It’s important that you become familiar with the following elements of the user interface as this will help you to start using Toon Boom Harmony. You can learn more about the highlights described here, and how to use them in a production context, throughout this guide.
When you start Toon Boom Harmony for the first time, the default workspace is displayed. It contains all the main elements you need to use.
- In the top-right corner of an existing view, click the Add View button
- Select a view from the list. Some views, such as the
Camera, Perspective, Library, Model and Node views, can be opened in multiple instances. For example, this can be useful if you want to have two Camera views open, each focused on different areas of your scene, to quickly switch between working on these two areas.
The view will appear as a new tab in the same section of your workspace:
- Open the Windows menu.
- Select the view you wish to add.
The view will appear as a new window over Harmony's main application window.
- Drag a window by its tab and do one of the following:
- Drop the window onto other existing tabs to add it to that set of tabs.
- Drop the window above, below or beside an existing view. When you get close to the edge of a view, a black rectangle with a blue background appears, indicating where the view will be inserted.
Below are a short introduction to the most commonly used views in Harmony.
The Camera view is the centre of operations in Harmony. In this view, you will draw, paint, animate, create animation paths and see your results. You can also move through your symbol’s hierarchy.
The Camera view has a top and bottom toolbar that you can use to navigate in the view, change the display mode, or go back up your symbols hierarchy.
In Harmony, you can draw in the Drawing or Camera view. Although the two views are similar, when it comes to drawing, there are some differences.
Only the selected drawing is displayed by default in the Drawing view. You can use features, such as the light table to display the current drawing of all the enabled layers of your scene in washed-out colours, or the Onion Skin to display the previous and next drawings of the currently selected drawing layer.
The Tool Properties view contains the most common options and operations related to the currently selected tool. When you select a tool from the Tools toolbar, the Tool Properties view updates.
For example, if you choose the Select tool, the Tool Properties view will display the options and operations related to it, such as Snap to Contour, Apply to All Drawings, Flip Horizontal, and Flatten.
The Colour view is where you create colours and palettes and import existing palettes into your project. The Colour view is also necessary for drawing, painting and creating colour styling.
To set your animation timing, you will mostly work with the Timeline and Xsheet views. It's extremely useful to become familiar with the Timeline view, how it works, and its interface.
The Timeline view is the main view used when adjusting the timing of drawings, adding keyframes and ordering layers. The Timeline view displays layers, effects, sounds, keyframe values, scene length, layer names, drawings, keyframes, timing, and frames.
The Timeline view allows you to read your timing from left to right. It represents the scene’s elements in their simplest form. You can also see the layers and their names, as well as the drawing’s exposure. The drawing name is displayed when you place your pointer over the drawing’s exposure.
The Xsheet view lets you read the timing vertically, displays the drawing layers as columns, and shows the drawing’s name. You can also see the functions and keyframes of the motion paths in the Xsheet’s function columns. The value of each keyframe is shown in the Xsheet view; these are displayed as black squares in the Timeline view. The Xsheet view contains more detail than the Timeline view, and is faster and easier to read.
The Library view is used to store elements such as animation, drawings, backgrounds and puppets to reuse in different projects. You can also use the Library view to create and store symbols.
To reuse an element from another project, you must create a template from your drawings. A template is a mini scene that you import in other projects. A template has no link to the original scene. When you create a template, the full content of your selection is copied in the template.
Additionally, the Library view's Drawing Substitution panel allows you to quickly change the current frame's exposure to one of the existing drawings in a layer. This is especially useful for animating a cut-out character's mouths, hands, eyelids and other such body parts which typically contain several drawings to choose from.
In the Node view, you can connect effects and compositing nodes to form a network, also known as a node system. This view is very useful for rigging puppets, creating advanced effects and having a clear view of complex scenes. The organization and order of the nodes determines the flow of data during the compositing process and how your animation elements will be composited.
Toon Boom Harmony lets you zoom in, zoom out, rotate, pan and reset views for easy navigation of the interface.
The navigation commands in the table below can be used in the following views, with some exceptions:
- Node View
- Side and Top
If you are working with a touch screen, or are using a tablet or trackpad that supports touch input, you can also use standard two-finger gestures to zoom, rotate and pan the Camera and Drawing Views. To be able to do this, you must first enable the Support Gestures preference.
- From the top menu, go to Edit > Preferences (Windows/Linux) or Harmony > Preferences (Mac OS X).
- Open the General tab.
- In the Touch Interface section, check the Support Gestures check box.
- Click on OK.
- Restart Harmony.
You can now manipulate the Camera and Drawing views by dragging two fingers on your touch interface.