Toon Boom Harmony Tutorial for Beginners: How To Make a Cartoon!

so in this tutorial you’ll learn how to animate in Toon Boom even if you’ve never opened the program before and if you’d like to download the animation that we create in this tutorial it will be available for download at the end of this video so Toon Boom is one of those things that seems intimidating at first and there is a lot to learn but I believe that if you get the basics down and you start animating something right away you’ll find it’s not that hard at all so when you first open up toon boom you’ll be greeted with the setup screen this is where you setup the size of your animation and also how fast it will go so the name is what the name of your project is going to be and the location is where it’s going to save your project at so Toon Boom rather than just saving one file it actually saves a whole project folder so everything that you animate will be located inside a folder so you’ll want to make sure to set that location somewhere where you can open it up later and your frame rate is how fast your animation is going to move the higher this number is the faster the animation is going to go and the lower it is the slower your animation is going to go and you can always change these settings later but it’s good to set up from the beginning and I like to recommend these settings of 1920 by 1080 at 24 frames per second pretty standard for an HD video uploading to YouTube so once all your settings are set up then we’re going to press create scene so here’s what Toon Boom will look like when you open it or at least very similar to your version depending which version you have open before I talk about any of these tools or any of these windows let me just explain to you a little bit of the philosophy of how toon boom works so Toon Boom is a vector program and what that means is if I draw something rather than in something like Photoshop if I were to zoom in on this it would lose quality but because it’s a vector program it’s based off of curves so what that means is I can zoom in to as much as I want because it’s a vector program so if I draw something in Toon Boom just with my brush tool here you’ll see that it looks kind of jagged and kind of rough and not look very good and if you’re familiar with programs like Photoshop or any drawing program this is called alias and the difference between anti-aliasing and aliasing just means how smooth the line is so you can see here there’s like very sharp rigid edges well that’s because we’re in our OpenGL view and the way I like to think of it is just this is your animation view you know this is where you’re going to do all your work all your hard work all your drawing and stuff but then when you want to see the final we need to click on this render view but when we do that it’s black nothing’s showing up why is that well it’s because I have a black line and it’s on no background there is no background going on behind it which means it’s transparent if I were to draw a white stick figure like this he shows up against the black background but my black stick figure is still here if we want to add a quick background we can go down to this plus button right here hold down our mouse button and select color card and what that does is it adds a white background behind everything so when you add this color card and you go back into your render view you’ll see our lines are actually really smooth because this is what the final animation is going to look like in OpenGL even though it looks kind of raggedy don’t worry that’s not what the final animation is going to look like it’s going to look smooth and nice because Toon Boom is kind of awesome this just makes it faster for your computer for when you’re animating and stuff so another thing that makes Toon Boom kind of unique is whatever shortcut you’re using like zoom in or zoom out will depend on what window you have selected see I’m zooming in on my timeline and if I click here I can zoom in on my stage and you can tell which window is activated by this red outline here I like to turn on a setting which is under edit preferences general we want to click on this focus on Mouse enter this is a really important setting that I personally prefer and I know a lot of other Toon Boom animators prefer this setting as well so what that means once we press ok that’ll turn on your setting so now you can see the window that my mouse is in will have a red outline around it so instead of having to click to activate it to zoom in and out it just automatically works depending where my mouse is so for navigating around your stage the spacebar will pan around so you can see your stage number two will zoom in and number one will zoom out this may seem weird at first if especially if you’re used to like Photoshop where ctrl + + ctrl – are zooming in and out but normally when you’re working in Toon Boom your hand is going to be on the left side of your keyboard you know doing things like ctrl Z to undo ctrl C to copy so 1 & 2 is just right near where your hand is and it just makes it super easy to rotate

your canvas hold down ctrl + alt and you can rotate your canvas like so and this is useful if you want to draw at a more natural angle like you know how you tilt your paper when you’re drawing if your view is all messed up you can press shift M as in Michael to set your view back to the way it was alright enough of boring stuff let’s actually draw something in here over here you’ll see all your drawing tools and if your view looks different than this or if you’re missing some panels you can always go up to window workspace and then down here just select the default workspace and it’ll reset back to the way it was when you first started toon boom so our tools are over here and the brush tool just like it sounds like is a brush and it’s probably the most intuitive tool to use it’s the one I use the most when I’m animating and over here you’ll see your tool properties this is where you set up what your brush behaves like brush one is your default brush so I like to set it up to be the way that I want it to be when toon boom first loads so to edit your settings just