Toon Boom- Clean up tricks


  • Photoshop- bitmap, construction of pixels
  • Depth of pixels, resolution quality


  • Made up of a mathematical algorithm, code which manipulates the vector
  • Mischief uses vectors
  • Recalculates display of a line


  • Brush use for colour
  • Pencil for drawing
  • Auto gap- fills gap between two lines close together
  • Flatten (auto)- Two lines become same object
  • Two tools, cutter tool and Contour editor
  • Can move line work into colour layer
  • Use create line art into colour art tool
  • Then in the colour layer (C) the lines should be blue then you can use paint bucket tool to add colour
  • Cutter tool- Cuts lines out (under black arrow drop down)
  • Contour editor- (under white arrow drop down) changes line points
  • Stroke tool- (Under paint bucket drop down) Draw new lines for new colours, but not shown as lines
  • Not lines- strokes so no need to be neat
  • Colours are unique new colour for new tab, duplicate colour and adjust to use colour
  • Otherwise if change colour you have already used it will change everything else with that colour.


Here I have used the notes above to make a very basic cat drawing with neat vector lines that have been cleaned using the tools I have learned today. Furthermore I have used the various ideas for colour and line art to make the drawing more appealing with those neat lines.


Toon Boom Pathways notes

  • Layers are assets
  • All layers/ drawings MUST have pegs 
  • No purple all must be Yellow when selected
  • Default menu
  • Change pivot point using tools above on the left look like circle with 4 arrows around and a circle with spiral around
  • Frame 1, 48 copy and paste
  • Another frame same flour sack shape but different action
  • Side view frame 22
  • Go to peg carries all the way through bad
  • Change default position of drawings (top of arc)
  • Auto Keyframes
  • Rotate flour sack to lay flat
  • Click inbetween frames and delete keyframes (arrow)
  • Adjust so before
  • Apex, copy frame to foward
  • 6-7 frames so 2 Identical frames
  • 2nd slightly angled
  • Press f5 to expose the frames
  • View>Show>Control for pathway
  • Shows pathway or arc
  • Hover mouse other arc and press P to manipulate (pink marker)
  • Add roughly where arc is
  • Click frame before keyframe and press f5
  • Good to combine hand drawn animation with this

Above I have animated a basic jump animation using the transform tool to move the pathways around, along with moving the peg to move the drawing around the stage.

Timing characters

This task was to create a 24 frame animation with multiple characters showing different timings between each of the characters to help develop my understanding of animating character with different timings. As you can see below the animation has multiple characters have some additional notes on the scene that has some of the timing plans for the characters.

So the first timing on the left is a head bang where the timing has a long pause and then a quick movement going from standing straight to head tilted. This is a natural movement for a head bang as you pause before you move, I have mad the timing A=frame 1 same for A1, B is fame 16 and C is frame 20. The second character in the middle has the timing for a simple tilt which has the timing of A=1, B=8 and C is 12. Finally the last character on the right has a robotic movement which is not natural as all the frames have the same spacing, so it is A=1, B=12 and C=24 which is not a natural movement.

This animation has allowed me to see that using different timing affects the various character movements and how it is represented to the audience. I think this will allow me to develop my understanding for changing my other animations to have better timing for the animations and so they look natural.

Staging- animated an environment before a character

This task was to animated a environment of our choosing to help develop our understanding of the staging principle of animation. Designing the background we used Background, Middle ground and Foreground to have multiple layers that would show different components to the environment, making it look more three dimensional than flat. I have animated the middle ground and foreground to have various objects in the scene move for when the character interacts with them. For instance I have animated the sign, fence, cactus, rocks and puddle to help make a plan of where the character will go along the path.

Below is a screenshot of the guide layer and the other three layers to show how I planned the timing and movement of the character. As you can see I have written some frame numbers of the key points in the animation. However throughout the production of the animation, these changed as the timing seemed to quick for the character to move naturally, meaning I had to change the key frame numbers appropriately. However I used my previous Mack the sack jump animation as reference to help get some of the timing and key poses to make the animation look more natural and interactive with the environment.


The video below has both Mack the sack and the environment animated, with the character interacting with the already animated environment. I have tried to get the character in time with the environment, but I feel that some of the key poses do not look quite right on the scene. But if I get some feedback from my peers I will be able to gain some different opinions on what looks good and what doesn’t. Overall I think the animation has come out nicely, as Mack the sack seems to move quite naturally and the environment moves accordingly. But I think some of the timing on the environment is a little off in some places.

I have also added a camera to the scene because when Mack the sack jumps around the scene, he goes off camera making it difficult for the audience to clearly see all the movement, therefore I added a basic camera movement just to help show all the movement from the character in the scene.


