Production > Animation > Timing > Filling Exposure > Managing Key Exposures

Managing Key Exposures

Before working with key exposures, it's important to understand how keyframes, exposure and key exposure work in Harmony:

Keyframe: A keyframe is a point in time where a change to the properties of the object or character occurs. In Harmony, keyframes consist of the coordinates that determine how an entire layer and its contents are moved. Keyframes include these parameters: XYZ position, skew, scale, angle and pivot.
Exposure: Exposure is a property; it is the length of time that a drawing is visible over a series of frames. In Harmony, exposure is independent of keyframes. That is, keyframes are not linked to drawings. Keyframes can be moved independently from the drawing exposure.
Key Exposure: A key exposure in Harmony is a type of exposure that forces a drawing to remain exposed on a specific frame. If a drawing is exposed before a key exposure and you swap out that drawing for another one, then the original drawing is retained. This preserves the key drawing. Note that Harmony automatically sets a key exposure when you perform a drawing swap.

Adding Key Exposures

Key exposures are mainly used for swapping drawings in cut-out animation where you will have numerous drawings for the various positions of the mouth or eyes of a character for example.

If there is a particular drawing you want to keep on a specific frame, you can set it as a key exposure. This prevents it from be overwritten by a drawing swap on a preceding frame. A key exposure is simply a property of an exposure that forces it to be exposed on a certain frame regardless of whether the previous exposure is the same drawing or not.

NOTE: Keep in mind that if you modify the artwork in a drawing, all instances of that drawing will be automatically updated even if set as a key exposure. This keeps your existing animation key poses intact. It is frequently used on a mouth or eyes layer.

Example: Swapping a drawing with no key exposure

In the following example, drawing 3 (DR 3) is selected on the timeline and it contains no key exposure.

When it is swapped for drawing 4 (DR 4), the entire duration of drawing 3 substituted for drawing 4.

Example: Swapping a drawing with a key exposure

Here's what happens when swapping a drawing with a key exposure. In the following example, the playhead is positioned in the middle of drawing 5 (DR 5) to set the position for the new key exposure. When the new key exposure is added, drawing 5 is split in two; both halves contain drawing 5. Now if you swap the first drawing 5 for drawing 1, the second drawing 5 retains its exposure.

Removing Key Exposures

When you no know longer need a key exposure, you can remove it. When you do this, the existing key exposure is replaced by the preceding exposure. In the following example, a key exposure is set to drawing 1 (DR 1). When the key exposure is removed, the exposure is replaced by the preceding exposure, drawing 4 (DR 4).

Removing Duplicate Key Exposures

When working with drawings to adjust the timing of a mouth in a lipsync, for example, and forcing the use of specific key exposures, unnecessary key exposures will be created. You can delete these duplicates without affecting the rest of the drawing. The first drawing of the selection will be used for the range.

NOTE: Duplicate key exposures may occur when pasting with the Enforce Key Exposure option selected.

Pasting Key Exposures Using Different Modes

As you animate, you will find that you reuse key exposures. There are different options to paste your selected drawings when they contain key exposures:

Enforce Key Exposure: If there are key exposures that exist on copied drawings, they are preserved when pasting. No key exposures are added. This is the default behavior when pasting.
Fill Gap with Previous Drawing: Fills selected area in the Xsheet or Timeline view with the previous drawing.
Fill to Next Key Exposure: Fills selected area till the next key exposure.