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Share your animation by creating a template from the superhero character. Learn about the different types of templates you can create, how to share them and how to open and use someone else's template.
Welcome to the tutorial How To Create Templates. In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to create templates both from the Timeline View, as well as from the Network View. Let's start with the Timeline View. You can start anything from the Timeline View as a template in the Library and this includes layers, as well as cells. The only disadvantage with creating templates from the Timeline View is that you lose all the connections, as well as effects and composites that exist for your character in the Network View. I just need to do one thing first in order to show you the different ways of creating a template. Let's select the helmet in the Camera View with the Transform Tool, then click somewhere in the Timeline View to bring the focus around it. Then use the keyboard shortcut [O] to centre on selection. Now what I'm going to do is drag the red playhead across to, let's say, Frame #3 and then call it the X-sheet View by clicking on this [+] button here and selecting X-sheet. I just needed to click on the helmet layer again to bring it up here in the X-sheet View. Then what I'm going to do is click on Cell #3 and change the drawing from Drawing #1 to Drawing #2. Off camera, I created another drawing, let's go to the Drawing View to see that, for the helmet. If we drag the red playhead back a frame, we'll see this is Drawing #1 and this is Drawing #2 for the helmet. The helmet has two drawings, the first one being for the three-quarter profile view pose and the second being for the front pose. Now if we go into the Library tab, so let's maximize that so you can see it better, you'll see that there are several folders here on the left side. Actually the one that I want to access has a little lock on it, the Stage Library. What I'm going to do is right-click on it and select Right To Modify. As you can see, the little lock disappears, which means we can now add things to this main root folder, which for you is probably blank, but I already have a template stored inside, or you can create subfolders and you can do this by right-clicking on the root folder and selecting New Folder. In this case, I'm just going to add templates to our root folder, which is the Stage Library.
If we go back to this helmet layer here and of course, this is just the drawing layer and not the peg layer, I can save just my drawing of the helmet. I'll grab this cell here from the right side of the Timeline, click and drag it, then drop it into my Stage Library folder. The Rename dialogue box comes up, so I can either rename my template here or I can just click OK, and you can always right-click on your template once it's in the Library and select Rename to rename it. The same dialogue box will appear. Now instead of just selecting that single drawing cell from the right side of the Timeline View, I'm going to grab the entire drawing layer from the left side of the Timeline View, and drag and drop it into the Stage Library. Maybe to distinguish the difference, I'll call this one Hero_Helmet_Layer so that we know it's the entire layer and click OK. Now if I collapse this entire group, go back to the Camera View and I'm going to disable the Hero Master peg group so that there's nothing visible in the Camera View, I'm first going to drag and drop this template that we created from the Stage Library back into my scene. I can drop it either here in the Camera View and we know that it's okay to do that because we see that green circle with the white [+] sign, or I can drag and drop it here in the layer stack in the left side of the Timeline View, which is what I'm going to do. Let's drop that there. You can see that that single cell, that single drawing, now appears again in our Camera View. I just created a template in my own scene and then brought it back into my own scene, but the reason that templates are very powerful is that you can save them, and then drag and drop them from this Library into a new scene, because this Library is actually stored somewhere on my hard drive. As we'll see, as I continue along the tutorial, you can not only store and reuse drawing items, but you can actually store and reuse whole animated sequences. Anyway, let's just continue this for now. You saw that the single drawing cell that I created, when dropped back into the Timeline View, appears like this. Then if we grab the entire layer template and do the same thing, but maybe this time I'll drop it into the Camera View, you'll see that the entire row, so the entire 60 frames, was also imported and as was Drawing #1 and Drawing #2. If I drag the playhead across, you'll see there's Drawing #1 and after Frame #3, there's Drawing #2. And actually, if I created the template even if these two drawings weren't exposed, they still exist in this layer. I'll show you what I mean.
Let's deselect both our helmet layers and let's find that helmet one more time. This time, it took me to the torso root layer, so let's click on [O] one more time and from the torso root, I can find the helmet. This time, I'm going to go back into the X-sheet or another way of doing it is I can open the Data View by clicking on this button right here and the Data View is this right here. You'll notice that there's a turquoise "1" here and that's because on Frame #1, Drawing #1 is exposed, whereas on Frame #3, Drawing #2 is exposed and you'll see that it changed here in the Data View, here in the Camera View and here in the Drawing Substitution window in the Library. There are several ways that I can change the drawing on Frame #1. I can change it in the Drawing Substitution window by scrolling across like this and now for the next two exposures, so Frame #1 and #2, we have Drawing #2 exposed. Or what I could have done is if I hover the mouse over the two, you'll see that the cursor changes with a hand with a double-headed black arrow, and you can use that to scroll across to the number "1". Or what you can do is click on the highlighted number and change it to the drawing number, so in this case, it would be Drawing #2. Once again, if we go to the X-sheet, we'll see that in the Hero_Helmet, Drawing #2 is now exposed on all frames. In fact, in order to get rid of this little line, what I'm going to do is select Frame #3 and then drag it across to Frame #1. Now you'll see that there's no separation. Drawing #2 is exposed from Frame #1 to #60.
