TBS Megafile makes rigging impossible!

Hi everybody,

Facing big big problems with TBS performance, I really hope anyone on this forum can help me with this.
I am working on a photo cutout animation (or I least I tried to) with TBS 4.0 on a 2,4 GHz intel Mac (OSX 10.5.2 Leopard) with 3 GB RAM. Finished my first cutout character yesterday. This is a .psd file of 48 layers, resolution 300dpi, 2000x1000 px. File size: 16MB. Exported each layer as .png (Total of files: 15.2 MB). Imported each .png file in a separate element in TBS. There I had 38 Elements, since some psd layers are versions of others, which I therefore put into frame 2, 3, 4 or 5 of an existing element. Extended exposure of all elements to frame 5, so I could switch thru the versions.

Everything went fine so far. But saving my TBS file took quite some time already. The problems began, when I created a master character peg and tried to put my element layers to it. When I tried to drag&drop all 38 elements on the peg at once, TBS immediately crashed. I could add 4 elements to the peg, but that’s it. As soon as I try to drag a fifth, TBS crashes. Startup and saving operations take several minutes; everything else works as it should.
I just checked the TBS file folder in the Mac Finder, discovering it is about 5.4 GB (!) large! I imported and vectorized 16 MB and exposed my elements for 5 frames - what does TBS do to my files?!

Without adding my elements to pegs I cannot do anything with my character (and this was supposed to be the first of 4 characters, not to mention background images…)

What can I do? Any suggestions appreciated,

Yours, Peter

Hi Autlaw,

To make a long story short, Toon Boom Studio completely uncompress each bitmap image you load in it so having a full HD bitmap Cut-out character would be extremely hard on your machine. Vectorizing a bitmap is basically decompressing every single pixels and need to keep it uncompressed (since it is not a vector no compression can be kept).

The crash is most likely relate to the fact the memory of the machine is clogged up the operation you are trying to do is simply going over what you have left of memory available.

Would it be possible to know which medium you want to output to at the end of your production and if you could bare with lower resolution bitmap. Remember that you could easily work with a low resolution piece in most of the scene and whenever you have a close up replace the piece with the high resolution piece. This would allow you to keep a master rig template that is much lighter and only import the heavy pieces as you need them.

Also, depending on the extent of your project and the medium you are aiming you might be better off with our higher end software. In any case keep in touch so we could try to find out the best approach for your project.

Best regards,


Hi and thank you for quick answer, Ugo.

To start with - the output medium is supposed to be a bonus dvd, we’ll pack it to an audio cd we’ve recorded.

Yeah, and thanks for your explanation of how TBS handles images. In the meantime I’ve also discovered some mistakes I made:

1. Imported and vectorized all layers into one element and then copied & pasted them into new ones. Seems I have not deleted the original cells - therefore my file contained 3-4 copies of the same drawing. (file size x 4)

2. The bigger mistake: When I started out, I cropped my layers in photoshop, before exporting them to .png. But when I imported them into TBS, they all had different size. So I decided to export the whole characters photo with actually having only one element visible. This way, all my layers fell into place, when imported into TBS. BUT: e.g. my character’s right toes did have 23.1 MBs (all my elements had 23.1 MBs, of course); when being cropped before ex/impoting, they have 600kB - after vectorization.

Gonna give it another try today: cropping my layers as close as possible and using different resolutions (300 dpi and 150dpi for half size work fine). Just figured out how I could make up a layer outline blueprint as background image, so it will be easier to scale and put my character parts back together in TBS.

Hope this works. And thank you!


I work with a lot of people on-line here at the forums trying to help them with Toon Boom. Most of them are nice and polite and are a pleasure to help. Sometimes that isn’t the case and some people get very frustrated and become really not so pleasant. It doesn’t help their cause and it certainly doesn’t inspire anyone to go out of their way to give them additional help.

You, on the other hand, are a real pleasure to help. You are positive, thoughtful, and you are willing to try to help yourself and don’t expect or demand anything. I don’t know how your project will turn out, or how many obstacles you yet have to overcome, but I believe that everyone here at these forums appreciates your attitude and will do our best to help you whenever possible.

I just wanted to post a note here commending you on just being an all around nice guy, and to say that I for one like your style both in your art and in the way you conduct yourself. This is just my personal opinion. THANKS FOR JUST BEING SUCH A NICE PERSON. -JK

Dear JK,

thank you for the encouraging off topic words. They really were a positive surprise to me. Usually, I rewrite my posts many times before sending them (like this one) - nevertheless people in online forums keep telling me, I was unpolite or worse, just because I didn’t get the (English) words right. (In fact, I had to read your post twice to make sure, you’re not being ironic.)

And I have to reply: It is people like you and Ugo, who are the nice persons. You are the ones, who help, who answer our questions again and again and again. So, once more, thank you for your patience!

Btw, I have finished my first character rigging about an hour ago: used 150dpi resolution and reduced number of layers from 43 to 37. Everything works nice and smooth now - and the best thing is: the complete TBS file is only 11.1 MB big. (I probably will have to add 300dpi resoluted versions of some layers later for some closeups.)

Thank you & Greetings,

Your command of English is a thousand times better than my command of German or Spanish or French of any other language. I know from my many contacts in Europe and Asia how difficult it can be for artists who don’t speak or write well in English when they want to study material written in English or interact on forums that are primarily English speaking.

I’m glad that you are making progress, please keep us posted on how it is going with your project. -JK

Hi Autlaw,

Glad you managed to make it work. If we can be of any further help let us know we will do our best to help you out.