Chapter 42: Ink and Paint

When traditional animation is traced, cleaned up, scanned in and properly exposed, it's time for the ink and paint process. This consists of cleaning all dirt and hair (for example, dust that was in the scanner, dots that do not belong in the drawing, extra floating artwork around the drawing that must be removed), painting the lines and filling the colours in the empty zones on an entire animation sequence.

For paperless animation, the drawings are cleaned up directly in Harmony, so there is generally no dirt to clean, only painting and inking.

For cut-out animation, once the character builder paints the pieces, there is no more ink and paint process because the same parts are always reused and moved around. The ink and paint process applies only to traditional and paperless animation workflows.

Harmony is optimized to ink and paint drawings efficiently. Since most of the drawings are vector-based, the colour zones are completely filled and there are no scattered spots left blank. Also, there are some actions that can be applied on an entire animation sequence at once, like dirt removal, some colour filling, line repainting, and so on.

Harmony uses palettes to hold all the colours you need to paint your elements. A palette is created by assigning a set of colours to each character, prop or effect. The colour styling artist will create a new palette and add a new colour for each zone of the character, such as the skin, hair, tongue, shirt, pants, and so on. Each colour is known as a colour swatch—see Working with Palettes.


When a zone on the character is painted with the colour contained in a colour swatch, a link is automatically created between that colour swatch and the zone. This means that if the tint of the colour in the colour swatch is changed, any zone linked to it will update to the new tint. This is one way that colour palettes can save time and money in your production.

Another advantage of this system is that you can create complete palettes for different lighting situations. For instance, in addition to the regular palette for a character, you could have one for that character in the rain using colours that are duller and less vibrant than the dry daytime colours, or yet another for using in a night scene. Using palettes linked to your character in this way allows you to instantly change its colouring to suit the mood and atmosphere of the scene without tediously repainting each element.

The ink and paint process is divided into the following steps: