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Wilfred Hildonen

Creating layered images for animation

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Well, it works splendid for my daily work and I am already able to work at a racing speed, me, who was fuming only having to touch a bézier handle! Anyway, not everything is 100 % perfect. I thought this would be a great way to create layered images to be used for animation, but when I tried to open psd-files created in Affinity with Toon Boom's Stage Essentials, it didn't work out well. Several things happened and I should have noted them down, but to put it short, it couldn't open the files. So I opened them in Photoshop Elements 10 and received the message that it was corrupted so it would fix them. But then everything came out white. I deleted a couple of layers and rearranged them and it looked OK, but when I tried to open it in Stage Essentials, it crashed. I created a simpler file but then it said that layer#2 contained invalid characters. OK, I deleted layer 2, replaced the file, but it gave the same message. 

Anyway, it seems like it doesn't work. 

I also tried to open in Toon Boom Studio 8.1 but no go.

(Ooops! I thought I should attache the files but I've cleaned up the mess already, but I can attach the affinity-file I used first, the one which crashed Essentials)

 

Well, hope you get that fixed and when that png-bug is fixed, it is a step ahead. 

modgal.afdesign

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What are you exporting to [file format/settings] to bring into Toon Boom? It seems that exporting to svg (preset: for export), which is the default setting, is producing some type of error. When I try to open the [default] export in Atom (code editor), the default svg export crashes the window, but if I "File > Export... > SVG > Preset: Web", it produces an exchangeable file without any errors.

 

Some things you might want to watch:

- Your eye "iris" is pixel format, you probably want to just use a vector circle.

- There are a couple of objects that you didn't "convert to curves": earring, larger circle for eye, I'm not sure if this is producing errors in normal svg export. An easy way to check is select the Node Tool (A), the select your objects in the Layers Tab, and if it doesn't show the anchor points/nodes, then just hit "Convert to Curves" on the top toolbar.

 

Anyhow, if you at least select the Preset: Web for your svg export, you shouldn't have any problems bringing in the artwork into other programs.

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OK, I guess I forgot to turn those into vector so I check that, but what I export to is  the psd-format. I tried several others but that was the only one Harmony Essentials recognised, but I will try export for web and see if that helps...

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OK, so now I tried to change everything to curves but that iris refused for some strange reason. It continued to say it was "pixel" no matter what I did. Anyway, I also tried to omit it then but it wouldn't work. Harmony doesn't like that psd any SVG isn't recognised, which is rather stupid since it is a vector-format, but well... I attach a screenshot of the message it gives...

 

post-18585-0-66414700-1443033649_thumb.png

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I sent a mail to Toon Boom's support (yes, you can mail them:) and got this reply:

"Hi Wilfred,

The layer name #2 contains a special character # which doesn't recognized by the software.
Please don't use any special characters like % # etc in the layer name.
You could try to rename it in Photoshop and save the psd file and import to Harmony again."

 

Anyway, I had already done that, changed the name and I didn't use any special characters, so I don't know where that comes from. And even though I created a new image with just a few layers and didn't name the layers, it continued to tell me the same - so perhas there is a little bug in there adding # to layer number 2 when you export to PSD?

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It is possible that the error is generated due to the fact that your Affinity Designer file is set to CMYK, I have a feeling it's creating the extra "#" denoting it is in CMYK color space. If you go to File > Document Setup... > Select the middle tab: Colour. Change the Colour Format: CMYK/8 to RGB/8. You should be working in RGB anyhow unless you're printing. So, when creating new files for your projects, just select Type: Web versus Type: Print (Print Press, defaults to CMYK). You can always change the resolution to 300 dpi if you are dealing with any bitmaps that you're bringing in. There is nothing wrong with the .PSD file that AD is generating, it has to be Toon Boom doesn't recognize the extra "marker" of it being in CMYK.

 

As far as the eye that is pixel, just recreate it as vector. AD doesn't have vector conversion at this time.

 

I'm just wondering why you aren't importing as vector (http://docs.toonboom.com/help/harmony-12/essentials/Content/_CORE/_Workflow/025_Import/012_H1_Importing_AI_and_PDF_Files_.html?Highlight=import). Toon Boom doesn't support svg, but it does support .AI and .PDF formats, allowing you better control on animation manipulation/customization. Toon Boom itself creates most of its objects as vector (i.e. the same as AD).

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I'm not at all familiar with Toon Boom software but from what I can see here the software only accepts psds in RGB format, so I think that might be your main issue as laneallen has outlined above

 

I've managed to export your file and open it fine in PS CC2015 so I don't think it's an issue in the export itself from Designer.


Serif Europe Ltd - Check the latest news at www.affinity.serif.com

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Good then, I will check if I exported it with CMYK. I work with that since I do illustrations for a newspaper's print issue, but I thought I had changed it to RGB, but probably forgot. 

When it comes to Toon Boom I have used to scan in images through TWAIN and vectorise them then. I can also vectorise the files I choose to open, which is rather nice, since I can smotth the lines doing so, which can add some interesting effects. Anyway, I will see if CMYK is the culprit. I can only afford Photoshop Elements, btw:)

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OK, so that was it. CMYK. I think it wouldn't be that difficult for the developers at Toon Boom to add a warning about CMYK instead of that layer#2-nonsense, but that is why animation software needs a revolution:) I also found out how to import .pdf-files and for some reason, psd can be imported directly into the timeline while pdf must be imported to the Library as a template - and neither one imports layered. After searching it seems like the psd-file needs to be worked on in Photoshop and each layer must be a folder!??! I guess there are some hopps and loops concerning the pdf as well, Those guys have never heard of plus-and-play, I think. The software should take care of such tedious tasks. Let us artists deal with the creative stuff and make that simple and intuitive for us! 

So, anyone here feel like making an application for 2D animation? What exists out there are like the mp3-players before the iPod or mobile phones before the iPhone:) 

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My apologies for jumping in on this topic, but I am interested in animating my creatures a little (just enough to give them a little life as people look at them on my website).

 

I work exclusively in AD now with a mixture of normal vector layers and some pixel layers (for shading, highlighting, etc.) Is Toon Boom the best way forward for a novice like myself? Or would you recommend another animation software? I'm not going to be making any cartoons with my creatures (yet...!), just want to breathe a little life into them.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

George


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I compared Toon Boom, Flash, and Anime Studio Pro at one point wanting to do the same thing. The main question is what is your end deliverable (format), and how do you want that animation to be seen. If you are just delivering video or sprite sheets for games, any animation package previously listed will work. If you want to deliver svg animations, currently Flash has the best support, being able to push to HTML5 (CreateJS Exporter) and now WebGL. I used Flash and CreateJS workflow working on a project for HTML5 games, it's pretty great, and the only thing I am missing in my non-Adobe toolset.

 

Toon Boom turned me off on their high pricing structure, I ended up buying Anime Studio Pro, but it's missing svg/HTML export capabilities (I posted about this on their forms here: http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=24969). My main decision on going with Anime Studio was the ability to export FBX files, which I could bring into game engines.

 

There's also http://www.synfig.orgwhich is open source, but it felt a bit clunky. Although, it's free and you could at least start/try it and see how you like it.

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