Learn to Animate

Xsheet and Timeline

The Xsheet (short for Exposure sheet) and it's alternate view the Timeline, are 2 ways of organizing/viewing the collection of resources that make up your animation. Here you can load/create files, see/adjust the order and pacing of your images/audio, add notes and more.

About the Xsheet

The Xsheet and it's vertical orientation is based on traditional animation's exposure sheets. This view is ideal for being able to identify your resources visually.

The Xsheet holds your individual resource files (called levels) in vertical columns. In the Xsheet, levels span vertically across one or more cells. The more cells a level spans across, the longer the level exists in the animation.

Visually, the cells a single Xsheet row (from each visible column) are combined to form a single frame. When this happens, columns on the left are visually behind columns on the right. Frames/cells/rows at the top of the Xsheet take place at the beginning of the animation while frames/cells/rows at the bottom of the Xsheet take place at the end of the animation.

About the Timeline

The timeline's horizontal orientation is based off of modern digital animation and video editing. While you cannot identify your resources at a glance, the compact size can allow more of your resources to be seen and may be more familiar.

The timeline holds your levels (those individual resource files) in horizontal layers. Like columns, each layer holds at least one level or more. In the Timeline, levels span horizontally across one or more cells. The more cells a level spans across, the longer the level exists in the animation.

The Timeline has an additional "Zoom in" or "Zoom out" capability to either contract or expand the cells of the Timeline horizontally. At the full scale, the Timeline cells are identical to the Xsheet cells. At its most compact, the Timeline is able to display signifigantly more cells without the need to scroll horizontally.

Visually, the cells in a single Timeline column (from each visible layer) are combined to form a single frame. When this happens, layers on the top are visually in front of layers on the bottom. Frames/cells on the left of the Timeline take place at the beginning of the animation while frames/cells at the end of the Timeline take place at the end of the animation.

Eventually, the timeline is expected to also give access to the individual objects inside a single (vector)drawing.

or or
In the Xsheet view
In the Timeline view

In Preferences → Xsheet, different styles can be set for the Xsheet headers. Pictured above (from left to right) styles include "Classic-revised", "Compact", and "Classic". The Timeline's header holds the same information (with the exception of the layer icon) in a different format.

In the column header (top of the column) and layer header (left of the layer), you can control visibility and editability of the columns/layers:
  • columns/layers can be locked/unlocked to prevent or allow further editing and is off by default
  • preview and render(export) visibility is on by default but be turned off
  • camerastand visibility (what you see in the viewer) is on by default and can be turned off
  • additional visibility settings (these will not be visible in render/preview)
    • color filters can be added to visually separate your levels
    • opacity adjustment

In the "Classic" header style, the additional visibility settings can be accessed by holding down on the camerastand visibility toggle.

  1. Selecting a single column/layer
    • In the Xsheet:
      • Click on the column icon
    • In the Timeline:
      • Click on the column name
  2. Selecting multiple columns/layers:
    • Left-click and drag across consecutive column icons/layer names
    • Cmd-click on the column icons/layer names to select non-consecutive columns/layers
  3. Selecting a single cell:
    • Left-click on the cell
  4. Selecting multiple cells:
    • Left-click and drag across the cells
  5. Selecting all cells in a column/layer:
    • Left-click on the left edge dragbar of a cell
Column/layer headers and individual cells have drag bars to allow for easy drag and drop positioning of the entire column/layer or of a selection of cells.
  1. Moving the entire column
    • Classic-revised/Compact styles: the top bar with the column name
    • Classic:left edge of header Xsheet Cell dragbar
  2. Moving the entire layer
    • The top edge of the layer name Timeline Cell dragbar
  3. Moving selected cells
    • In the Xsheet
      • Click and drag the left edge drag bar to reposition the cells and drop them into a new location Cell dragbar
    • In the Timeline
      • Click and drag the top edge drag bar to reposition the cells and drop them into a new location Cell dragbar

In the Xsheet, the column dragbar is a light yellow when hovering. The dragbar for the Xsheet cells and the Timeline header/cells is a lighter tint of the level color.

Command Bar

The Command Bar - also called the Xsheet Toolbar, allows you fast access to commonly used commands when the Xsheet/Timeline is active. Command Bar
In most default configurations of the command bar, there are buttons to:
  • add new levels
    • Command Bar Vector Levels
    • Command Bar Toonz Raster Levels
    • Command Bar Raster Levels
  • Command Bar set the number of steps
  • Command Bar repeat selected frames in a column
  • Command Bar create sub-xsheets
  • Command Bar enter a sub-xsheet
  • Command Bar exit a sub-xsheet
  • Command Bar set/navigate keyframes
The command bar can be customized to add your most used commands for easy access: Example for customizing the command bar
  1. Add a command:
    1. Right-click on an empty segment of the command bar
    2. Select "Customize Command Bar"
    3. In the right column, find the command you want to add
    4. Drag and drop the command to the desired position in the left column
    5. Add separators in the same way as necessary
  2. Remove a command:
    1. In the left column, right-click on the command
    2. Select "Remove..."
  3. Select "OK" when all customization is finished
Most added commands will display as text buttons.