Release Notes > Toon Boom Harmony 11 Release Notes

Toon Boom Harmony 11 Release Notes

Version 11


Here are the new features and improvements in Toon Boom Harmony 11:

Timeline and Animation Improvements
Modules and Effects
Library - Importing Files through the Library
Drawing and Camera View
Colour View
Game Export
Harmony Cloud
Toon Boom Harmony 11 Release Notes
Toon Boom Harmony 11 Release Notes
Sketch Module
Draw Module
Miscellaneous changes

Timeline and Animation Improvements

In this version of Harmony, the Timeline view has been improved to make it clearer and more predictable.

Marked Drawings in the Timeline

When you add markers to a project, such as K for Key Drawing or B for Breakdown, they are now visible in the Timeline. The colours of the Key Drawing frame and Breakdown markers are customizable via the same Marked Drawing preference settings.

Scene Markers

Scene markers are used to display visual indicators at the top of the Timeline in the frame counter area. Use it to denote anything relevant to your work. You can indicate at what frames you want to clean up work, a change in action, or where you intend to apply an effect. You can also add a note to a scene marker, which is displayed as a tooltip when you hover over the scene marker.

Custom Timeline Colours

The ability to change the colour of a Timeline layer has been improved. Two things have been done. For an element, it’s not only the cell blocks that will reflect the custom layer colour, but also the background of that layer. Also, you now have the ability to change the colour for almost all element types via the Timeline (like pegs).

Key Exposures

If you want to make sure that a certain drawing remains exposed on a certain frame and is not overwritten by a drawing swap done on an earlier frame, you can use the key exposure function. The key exposure feature breaks a drawing block into two pieces. The same drawing is used in both blocks. If you modify the artwork in one, the artwork will also be modified in the second one. But if you swap the exposure of the first one for another drawing, the second block will remain with the first drawing. This feature is used to avoid messing up your animation key poses. It is most frequently used on the mouth layer.

Key Exposure Concept


There is no more auto filling before pasted frame(s).  There are held frames and key exposures. A held frame is just a frame that has no specific value but just follows the preceding key exposure’s value.  When you paste Key Exposures, Blank, or Held frames it will try to stay the same as the source.  A special case is when pasting a Held frame on a different drawing; then it will create a Key Exposure of the source held.

When you paste on different drawings:

The value (Held, Blank or Key Exposure) is extended.
A Held becomes a key exposure.
A blank stays a blank.
A key exposure stays a key exposure.

When pasting on the same drawing, we do the same as above:

Same behaviour in Xsheet for the copy/paste.

Sliding Behaviour for Drag and Drop in Timeline and Xsheet

There have been improvements to how dragging and dropping an exposure/keyframe works. This has been implemented to avoid unpredictability in the way certain elements were being extended automatically when performing some of these types of operations:

Cut, copy, paste
Drag and drop or sliding

When the source and destination are on the same drawing or blank, there is an extension in that the Held frame is kept:

No new Key Exposure is created when you slide a held exposure or a blank exposure.
No new Key Exposure is created after the Key Exposure is slid over but the original is kept.

When the destination is a different image, there is no extension:

The held, blank, or key exposures are moved and a key exposure of the different drawing is created after.
Some keyframes or exposures located between the source and destination might be replaced or deleted.

There is a similar behaviour in the Xsheet.  When you use the left side of the cells in the Xsheet, it does the same as the slide in the Timeline view for the drawing and function columns. The Annotation and Sound columns work like before; a slide will not be performed, but cut and paste of the selected area.

You can see the override area in preview like in the Timeline view.

Filling Selections in the Timeline View

When filling a selection or sequence or filling a selection randomly, the Add Key Exposure After option allows you to insert a keyframe in the frame following the last cell in a selection. This option appears in these dialog boxes: Fill Selection, Sequence Fill, and Fill Cells Randomly.

No Auto-fill on Preceding Drawings

In previous versions of Harmony, when creating a new drawing that is placed after a series of blank cells, the previous drawing's exposure filled the empty cells up to the new drawing. In Harmony 11, this no longer happens. The exposure of the previous drawing does not fill the blank cells preceding the new drawing.

Drawing Substitution Will Not Auto-fill Preceding or Following Frame(s)

You can swap images in the Timeline or Library view. When you use the Drawing Substitution area in the Library view, you are not selecting drawings from the Library; you are selecting drawings contained in your scene layers.