  • Animation principle-Staging
  • Narrative led locations
  • Every frame a painting (pause at anytime and see composition)
  • Story through colour
  • Background
  • Midground
  • Foreground

Rules when drawing a environment

  • No Symmetry (ever)
  • Perspective
  • Rhythem
  • Middle ground z axis -0.5 F
  • Foreground- z axis -0.5 F
  • These two make the image move forward to create a 3d feel to the environment using the three different layers.

Rigging in Toon Boom Harmony (Secondary action)

This is my animation for the 12 principles of animation, Secondary action where I was tasked to create a 32 frame animation using the knocking animation below (1st video). Furthermore I am not allowed to change the knocking animation,but I can add additional movement, using legs, another arm & hand and I can move the head and torso. The animation below is a animation made using the rigging process of animation in Toon Boom Harmony. To make this knocking animation I have to draw the arm making two lines, then you right click on the top menu and select Deformation.

This brings up some additional buttons to the menu, where you have a hammer button this creates the tool to make the joints for the rigs. Therefore in the arm I needed to make three joints, which is made by simply clicking on the stage in the correct place. Then I drew out the hand allowing me to then add a peg to the hand. Using the transform tool I was able to move the pivot point on the hand to make the hand move naturally. The video below is a rough hand drawn animation to get me the general idea of the movement for the secondary action.

Next I needed to sort the layers in the Node view, here I parented the joints and layers together, in the image below I have moved the layers into a suitable position to parent the layers together easily. Furthermore I have parented the deformation layer of the arm and the peg for the hand, allowing the arm joints and hand to bend/ move together. The image below is a final node view for the final animation, where I have combined all the suitable layers and deformation layers, allowing me to move all the components of the character movements to move naturally.


The image above shows the node view, for the final animation where I have moved all the layers and parented them to the appropriate videos together allowing me to make sure all the movement flows nicely. However the video below is the final animation, from the node view in the image above. The final animation is a character, knocking on a door with his back turned as he is swinging his suitcase waiting for another character to come out the door. So he is knocking on the door as he is in a rush, with the foot taping to show the character being impatient. But he becomes so impatient he falls asleep and then wakes up suddenly.

I think this animation has come out quite nice, where I have made a clean lined animation, with some smooth flowing movement, allowing me to make a natural moving animation. However I think I should add some head movement for the animation, making the character look back at the door impatiently to help express that idea. I think that the character design looks a bit to simplistic, but because it is my first attempt at a rigged animation I think it has come out nicely. Furthermore I think the additional props for the animation has helped to express the idea.

This is my edited version of the final animation where I have edited the head movement to look back suddenly to show that expression of being in a hurry, but then he falls asleep because of being bored of waiting. I think this has helped to show the expression that I wanted to show than the previous video, but I still think the line work could be refined, but perhaps it is because of being my first attempt of a rigged animation it looks unappealing.


2D Production- Rigging notes

Toon Boom Cut out animation (rigging)

Deformation rigging

  • Toolbar>right click>Deformation (from list)
  • Hammer= rigging setup bottom
  • Should be purple if can rig
  • 3 clicks for rig arm to make joints
  • Circle is bend axis
  • Draw hand and add peg
  • Use transform tool, then move rotate point

Node view

  • Separate squares out
  • Peg (add) to deformation
  • Move hand (green square)
  • Connect to bone deformation not peg (node view)
  • Hand tool to move stage/ camera (default) around)
  • If hand playing up- right click node view> deformation> output> Kilomatic output
  • Animate only using pegs
  • Secondary action, moving
  • Other parts of body/ posing
  • Parts to show
  • Expression the main action
  • Make 32 frame knocking movement

Mack the flour sack Exam Jump

Today I was tasked to create a fully animated jump for the Mack the flour sack character. This all had to be completed within the time limit of 90 minutes using Toon Boom Harmony. During this time I started with the basic blocking for the animation with a rough soft lead brush to sketch out the key poses for the animation within the limit of 24 frames. The first video below was made in the time limit where I made the key poses for the keyframes and break frames, allowing me to plot the height of the jump and the positions of the flour sack to help me later add the inbetween frames.

This video is the final animation that I managed to complete within the time limit of 90 minutes in the exam conditions. Here I have drawn all the frames using the soft lead with really rough sketch lines. This is because I wanted to get the animation to the best I could before playing around with adding smooth outlines. I also managed to add a basic camera movement using the pegs on the camera to move up when the flour sack jumps. The reason for this is because when I animated the sack I realised the animation went outside the camera box on the stage. This will cut the character from wherever it is outside the camera box, so adding the camera just allowed me to show the full movement and not cut anything out.

Below is the final refined line work for the animation, unfortunately this was not made in the allocated time, as I ran out of time to add the smooth line work. Therefore I made it this evening to keep on track with the animation whilst it was fresh in my head. I used the tools effectively in that challenge/ exam, as I managed to complete the animation fully using the rotate tool (ctrl+alt) to rotate the stage to help me draw that character as some of the lines where taking to long to get done the way I wanted.

