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TVPaint Animation
TVPaint Animation
Das "starke" Zeichen- und Animationswerkzeug!


TVPaint Animation Tutorials

Für EinsteigerFür FortgeschritteneVideo Tutorials

Diese Tutorials (in englischer Sprache) richten sich an TVPaint Animation Neulinge, die zum ersten Mal mit TVPaint arbeiten.

Folgende Einsteiger-Tutorials stehen zur Auswahl:

Your first Drawing with TVPaint Animation
Your first Animation with TVPaint Animation
How to use the drawing tools of a conventional animator
How to colorize a character


How to use the drawing tools of a conventional animator


The purpose of this tutorial is to complete the animation sequence that you can download here: Running_Kid (use the option "save the link to" of your internet browser)


Neither the computer nor the software can replace the skill of a real artist. As a consequence, you will have to work by yourself to complete the missing drawings of this animation.

Fortunately, a lot of options of TVPaint Animation will simplify your job!

1) The concept of the TVPaint Animation's project


We saw in the previous tutorial that it was possible to define image layers and animation layers. All those layers together are called TVPaint Animation projects (or simply projects).

A project example

The drawing panel will henceforth be called the project window.

2) The project window


Loading a project can be done easily by using the file menu or by using the keyboard shortcut [shift+L] :

Load a project

The left half of the requester allow to find the folder where the project has been downloaded. The right half of the requester will allow you to select it.

The load project requester

After having loaded the 'running_kid.tvp' file that you have just downloaded, just play it. Did you notice ? Some images are missing...

Well! it will be your job to complete them!

3) Use the light table


Please select the image n°50 as the current image. This image is one of the missing images.

You can try to draw it directly. But it could be more easy if we could know what is the exact location of the running-kid on the pictures before and after the current one. This is exactly the function of the light table.

The light table is a familiar tool to cartoon and animation artists. It simplifies drawing of the current image by offering a tone-down view of the images before and after the current image

It is accessible with a left click on the light bulb icon in the tool bar or via the Windows main menu :

The light bulb icon The LT button

This is the way it looks:

The light table activated The light table

The frames in our animation layer which precede and succeed the current frame are displayed on the screen. The frames closest to the current frame « in time » are the most visible and those furthest away « in time » are the most transparent.

The light table is an extremely practical tool as it is also possible to display all frames after the current frame in time and for a given layer.

If you configure your light table as indicated below, the frames before/after the current frame «in time» are displayed in red / in blue, with more or less opacity depending on their position in relation to the current frame.

The red frames before the current frame The light table settings

The blue frames after the current frame The light table settings

Now that you understand how this tool works, let's go back and take a closer look at its control panel:

- The two colored boxes (red and blue) allow you to select the colors of your choice to view the frames before and after the current frame,
- The use of colors in this viewing mode is not obligatory. If you wish to keep the original image colors, uncheck the Colors box,
- The sliders are used to manage the opacity level of frames displayed (the Link button avoids having to move each slider individually by linking them to one another)

Example of a light table The light table settings

- The numbers are used to select the frames to be displayed.

For example, in the panels shown as an example above, the number 5 to the right of the zero is selected and its slider is set in the center of the scale. This means that the fifth frame after the current frame will be visible with medium opacity. The number zero enables or disables the light table, its slider manages the global opacity of the table.

4) The rotating drawing disk


Here is an other option which will help you a lot while drawing.

When working with pencil and paper, you often have to turn the page in order to touch-up the lines drawn. This is also possible with TVPaint Animation thanks to the workspace rotation function. This is done by left clicking on the button illustrated opposite in the current project window and then moving the mouse.

The rotating drawing disk button

A right click on this button offers access to predefined worktop rotation values.

You may also use the keyboard shortcuts [Ctrl+Shift+PageUp/PageDown] or [insert] to reset the rotation angle.

An example of the rotating drawing disk Information about the project

Above to the right you will find all information relative to your project (including the workspace rotation angle) which is accessible by placing the cursor on the project title bar.