It is important to understand that when a drawing is swapped, its entire exposure is replaced up to the next drawing block.

Drawing Blocks

Although, if you select a frame range to be swapped, the following exposure will remain the same even if it was part of the same drawing block.

Fill Empty Cells

After you have created several single frame drawings, you can extend their exposure to fill the empty cells between them.



Merging Artwork

You now have the ability to Merge layers or drawings. The feature is mostly accessible via the Timeline, but some of it can be accessed from the Xsheet.

Merging Selected Layers

You can merge two (or more) selected layers. This operation merges the drawing elements from the top all the way down to the last selected layer (horizontally). The action of merging will copy drawing elements from other selected elements and merge them into the bottom layer. The original layers will be deleted.

Merging Selected Drawings

You can merge drawings by selecting the drawings on the right side of the Timeline view. This will not delete any drawing layers. Instead, the artwork is copied into the destination layer. Only the exposure on the source is deleted, not the drawings themselves. The artwork for the original can always be recovered, but the timing cannot.

Cloning Columns

Cloning a column provides you with a copy of the selected element that uses the same drawings as the original. For example, if you modify a drawing in the cloned or original column, it is updated in both columns.

In Harmony 11, you can choose whether or not to copy the column exposure to the cloned column.

Clone Selected Layers (Drawings Only): You can modify the column exposure independently from each other and the drawings remain linked.
Clone Selected Columns (Drawings and Timing): You can copy the column exposure and the drawings and timings remain linked.

Art Layer Toolbar

Until now, control of the active art layer has always been in the status bar at the bottom of the Camera and Drawing views. These controls have been moved to a toolbar in the Camera and Drawing views.

Rendering Toolbar

The Rendering toolbar has been moved to the Camera status bar. Many of the display modes are now buttons.

New Tab in Layer Properties Window

There is a new tab in the Layer Properties window called Controls, which contains new options for the bitmap art layers. Some properties were also moved to the other tabs in this window.

Drawing with Bitmap Brushes

Drawing with Bitmap Brushes

With Harmony, you now have the choice to draw with vector or bitmap brushes. When adding a new layer, you can set your layers (Line Art, Colour Art) to be vector or bitmap. This way, you can draw in bitmap and paint in vector, draw everything in bitmap, or whatever other combination suits you.

When adding a new drawing layer to the Timeline view, you can select the art mode for each art layer. You can set the Line Art layer to be vector, while setting the Colour Art as bitmap. You also have the opportunity to readjust those later by converting them from one to the other. If you are using the Overlay and Underlay layers, you can also set those to either bitmap or vector.

If you selected the incorrect art mode for your layers, you can open the Layer Properties view and modify them there directly. If you switch the art mode for a layer that already has strokes on it, the artwork will NOT be converted. You will be able to add new strokes. A drawing with bitmap strokes will be converted to a vector layer but the bitmap artwork will remain as bitmap. You will be able to use vector drawing tools to continue drawing on it. A drawing with vector lines switched to a bitmap layer will allow you to draw new bitmap strokes and move the vector strokes with the Select tool, but you will not be able to edit the vector art further. You need to convert the drawings in order to pass the artwork from one mode to the other.

To always reuse the same art mode settings, you can adjust them in the Preferences dialog box.

Before you start drawing in bitmap, it is important to understand that your artwork will now be resolution dependent. If you zoom in your scene, you artwork will be enlarged. It is important to plan ahead of time and decide how high of a resolution you need your artwork to be. If you plan to zoom in your scene, the smallest section of the image that the camera will frame must be 100% the size of your scene resolution. For example, if your scene is 1920 x 1080, the smallest portion of your bitmap image has to be 1920 x 1080. It is important to change the bitmap layer resolution before you start drawing.

Calculate Bitmap Size

The bitmap resolution can be set at the scene level or drawing level. The setting at the scene level affects newly created bitmap art layers.

There is a function to change the default resolution of bitmap art for individual drawings. It is useful if you want to change the quality of bitmap art you did. For example, you used the default scene’s resolution for bitmap art but then discover you are zooming quite close into the lines. If you do not want to see the pixels appear too much when you are zoomed in, you can put 200% and the bitmap art will have a higher quality with smaller pixels. You can use this function on multiple drawings using the Apply to All Drawings option. Changing this option will affect existing and selected bitmap art layers.

If you drew an outline drawing on a bitmap layer, you can vectorize your artwork. Using a vector drawing layer, you can simply select your bitmap drawing and the vector cell on which you want your new vector layer to be, and use the Vectorize Line Art in Selected Drawing function.

