Chapter 4: Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 5


Here are the new features, changes, and improvements in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 5:


Storyboard Pro 5 is backward compatible with previous versions. This means projects created in previous versions can be opened in Storyboard Pro 5. However, the project file format has changed in Storyboard Pro 5; projects saved in this new version cannot be opened in previous versions.


Feature Description

Snap to 3D Surface

A new option in the Layer Transform tool allows your model to maintain contact with the surface no matter what changes you make. This makes it much faster to block out shots, and also works with 2D artwork—see Snapping to Surface or GroundSnapping to Surface or Ground

Snap to Ground

A new option in the Layer Transform tool lets you snap a layer to the surface directly below it. The angle of the layer is retained and the lowest point of the layer will connect to the surface—see Snapping to Surface or GroundSnapping to Surface or Ground

Create Layer on Surface

Working in the Camera view, the new Create Layer on Surface tool lets you create a new vector or bitmap layer on the surface of the 3D object over which you are hovering. The new layer will be positioned at the point in Z depth on which you clicked—see Creating 2D Layers on Surface of 3D Objects.


Three-button mouse navigation lets you quickly navigate the Stage view by holding down the Shift+Ctrl keys and using the left, centre, and right mouse buttons—see Navigating 3D SpaceNavigating 3D Space

3D Navigation and 3D Flying Navigation are new tools for navigating through a 3D scene in the Stage view using your mouse buttons, mouse wheel, and arrow keys. These tools are available from the Tools toolbar—see Navigating 3D Space.

3D Import Formats

Storyboard Pro can now import 3D formats as 3D elements in your project. The new formats are two popular data exchange formats: Collada (.dae) and Alembic (.abc).

Maintain Size Tool

The new Maintain Size tool lets you retain the size of the visual scale of elements as you move them in the Z-axis in the Side or Top views. As you move drawing layers on the Z-axis, they are scaled to preserve their size in the camera. This tool is available from the Tools toolbar—see Maintaining the Size of Elements.

3D Object Scaling

Setting the scale factor of 3D objects before import makes your workflow more efficient. You can set the Scale Factor in two places depending on how many 3D objects you plan to import and the 3D application used to create them—see Determining the Scale Factor.

Animate Sub-objects

After adding 3D objects to a scene, you may want to animate a part of the object, called a sub-object—see Animating 3D Objects.

FBX Conversion Option

When importing 3D objects, there is a new option to convert 3D files directly to the file format and save them so the next time you reload the scene, it is quicker as Storyboard Pro does not have to reconvert them. This improves workflow in situations where multiple 3D files (with their own relative paths) were loaded by storing them in a single file.

Washed Display for 3D Objects

When working with 3D objects, you can display the layers with washed out colours. This helps you work with multiple 3D objects more easily—see Displaying 3D Objects.


Feature Description

Layers List in Stage View/Layers View

The list of layers in the Stage view and the Layers view has been redesigned—see Layers View.

Grouping Layers

You can now group layers to organize your work and keep your list of layers uncluttered. You can group selected layers or create an empty group layer and add layers to it—see Grouping Layers.

Animating Layers

You can now animate a 2D layer using multiple keyframes, not just the beginning and ending frames. After selecting a layer, activate the new Animate button and use the Layer Transform tool to move elements, and then set keyframes—see About Motion and Animating Layers.


Feature Description

Sharing Drawings

When there is a drawing that occurs across multiple panels, you can share (link) the drawing. This way, any changes you make to one of the drawing affects all other instances, making it faster and more efficient when managing and producing your storyboard—see Sharing Drawings.

Customizable Tips

New customizable bitmap drawing tool tips allow you to change the roundness, hardness, and angle of the tips, as well as add randomness.

Paint Tool

The Paint tool can now be used with raster (bitmap) layers.


Feature Description
Function Editor View

This new view lets you edit function curves and parameters. It contains a visual graph for adding, removing, and editing keyframes, as well as adjusting the velocity. The Function Editor view allows you to display multiple functions in the background as a reference—see Tweaking an Animation Path and Function Editor ViewFunction Editor View


Feature Description

Export to QuickTime

The default codec when exporting to QuickTime is H.264 which is natively supported by Mac OS X.

Export to Flix

New options and functionalities have been added to streamline the export from Storyboard Pro to Flix:

Notify Flix through the Export Project dialog box so its asset database is updated. Note that Flix must be installed on your computer.
Ability to open a project directly from Flix and select the panel in the project.
Scripts to export to Flix with the touch of a button—see Exporting for Conformation and Exporting to Flix.


Improved XML conformation including:

New options to export captions as metadata in the XML with the option to export with rich text formatting.
New option when conforming back an XML to conform captions called Process Captions. This option is available in the Import Project window.
You can now specify the name of the exported XML when exporting to XML using Conformation > Export Project.
Japanese PDF Profile

A new profile for exporting to PDF, called Alternate Japanese Format, is available.


Feature Description
Qt Application Scripting With Qt Application scripting, you can manage assets more efficiently. You can create scripts to automate manual tasks or create new tools for quick access—see About Scripting.

23.976 NDF Timecode

Support for 23.976 NDF timecode in the timeline enables the seamless transfer of animatics from Storyboard Pro to the editing suite. You can now work using this frame rate and directly export animatics and timelines with panels, sound, transitions, and timing to editing suites via EDL, AAF, and XML.

This frame rate is available here:

Project Properties dialgo box (Project Resolution tab)
Welcome screen (Camera Size, HDTV_1080p23.976)
Zoom Timeline The new Zoom tool lets you increase or reduce the width of the frames in the Timeline view. The Zoom tool is located at the bottom-left of the Timeline view.

Changes and Improvements

Feature Description

Dark Style Interface

Storyboard Pro is now set to a dark theme by default. You have the option of switching to a light theme through the Preferences dialog box (Global UI tab).


The 3D Nodes view has been renamed 3D Schematic.

The term nodes has been changed to sub-objects.

Preferences Dialog Box

New Tab: A new tab is available called Colour. It contains the colour preferences that were transferred from the Global UI tab.

General Tab:

(new) Default Layer Alignment: Sets the default alignment used when creating a layer.
The 3D Experimental Feature option has been removed.

Advanced Tab: The default Number of Samples is now set to 4 for Full Scene Antialiasing. This option is enabled by default.


The First and Last Frame Transform tools have been replaced by the Layer Transform tool.

When aligning layers with the camera, the behaviour has changed when setting the layer to no alignment, face the camera or pin to the camera—see Aligning 2D Layers with the Camera.

Bitmap Drawing Tools

Improved raster (bitmap) drawing tools—see Brush Tool Properties and Drawing with Bitmap Brushes.

Navigation Toolbar

To make it easier to go to the first and last frame of a panel, the Navigation toolbar is now displayed by default in the Storyboard Pro workspace and contains two tools: First Frame and Last Frame—see Navigation Toolbar.

Camera Movement

When using the Camera tool, you can rotate the camera on the X and Y axes, and move the camera centre by dragging it on the X, Y or Z axis—see Positioning the CameraPositioning the Camera

The conformation process was improved when a nest is created in FCP or Premiere Pro.
Some issues were fixed when importing images that were added in FCP/Premiere Pro when conforming back the XML (they were not framing properly).
Improved export to PSD with layers when exporting to XML with PSD image format. The number of layers is now maintained instead of being flattened.