It is possible to play your animation with a tilted workspace!

Note that workspace rotation always takes place from the center of your project window.

If necessary, you may use the bottom and right-hand sliders of your project window to position the latter...

5) The animator field charts


When the workspace is rotated, it becomes visible in the form of an animation disk. If you do not need this function, it may be disabled in the Display popup menu of the current project.

Animation artists who prefer to use the Animator fields may use the same menu to select this option.

The options

The options on the project

6) How to flip an image


It is possible to flip your images around the horizontal, vertical or both axes:

Original image Horizontal flip Vertical flip Both flip

To do this, simply use the main menu options Image > Modify > Flip (Horizontally, Vertically or Both) an image or the selected images.

7) How to use the zoom option


Sometimes, you can need to work more accurately. Instead of moving closer to the screen or changing the screen resolution, you can use the zoom option. What you need to do is to use the '+' and '-' buttons of the project window.

The '+' and '-' in the project panel

An other possibility consists in using the navigator panel hereafter:

The navigator panel

Note that you have the display menu at your disposal in the navigator panel. The display menu allows you activate the animation disc and the animation fields.

Original The corresponding navigator panel

Zoom The corresponding navigator panel

8) The flip book


Well, here is the situation: you have just drawn one of the missing image thanks to the light table and the rotative drawing disk. It is now time to do test the animation:


Of course, you can use the play option of the drawing window, but there are two disadvantages:

- Firstly, you have to play the animation from the beginning and this could waste some time for big animation.
- Secondly, you will change the current image.

In fact, if you want to take a look at the quality of your work, you will necessary activate the stop button after your current image (so the current image will be changed) .


Fortunately, the flip-book option has been added in TVPaint animation 8 (older TVPaint softwares don't have it).

If you push the animation button of the project window, a few pictures before and after the current image will be played and after that, the software will bring you immediately on the current picture.

The Anim button

The Flip-Book example

Here, the missing image has been drawn in blue, and the flip-book option has been used.

This very convenient to... draw, make a test, touch up the current image, make an other test, etc...

9) The bookmarks


It is sometimes useful to go from an image to another one, without searching in the timeline where is the needed image. For example, you may need to navigate through the breakdowns of this walk cycle only. This could be done easily, thanks to the bookmark feature.

Let now consider the pictures where the running-kid's foot lay on the ground.

Position 1 Position 2

It is possible to bookmark those pictures in the timeline, by using the encircled flag button (hereafter in the animator panel).

Once you have pushed this button, a small blue rectangle appears instantly on the top of the timeline current thumbnails (note: if you want to remove the bookmark, just use the same button again).

Bookmark button Localization of the bookmark

Repeat this action on the pictures where the running-kid lay one of his feet on the ground. Your timeline should look like this one:

Several bookmarks

Now, you only have to use the "+<<" and ">>+" or "arrow with flag buttons to navigate through the bookmarks.

Previous/Next Bookmark Result in the project

10) How to modify the background color


Here is one of the last notion of this tutorial. It will not necessary help you to draw, but it could be useful for conventional animators to know it.

When you work with TVPaint Animation, you are always drawing on a layer (a virtual layer, of course). As shown in the diagram hereafter, the running-kid has been drawn on a layer. This layer is resting on a background.


2 layers


"Running-Kid" layer




White colored background


The result


You can modify the color of this background by clicking on the encircled color box hereafter. The cursor will change its shape and you will be allowed to choose a color directly on the screen.

Modify the background New cursor

It is also possible to change the nature of the background by using the pull-down menu hereafter.

Change the background style



2 layers


'Running-Kid' layer





Check background


The result


11) Saving a project


At every moment, you can save your current project by using the save and save as option (Keyboard shortcut [shift + S]).

As it does in the most common softwares, the save option replace your previously project by the modified one.

The save as option allows you to save the current project with an other name or an other location. In this case, a requester will appear.

Now, you know the most common tools that will help you to draw and handle your projects.

It is up to you to finish the running-kid animation!
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