updating artwork from photoshop

Two related questions

1. I am trying to update some of my artwork on certain layers in a scene that I have already animated, rigged, and made some transformations to. I have a character that I created in photoshop and it is composed of many layers. I imported all the layers to Animate Pro and proceeded to work with it. Now, I have recolored some of the character’s layers in photoshop and I want to update those layers with the new images in Animate Pro. I don’t want to have to reset pivots or size or x, y, and z, etc. What is the best way to do this?

2. Is there a way to link the Animate Pro files to photoshop files so that they update automatically if you make a change in photoshop?

Thanks for the help. Ellen

PS. I tried to search your form for this answer, but the search function doesn’t seem to work properly on my MAC ???

2.There is a module called external. I have tried to understand how it works, but without success.
If there is a way to work in other apps. with automatic update in Animate Pro I would really like to know.
So add me to that list.
1.When it comes to your question 1.: What about making a copy of your project first and start this experiment on the copy. Then add frames to the end of your scene. Then import the recolored drawings to their respective layers one layer at the time(you can import all drawings for that layer).
Remember to set the timeslider and activate the first free frame (after the last used frames) before you start import.
Set import options to- Add to layer-Vectorize-Color. Then import
Then in the timeline/cameraview with the pivot-tool activecopy the pivots to their updated drawings(turn on Focus on Mouse Enter in the main preferences) You can now copy pivot in one drawing and paste in the corresponding without “touching” and displace pivot.
Then you swap the corresponding drawings in the Library-Substitute drawings window.
I have never done this myself for a whole rig, but made a fast try now before posting. So make sure to work on a copy and cheque frequently with playback.
This is a thinking loud without actual experience.
One thing must be said. When I tried this out I exported drawings from Animate Pro, recolored in Photoshop and imported back to Animate Pro.
No alignment of the drawings were necessary.
If you have moved the drawings in this process the workaround described above will not work.

Hope I don’t mess up for you.

Best regards


As I was writing, the answer had arrived.
So keep to that and jump over mine.


Hi Lilly
Thanks for the answer.
Had a look on the ImageMagick-site.
Interesting but not the thing for me.
So I will let the external module rest for now.


Hi Lilly,
I’m very new to Toon Boom so I’m sure I’m missing something here. However, when I import the new drawing into the layer, it doesn’t go into the same place has the old one or at the same size. For instance if I bring in a new ear for my character from photoshop it comes in larger (psd size) and in a different location then the one I’m replacing. Do I need to resize it and place it where I want it each time? Or is there another way that this works that I’ve missed.

Thanks. I do think this may have been my problem. So my next question is there a way to select everything and set them all back to their original size?

Hi Ellen,

Well I think that the easiest way to solve your problem here is to export just the layer that you’ve updated on its own. Then you can import it directly into the layer that corresponds to it in Animate / Animate Pro. Now simply swap the drawing to the re-coloured drawing and you’re done.

If you’re using drawing pivots (intead of pegs) then you should also take your pivot tool, and copy the pivot from the old drawing to the new one. I recommend doing this in the Drawing View. With the old drawing exposed, select the pivot tool. Make sure the focus (red outline) is around the drawing view. Now hit Ctrl+C (Cmd+C on mac) to copy the pivot. Now select the new drawing from your timeline (it needs to be exposed), still with your pivot tool selected. Make sure the focus is once again around the drawing view. Now hit Ctrl+V (Cmd+V on mac) to paste the pivot into the new drawing.

Now you can swap back the new drawing over the old one and it should all work just fine.

There’s no way to link to an external image file so that it updates automatically.

Hope this helps.


Well, we had the same answer pretty much, so at least we’re on the right track!!

As for the External module, what that module actually does is it allows you to take a frame from Animate Pro, and then process it externally with another application, and then it re-imports the image back into Animate Pro.

The limitation with this module is that the application has to be accessible from the command line, and when you set up your external module, you are basically going to write a command for the command line, and this is how the image is processed. So it’s not the same as, say, opening up the image, making a modification yourself, then re-importing it in.

But if you wanted to print some numbers on that frame, or if you wanted to apply a filter to the drawings, this sort of thing could work because you can write a command for it without having to do anything manually. I’m not sure that Photoshop has access to the command line, however. When we were doing tests with this here we used an application called ImageMagick.


After you imported your photoshop layers in, did you resize anything with the Select tool?

If you import your images, and simply adjust the pivots, and then you use your Transform tool to change the size of your character, then you will not have a problem. But if you have edited the size of your image using the Select tool then you are actually changing the drawing itself, so the positions will no longer match.

I just did a couple of tests where I had a multi-layer photoshop file. I imported it. I made a change to one of the layers, then I hid all the layers and imported just the changed layer on cell 2 of the same drawing layer. It imported in exactly the same size and placement.

If you already have animation on that drawing layer, then it may appear in a different place because of the position of the pivot points. But as soon as you copy and paste the pivot point, it should snap back into the right spot.

Hope this helps.


Well the thing is, transformations that are made on the drawing layers with the transform tool can be reset. But if you scale things with your select tool, it changes the contents of a drawing, and this can’t be reset. The software has no way of distinguishing where certain lines were originally drawn then where they were moved to, and an imported image just gets stuck into a drawing layer, and from then on behaves just like a drawn brush stroke, if that makes any sense.

Also, your pivots are tied to the drawing grid of each drawing, so if you resize the contents of a drawing with the select tool, then you’ll need to re-adjust the pivots as well.

At this point, I think you’ll need to evaluate how much animation you’ve done and assess whether it’s better to fix your rig (i.e. re-import all your images, set the pivot points, and re-do the animation) or whether it’s better to just re-adjust the position of the newly imported drawing with your select tool and try to make it match. You can go to the drawing view and turn on the onion skin and this might help you to get both drawings in the same position.