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Friday, May 29, 2009

Toon Boom Fundamentals - The Basics Part 2

This is the second in a series on the fundamentals of animation and using Toon Boom Studio. If you have not previously read Toon Boom Fundamentals - The Basics Part 1 you can do that now or after you read this installment. In part 2 you will be introduced to some fundamental concepts of animating and animation production. You will learn about the major work areas in Toon Boom Studio and get a better understanding for why they exist and why they are separated. You will also get some very enlightening insight into the make-up of the animation stand and how analogous Toon Boom is to photographic animation production. I've discussed this previously in other articles but I expect some "light bulbs" of creativity will turn on for many people after you read this latest presentation. We are covering a lot of material in part 2 so be sure to take advantage of the navigation features of the slide shows and flip back and forth as you read and follow the material presented.

If you followed the presentation in that first slide show, you should now begin to appreciate the different purposes of Drawing View (your drawing board) and Camera View (your multi-plane animation camera stand). Those concepts will take on even greater significance as you read through this next slide show presentation. Even if you consider yourself a Toon Boom veteran, there should be some "slap your forehead" moments of understanding coming your way.

I hope that by following that slide show you are beginning to understand the direct analogy between how Toon Boom works and how real world photographic animation used to be done before computers replaced the physical art work and animation camera stand. You should now be making the connections between physical cells and "cells" created in Toon Boom. And you should be beginning to understand that key framing is just controlling how a cell is displayed (photographed) and it doesn't alter the cell itself but rather just changes how the cell is positioned and oriented with respect to the "camera". Key framing is just Toon Boom's method of adjusting and setting specific knobs and dials for controlling it's own multi-plane animation stand. When you are key frame animating, you are making cell display adjustments to be used when a specific frame of your "film" is being "photographed". Anyone slapping their forehead yet?

There have been plenty of concepts introduced in the second installment of Toon Boom Fundamentals. You should now have a new level of appreciation for the purpose of Drawing View and the totally different purpose of Camera View. You should also begin to have a whole new point of reference when you are thinking about the use of key framing when you are putting together a movie. We will continue to explore and expand on these and other concepts in the next installment, part 3 .

You might want to go back and re-read some of the prior articles in the Learning Track listing. Armed with the new ideas you just got from this article, they may be even more informative than when you originally read them.

For those interested, the two background prop drawings of the tree and the log were created in SketchBook Pro 2010 . In fact the drawing of Myron was also created in SketchBook Pro. It is a great complementary drawing program for cartoon making in Toon Boom Studio. I hope you enjoyed this article and learned some new things too.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Toon Boom Fundamentals - The Basics Part 1

This the beginning of a new "Basics" series for Toon Boom Studio. I plan on covering in detail many of the fundamental concepts of working with TBS in this series. In this Part 1 you will learn about some of the differences between "image" elements and "drawing" elements. You will learn how to import images into "image" elements and also how to import images into "drawing" elements. You will learn how to use the "set exposure" command to adjust and tweak the timing of an animation sequence. And you will learn how to cut up and animate your imported images. It is a very detailed tutorial and after you have read through it once or twice you are encouraged to actually do the work yourself because that's the best way to learn. I've included a download of the images I used at the end of this tutorial.

While doing some research on another project, I came across this great series of boxing poses. I don't remember the name of the artist who made these images but I knew they would make great imports for a TBS animation tutorial.

I imported the original image into Photoshop and cut out each pose, placed them on to transparent backgrounds and saved each one as a PNG formatted image file.

In the first slide show we will import those six PNG files into a TBS "image" element and create an animation sequence. Then we will adjust the timing of that sequence to learn more about how to use the timeline in our animating.

If you followed along through the first slide show then you now know how to import image files into a sequence in an "image" element. You know how to slow down the overall animation by adding more frames to the sequence and you know how to use the Set Exposure command to adjust and tweak the timing of your animation sequence.

Next we will learn how to import the same image files into a "drawing" element into what is called a "vector box". Then we will cut up and separate the boxers into different "drawing elements".

I hope you followed everything in that slide show. If so, then you now know how to import the image files into "drawing elements". You have learned to use the import and vectorize with textures command to create "vector box" versions of your images. You learned to use the Reposition All Drawings tool to scale and flip and move all the cells in a "drawing" element at the same time. You also learned how to cut the boxers apart and put them into separate elements so they can be animated independently.

Next we will separate the shadows from the boxers similarly to the way we separated the boxers. Then we will set the rotational pivot points for each element and then we will use keyframing to animate some additional action.

It is a really simple animation sequence and I left you plenty of creative room to experiment on your own after you work through the basic tutorial. I hope that you learned a lot of fundamentals both about animating in general and animating in TBS in specific. Here is the BOXING file to download, unzip and import when you work through the tutorial. As always I'm available for answering questions either directly via e-mail or here on the blog or at the discussions area of the Cartooning in Toon Boom WIKI or over at the Toon Boom Studios forums.

We will cover some new ground next time in Toon Boom Fundamentals - The Basics Part 2. Until then, I want to give a special "Thank You" to all of you who have "Donated" to help support the creation and publishing of these articles and tutorials. And for those of you who find real value here but haven't yet "Donated", please keep us in mind. Your support is very important.

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