To prepare for paperless animation with Harmony, you will need to complete the following tasks.

Setting Up Your Workspace
Setting the Scene Resolution and Length
Importing the Layout, Storyboard and Animatic
Importing the Background Elements
Creating the Drawing Elements
Importing the Models

Setting Up Your Workspace

To sketch the animation directly in Harmony, you will mostly frequently need the Camera or Drawing view, the Xsheet or Timeline view, and the Tool Properties and Colour views.

While drawing and animating paperless animation, you can use the Workspace Manager to save a frequently used layout and name it Paperless Animation, for example.

For more information on setting up your workspace, refer to Chapter 2: Interface in the Fundmentals Guide.

Setting the Scene Resolution and Length

If the scene resolution was not already set by the digital layout artist or by a Toon Boom Storyboard Pro import, it is the next step to be accomplished. The layout artist, scene planner or animator will often take care of this task prior to the animation when working with paperless and cut-out animation.

NOTE: It is important to set the resolution before you begin to set positioning and camera moves, as it may affect the ratio and composition.

Once you have set the resolution and frame rate, you must set the scene length by adding the right number of frames to the scene. You can set the scene length from the top menu. If you do not yet know the number of frames that will be needed, simply add some frames so you can draw different poses. However, if you only need to draw a background and one pose, you do not need to add more frames.

You don't need to do this step if you are importing your animatic in the QuickTime movie file format. The QuickTime import feature takes care of the scene length at the same time as the movie import.

Importing the Layout, Storyboard and Animatic

An imported animatic

To animate a scene, you need to import your layout, storyboard or animatic, depending on which technique you are using. The most popular method is the animatic.

If you created a digital layout prior to the scene animation, you will animate directly in that scene. In this case, there is no need to import references since they are already there.

Importing the Animatic

If you have an animatic available, you can import it. The animatic will give you the right timing to expose your animation poses.

There are three ways to import an animatic in a scene.

  1. Click OK.

Importing the Background Elements

Imported background elements

Once the layout or animatic is set, you can import the background elements.

There are two types of background elements you can import: bitmap and vector-based.

Creating the Drawing Elements

Before beginning to draw in the Camera or Drawing view, you must add a drawing element to the Xsheet or Timeline view. You will also need to select the appropriate cell in your drawing element.

Importing the Models

In order to animate your characters and props, you must load the colour models and their corresponding palettes—see Working with Palettes.

Harmony makes good use of palettes. Each character can have his or her own colour palette with its own set of colours that can be reused in all the scenes. Each zone (for example, the shirt, eyes, shoes, and hair) can have its own colour swatch stored in the colour palette. Once the zone is painted with its corresponding colour, the zone and the colour are linked throughout the entire scene.

There is no need to repaint each zone individually. If you modify the colour after the painting process, all the corresponding zones in all drawings and all layers are changed simultaneously.

Colour Palette

Prior to the paperless animation process, the colour stylist creates the palettes and models and stores them in templates or colour model scenes—see Colour Styling.

Templates of character models

Importing Model Templates

Once the model templates are created, you are ready to import them into the scene. From the Library, import the appropriate templates to make the models and their palettes available in the scene.

From there, you can:

Load the palettes in the proper drawing element and
Load the drawing models to the Model view.
NOTE: There is no need to obtain the right to modify the Library in order to import a template.

Loading Palettes and Models

By importing the model templates in the scene, you have created a new drawing element. This also saves the master palettes in your scene. These palettes are local to the scene.

The first step is to load your model in the Model view. You will then have to load the palette in your animation column.

Creating the Drawings

Once your drawing elements have been created and your palettes are loaded, you are ready to create drawings for your animation. But before creating the drawings, you should familiarize yourself with the following operations.

There are two different ways to create drawings. You can create drawings automatically by letting Harmony do it for you or by typing names (Typing mode) in the Xsheet cells.