Not all drawing tools are available when working on a bitmap layer. You can use the following tools:

Select tool
Cutter tool
Reposition All Drawings tool
Brush tool
Eraser tool
Text tool
Paint tool
Paint Unpainted tool
Repaint tool
Unpaint tool
Dropper tool
Pivot tool

Overlay and Underlay Art Layers

All art layers have always been available to you by default. There is a new option (on by default) that limits the art layers to Line Art and Colour Art only. If you want to also have the overlay and underlay art layers available, you must turn on this preference which located in the Advanced Options section of the Advanced tab of the Preferences dialog box.

This preference controls access to the overlay and underlay art layers in the Preferences dialog box, the Layer Properties window, and in the Art Layer toolbar.


Custom Layer Colours

When you change the colour of elements displayed in the Timeline, it will be reflected in the module(s) in the Network view. The corresponding colour is displayed on the right side of the module.

Show All Modules

When your scene contains many modules and you cannot see them all, you can display all modules at that level.

Searching in the Network View

At the bottom-right of the Network view is a new search field that lets you find modules. This search is not case-sensitive. When your module is found, it is selected and centred in the view. You can press the Previous and Next buttons to go through a multiple selection, with each node displayed in turn.

Searching by Name, Pattern or Module Type

You can search through the Network view and select all modules that match a certain criteria, either by module name (case sensitive or not) or by module type. There only a few operations that can be done on a group of selected modules, such as delete or disable/enable.

To access the Search For Modules features, display the Network toolbar and then click the Search For Modules icon.

Setting Properties for Many Layers

When dealing with several modules, you may frequently want to modify a series of settings. Instead of opening each individual Layer Properties editors, you can use the Set Properties for Many Layers function to change common settings in one single click.

This function allows you to modify the state of the following settings:

3D path or Separate mode
Use Embedded Pivot
Line Art
Colour Art
Animate Using Animation Tools

You can access this function in the Network View toolbar. You can also add the button to your Timeline View toolbar through the Toolbar Manager.

Publish Attribute Mode

To quickly access parameters for modules that are grouped, you can use the Publish Attribute Mode feature to select your most common parameters to modify and make them appear in the group Layer Properties editor. This way, you can access them directly without having to enter the group every time.

Groups with certain published attributes are displayed differently in the Timeline view. When you expand a group, only published attributes are display.

At times, you may not want the Timeline view to display only the published attributes. If you want to turn this off just for the Timeline, press [Ctrl] and click the plus (+)/minus (-) sign to the left of the group icon. The triangle beside the group icon turns red to indicate that you are in Publish Attributes mode.

Modules and Effects

Mesh Warp

The Mesh Warp effect lets you distort your drawings. Using this module, you can create effects such as a character in a warped mirror or looking through a glass jar. You can also animate the position of the grid to perform the distortion over time.

The main difference between the Envelope tool and the Mesh Warp is that the Mesh Warp can be animated over time with keyframes, whereas the Envelope tool cannot.

The Mesh Warp module is a position module, same as a Peg module.

Mesh Warp Effect

Mesh Warp Network Connection

Flatten Module

The Flatten module is used to transform 3D objects into flat planes when ordered in the Composite module. That plane can then be moved around like any other drawing. Instead of intersecting with 2D layers, the 3D object will either be behind or in front.

When all objects are at the same distance (Z value) from the camera, the order is based on the Composite ports. When elements are placed at different distances from the camera, the Z axis value overrides the composite port ordering.

Flatten 3D Objects

Flatten Effect Network

Visibility Module

The Visibility module controls whether an item is visible in OpenGL mode versus the software Render mode in the Camera view. If soft render is not enabled, the layer will not be exported.

Visualizer Module

There is a new option in the Visualizer module that respects the scaling of a particle system so you can position and resize it as you like. Old scenes with particle systems will still work as this option is disabled.

Library - Importing Files through the Library

Harmony allows you to import sound files and images directly through the library without going through the Import Files feature. You simply need to open the folder containing your files in the Library view and drag them directly from there.

Drawing and Camera View

Touch Gesture Support

Touch gesture is now supported in the Drawing and Camera views in Harmony, letting you zoom in and rotate the view. You can set preferences for this feature on the General tab in the Preferences dialog box.

