Tool Talk - Eraser Tools

I thought it’d be fun to get a little tool talk thread going–talk about a particular tool, what we’ve found out about it, how we use it, etc. I keep finding more ways to use the tools and figured someone else out there can help me learn more or I can help them.

The eraser tools (and I mean all three tools under the eraser button) have been getting more used lately by me.

I use the eraser to sculpt a line drawn with the brush, which allows me to get a better thick/thin line than I can by hand most of the time.

I also found that the other tools there are useful. The cutter lets me cut apart a vector object so I can (for example) scale or rotate a discrete part of it. The cut made is not visible, but it separates the vector object into sections along the cutter line, so you can move pieces, scale, rotate, or otherwise tweak 'em.

The scissors have really been spinning my propeller lately. If you box select part of a vector object, you can delete that section. This is cool sometimes, but how often do you really want to delet a rectangular shape from something? Press the alt key while using the scissors and it turns into a lasso style tool. Not bad.

Interesting Idea Rob !

Personally I’m a cutter - Lasso user. I rarely use the eraser.

I use the lasso to clean my drawing (I’m usually not afraid to go over a region knowing that I will cut later to clean my drawings).

I must admit I’ve been using the polyline tool more then before. I’m getting much more used to it and I can build shape without thinking where should I drag to get the shape I’m looking for. It becomes second nature when practicing.

One other thing I’ve been doing to building shapes out of primitive (circles and rectangles fills) or brush lines using the control points.
I realized that when I was recording the feature demo videos ( the drawing Tool one) available here.

E.g. I had to draw a background representing a series of buildings. Instead of actually draw the ink part to then paint it, I used the rectangle tool, remove the line around and used the fill to build the shape. Since I’m not too good at drawing, it allow me to make better looking shapes using the control points.

BTW, Great story Rob !


…I use the eraser tool in much the same way as described in the original post. I scan a drawing in, clean it up in Photoshop, and then import it into Macromedia’s Freehand. In Freehand, I carefully make a nice outline of the drawing with an appropriately sized stroke. I convert the file to a jpeg and then import it into Toon Boom, which vectorizes the drawing and makes a very nice clear drawing to work with. I use the eraser to clean up lines which change in the process of importing the file.

There is a very valuable tool in Toon Boom Studio which is almost a secret tool. In fact most people don’t even realize this feature is a tool and yet it is perhaps one of the most important tools provided and a real strength of TBS as an animation system. What is this magical “secret” tool. It is those simple little include/exclude check boxes on the side of the timeline and on the side of the scene panel. The check boxes that let you include or exclude elements or scenes from your rendered movie. “That’s not really a tool” you say. “But it is” I reply.

So often when learning to use computer animation software we have the temptation to jump over some of the most important steps in the creative process. We skip the roughs and layouts and just start trying to produce finished work. In doing this we end up with cartoons that are not as dynamic or believable and tend to be stiff and too tight. Most experienced animators develop a sense or feel for actions and timing through producing quick rough gesture drawings which then will be “cleaned” up after they have captured the energy and spontanous feelings that make cartoons really fun to watch. So why would anyone skip these important first steps? Well in most animation software you have to remove (delete) discard all your rough scene work or rough gesture sketched elements before you can render or finish your movie. So most people feel that these steps that end up discarded are unimportant and even a waste of time and therefore should be skipped. But in Toon Boom Studio you don’t want or need to discard these steps, you just use the include/exclude check boxes to tell TBS you don’t want them rendered in your movie after you have finished using them. Yet they are still there and you can refer to them over and over again to insure that this great energy doesn’t get lost in the clean up and even to reference again for future production ideas.

Those little include/exclude check boxes are a “secret tool” and very useful and important.

Click HERE to see an example of some great energy captured in quick rough gesture form long before the animator (Marty) will ever worry about the “cleaned up” version. Hope you find this helpful. -JK

One of the really nice features in Toon Boom Studio is a simple but very useful “hot key” command that resets the zoom level. There are plenty of times in animation work on the computer when you want or need to zoom in on a drawing area to be able to perform a task like paint filling a very difficult to reach zone. The problem is that after performing this task you usually want to return to the regular zoom level where you do most of your work. This usually requires a series of zoom adjustments to actually get back to approximately the zoom level you desire. But in Toon Boom Studio you just use the " Z" keyboard short cut and it automatically resets your zoom level. This is a feature I use often and a real time saver. Give it a try, I know you will find this really useful. -JK


Very good comments. I also use the control-space (zoom in) and shift-V (center view) shortcuts a lot.

I also like the fact that the zoom level is preserved when changing from drawing view to camera view and vise versa. some time you want to zoom in the drawing view to fix details but have you default view still active in the camera view to see how it affect real view of the scene.


That’s a good one, I can use that!

I’ve been using Shift-V to reset the whole thing.

You got me wondering about resetting the rotation of the disk. Turns out I can do that with Shift-C! I usually like staying pretty zoomed in, but I like to rotate a lot as I draw horizontal lines much better than vertical.

…Love that disk.

Thanks, it is quite interesting the number of well thought out simple features designed into TBS. It is an amazingly animator friendly product. We seem to “discover” new things daily as we develop our workflow. It is really a case of the more you use TBS the more things you find to like about how it is constructed. We will continue to add to this Tool Talk thread which Rob Campbell started, as it is a great way to help others discover new ways to get more done when they are working. -JK

For anyone interested here is a really useful pair of tips for using notes in Toon Boom Studio. I’m talking about element notes and cell notes specifically. I hope you enjoy this and maybe find it useful in your own workflow. Just two more of those subtle little features that can be really powerful when applied. Click on the link below.


That is a terrific tip! Little things I don’t use I tend to ignore in the right-click menus. This is a great way to keep continuity in my workflow over time.

I just did a little experiment with it and found it pretty active with the hint that pops up. One reason my desk is a mess is that I operate on the “out of sight out of mind” concept. Having these pop up keeps them visible and interactive for me.


This is very cool …

JK I love your your site, very good information. I will recommend every Flash users to visit your site to see the main difference between Flash and TBS, it very well explained. Thanks!

I will gather some of these small tips and tricks that are not always obvious and post it here. t might help some of you out there.

Please keep posting your own.