I think this challenge/ exam has allowed me to see where I struggle with Toon Boom and what I can do well. For instance I can draw efficiently using the copy and paste of frames and cutting them in the timeline to then readjust them using the brush tool. However I think that I struggle with the use of keeping track of the cutting tool in the timeline, as I think it was because of the pressure but some times I would forget to cut a keyframe if I copied it from a previous frame making the original frame become the same as the edited version so that became a pain. But I think I am starting to get used to the different tools in Toon Boom with what I have learned so far.

Speaking of learning things, I learned today how to render a animation using the Node view. To do this you add the node view on the top right hand bar using the top right hand + button. This brings up a scene with a spider like diagram in the middle overlaying each other. Pressing the little square on the write bar it brings up a menu with the information needed to render the nodes. So you check the nodes will go into the correct file which should automatically be the frame folder in your File folder, then using the drop down you choose the file type, so a Jpeg or Tga (targa) file for the images. You can also check the little box that says movie to render a Quicktime video of the animation.

I was also tasked today to choose my three best frames from the animation to show that we can also review animation rather than just being able to make it.


This is frame 7 out of 24, this is appealing to me because the shape helps to show the expression of the character bending down to gain momentum to jump upwards. Furthermore I think this frame has become really effective in the animation, as it gives the character that natural squash like shape to go into the jump making the animation look natural and appealing.


This frame is 14 out of 24, a keyframe where the flour sack is in the air and preparing to fall down. This frame was probably the hardest to get right because the shape of the lower torso and feet kept looking wrong to me. In some cases the legs looked too stretched or too low down making it look really unusual so I had to keep redrawing it to make it look right. But then I decided to copy and paste the first frame and edit it to look like the image above. Furthermore I used the rotate key (ctrl+alt) to rotate the image allowing me to draw it easier. But this frame took the longest and clearly demonstrates what I wanted to achieve making me really happy with the result.


This final image is the smear frame for the falling part of the jump as the flour sack falls back to the ground. I chose this frame 18/24 because the frame helps to give a natural and exaggerated part to the fall making the fast pace movement as the flour sack falls. Furthermore the shapes I used have given the character the sense of a stretched out flour sack as if he is being forced down to the ground making a natural and interesting character pose.

Finally after looking at other peoples work for the exam I think that Robyn will get my vote for the best as her jump looks really interesting. As the animation flows nicely with the flour sacks movement as it jumps into the air, showing a clear understanding of the natural movement.

Mack the flour sack walk and turn

This weeks task was to create a basic walk animation using a character named Mack the flour sack. Using this character will help me to understand the basic fundamentals of animating characters in Toon boom and learning some more about the 12 principles of animation. So this animation covers staging, follow through and overlapping action and secondary action. Because Mack is walking the essentially arms and legs (corners) will follow through as the sack moves whilst walking. This also means the arms and legs will move in arcs to help show the natural movement of a sack making the secondary action.

The animation above is a roughly sketched out walk using Dan’s tutorial to help me learn the different poses that a flour sack would have whilst walking, moving the legs and arms whilst also moving the body because the sack has flour in it so the sack will move based on the flour’s position. Anyway this animation is a basic walk where the sack makes 2 steps then stop and then another 2 steps all in a forward direction. This basic animation has developed my understanding of how a sack moves, because I have made a flour sack animation in previous years of college but never a walk, so I now have learned how to animate a flour sack walking.

But that is not all as after making the basic walk in the previous video above, I was tasked to create an additional part to the animation where the flour sack turns and walks back to where it started. However unlike before where I used Dan as a tutorial I now needed to explore this myself  and figure out how to get the key poses for a turn. There are many different ways a character can turn (clockwise or anticlockwise) but I decided to have the character turn clockwise rather than anticlockwise because I thought I would try out a simpler animation than going straight into unknown territory. But I will explore this at another time to see how it is different from this scene. Furthermore for this video I used myself as reference (not filmed) and got up and turned in a clockwise direction to get the timing and the key positions for the sack to move.

By using this reference I thought that the turn itself would be at least 1 second (24 frames) for the sack to turn fully, so using the timeline I plotted out a frame at 12 for side on and a frame at 24 to have the sack facing the other direction. Then I went back through this part of the animation and inbetween these two frames at 6 and 18 I added a 3/4 perspective few to help make the animation look a little less blocked out whilst making the animation appear more natural in the turn. The animation back to where Mack started was to use the previous frames as reference and do the opposite of those frames as he is moving in the opposite direction.

