Join Dermot O' Connor for an in-depth discussion in this video Lining the character, part of Toon Boom Animate and Harmony Essential Training.
- Now, we are ready to start lining the character, so we're gonna be using this tool, the Line tool, an awful lot. Let's get going. So click that, click Tool Properties, and you'll see I've made six layers in the timeline, just all ready to go. So let's pick the Fixed Thickness 2, and I think that's about the right size. Looks nice. And let's go in. So, I'll do the upper arm first. Now, remember these are going to rotate, so we're going to draw a little through here as this lower arm will rotate into different positions.
We obviously want a little stub to go beyond it, so in any event, let's start drawing at this one. Also, I like to activate a Snap to Contour so that our lines all join up perfectly. So, you'll see the little blue outline that appears when I move too close, or close enough rather. And to double check that with the Contour Editor, let me drag these points. You can see that they've stuck together nicely. So let's position them. Also, when you're positioning and fine tuning, I like to switch it off again, which is now visible up here.
It tends to jump around depending on what tool has been selected. You get used to where they are, don't worry. And it does the same thing no matter which incarnation it's currently in. So there we go, that's pretty close. So, let's get the Line tool back, let's put Snap to Contour back on, and let's draw, probably the end will be about here. So I'm gonna draw to the point, and I feel it snap. Nice, there we go. And we'll do the other one here, and close them off. And now proceed to the arm right lower.
And I think we'll just start from this joint here to there, and let's just close this off, and exactly how you create your lines, what sequence you draw them in, and where you place the points, that's up to, largely, your personal preference and comfort level with the tool. Don't feel like you have to follow my particular selections. Here, though, I think we would need another point maybe, or maybe we can just extract it by using the beziers.
So let's see if we can twist these guys into shape. That's not too bad. So we can do that with just three points. That's fantastic! So now we'll go back to the Line tool, and make sure Snap is back on, and let's just draw this through. So I'm gonna draw one line here, and then another that joins from there to there, from here to here, and just for jollies, I'm going to insert a new point here by Control or Command clicking on that line, and then this point can be moved, and the bezier handles can be set.
So holding Alt or Option, I'm going to release the beziers, and get that fine degree of control. Maybe switch off the Snap at this point, so you can really be precise about where you want them to be, and I think we actually have a third point on this one. When three lines coincide, you get a third point, so just releasing that point can make it go a little wonky sometimes, but there we go. Okay, so that'll do for that, and now, let's padlock these as we do them, so we can't mess them up.
Arm right hand, back to the Line tool, and back to putting Snap on. So, there's another way that might be easier if you're doing these big intricate shapes. Let's just select our points at the corners, make a big triangle, and then we can use the Contour Editor, and then Control or Command clicking on the lines to add the new points where we need them. And let's switch that Snap off. I think Snap is making it hard to control the inner line shapes.
Also, sometimes it helps to zoom in. If you're having a really hard time, then beziers are your best friend. I was never, you know, a huge fan of beziers back in the day, but I'm really starting to like these. I like the way that the Toon Boom software handles these curves. They're super easy to control. You get used to them very, very quickly indeed. So, be sure to give them a good chance, don't just write them off.
Okay, that's good enough now for that. So, more than enough to give you the idea about how you would proceed about cleaning up a bunch of layers. I'm gonna un-padlock them now, and I'm going to color them. So select the Paints tool, and, let's see, let's start with the Hand layer. Go to the Color. We've already built the alien color palette, so we'll paint the skin layer and beneath that the arm right lower, and I think that is, that's the wrist color there. This is the armor here, and then we'll go to the arm upper, and paint the skin, and then paint the armor.
Now, if we select out of this, then we can see all three layers together, and that's looking really nice. So one last thing I want to do is to tackle the head because it's a slightly different approach. So, let's go to the Skull layer, and this time we're going to get the Ellipse, and make sure our Line is back to black, go to Tools Properties, and we're in the good old Fixed Thickness brush, holding Alt or Option right in the middle of the head, you can then draw from the center, and get it reasonably close. It doesn't have to be perfect, but just close enough.