Shift and Trace

The Shift and Trace interface has been improved. Buttons are greyed out unless the proper option is selected, such as when the onion skin is active. You can move the drawings up or down with new buttons at the bottom of the window. There is a more compact arrangement of the buttons.

Onion Skinning by Drawing in the Camera View

There has always been a difference between how the onion skinning is displayed in the Camera view vs. the Drawing view. In the Camera view, it is based on the number of frames, and not the actual number of drawings, whereas in the Drawing view, it’s based on the actual number of drawings. In Line test, there is only a Camera view, so the need arose to be able to see the onion skin in that view like you would have seen it in the Drawing view.

Now there is an option to change the onion skins per drawing. When this option is on, two things happen:

You will lose the little blue handles in the Timeline that indicate to what frame the onion skin is being displayed, as it’s no longer per frame, but per drawing

Now the amount of frames a drawing is held for is not relevant, the next and previous drawings refers to exactly that, the drawings on not the frames

Warping a Drawing Using the Envelope Tool

Envelope Tool

The Envelope tool lets you deform and warp a drawing selection using a grid envelope and Bezier handles.

Select Works on Single Drawing

The Select works on Single Drawing option can now be found in the Select tool’s properties as well the preferences. When you change the state in the properties, it will change the Preference so you don’t have to do it every time you start a new session.  However changing the preference itself will not change the state in the properties view. It will only take effect the next time you open a session.

Tool Preset Toolbar

The Tool Preset view is now a toolbar. Also, the presets now work in either bitmap or vector mode, depending on the tool. For example, the Brush has a bitmap and vector mode, depending on which art type is selected. If you create a preset while using a bitmap brush, you won’t be able to use that preset when you have a vector art layer selected and vice versa. The unavailable toolbar presets will be greyed out when they are not available.

Tool Preset Toolbar

When using tool presets created in other scenes, its colour palette will not be available in the present scenes. You must either recover your colours or link to the other colour palette.

Playback, Rendering and Export

Camera Clipping Planes

You can change the near and far clipping planes of the camera. The near plane is the point on the camera cone where the camera is and the far clipping plane is the far end of the camera cone. Nothing outside that range is visible. This feature is useful when dealing with 3D elements and 3D sets. For example, the camera can be looking inside a 3D box or room and you might want the foreground wall not obstruct the view of the interior. By default, the near clipping plane is set to 1 field and the far clipping plane is set to 1000 fields.

Camera Clipping Planes

Orthographic Camera

Orthographic Camera

The orthographic camera is very specific to the gaming pipeline. It changes the camera type from Perspective to Orthographic. It becomes a camera without vanishing points. This means that there is no more perspective in the Camera view. Objects, when moved on the z-axis, will not change in size or scale.

Orthographic Projection

The orthographic camera can be set via the Scene Settings panel. In order to create scenes with the orthographic camera by default, you need to create a new custom scene resolution. Refer to the Fundamentals Guide to learn about custom resolutions.


New Twain Scan Interface

A new interface has been designed for Harmony 11 Twain acquisition, combining the best features from the Animate products and Pencil Check Pro. The album concept no longer exists. You can scan multiple drawings by simply continuing to press the Scan button (you will still be communicating with the driver installed for the particular scanner connected). You also have the ability to see a preview of the different vectorization styles. Some features from Pencil Check Pro would be the Page Panning, Scan and Advance, Flip Drawing and the different hold value.

Importing Bitmap Images

A bitmap image is an image composed of pixels that are both size and resolution dependent. In Harmony, you can import bitmap images and vectorize them, making the images editable. Then you can use a variety of drawing tools to edit the image. Or you can always keep the original bitmap image as is.

Also, you can choose to import bitmap images on bitmap or vector layers depending on your project.

7. Click OK.
If you vectorize your image using the Vectorize as Colour option, you can import it on a vector layer, and use vector tools on it.
You can no longer automatically import a vector tvg file into a Bitmap layer, and vice versa< through a symbol.

Importing PDF and Illustrator Files as Separate Layers

You can import the different groups/elements of a PDF or Illustrator file as separate layers. For Illustrator files, the import will use the top level group as separate layer names. Deselect this option import PDF or Illustrator file as a single layer.

Colour View

Pencil Line Texture

You can apply a texture on a pencil line.

Pencil lines support texture. Before drawing, you can select or import a texture and apply it to your lines. You can also change it afterward using the Select tool. Textures are independent from pencil templates.

