Learn to Animate

Finishing an Animation Made With Photos/Scanned Images

Photographs or other digital images can be imported or loaded into OpenToonz as an image sequence to form the basis of an animation.

When a set of images is recognized as an image sequence, all of the images load as a single level, in a single column/layer. This allows the images to be adjusted simultaneously and saves a lot of time.

OpenToonz will load a variety of image formats (.svg, .png, .tif, .jpg & etc.). With any of these formats, OpenToonz recoginzes sets of images as image sequences only if they are named with the following name structure:
name.0001.jpg or name_0001.png
The number of zeros does not matter, but there does need to be either a period (.) or an underscore (_) between the file name and number - ie. name.01.gif or name_00001.png will also be accepted as a sequence. At this time, the number for the image sequence range cannot start at 0 (ie. name.000.jpg will not work).

The class cameras should all automatically format any photos with the correct name format. If you do end up needing to fix the name format, use the following steps:

  1. In Finder, select the images that you would like to be images 1-9
    1. For consecutive images: left-click the first image then shift-left-click the last image
    2. For non-consecutive images: CMD-left-click each image
  2. Right-click over the selected images and select “Rename _ items..” from the menu
  3. Change the type from "Replace Text" to "Format"
  4. Next to "Custom Format" write yourfilename.000 and leave the number at 1. "Where" should be set to “after name”
  5. Click rename
  1. In Finder, select the images you want from to be placed from 10 to 99
  2. Right-click over the selected images and select “Rename _ items..” from the menu
  3. Change the type from "Replace Text" to "Format"
  4. Next to "Custom Format" write yourfilename.00 and change the number to 10. "Where" should be set to “after name”
  5. Click rename
  1. In Finder, select the images you want from to be placed from 100 up to 999
  2. Right-click over the selected images and select “Rename _ items..” from the menu
  3. Change the type from "Replace Text" to "Format"
  4. Next to "Custom Format" write yourfilename.0 and change the number to 100. "Where" should be set to “after name”
  5. Click rename
Images can either be imported into OpenToonz and added directly to the project, or loaded from the existing location:
  1. Make sure your images are located in an easy to access location - ie. Documents or Desktop
  2. In the top, leftmost empty cell in the Xsheet/Timeline, right-click
  3. Select "Load Level"
  4. Use the Browser to select your image sequence (the sequence will display as a single file DSC..jpg - or something similar) then choose "Load"
    1. If your images are located inside of Downloads or another folder you can't directly access, in the Browser, go to "My Computer" → / → Users → your username
  5. You might be asked to choose between importing and loading the file:
    • Importing - makes a full copy of the file in the "Extras" folder (this makes backing up your work easier - recommended)
    • Loading - loads the file from the existing location (keeps the project size down and helpful when the file might be edited more outside of OT)
Larger files may take a little longer to load. The entire sequence should display as a single level in it's own column of the Xsheet or layer of the Timeline.

Additionally, you can drag and drop the first image in a sequence into the Viewer or Xsheet and the entire sequence will load/import.

In many photo editing programs (such as Photoshop), the overall ranges for highlights and shadows can be adjusted. This process is usually called "Adjust Levels" or something similar.
  1. Select the cells in the level that you want to adjust
    1. Left-click and drag to select consecutive cells
    2. Command-left-click to select non-consecutive cells
    3. To select all cells in the level:
      1. Left-click on the light-colored left edge of a cell in the Xsheet
      2. Left-click on the light-colored top edge of a cell in the Timeline
  2. In the program menu, go to Level → "Adjust Levels..."
  3. Move the dials to make adjustments as desired:
    1. Select "Auto" to let OpenToonz autocorrect the lights and darks
    2. Or manually adjust the lights and darks
      1. Adjust the dials along the histogram (the graph)
        1. The left dial adjusts the shadows - usually should line up with the leftmost edge of the histogram's shape
        2. The left right dial adjusts the highlights - usually should line up with the rightmost edge of the histogram's shape
      2. Adjust the overall range of light/dark:
        1. Drag the lower left dial to the right to both lower the contrast and to make the selected images lighter
        2. Drag the lower right dial to the left to both lower the contrast and to make the selected images darker
  4. Select "Apply" and click on the red X (top-left corner) to close the window
  5. To remove changes, with the "Adjust Levels" window open, select "Reset"
  1. Select the cells in the level that you want to adjust
    1. Left-click and drag to select consecutive cells
    2. Command-left-click to select non-consecutive cells
    3. To select all cells in the level:
      1. Left-click on the light-colored left edge of a cell in the Xsheet
      2. Left-click on the light-colored top edge of a cell in the Timeline
  2. In the program menu, go to Level → "Brightness and Contrast..."
  3. Move the dials to adjust brightness and/or contrast as desired, then select "Apply"
  4. Click on the red X (top-left corner) to close the window

