To set your animation timing, you will mostly work with the Timeline and Xsheet views. It is extremely useful to become familiar with the Timeline view, how it works, and its interface.
The Timeline view is the main view used when adjusting the timing of drawings
The Timeline view allows you to read your timing from left to right. It represents the scene’s elements in their simplest form. You can also see the layers and their names, as well as the drawing’s exposure. The drawing name is displayed when you place your pointer above the drawing’s exposure.
You can see the drawing name when you display the Data view. The name of the drawing folder to which the layer is linked is displayed in the Data view.
The Enable/Disable All button is used to show or hide all layers simultaneously.
When you deselect a layer in the Timeline view, the corresponding column is hidden in the Xsheet view. When a column is hidden in the Xsheet view, the corresponding layer is disabled in the Timeline view.
To disable a particular layer, deselect the layer’s checkbox or press D.
To enable a particular layer, select the layer’s checkbox or press A.
The Show Selection and Hide All Others button is used to show only the currently selected layer in the Timeline view and disable all the other layers.
The Add Layers button lets you add new layers to the Timeline view.
The Delete Layers button lets you delete the currently selected layers in the Timeline view.
The Add Drawing Layer button lets you automatically add a new drawing layer to the Timeline view. By default, the layer is named
The Add Peg button lets you add a peg layer to your timeline. If one or several layers are selected a peg will be added and parented to each individual layer.
The Show/Hide Data View button lets you display the current frame’s drawing exposure and keyframe values corresponding to each individual layer.
|•||Hidden Data View|
|•||Visible Data View|
The highlighted drawing represents the drawing currently displayed and is linked to play head position.
The red play head represents the current frame displayed and marked in the Playback toolbar. If you slide the play head to the left or right, it will scrub through your frames and update the Camera view.
The Split button lets you split the Timeline view in two sections, allowing you to see two different portions of the Timeline view. This way, if your scene length is very long, you can see the beginning and the end at the same time.
The Collapse/Expand Children button is used to display the children layers of a parent layer. Once a layer is parented to another layer, it is indented to the right and the Collapse / Expand Children button appears on the parent layer allowing you to show or hide the child layer.
The Show/Hide Functions button lets you display the functions embedded in each layer. The functions are the different coordinates and value used to record a layer’s parameters at each frame. This information is stored on the function curves using keyframes.
The Change Track Colour button lets you change the colour of the exposed frames; this helps you to quickly locate a layer in the Timeline view. Double-click on the colour swatch to open the Select Colour window and choose a new colour. You can modify the layer for any type of layer, such as group, peg, drawing, and effects.
The Lock/Unlock Layer button lets you prevent the selection or editing of a layer in the Camera view. To select some of the layers without selecting others, in the Timeline view, lock the layers you do not want to select.
In the top menu, there are a series of locking options. Select Animation > Lock > select one of the following actions:
|•||Lock: Locks the currently selected element.|
|•||Unlock: Unlocks the currently selected element.|
|•||Lock All: Locks all the elements in the Camera view.|
|•||Unlock All: Unlocks all the elements in the Camera view.|
|•||Lock All Others: Locks all the elements in the Camera view except the currently selected one.|
You can display the locked drawings as outlines in the Camera view to quickly find out which drawings are locked.
|1.||From the top menu, select Edit > Preferences (Windows/Linux) or Stage Draw > Preferences (Mac OS X).|
|2.||In the Preferences dialog box, select the Camera tab.|
|3.||In the Tools section, select the Show Locked Drawings As Outlines option.|
The Onion Skin button enables the Onion Skin option on a particular layer. If you want to see the previous and next frames of a specific layer, go to the Timeline view and click the Onion Skin button for that particular layer. Blue arrows appear on both sides of the play head. Pull on the blue arrows to add more frames to the onion skin display.
To activate the general Onion Skin preview, in the Tools toolbar, click the Onion Skin button.
The Drawing Substitution field is used to change the drawing exposed at the current frame. To access the Drawing Substitution field, you must first expand the Data view by clicking the Show/Hide Data View button.
To change the current drawing, click the drawing value in blue and slide your cursor left or right when you see the hand cursor, or double-click on the drawing name and type in a new value.
The drawing exposure will be changed for the entire block it is exposed, not just the current frame.
The Keyframe Value field is used to add, remove or modify a keyframe at the current frame. To access the Keyframe Value field, you must first expand the Data view by clicking the Show/Hide Data View button.
|•||To add a keyframe at the current frame, click the Add Keyframe button.|
|•||To remove an existing keyframe at the current frame, click the Delete Keyframe button.|
|•||To change the current keyframe, either click and slide your cursor left or right when you see the hand cursor, or double-click on the keyframe value and directly type a new value.|
|•||To navigate through the existing keyframes, click the Previous Keyframe and the Next Keyframe buttons.|
|•||To link your layer to an existing function or to create a new function, click the Show Function Menu button to display the drop-down Function menu.|
The Zoom tool is used to increase or reduce the width of the frames in the Timeline view. Drag the cursor to the right to increase the width or to the left to reduce it. You can also press 1 and 2.
A black or red square is displayed in the Timeline view when a keyframe exists. You can select these keyframes and drag them wherever you want on the timeline. You can also copy, cut and delete them.
|•||To delete a keyframe without deleting the drawing exposure, go to the Timeline view and select the keyframe to be deleted and then select Animation > Delete Keyframes from the top menu.|
When a parent layer is collapsed and a child layer contains a keyframe, a white square will be displayed.
In the Timeline view, when a drawing is exposed, it is represented as a grey block. If the drawing is exposed for several frames, the block is extended. When a second drawing is exposed, a new grey block is displayed.
|•||The exposure’s colour can be changed. To pick a new colour, double-click on the Change Track Colour button in the corresponding layer.|
As you animate, you will find that you reuse many positions, drawings, and keys. However, you may only want to paste the drawings or just the keys or maybe everything. There are different paste options available in the Timeline view which give you maximum flexibility when reusing and pasting.
Note that these modes also apply when you use drag instead of copy and paste.
There are three different modes for pasting your selection:
|•||Paste Mode: All Drawing Attributes: Pastes the drawing exposure and keyframes.|
|•||Paste Mode: Keyframes Only: Pastes only the keyframes.|
|•||Paste Mode: Exposures Only: Pastes only the drawing exposure.|
To streamline the process of working with elements in the Timeline view, there are three different view modes you can choose to work in. With each mode you select, certain elements may or may not be visible in the Timeline view. Depending on your workflow, this can be useful for quickly hiding elements when you want to focus on specific ones. To select a view mode, use the drop-down menu in the Timeline view.