When you import a texture in your pencil styles, it is saved in your scene. If you want to add that texture to a bank that you will be able to reuse in different scenes, you can add that texture to your preferences.

There is a pencil texture palette created in each scene. In order for this palette to be created, you need to draw a pencil stroke using texture. To see it, you need to enable the Advance Palette Lists preference. Once enabled, you will see a palette named pencilstyle_opacity appear in your palette list.

For advanced usage, you can assign a custom palette as your pencil texture palette. All textures used to draw in your scene will be added to this custom palette.

This gives you the ability to save your custom palette at the Environment or Job level if you want to reuse that palette in more than one scene.

Game Export

A script named TB_ExportToSpriteSheets creates sprite sheets from the scene’s assets. There is a user interface file that can be linked to this script.
Added export to EaselJS game engine (HTML5).

Harmony Cloud

Harmony Cloud is a web-based application that reads Harmony database files in order to carry out most of the same functionality of Control Center remotely—see the Control Center User Guide.

Function View

The Function view has been improved. The Function view is used to edit function curves and parameters. It is a visual graph allowing you to add, remove, and edit keyframes as well and adjusting the velocity. The Function view allows you to display multiple functions in the background as a reference.

Function View

Script Help View

The Script Help view provides you with information and object list to create your own custom script to automate your most recurrent operations in Harmony.

Script Help View

Sketch Module

Harmony Sketch Module

The Sketch module is a component of the Stage module. It contains the essential tools to animate frame-by-frame drawings and paint them. It allows you to add layers, animation, paint and adjust the timing. There are no effects, camera or other compositing tools included in this module. It allows you to focus on the paperless animation tasks at hand without being distracted by other features that are not necessary to your work.

To learn more about the Sketch module, see the following guides:

Fundamentals Guide
Sketch Guide
Preferences Guide

Draw Module

Harmony Draw Module

The Draw module is a component of the Stage module. It contains all the tools necessary to create a paperless frame-by-frame animation project. There is no node system included in this module and only the basic essential effects are included in it. Contrary to the Stage module, instead of creating effects in the Network view, you simply create them in the Timeline view. Draw also includes all the scene setup and camera features for you to do the compositing for your project.

To learn more about the Draw module, see the following guides:

Fundamentals Guide
Draw Guide
Preferences Guide

Miscellaneous changes

Backward Compatible: Allow scenes that were optimized in 10.3 to be openable in 11.
Flash: You are no longer asked if you want the Flash preferences and shortcuts the first time you start the application.
Magnifier Option: The Magnifier option in Brush and Pencil tool properties has been removed.
Colour Protection: There is a keyboard shortcut for Respect Colour Protection: Shift + S.
All New Icons: There are brand new icons in Harmony.
Dark Interface: There is a preference to change the interface from the new dark look to the original light colours. This preference is in the General tab. You need to restart the application.
Standalone or Database: On both Mac and Windows you can choose to install as standalone or database. You can create the appropriate apps or shortcuts for Control Center, Draw, Stage, Paint, etc.  You must have the appropriate license for each app. For example, you can install as standalone but using the license tokens, restrict the ability to work in other modules.
Toolbars: It is no longer possible to drag and drop a toolbar in a view like in version 9.2.
Mental Ray: There is support for Mental Ray renderer in Maya for non-server version of our scripts.
Stage File: Added preference to optimize the scene's stage file to make it smaller in the database. Keyframes and handles on Ease and Bezier curves are compressed, but not for 3D path and Quaternion. Unused anonymous functions are removed.
Scene Name: The Welcome Screen has Scene Name instead of Project Name
Mipmapping for Bitmap Layers: A new OpenGL preference named Enable Mipmapping for Bitmap Layers lets you disable it if you are using an older graphics card that does not support mipmapping for bitmap layers.
Renamed Preference: The Create Posed Deformer in Create Deformation Above/Under option in the Deformation tab has been renamed: Automatically Create new Deformer Structure for each Pose/Drawing
Multithreading: Rendering is using more multithreading so it is faster than before.
Database Utility: The database utility has been consolidated to remove duplicate drawings and clean the .stage file.
Particle Example Modules: These modules have been moved from the All Modules tab to the Particle-Examples tab.  Also the menu items in Insert don’t offer all the examples.  If you want to use or look at the particle examples, they are available from the Module Library view.
Control Center: The Animator and Supervisor types of user were added in the Control Center. The Animator type cannot delete jobs or scenes but can create, copy, and release their scene’s lock.