Okay, good enough, and then the Select tool, and then select the object by drawing around it, and then just move it. Now, what I want to do with this is to leave an open gap down here so it doesn't look quite so flat, that's an old drawing trick. So, let's select the Contour Editor again, and then select that line, and I'm going put a new point in here, Control or Command click there, and then select the point between them, and delete that. So, you'll notice immediately that there's a chop on the line, and to get rid of that we go back to the Select tool, select the line, and where you see Start has gone to Flat, change it back to Round, and if you ever see that, that's how you do that.
Now, the problem is how do we paint this that's wide open. We add a stroke, very easy. So, in order to see the strokes, I like to have View Strokes enabled, so View, Show Strokes, or K on the keyboard, and now you see the invisible strokes, and let's draw a stroke with the Stroke tool, and enable these two options, and then very carefully position the first point and then snap to the second. And if you want to fine tune this, you can go to the Contour Editor, and, you know, there's maybe mysterious extra points that you can add or delete.
So that looks good enough. Zoom out. And let's add the eye. So we'll go to the Eyeball layer, back to the Ellipse tool. Same process. I'm just going to draw this out to here, and then you can use the Select tool to select the eye and position it closer to where you want it. Looks good, and we can do the same thing for the eyeball. I'm going to Control C and copy and paste this. Control V into the Eyeball layer. And using Shift and the numeric arrow keys, we can pull that into place.
And Control C and Control V again to very quickly flesh out the eyeball pupil and all that. Okay, so now let's see if these will paint. To the Color mode, skin. And then the Paints tool is here. And let me activate the Skull. Skull is painted. The Eyeball, and we'll pick the eyes. There we go. Go to the Pupil layer, and we'll paint the outside blue, we'll paint the inside black.
And now when we hit the Select tool, we're back outside, and, ooh, I think Strokes are still enabled, that's why we're seeing that. So hit K on the keyboard, and now at this range, it's even starting to look good. Let's hide the Guide layer, so we can just see these for what they are, and now with the Select tool, we can have some real fun. I'm going to select the arms just by drawing a selection box around them, go to Tools Properties, and try this. Just go through some of the Brush options. Now, I'm going to use 2 on the keyboard to zoom in, and then just go through a few more of these until I see one I like, and I really like this Medium Tapered 12, that looks great.
So we'll probably come back to that one, but if you want, you can add these textures as well, have a look at this. I mean, the control you have is just astonishing, and you can add your own custom textures as well, like this weird one that I made earlier in the course, that's still in there. So, you know, you have this astonishing control over the look of the project. So I'm gonna go back to Medium, I think it was Medium Tapered 12. Probably with, maybe with no texture. I think I can get rid of it here. We'll use a Dash. All kinds of weird things you can do with it. So, None. We'll switch off the texture and just go back to black line.
Let's see here. There were go. So, that's my favorite, and let's apply it to the head as well. And let's make sure that our ends of the line are still good, and this one has gone Solid again, so we'll click on that, and make you Round. Fantastic! So, I'll leave it in this state, and if you wish, you can take this end state project from your Exercise Files and have a go at completing the rest of the character, using the same methods, the same techniques, focusing, of course, on Line and Ellipse, and then using your Contour Editor and your Select tool to shape and select the lines where you need to.
Note: Dermot uses Toon Boom Animate to demonstrate these techniques, but Toon Boom Harmony and Toon Boom Animate Pro users will also benefit from the training.
- Creating scenes
- Drawing and transforming objects
- Applying color and ink
- Drawing keys and breakdowns
- Easing in and out
- Nudging in 3D space
- Rigging a character
- Animating with forward and inverse kinematics
- Morph-tweening characters
- Animating cameras
- Performing automatic lip syncs
- Exporting movies and images