click on this big arrow right here and your brush setting will come up so maximum size is how big your brush is going to be and minimum size is how small your brush will be this only matters if you’re using like a Wacom tablet or any other drawing tablet – that recognizes pressure sensitivity smoothing if you like your brush to smooth out itself you can set this up usually I’ll do like maybe about five or so because I like my line to still stay about the same and depending which version of toon boom you have you can also set up a texture on it so you can get kind of a textured look to your brush but we’ll just use the regular one for now and you’ll see an asterisks meaning that your changes have not been saved yet to save your changes just click this little refresh button which means update your brush preset and now next time you load Toon Boom all those settings should stay the same for your brush number one now to explain the difference between the brush and the pencil tool if I were to draw a circle with my brush tool and draw a circle with my pencil tool and then select my point editor which is my white arrow here you’ll see on the brush all the points are on the outside so it’s like a filled in shape it’s not really a line it’s a hole filled in shape but on my pencil tool it’s all these individual points but the cool thing about Toon Boom as opposed to flesh is you can actually have pressure sensitivity with the pencil tool and you can set it up to be just like your brush but let’s say if I didn’t want this circle if I wanted to like move these points over it’s a little hard to keep it consistent but with the pencil tool if I were to just move these points over makes it super easy to change your path that you drew so it really just depends which tool you want to use whether it’s the pencil or the brush pencil is definitely more versatile but the brush tool I find to be a little more intuitive especially if you’re a beginner you also have an eraser if you need to erase anything this is your type tool so you can just add text to your animation and depending which tool you have selected you can edit its properties under this tool properties window if you want to delete anything or move it around just use your black arrow tool here and to rotate something you just drag it from the corner like that to scale it drag it from this corner like so and hold shift if you want to keep it the same and press delete if you want to just delete something your fill bucket will fill in any shape with whatever color you have selected will talk more about color later your shapes are right here so you’ve got lines and any of these tools that have these arrows on the corner here you can hold down your mouse button to see what other options they have so we have rectangles circles and a pen tool right here the eyedropper tool will select whatever color you use the eyedropper on and you can see your colors over here so those are all your basic drawing tools now let’s talk about color so the way color works in Toon Boom is if you want another color you have to create it using this palette window so to create a color we’re going to click this plus button and then it’ll create a new color just double click on this square to edit it and you’ll see your color options so you can just your color right here and if you want it to be transparent you just adjust this alpha and you’ll make it a transparent color if you want to have a gradient just select your gradient option right here so when you’re editing your gradient to change any of these colors just click this little house looking icon and just adjust the color and you’ll see it adjust automatically if you want to add a color just click in between any of these boxes here and it’ll add another one so you can adjust that color and you can move these around and you can also adjust their transparency using the Alpha so you can have it go from green to transparent blue to sort of a black and yeah it’s pretty cool linear just means it goes from a straight gradient radial means it’s more of a circle so let’s uh let’s go with this monstrosity of a gradient let’s call that gradient so the cool thing about Toon Boom with its color is let’s say I have an animation and right now it’s only 5 frames long but let’s just say this is 5,000 frames of animation and it’s a turquoise bouncing blue ball and your director which can be yourself honestly comes by and says hey I want

that turquoise ball to be green in a different program you’d have to edit every single one of those 5,000 frames to be a green ball but in tune boom we can just double click that ball color and change it green and it changes it across the whole animation super useful I love this feature here’s a couple other things that are important to be aware of when you’re drawing in tune boom first let’s draw a circle or at least the best circle we can for now and let’s say we want to fill it in with a gradient well we know how to create a color we double click on it and to create a gradient we’ll select our gradient here and let’s go from white to black and we’ll make it a radial gradient looks good and then we’ll fill it in with our paint bucket tool and with your paint bucket you can select where the origin is but let’s say you want to modify it even further you can hold down your mouse button on the white arrow tool and you’ll get this setting down here called edit gradient and this way we can edit our gradient using this edit gradient tool so this is useful if you want to move gradients around or adjust them change their scale and rotate them and do all sorts of stuff with your gradients and this tool works on textures as well if I were to create a new texture by clicking this + T button over here this will let me import a bitmap and I can use that to fill in on my colors as well so I fill in my texture then I can use my Edit gradient tool to change the scale and if I want it to scale uniformly just hold down shift and I can move my texture around rotate it and change it just like I could with my gradient so let’s say I want to cut out a chunk from the circle normally in other programs you might think oh I select the