This is the fully refined animation of the same frames as the previous video but instead of using the soft lead brush I used the ink brush to get the more refined line work. I did this because we were tasked into making the animation with as less lines as possible. Now I know this is cheating a little but my drawing style as come to a stage where if I do not draw construction lines then the animation will not look appealing to me. Anyway I think the animation came out quite well, I mean I used Dan’s tutorial which showed me how to make the majority of the animation. But I think the turn shows a natural movement and keeps to the perspective. However I think the walk back may be a bit off perspective wise so if I get some feedback from my peers I may be able to fix the issue.

Lost Ball with wire hat

This task carries on from the previous post where I made a follow through and staging ball with a wire animation. But for this animation I had to create an animation of a ball looking left to right and back again to make the ball look like it is lost. So acting out the action of looking left to right and then left again, I counted that the animation would be roughly 3 seconds (1 second for each turn). So I started sketching out the key poses in Toon Boom using the conte brush, to get that hand drawn look to it, allowing me to have a more natural brush for me to draw as if I was drawing on paper.


The image above is my mischief file, where I have drawn out some poses where the ball will turn around or look in different ways to appear to look lost. I looked at expression sheets of flour sacks online to help me see ways of manipulating a shape to see how the ball could be stretched to appear as it is alive and lost. The blocking animation of the keyframes is in the video below, which is a basic video of just the keyframes where the ball is looking from one side to the other.

Then after making the blocking for the keyframes, I began adding the break frames for the animation to help me figure out how the ball would move and how the wire would follow through after the ball has moved. After using the drawings in Mischief as reference I sketched out the break frames for the main inbetween poses from keyframe to keyframe as seen below.

Now using my mischief reference drawings I went through adding all the inbetween frames for the animation, making the video below. The ball moves left to right and back again with the wire on top following through facing in front of the ball. What helped me with the animation of the wire is I made a video of myself having my keys on a lanyard and putting it on my head. Then by turning quickly using the timing I figured out I had a reference video to see how the wire would move as the ball looked around. However I feel that the follow through could be improved as it simply follows the ball and not really drags behind the ball, so perhaps with some feedback I could improve this later on.

Looking at the video above I decided to add a camera, that we learned how to use in the previous lesson. So by using the same method of adding a peg to the camera and drawing layers I was able to manipulate the pathways to make an arc shape. By using the controls form the left hand menu View> controls I was able to adjust the path by adding more pegs by pressing P while the mouse cursor was over the pathway line. Adding the camera allowed me to push the ball backwards using the transform tool and the perspective view to make it seem like the ball was getting closer to the camera. Then as I mentioned before manipulating the pathway I panned the camera from left to right to help the ball seem like it is moving around as it gets closer to the camera, as it looks lost.

Watching this animation through I think that the ball looks lost and moves nicely with the camera movement. However the follow through for the wire does not seem to look right, perhaps it should be altered to drag further behind. But I think getting peer feedback should be able to help me in figuring out a way to improve the animation.

Follow through and Staging

In Monday’s lesson I learned how to make a bouncing ball animation using a ball with a wire/ ball on top to make the ball bounce in a arc shape with the wire and ball following through the animation. This is one of the principles of animation, where a object moving around like a ball, with a tail or wire will have a object following through the animation, following the original movement, but being slightly behind than moving at the same rate. I have made a basic blocking animation, allowing me to have the basic movement of the animation, adding the basic keyframes for the animation.

But to make this animation effective I have added a camera to the animation in the final animation to help make the ball seem more interesting, whilst making the arc more exaggerated. But to add a camera you need to press the plus (+) above the layers in Toon Boom and select camera. Then add a peg to the animation, this is used to help move and control the movement of the camera. You can usually tell the layer is a peg, as it will have  -P on the end. Furthermore the camera will be on the bottom of layers, no matter how many layers you make the camera will always be at the bottom. The peg symbol is a arc shape with a plus on it that when pressed will make a new peg layer for the camera.

To adjust the pegs you can go to the right hand side +>layer properties then enable 3d by ticking the box, but you must select the camera peg before you do this. Then add a plus on the right hand side menu next to the drawing layer and add a perspective view. Now you can move the object around with a 3D perspective view. You can move the object around by pressing the transform tool, underneath the stick figure (animate) button. Here is a blocking animation with the camera added.

To make the animation I used the f6 which made a keyframe for the 24 frames for this animation. But for the final animation I moved the camera’s pathway using the control. This was done by going to the left hand side menu and pressing veiw> control. This makes the controls for the camera for me to move the position. But to add some keyframes you hold the mouse over the line and press P to add another peg to the line, creating an extra keyframe for the pathway. Now using the camera perspective view and the timeline, I added a keyframe to the camera peg in the animation, then by using f6 I added the keyframe at 8 frames and 20 frames, where the ball leaves and hits the ground. This is where the camera will pan to the animation so the ball looks like it is moving towards the camera from a distance.