Join Mark Simon for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Light Table and the Onion Skin, part of Toon Boom Storyboard Pro Essential Training.
- 2D animators and many classic paper artists, and I say paper meaning artists who draw on paper, used to rely on light tables to see through their drawings onto lower sheets of paper. Now, one of the reasons is, maybe we sketched a rough of a drawing on one sheet and then we ink over it on another sheet and use the light table to see the sketch underneath, or if you're an animator and you need to see your keyframes both before and after your current drawing, then while you're animating you turn on the light table so you can see through to the earlier animation keys. Seeing other drawings at the same time is called an onion skin and we'll get to that and what we do in Storyboard Pro in a minute.
Now, if you've also ever drawn in Photoshop, I'm sure you've experienced accidentally drawing on the wrong layer. Maybe you're spending ten minutes or so working on the layer and coloring things and then realize, Oh, I'm on the wrong layer. This causes a lot of problems and wasted time and people throwing paper across the room. It's especially a problem if you need your layers separated so you can animate them later on. Well, Storyboard Pro has a solution for you to keep this from happening and it's called the auto-light table.
Now, if you look over on the bottom left of your icons, you'll see something that looks like a light bulb. I'm gonna click on the light bulb. Oh, and look what happened in our drawing area. Notice we have the mother and the stroller on one layer and we have the boys on another. So, whichever layer I have selected is the bold color. Everything else goes fifty percent transparency. This way if I wanna work on the mother or the stroller and I click on that layer, I know I'm working on that layer 'cause everything else is grayed out.
This saves you from drawing on the wrong layer every time and all you have to do is just click on that little light bulb, the auto light table. I absolutely love this feature. Now, if you're doing an animated sequence and you really need to be able to see your previous drawings in order to show the action, and how we also have them, I'm gonna turn off the light table for right now, we also have what's called the onion skin, we mentioned just a moment ago. The onion skin is up here on the top tight row.
So, this is where I can toggle that on or off. So, here's how the onion skin works. You're gonna see red and green lines underneath the black line. The black line is the current drawing. Red lines are the drawings before the current one. And the green are the ones that show up after. Right now, I have it set as you look up here on this icon, the second one over, there's one red line underneath. That means I'm seeing one drawing behind.
If I click it again, now there's two lines, and you'll see more lines show up. If I click it again, I can get up to three. Three is the maximum. If I click it a fourth time, they all disappear. So, let's hold two for now. So, we've got a darker and a lighter red line. The further back the drawings go, the lighter they look. Same thing for the green that's in front of our drawing. Right now, there's one. If I click it a second time, now I'm gonna get two Click it a third, I can get up to three. Click it a fourth, and they all disappear. So, let's hit 2.
So, now I'm seeing two drawings ahead and two drawings behind. Any panel I jump to, it's gonna show me two ahead and two behind. Now, if I wanna flip it and see how the action is working, this is where this play button, if I click and hold on that, it will just play just those five panels, two behind my current drawing and two ahead, in this instance. If I wanna see all three, let's just set it to three behind and three ahead and I click play.
Or I can scrub back and forth between those by just grabbing the little play head and it only affects the drawings around my current frame. So, it's amazing how we now have both a light table and an animation stand and a drafting table all in one monitor. The Storyboard Pro light table's intelligent, letting us know which layer we're drawing on, and the onion skin feature allows us to flip our drawings like a seasoned animator. In both cases, they make our work as a Storyboard artist much easier.
- Why storyboard digitally?
- Setting up a new Storyboard Pro file
- Zooming, rotating, and moving around the workspace
- Editing in the timeline
- Using layers to speed up your work
- Creating, editing, and deleting custom brushes
- Using the shape tools
- Adding text and captions
- Saving images and audio to the library for reuse
- Working with cameras
- Creating animatics
- Editing audio
- Exporting your storyboards
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 10/12/2016. What changed?
A: We added and updated over a dozen tutorials, to bring the training up to date with the latest version of Storyboard Pro (v5.0).