Join Tony Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting and fine-tuning pivot points, part of Animating Characters in Toon Boom Animate.
When you think about pivot points, think of like placing a thumbtack in a strip of paper. Depending on where you place the tack, the strip of paper will move or spin differently. Now, we have Bob here, and we've got him segmented out. And what we have been doing in previous lessons is placing little dots as little reminders of where we're going to set our pivot points. Now, we didn't set one for the head, and I want to show you why here in a second. The first thing we're going to do--we're done with our sketch layer so I want to lock that but I also want to go ahead and hide that layer.
Now, I'm going to go to my Pivot tool. So it's right here right beneath the Transform tool. So I'm going to select that, and I'm going to click on frame 1 of the head layer. Now, what you'll see here is this little cross hair, and this is actually where the pivot point is. So to actually change this point, I'm going to initially set the pivot point. Let's set it dead center of Bob's head here. Now, I'm going to go to my Transform tool, and I can now rotate this.
Now, this looks okay but that's not exactly where I want Bob's head to pivot from. So I'm going to go back to my Pivot tool, and I'm going to set the pivot for Bob's head about where his neck would be. Now, we didn't give him a neck but we're going to give him the appearance of a neck just by setting the pivot point just right where it would be. So I'm just going to click here. Now, if I go back to my Transform tool, let's pivot this. This is much better, and if you look, Bob's even nodding in agreement with us that this is a better place to have his head pivot.
So let's move forward and start setting the pivot points for the rest of our layers. I want to go to my Pivot tool and the next thing I want to select is our torso layer. So I'm going to place this right at the dot that we made earlier, and I'm going to keep moving up our drawing layers here. Let's go to the right upper arm. You might be thinking, You know what, we only have the right side of everything, the right upper arm, the right lower arm, the right thigh. Well, we're about to duplicate these but I want to set the pivot points prior to this because you really don't want to double your work and have to set pivot points for both sides when they're pretty much going to be identical.
We'll now go to the lower arm, and I'm going to zoom in here. Let's do Command+Equals, Ctrl+Equals on PC. Let's move this quite a little bit more to where I'm comfortable with that. Then the right thigh, let's hold down my spacebar and have the hand move him around here. All right. It looks good, and let's keep going. Right calf.
The right hand. I'm going to hold down my spacebar again. Keep notes that the pivot points are in a different spot until we decide to move it. The right foot, we'll click right here. The little dots, it does kind of help and don't think that I'm doing this as a training wheels exercise. This is something that I use a lot. Of course, you're going to erase them later. For a very important note, once you have your pivot point set, be very careful about using your Select tool to move things versus using the Transform tool and here is why.
I'm going to first start with the Transform tool, and if I decide to move this foot, wherever I'm moving it, the pivot point is still right there with it. I'm going to undo that. Let's do Command+Z twice there. Now, I'm going to show you the same thing. I'm going to use the Select tool. First of, I can't select everything here. I just have to lasso and grab both the dot and the foot.
Now, if I decide to move this, which I can, if I go back to the Transform tool to rotate this, you notice the pivot point has not moved and so all of sudden, everything is way off. Once you've set your pivot point, do not move any of your drawings using the Select tool. Only use the Transform tool. The other thing is if we decided to add another drawing for our foot, we'll select the second frame here.
Let's go to our Brush. I even turned on our Onionskin here for a moment just to show a point if we decided to have a second foot and maybe this foot is bent a little bit and even draw the same little point in there. Now, we've already set the pivot point, but this is important. I'm going to go to the Pivot tool, and if you noticed, the Pivot tool is selected but we really don't see it anywhere. I'm going to zoom out.
The pivot is actually dead center. That's where it is by default. So if you're adding extra drawings, you're going to have to set the pivot for each one of those extra drawings. So it's not like you can just set it for the layer and everything is okay. Now, there are exceptions to this. If you have made a symbol, and the symbol is actually in the Library, you can go to your Pivot options under Tool properties, and you can set the pivot point to be in the exact same spot for all of your frames, but what we're doing with Bob here is we're not using symbols.
These are drawings and so we have to set the pivot point for each individual frame. I'm going to go ahead and undo this. Let's just go ahead and delete the second frame here. I'll just press Delete or Backspace on the PC. Let's turn off our Onion Skin and get back to frame 1. Another way of looking at pivot points, think about those paper skeletons you see for Halloween decorations. The rivets are placed at each joint to allow the skeleton to be positioned in different poses.
So just think of those rivets as pivot points.
- Working with the timeline
- Customizing your workspace
- Importing images to use as the basis for an animation
- Understanding how pen pressure affects brush strokes
- Adding color with swatches
- Creating multiple versions of a single character
- Drawing the head and body
- Creating phonemes for lip sync
- Rigging your character
- Using motion keyframes
- Creating pegs
- Animating the legs and arms
- Importing and editing sound
- Using squash and stretch and other animation principles
- Saving your character as a template