black arrow tool and just select it right here by the way if you’re not getting this lasso selection here you can go under your tool options and this first option here you can do a marquee selection so it selects with the rectangle or you can go to your lasso tool which is what I usually use but let’s say you want to cut out a circle from here if I use the lasso tool well it selects the whole circle and if I press delete it deletes the whole thing that’s because if you want to do something like that cut out a piece of artwork you want to use the cutter tool so the cutter tool is kind of like your eraser the white Toon Boom draws by default is each one of these brush strokes is separated on its own so if I select these even though they’re overlapping you’ll see it just selects each brush stroke I made if you want to flatten these so they’re not all separate brush strokes like this you can just use the flatten tool which is right here or over here in the tool properties and it will flatten all the overlapping brush strokes into one brush stroke so I drew overlapping lines here but I don’t want them to overlap well the cutter tool comes in handy for stuff like this because with this overlapping line I can select it and press Delete even though this is all one brush stroke Toon Boom knows that this is an overlapping line and I can select it and delete it so this is useful to get nice smooth lines and to your other shapes so let’s say you’ve drawn a character and you filled it in and you want to give it some shading how do you do that well under your paint bucket tool there’s an option called stroke and what this does is it draws an invisible line that you can use to section off parts of your drawing to fill in with a different color I’ll show you what I mean if I were to fill in half of it like this you’ll get a message here that says you have added a stroke to the drawing but it will not be visible unless you activate show stroke from the view menu I know this will happen so I say don’t show this again and press ok but I can’t see where the stroke is that I made well if I press the hot key of K I’ll see where all of my strokes and outlines are and you can see it even shows the outlines on my brush strokes here shown in blue but this is useful for seeing all the invisible strokes that I’ve made and also if I draw any new ones I’ll see where those are made to and then if I go to my paint bucket and I select my shading color and fill in you’ll see it only fills in up until this invisible stroke and if i press k again i’ll see that stroke is not showing and even if i go to the render view i’ll see that no strokes are showing so that’s a useful way to shade your character is with the stroke tool so now that we know how to draw in Toon Boom let’s learn how to animate to add a layer we need to do a drawing layer which is this button right here and you just click on it once and it’ll give you a couple options whether you want it to be a vector or a bitmap so that’s like the difference between flash for the vector or illustrator or bitmap as in like Photoshop or something so I usually just do vector it’s a little bit easier to start out with and easier to work with and we’ll call this stick because that’ll be our character and then we add and close and we have our stick layer so once we have our layer created let’s draw our first frame we’re going to do a simple walk cycle so the way I like to do a walk cycle is start with what’s called the contact position which is where his foot contacts the ground like so and on this position he’ll have his arms out like this and then to draw the next frame just go one frame forward or you can use the period key and the comma key to go

back and forward one frame and to see the last frame that we drew which is really important in animation we have to turn on the onion skin and we can see what our last drawing was so with the onion skin on it makes it easier to see what our next drawing needs to be and we’ll continue to animate using the onion skin drawing each frame and if you want to adjust how far back you want to look you can drag these handles to see further back or not as far back of your previous drawings all right so I have one step of his walk cycle ready to go so here’s something about frame by frame animation in Toon Boom that confused the heck out of me when I first starting I want to copy this first frame and paste it on the end of this walk cycle so I go down here and press ctrl C to copy the frame or I can right-click and say copy cells from the timeline and I want to paste it here so I press control V and it pastes that same frame right but let’s say I wanted to edit something on here so I’ll just draw a red X just to show that I’m drawing on this last frame right here but when I go back you’ll see that red X appears on the first frame as well so the way toon boom works is if you copy a frame and paste it it’s a duplicate of that frame it’s not it’s own separate drawing so if I did want to edit this drawing what I would need to do is right-click it and go to drawings duplicate drawings or alt shift D alt shift D is probably the most important hotkey to learn in Toon Boom you’ll be using it a lot so have it memorized so when I press alt shift D on this frame and then I draw a red X again you’ll see if I go back to my first frame the red X is not there these two are now separate drawings so let’s say also I want to hold on this frame so it doesn’t disappear at the end what I would need to do is extend the exposure and exposure is just how long a drawing stays on the frame for so I can right click over here and go to extend exposure or the hotkey of f5 and that’ll hold my drawing for as long as I selected and if I wanted to use this same artwork but do like a different frame like let’s say I wanted to draw that red X again if I go to frame 20 and draw a red X it doesn’t do it on frame 20 it just does it on that drawing so what I would need to do is set up another drawing that happens at frame 20 again using that hotkey of alt shift D and you’ll see in our timeline a little line appears because this is now a new drawing even though it’s the same artwork I