The size of the camera may be smaller than the image size (if you created the correct scene resolution) - this will allow for a much faster rendering (export) process. To correct the difference in size, use the "Animate" tool

  1. Adjusting the Image Size:
    1. With the 1st cell of the image level selected in the Xsheet/Timeline, select the "Animate" tool (very top or left of toolbar)
    2. Make sure that the column number for the image sequence is selected in the first dropdown of the Tool Option Bar
    3. Change the mode to "Scale"
    4. Left-click and drag inward in the Viewer to resize the image to fit the camera outline (red dotted line)
      1. or type in the desired scale
      2. or click and drag horizontally on the label to resize
  2. Adjusting the Image Orientation
    Any images photographed at the Animation stands will be upside down. To flip the pictures the right direction:
    1. With the 1st cell of the image level selected in the Xsheet/Timeline, select the "Animate" tool (very top or left of toolbar)
    2. Make sure that the column number for the image sequence is selected in the first dropdown of the Tool Option Bar
    3. Change the mode to "Scale"
    4. Change the global scale to a negative number

When using the animation stands (instead of a tripod) to do traditional animation forms like sand or paint-on-glass animations, all of the photographs will be upside dpwn. To correct the orientation, use the "Animate" tool

  1. Preview the Timing:
    Playing an animation with lots of very large photographs directly in the Viewer often lags the program. Use the Flipbook to preview your timing instead:
    1. Always "Save All" before using preview (Cmd-S)
    2. File → Preview or (Cmd-R)
    3. Right-click in the middle of the Flipbook and select "Fit to Window"
    4. After the calculations are finished (the red is gone in the progress bar), use the controls to play/pause the animation as necessary
  2. Adjusting the Frame Rate:
    Traditionally animations are made of 24fps where 12 frames repeat one time. Sometimes you may want to change the frame rate to speed up or slow down the animation.
    1. In the Flipbook preview, change the frame rate value and play to see changes
    2. When you have found your desired frame rate, go to the program menu, Xsheet → "Scene Settings"
    3. Change the frame rate as needed
  1. Select the cell (or cells to be reordered)
  2. Use the shortcut "Q" to toggle backwards in the image sequence
  3. Use the shortcut "W" to toggle forwards in the image sequence

For Animation II

The "Cleanup" Room allows photographs (or other raster images) to be converted to Toonz Raster Levels. This makes the images fillable and allows for easy changes to color.

Often, animators may "clean up" scanned or photographed line drawings to test out characters, viewpoints, and/or movements.

More information coming soon.

