Some Frame by frame animation questions

Hi, i was watching some videos and works of toon boom in internet, and i have some questions about frame by frame animation.

i know that in toon boom you can animate frame by frame, but, every traditional animator knows that you first draw the keys, and then the in between (and i see in toon boom you have tools for this too). but, when you make a frame by frame animation, i notice that in the library, in the “drawing substitution” the new drawings go appearing with a new number. but, if you first draw the keys and then the in between, in the timeline, you have got something like this (for example):
1-3-5-4-2 (where 1 and 2 are the keys, then i draw the inbetweeners 3,4 and the other more in the middle, the 5).

and this is very annoying, especially when you want to reuse the animation.
so, mi question is, there are some way to edit the order of drawings in the drawing substitution?

i hope mi question be clear. i’m a traditional animator and in this kind of things are the first i’m looking for.

Hi sanjaureche

You can change the settings in the preferences.

Go to top menu -Stage -Preferences and choose the Exposuresheet tab.
Under Drawing Creation cheque of the Use Current Frame as Drawing Name. You can mark your drawings as Keys, breakdowns and inbetweens. This is not only making it easier to spot the keys in the exsheet. It also gives great possibillities using the onionskin.

Hope to see you around.


oh nice didnt know that one myself. i like.

Thanks for the quick reply ivaar!!!
But i dont see the “stage” menu that you told me. the only thing i find is the “windows - xsheet”. and that’s open the xsheet windows. and that’s not what i want to.

let me see if i can explain me better:
i know that you can mark frames as keys inbeetwens and breakdowns. but, what i want to is modify the order in the drawing substitution, and more important: if i want to add a new draw between 2 existing draws, i don’t want to the soft put the new draw at the end of the drawings substitution!. thats make me crazy because my animation ends in 1-8-9-15-3-6 and order of numbers like this! i want to create the draw 1, then the draw 2, and then, when i create a draw in between, the draw 2 becomes in 3, and the new draw is now the 2 (because i decide to create a new draw after the number 1).

I dont know if now my question its more clear.

i’m looking something like “create a new drawing after current draw” and “create a new drawing before current draw”

Hi again

To make the drawings name follow the frame number you have to change the settings in the preferences.

The top menu is at the very top of the interface. The far left rolldown menu in the top menu in my version of harmony is called Stage. Thats because the stand alone version of Harmony is also called Stage. I am not sure what the far left rolldown menur in the network version of Harmony is called. But anyway you will probably also there find the Preferences. And in the preferences window there will be a exposure sheet tab. When you press it a window opens. In this window you will find an erea in the right colomn called drawing creation. Here you should make sure a cheque mark is visible to the left of line wher is written Use Current Frame as Drawing Name.

When chequed make sure to press OK at the buttom of the page.

So when you now go back to the timeline or x-sheet and create a new drawing layer and then starts to make new drawings you will see that new drawings get the number from the actual frame they are created in.
They will also appear in that manner in the drawing substitution window.
To make new drawings between other you might find that using the duplicate drawing command will be a good choise. Just select a frame that is filled with the exposure of the previous drawing. Right click the frame and select Drawings . Then select Duplicate drawings. The frame is now a new drawing. It shows the same as the previous drawing but you can change , delete and manipulate it without changing the original drawing that still excist in the previous frame.

Best regards

Thanks ivaar once again!

i dont see the “stage” menu. in this case is “edit”-“preference”. and i already found the “use current frame as drawing name”.

thats helps a lot! but still is not what i want to. but i think this is the most close that i can find.

i told this because i see that i have to draw in the frame number 10 to have the drawing name number 10. so, if i want to adding more inbetweeners, if i move the draw number 10 to the frame number 13 for example, still be the 10.

if i create a draw in the frame 1 (draw 1) and then in the frame 2 (draw 2). and then add a inbetween (so in the frame 2 a new draw). the new draw is called “2_1” and still appears in the end of the drawing substituion.

so it’s not actually the way to resolve.

but still i appreciate the answer. and i suppose that its no way to do what i want :frowning:

Hi again
Happy to hear you found the right preferences settings.
Now, when planning the scene place the keyframes roughly where timing is working well. As you refine the animation keyframes, holds and exposure naming problems will occure. Just as you say: the new draw is called “2_1” and still appears in the end of the drawing substituion.When this becomes annoying you can reorder timeline/x-sheet to make it confirm to drawingnames by doing as follows:

Go to the x-sheet. Select all the frames in the colomn, rightclick select Drawings and then select Rename Drawings by Frame.

This works on selected frames. Meaning you can rename the whole colomn or just a range or even one frame. Renaming a range may be conflicting. So simplest way is to select all frames and rename them.

To work faster it is a possible to add Timeline View to your timeline. This will give you buttons on top of the timeline to quickly change/add properties of the frames. Like Duplicate Drawing and Create Empty Drawing. To add the timeline view go to top menu Windows -Toolbars -Timeline View. To customize wich buttons that show, rightclick on the Time Line view and choose Customize. A window opens.
The right compartement shows the active buttons that will show up in the timeline. The left compartement shows buttons you can add to the Timeline View. To add a button select it in the left compartement and press the right arrow fond between the compartements. To remove a button select it in the right compartement and press the left arrow.
Remember to press OK before quitting the window.

Another great way to add new drawings within other drawings exposure range is to selct the actual frame in the timeline and then slide the library slider to the far left. When you now starts to draw a new drawing is created without changing the overall timing. This creates an emty drawing and will leave the preciding frames empty what can be practical in many situations.( Be aware, moving the library slider to the far left will not create an empty drawing on an empty frame)

Waiting to hear about your advaces in the software.


Thanks again ivaar.

the " Rename Drawings by Frame" its pretty much what im looking for. (it’s not like “create a new drawing after current draw” and “create a new drawing before current draw” but works pretty close).

i don’t work with xsheet. so i couldn’t find the “Rename Drawings by Frame” in any other place of the soft.


Hi again.
Happy to hear that it starts to work out.
Working traditional animation you will find quite some features designed for that exactly in the xsheet. To add frames before or after just select a frame in the xsheet, rightclick and choose -Frames -Insert frame before. A small window appear . Here you can enter the amount of frames you want to add. Benefits of that command is it will work on the whole row of colomns. That ensures that éxcisting timing between all colomns are maintained. This command will add frames to the scene that ensures that conflict of deleting frames in the end of scenes will not occure. Back side is the scene will grow and may not fit into the overall project with the other scenes.

In the very top left of both xsheet and timeline is a small sign with an arrow. Press this and a lot of menu items will be available. Many of them will be available rightclicking in a cell but I am not sure if all will. To study this menu can be very helpful finding new ways to shape up the workflow.

Best regards