can now draw that red X and it’ll appear on frame 20 so anyways back to our walk cycle let’s say we want this to loop right now it’s just one step not super useful for a walk cycle right so what we need to do is select all these frames by selecting the first one holding shift and selecting the last one right clicking and going to create cycle and we want to insert the number of cycles that we want so I’ll just do 10 for now and press okay and we now have a looping cycle of his waah but he kind of stays in place right not a very effective walk if he just stays in one place so we need to move him across the screen so the way toon boom works is the difference between drawings which you can think of as your animation frames that’s a drawing and to move it across we need to attach a peg and the peg can move our drawing around on the screen so to add a peg to our drawing we use this button right here add a peg and you’ll see it’ll name it after the layer it’s attached to so pay attention to how I animate him from one side of the screen to the other I’m going to go over here to the add keyframe button and I’ll add a keyframe and you’ll see a circle appear on frame 1 where I added the keyframe then I’m going to go to my transform tool so I need to make sure that my animate button is turned on and the animate button is this little stick figure button right here and what that just means is it’ll listen to whenever you move this peg or anything around so on my first frame where I’ve created the keyframe I’ll use my transform tool and he’ll move him off-screen here then I’ll go down to frame 60 using the add keyframe button I’ll add another keyframe and then again because this animate button is on when I move him over to here on frame 60 where this keyframe is he animates across the screen because the peg is moving our drawing cycle pretty cool so let’s say you want to create a character library so first we’re going to create a new drawing by clicking the new drawing button and we’ll call this head and the drawing layer button if you just click Add we’ll stay open if you say add and close it’ll close this window so since we’re doing multiple body parts I’m just going to add each one and then for the last one I’m going to say add and close so now we have all of our body parts so let’s draw each body part first we’ll start with a simple body and we’ll fill it in so you can see and we’ll do a simple head and we’ll go through drawing all of our body parts and at this point I’m trying to fill in this arm but there’s a little bit of a gap if you have gaps in your drawing and it won’t fill in you can always go up to your tool properties and select this gap

icon and say close small gap and then it’ll fill it in so now we have our character with all his body parts on different layers so now we need to add pegs to each one of these body parts by pressing this pink button up here with each layer and you can also select multiple layers and press it and it’ll add pegs according to the name of the layer so when you’re setting up your pegs you want to make sure the anchor points in the right spot if I were to take my transform tool on my arm left here and rotate it you’ll see it’s rotating around this anchor point right here which is not what we want we want to move this anchor point to be right here if you move the anchor point with your transform tool you’ll see it’s still transparent here so it’ll work but when you click off of it and click back on to your peg your anchor point has reset back to where it was to move it permanently you need to use the rotate tool up here these are called your advanced animation toolbars and if you don’t see them you can go to Windows toolbars advanced animation and using the rotate tool just move the peg where you want it to be and do this on every single layer so now we want to parent these objects to each other so right now when I move the body the body just moves on its own because nothing has been parented to it so the way I like to explain it is with an arm so here you have the body which you can think of like the parent object you have the upper arm which you can think of as the child you have the lower arm which you can think of as the child of the upper arm and then you have the hand which is the child of the lower arm so every time you move the body like so it moves the entire arm and every time you move the upper arm it’ll move the lower arm and the hand and if I move the lower arm it’ll just move the hand because the hand is parented to it so we want all these body parts to be under the body Paik so just drag each one of these body parts underneath the body peg like so so I’m just clicking and dragging and moving it underneath the body you’ll see this blue underline appear when I’m underneath the body peg so I’ll just move those like that and now when I select my body peg all my body parts are moving with it so now I can move the leg on its own and move the body along with it now we have our simple character rig so let’s say we want to animate him jumping up and down so before you start animating it’s a good idea to add keyframes to each one of these pegs on the first frame so our character only lasts for one frame so we need to extend the exposure by going over to say frame 80 and pressing the hot key of F Phi and that’ll extend our exposure or we could also right-click and go to extend exposure so now our character last 480 frames now to animate him we use this transform tool here and we’re going to animate him jumping so we want to select our body peg and you can tell that we’ve selected the peg because the character is yellow and because he is yellow that means our animate tool is on if our animate tool is off you’ll see he appears red so that just means that everything I animate will not be animated it just moves it permanently so make sure your animate tool is on and then we want him to move up on frame 80 so we’ll add keyframes on here to each one of these body parts we’ll grab his body and you can see I’ve got my body selected by the drawing layer which is not what we want we want to animate him on the peg layer so the hotkey to move up in the hierarchy is the