The following is a list of the steps done using Harmony in a paperless animation workflow. This will help you understand how the work is divided and give you a base to start building your own paperless pipeline.
The layout and posing process links the storyboard artist and the animator. The layout artist uses the storyboard and prepares an organized folder for the animator. This folder contains a field guide that shows the proper camera move and the right size of the scene. It also includes the character's main poses from the storyboard following the official design, and the effects, backgrounds and all the other information necessary to the animator.
The backgrounds are done directly out of the storyboard and location design. A background is a section or an angle of a location. The background artist refers to the storyboard and draws the background for each scene. Once the background is completed, it is added to the layout folder.
In a cut-out or paperless animation process, this step can be done digitally or traditionally. This will depend on the user's preferences.This step is mainly applied to larger productions. An individual user can move directly from the storyboard to the animation.
This step can be done with Harmony, but Toon Boom also has another software developed for this. Toon Boom Storyboard Pro has optimized tools to create the layout and posing.
Paperless animation is usually one of the first steps done in Harmony. All of the drawings are created digitally, using a pen tablet to optimize work and drawing ability. Other than the digital aspect, the animation principles are not very different from classical animation. The animator will use the same animation styles and methods as would be used on paper–only the medium is changed.
When all of the animation is done and the drawing timing is completed through the exposure sheet or the Timeline view, the scene can proceed to the animation clean-up process.
The animation clean-up consists of transforming the rough paperless animation into cleaned, tied down and inked drawings. On a new layer, the clean-up artist will trace the animation following the official model pack (document containing all the official character, location/props design and colours). This step must be done very accurately.
When the clean-up is over, the scene is passed along to the colourist for the ink and paint step.
At this point in the process, the colour models are ready and the drawings are properly exposed. Using Harmony's optimized tools, the colourist can start applying colour to the different drawings. When the drawings are inked and painted, they are ready for compositing.
The compositor imports the coloured background, animatic reference and sound as required. Referring to the exposure sheet, animatic and animation, the compositor assembles all these elements and creates the camera moves and other necessary motions. Finally, the compositor adds any digital effects required by the scene. These can include tones, highlights and shadows. When the compositing is completed, the final step is the rendering.
Once the compositing is completed, the last step is to render the scene as a movie or an image sequence. Generally, the compositor will be the same person doing the render.