How to Animate a Cut-out Character

Harmony provides very useful tools for animating cut-out character models. Using the Transform tool, you can move your character's parts to make your key poses, and let Harmony create the in-betweens. The timing of the movement can be adjusted to make life-like motion, and the drawings for the character's parts can be swapped at any point in your animation, allowing you to combine movement and drawing changes to create frame-perfect cut-out animations.

Navigating Layers

Since cut-out animation often involves complex models with extensive hierarchies, learning shortcuts to easily navigate between layers can save a lot of time.

One very useful trick to learn is the Centre on Selection command, along with its keyboard shortcut. This command allows you to navigate directly to the selected layer in the Timeline view. Hence, you can use the Camera view to visually select the layer you wish to work on, then use the Centre on Selection shortcut to find the layer in the Timeline view, instead of going through the scene structure to locate it.

If you want to use the keyboard shortcut frequently, you might find that having to click on the Timeline view tab every time is tedious. To remedy this, you can enable the Focus On Mouse Enter preference. This will set the focus on a view as soon as your mouse cursor enters it, instantly making all of this view's keyboard shortcuts functional.

Harmony also has commands and keyboard shortcuts to quickly change your selection from the currently selected layer to its parent, its child or to one of its siblings, allowing you to quickly navigate your character's hierarchy from one layer to one of its related layers.