hotkey of B as in boy and that’ll select our body peg same if I were to select the arm drawing I can press B and it’ll select my peg so I select my body press B to select the peg and move him up so because my animate tool is on and I have my keyframes all set up your motion tweens up to the top like so so let’s say just to show you how exposure works let’s say I only have a leg right up to frame 40 something you’ll see it animates and then disappears but you can see that this drawing is still here it’s just not being exposed so it’s not being shown anymore and you can also change these drawings so if we press our hotkey of alt shift D that makes a new drawing so if I go into my head layer and give them like an angry face you’ll see our drawing changed but the animation is still the same because it’s the same head drawing under the head peg so we can use our transform tool select our hand press b to select the peg and move it up like that do that with each one of these body parts and you’ll see we have a little animation going pretty cool so this line means that it’s being motion tween if we were to use the stop motion keyframe which is the straight line option right here like let’s say I have a bunch of different keyframes right here you’ll see in the motion tween it’s a smooth motion between all of these but if I were to click in the middle and select stop motion keyframe on any one of these you’ll see it just pops into place so there’s no smooth motion it’s just popping into place because there’s no line in between if we want to get our line back we just press this curvy option right here or set motion keyframe and our smooth motion will come back so that’s how to animate with a simple character rig so now I’m going to create an animation from start to finish I’m going to draw the background using all the tools we learned and then on a new layer I’m going to animate a stick figure animating across the background so let’s

get started so my animation is all done but one issue I’m having is the characters head’s not filled in well I could just go frame by frame with my paint bucket filling in like this but there’s an easier way if you have outlines but you want to fill everything in with one color what you need to do is go to hold down your mouse on the paint bucket go to paint unpainted and then over here in your tool properties there’s this button which says apply to multiple drawings and there’s an arrow going to the right so if I have that on and I just select the whole stage like so it’ll fill in his head but because my apply to multiple drawings is on it went through every single drawing to the right of the timeline and filled in his head automatically so now my head’s been filled in super easy and you’ll see like there’s parts where if it’s sections off like that you know it’s filled in his his armpit and stuff but that’s easy enough to go in with your arrow tool and delete so it depends on whatever is easiest for you that’s just a quick little way to fill in all of your drawings if you already have an outline all right so let’s say your animation is all finished but you want to add music to it how do you import sound well it’s pretty easy first we just go to this plus button right here hold down our mouse button and then go down to sound to import a sound just double click on the music note and you’ll get your sound editor and to import the sound right click up here on the top part and say import sound select the audio file you want to use and press open and it will import the sound and you can tell it works because you can see the waveform here as well as down here in the timeline if you’re having issues with the sound try exporting it as a different file type for example maybe a wave file type might work better so after you import it click apply and close so to hear sound in tune boom you have these two buttons you have the scrubbing option and just enable sound option so scrubbing is useful for like lip-sync if you need to scrub and hear mouth sounds that’s what scrubbing is useful for and the other one if it’s on it just enables music to play when you play it on your timeline so now we want to export our animation it’s super easy just go up to file export and movie and select where you want to save it as and then under movie options I’ll show you the format that I usually save it as if you don’t want any compression at all and you want a full video using the compression type of animation is really good for that so if you’re just uploading to YouTube or you know sharing your video around h.264 is more than fine so to use h.264 compression type in Toon Boom one thing is important you have to make sure under keyframes that you select all or else it won’t export and under compression quality I usually max it out at the best for encoding depending what your preference is faster encode will happen with a single pass or if you want the best quality possible– but time isn’t really an issue select the multi pass and all this other stuff you can leave as is press okay for the sound um not much of an expert but I’ll usually do the 24-bit and I’ll select either 44 or 48 usually 44 is fine I’ll set it on stereo if I have stereo sound 16-bit is fine press ok prepare for internet streaming I’ll usually leave checked on and all these settings look good so we’ll press ok and we’ve picked our destination and our file name and we press ok and our movie will export so now we have our fully exported video ready to be uploaded to YouTube or anywhere else and that’s it thanks guys for watching this tutorial and I hope you learned something if you have any questions about Toon Boom or anything animation related please feel free to leave them in the comments section below don’t forget to like and share this video with your friends who also want to animate also if you find my tutorials helpful please feel free to become a patreon supporter I had super appreciate the help and I want to give a special shout out and thank you to all my patreon supporters you guys are awesome and you helped me to do what I love to do and uh it means the world to me anyways take care guys and I’ll see you in the next tutorial bye