Pixelation Quest

  1. In your group, plan out your Pixelation animation
  2. Take photos for your animation
    1. Pose actors and/or objects (actors should freeze in place for each pose)
    2. Take 2 photos
    3. Repeat steps A. and B. as necessary
  3. Download photos and share with all group members
  4. Setup the Project and Scene in OpenToonz
    In the Startup pop-up (alt-S):
    1. Select a Project:
      1. Make a new project in OpenToonz (make sure to select Documents as the project location):
      2. Or select an existing project (do NOT use the Sandbox)
    2. Add a scene name
    3. Set the project resolution
      1. 680 by 450
    4. Select "Create Scene"
  5. Import the image sequence
    1. Make sure your images are located in an easy to access location - ie. Documents or Desktop
    2. In the top, leftmost empty cell in the Xsheet/Timeline, right-click
    3. Select "Load Level"
    4. Use the Browser to select your image sequence (the sequence will display as a single file DSC..jpg - or something similar) then choose "Load"
      1. If your images are located inside of Downloads or another folder you can't directly access, in the Browser, go to "My Computer" → / → Users → your username
    5. You might be asked to choose between importing and loading the file:
      • Importing - makes a full copy of the file in the "Extras" folder (this makes backing up your work easier - recommended)
      • Loading - loads the file from the existing location (keeps the project size down and helpful when the file might be edited more outside of OT)
  6. Adjust the level as necessary (values, brightness, contrast, size, and/or timing)
      1. Adjusting the Image Size:
        1. With the 1st cell of the image level selected in the Xsheet/Timeline, select the "Animate" tool (very top or left of toolbar)
        2. Make sure that the column number for the image sequence is selected in the first dropdown of the Tool Option Bar
        3. Change the mode to "Scale"
        4. Left-click and drag inward in the Viewer to resize the image to fit the camera outline (red dotted line)
          1. or type in the desired scale
          2. or click and drag horizontally on the label to resize
    1. Directions to make other image adjustments can be found under the "Adjustments" tab
  7. Add a title image to the beginning of the animation (hold for at least 2 seconds)
    1. Create a new raster level for background layer
      1. Click on the first cell of the next column in the Xsheet (or the first cell of the image sequence in the Timeline), and use the Command Bar to create a new Raster level
        1. Give the background a descriptive name
        2. Make sure to set the step to "48" to stretch out the background to last for 2 seconds
      2. In the Level Palette:
        1. Add a new style by right-clicking and choosing "New Style" or by using the new style button at the top of the level palette
        2. With that color selected, in the Style Editor, change to your desired new color
        3. Repeat as necessary to create your color selections
      3. Change the Style Editor to the "Raster" tab - there are a variety of brushes you can use here that only work on raster levels
      4. To add a specific brush to one of your colors, select the color(style) first in the level palette and then click on the brush of your choice in the Style Editor (you can change brushes for a style as many times as you would like)
      5. From the toolbar, use the Brush tool (B) and the Eraser tool (E) to draw your background
        1. In the Tool Option Bar above the Viewer, you can change the size and opacity of the active brush
        2. In the Style Editor under Settings, you can change the settings for the active brush
    2. Create either a new vector or toonz raster level to add text

      The "Type Tool" allows you to use any font on the computer to create text - but keep in mind, after it is created it is no longer editable as text. Text can only be added in Vector or Toonz Raster levels.

      1. Click on the first cell of the next column in the Xsheet (or the first cell of the image sequence in the Timeline), and use the Command Bar to create a new Vector level or Toonz Raster level
        1. Give the level a descriptive name
        2. Make sure to set the step to "48" so that the text last for the same amount of time as the background
      2. Select the "Type" tool
      3. Set the font, style, size and orientation as necessary for the font in the Tool Option bar
      4. Click in the viewer and begin typing
        • While the text is still active and editable, any of the tool options can be changed
        • Clicking outside of the text in the Viewer or changing tools completes the text objects, so that the text is no longer editable as text
      5. To adjust the size or position of the text, use the "Select Tool" (S)
        The select tool allows for changes in size, position, and rotation without setting keyframes and usually only applies to the active drawing
        1. Leaving the selection type set to rectangular, left-click and drag around your text to select
          1. For vector letters, you may want to make a group to easily edit all of the letters at the same time by using the shortcut CMD-G, with all of the letters selected
        2. To resize: left-click and drag the corners
        3. To rotate: hover near just outside of a corner until the cursor changes, then click and drag to change the angle
        4. To reposition: hover inside the selection until the cursor changes, then click and drag the selection to the new location (or use the arrow keys)
  8. Add credits to the end of the animation (hold for at least 2 seconds)
    1. Create a new raster level for a background layer
    2. Create either a new vector or toonz raster level to add text
  9. Adjust the placement of the levels on the Xsheet/Timeline into a logical sequence

    Levels can be dragged and dropped in the Xsheet/Timeline to adjust the overall sequence of an animation.

    1. Move the image sequence (photo) level down to make room for the title
      1. Select every cell for your image sequence
        1. CMD-left-click on the light-colored left edge of a cell in the Xsheet
        2. CMD-left-click on the light-colored top edge of a cell in the Timeline
      2. Drag and drop the cells down to the 49th frame
    2. Move the title sequence to the beginning of the Xsheet/Timeline
      1. Select every cell of the title
        1. Left-click on the light-colored left edge of a cell in the Xsheet
        2. Left-click on the light-colored top edge of a cell in the Timeline
      2. Drag and drop the cells to the top of the Xsheet (or left of the Timeline)
    3. Move the credits to the end of the animation
  10. Render to Video