicktime movie or output to DVD then you should be looking at building the project in multiple TBS sub-projects and compositing and doing post production in a NLE like Premier or FCP.

I hope that you realize that I am trying to be helpful and friendly and I certainly am not trying to discourage you. You asked was it the software or you? And based on what you have written and described I believe it is you for the most part. I suggest that you break your project down into reasonable chunks (sub projects) and assemble the final master project in a Non-linear Editing System. 2 - 3 minutes is about as long a project as I would try to build in a single TBS project. I’ve never explored the technical maximum number of frames in a single TBS project. But there are practical maximums and for my way of thinking 3 minutes is a really big single TBS project, beyond that it makes more sense to do it in pieces and assemble it in post. -JK

Ordinarily, if I was doing a regular South Park like project I would take the approach of multiple file. However in this case how do you do this music video as a sub project and assemble it seemlessly?

I’m confident I could produce accurate animation …but how do you avoid getting some sort of skip, in the sound itself, or produce some out of sync result.

Even in TBS when I first started this project, to go to the next scene I would cut the section of the sound pertaining to that scene. That is, scene 1, and 2 have 2000 frames each. So in scene2 I initially cut frame 2001 to 4000. During playback the sound, skipped, I could tell when scene 2 began just by listening. Ugo told me not to cut the sound. He said import the same sound file in scene 2 but start the animation at frame 2001 instead of frame 1 to make sure it the animation match the sound. When I’m done I’d drag the entire animation back to frame 1 and delete the scene 2 sound file. And that works!

Im still well under 2 minutes with only 2 scenes. And since my last post I tried another approach to do the simple copy and paste. I copied the stuff I needed from scene 1, opened a new file, paste it there (just the drawings) and strip it of any KF. Then I copied this from the new blank file and pasted it into the scene 2 and …walla …arms, legs all over the place…again.

Don’t get me wrong I read a lot of your post and even visit your site from time to time and have gotten some great tips there.

But personally JK, after investing in TBS as much as you have, I question your objectivity, and wonder to what lengths you’d go to defend it.

In working on this very project I even found a bug with the shadow effect that Ugo agreed to work on for either the next release or the next patch.

I invested in TBS …and while I bitch about it …I don’t think I wasted my money, and will probably get the next upgrade. But I’m going to bitch! >:(

I hope Ugo reads this and try to see if there is some feature they can incorporate in the software to allow copy and paste in some fashion without this happening. OK, copying stuff with KF outside the copied frames have some effect when pasted. In a perfect world I would like to be able to copy the drawing, the KF and all, and paste seemlessly. But I’m willing to settle for just the drawings understanding that I would need to create new KF and posiftion the object. If your listening TBS …maybe you could add something to the paste-special feature to overide the residual effects of these KF.

But in listening to you JK …it seems your willing to go to the mat for TBS that this a problem we must live with.


All I want to do is copy and paste 5 or6 drawings…jeeze…whoa dude …give me a break!

Perhaps in the paste-special feature TBS can give us an option to offset, or disable whatever KF outside the copied sections thats creating this problem. Allowing us to copy and paste the drawings alone. How about that for the next patch TBS? Copy and paste …no matter how complicated it may be …must be transparent and germaine in any software to the user. There is already so much pre-planning one must do for a project and for TBS software …should we somehow plan for copy-and pasting? Isn’t that a bit too much?

As for Flash software I’m surprised your even making the comparison, having both softwares. Flash has another side to it ,unlike TBS which is a pure animation software. In fact I’ve read where the flash animators complain that macromedia catered more to the web techies than they did to the animators, and are hoping Adobe will now listen to them. And if I had flash I’m sure with their web features, actionscript etc. I could find plenty to do where I didn’t have to attempt a 9 minute animation project.

Break the sound track up and use it to animate your sub-projects then when you export your sub project don’t export the sound. You will assemble the pieces in your NLE with your actual sound track in total and it will be seamless if you designed it to be visually so as well.

I could care less about TBS. If it didn’t work satisfactorily that would be a serious problem and I’d have to find a tool that worked. I do on the other hand care about people so I voluntarily offer help and assistance for free. As someone who appreciates the efforts of the people who work for a company like Toon Boom I don’t like the way people casually trash them in public knowing darn well they can’t easily defend themselves and just have to take a lot of verbal abuse that isn’t justified. It amazes me how easily some people can cast blame particularly when the majority of times when the situation is understood it was the user’s misconceptions or inexperience at fault. The software has deficiencies and limitations, so what, every software application known to man has deficiencies and limitations.

That feature is called “paste special” and it exists. And for the record I was trying to point out that copying chunks of the time line was not the same as copying text or graphics. Because it is loaded with keyframes and there influences can and do stretch beyond the frame on which they exist. More problems than a few seem to arise in these forums from the fact that people don’t seem to understand the complexity and impact of using keyframes. It isn’t simple cut and paste because you have to really know what you are cutting and pasting otherwise you can create all kinds of problems that are really hard to find and correct later. And the solution to your issue of making sure you don’t miss keyframes is easily solved by being sure that you have a “lock down” set of keyframes at the beginning of any chunk of timeline before you copy it. That’s what I mean by user experience. The software can’t be flexible and do all your work for you too. A spell checker tells you if the word is correctly spelled but it doesn’t tell you that you wrote the correct word for your context. That’s the writer’s responsibility. Software is a tool not a replacement for your own contribution to the work.

That’s your decision and you are entitled to do whatever you choose. But when you complain and make absolute statements that have a negative effect on the public perception of someone’s product don’t you feel some responsibility toward fairness or is it just all about your frustrations and rage and the heck with being fair to the other guy? Anyone can communicate with the TBS staff privately without making such hurtful statements in public. They are very caring and responsive people and you don’t have to bludgeon them with a hammer to get help.

I spend countless hours helping people. I write articles and tutorials to help others. I answer tons of e-mails to help people. And heaven knows I have the patience to even answer countless posts here in these forums. All just because I’m a nice guy. So why wouldn’t you expect me to be willing to stand up for other nice people who are getting unfairly blasted and can’t easily defend themselves. -JK