Break Down: Cutting the Character in Pieces

If you do not want to redraw all the artwork for your character, you can use the cut away technique where, with the Cutter tool, you select and send pieces of the model on a new layer.

The first step in breaking down your character is to do a rough cut down of the main parts, such as the body, arms, legs and head. Using the Create Drawing from Drawing Selection feature lets you automatically create layers and copy your selection in it.

This section is divided as follows:

Breaking Down the Main Parts
Breaking Down the Secondary Parts
Selecting and Incorporating to an Existing Layer
Breaking Down the Extra View Main Parts
Breaking Down Secondary Parts in the Extra Views

Breaking Down the Main Parts

To break down the main body parts, you will use the Create Drawing From Drawing Selection feature.

There is no need to create any layers prior to this process. Make sure your model is well centered and sized in the Camera view.

You do not need to make clean cuts around your parts; a rough one is sufficient as long as it includes all the artwork of the part you want to break down. You will clean the extra bits and pieces later.

Using the Cutter tool, you can roughly cut the main sections, and then use the Select tool to select precise lines and colour zones.

Breaking Down the Secondary Parts

You should now have a layer for each main part of the character for the first view to break down. You are now ready to break down those main pieces into smaller ones.

Breaking down the secondary parts is similar to the main part break down process except that this time you will cut away the artwork from the layer it has been selected from.


If you forgot to add some artwork to a layer you previously created, you can always add it later.

In the Camera view, select the artwork to send to the existing layer. Open the Create Drawing from Drawing Selection dialog box by pressing F9 (Windows/Linux) or ⌘ + F9 (Mac OS X). In the dialog box, select an existing layer from the list instead of typing a new name. Click OK to add the artwork to the existing drawing in the layer you selected.

Selecting and Incorporating to an Existing Layer

Your first view should now be completely broken down. If your articulations are still rough and bits and pieces are missing you will fix those in the next step.

If your character model has more than one view, now is the time to break them down.

The process is very similar to breaking down the first view. You have two choices:

Breaking down the new view in a net set of layers
Braking down the new views in the same existing layers
If your layers are not in the correct order, you can reorder them later. Simply add the part that you are breaking down to the layer you previously created for the same body part.

Start by breaking down the main pieces, as you did before. The secondary parts will be broken down later on.

Breaking Down the Extra View Main Parts

Repeat the following steps for each extra view you need to break down.

Breaking Down Secondary Parts in the Extra Views

To break down the secondary parts for your extra views, follow the exact same process as you did for the first view you broke down, but you will incorporate the new parts in the existing layers—see Breaking Down the Secondary Parts.

Each view can have its own set of layers in the Timeline view, therefore each view does not necessarily need to have the same layer structure.

Here is an example of how your timeline should look at this stage:

Completing the Parts and Articulation

Now that all the layers are created and the parts are basically broken down, it is time to clean up the parts and complete the articulation.

Cleaning the Parts

You will need to use a series of drawing tools to clean the parts:

Brush tool
Eraser tool
Select tool
Cutter tool
Contour Editor tool
Paint tool
Close Gap tool