Then what I'm going to do is go back to the Library View and then grab the Hero_Helmet layer one more time, and click and drag it into the Stage Library. This time, I'm going to call it Hero_Helmet_Layer02 and click OK. Then I'm going to save my scene and then create a new scene by clicking on the Create New Scene button from the File Toolbar. Let's name our scene New and then click on the Create button. Now if I go to the Stage Library in our new scene and I select the Hero_Helmet_Layer02 template, and I click and I drag it, once again, I can drop it in the Camera View or in the left side of the Timeline View. We'll see that Drawing #2 is exposed for all the frames from #1 to #60. However, if we then go to, say, Frame #30 for example, and do what we did before and change that drawing to #1, you'll see that that drawing exists in this template. It doesn't just exist in our previous scene. All our drawings are in the template that you've created, whether they're exposed or not when you create that template. In addition to this, you can grab just the single cell drawing that we created, so that's the first one, Hero_Helmet, and not only can you drop it into the Camera View or the left side of the Timeline View, but you can actually also drop it into the right side of the Timeline View, either on the Hero_Helmet layer. If we scroll across, you'll see Drawing #2 is exposed, Drawing #1 is now exposed because we dropped it into this layer, and then Drawing #2 again. This line is there because once you drop a drawing in, it lasts from where you dropped it in to where the end of the previously exposed drawing was. In addition to this, you can also grab the same template and drop it onto any layer. This is just a regular drawing layer. It doesn't have to be the Hero_Helmet layer. It can be any layer at all, like a blank drawing layer. But in this case, it's only exposed for a single cell because when we created the template, it was a single cell.
There's just one more thing to show you now, concerning creating templates in the Timeline View. Let's go back to our other scene by going to File > Open Recent Scenes and selecting the first scene from the list. Let's not save anything from this scene in this case. What I'm going to do is go back to the Stage Library and you'll notice that in order to take things from the Stage Library, it doesn't matter if the lock appears because you're not modifying anything. You're just taking things. You're not adding to the Library, which modifies the Library. You're just taking templates from the Library. Let's click on the Stage Library and let's select this template that was here at the beginning of the video tutorial that I created off camera and it's called Head_Front_G, so it's this head, completely the front view and the –G just means that it's a group. Let's collapse our Hero Master peg and let's just drop it into the scene in the left side of the Camera View. This is just so that we can take a look at the contents. Well first of all, you can see that this is what it looks like and if I hide the Hero Master peg layer, you'll have a better idea. It's the face of the hero with all of his features facing forward as well. If we open the layer, you'll kind of have to take my word for this, but it has the exact same layer structure as just the head group in our Hero Master layer. I can show you that, but it's a lot of little layers to see. Here's our head group and if we scroll down, you'll see Helmet, Facial Features written in capital letters, the Ear_L pegs, all of these things. The structure is identical. That's important to remember. I'm going to collapse the Head_Front layer, as well as the Hero Master layer, and I'm just going to delete this from our Timeline. Now what I'm going to do after enabling the Hero Master layer and after uncollapsing this layer one more time, and actually let's scroll back down to where we saw the head group. Now what I'm going to do is go back to the Library, reselect the Head_Front template and you'll notice that as I drag it into the right side of the Timeline View, that green circle with the white [+] appears. If I just go a few cells higher, you'll see that now it disappears and I'm getting that white circle with the white bar, telling me that I can't drop it into the right side of the Timeline View. That's because as soon as I hit the head layer, the software recognizes the structure as being identical inside my Hero Master group. So if I just flip back and forth, you can see my character in three-quarter profile and then see my character in the front view. I think I changed the drawing for the helmet, which is why we see it like this. Let me just select the helmet again, find it here, then open the Data View and scroll to the first frame, and select the first frame, then change this "2" back to a "1". Now if we scroll across, you can see that the head turns from the three-quarter profile view to the front view.
Now let's talk about creating templates from the Network View. I'm going to collapse the Data View and actually, I'm going to scroll all the way up and collapse our entire Hero Master peg layer. We've already done this, but if you haven't done this already, you should scroll to the first frame, select the first frame and click on the Add Key Frame button, so that there is a key frame on the first frame for every single layer of the Hero Master group. Then what we're going to do is go to the Network View and we can do that by clicking on this up arrow here and then clicking on it again. Now what we want to do is group all the modules of the Hero Master. We can do this by just clicking and dragging a selecting box around all the modules with the Select Tool and then we can right-click and then select Group > Group Selection with Composite or you can use the keyboard shortcut [Shift] + [Command] + [G] on Mac and I believe it's [Shift] + [Ctrl] + [G] on Windows. Now let's zoom in a bit to take a look at our group. It's probably named Hero_Neck-G because that was probably the topmost layer in the layer stack. Let's just click on the yellow box to rename our group module and I'm going to rename it Hero_Master-G for group instead of -P for peg and close. Then if we go inside our group, you can see that all the modules are there, that at the top there's a multi-port in, which basically just allows our group to have this node, this top node at the top of our group module, so that you can add a peg or add other modules above the group, and of course, a multi-port out at the bottom right here, which allows us to have that bottom port right here that allows us to plug into the scene composite. Because we group with composite, all of our modules were plugged automatically into a composite, which saved us a lot of time. The more manual way to have done this would have been to go to the Module Library and to select a composite from the Favourites tab, drag it into the Network View and then unplug everything from the scene's composite and plug all those modules into a new composite or composite, which would have taken a lot of time, so grouping modules with its own composite is obviously the faster way to go. You can see that the shape of this composite or composite is different from that of the scenes and that's because this one, if you recall, is pass-through. If we click on the yellow box again to bring up the Layer Properties, we'll see that the mode is pass-through and what that means if we exit the group is that all of these layers will remain as unflattened layers, whereas our main composite is bitmap, which means that all the elements from the scene before we write then, and write just means to export them as a film or when they're displayed, are flattened into a bitmap image. Because our group is not flattened into a bitmap image, other modules in the scene that are hooked into the main scene composite can interact with various layers of our group as unflattened layers and that's the reason that you would change your composite from bitmap to pass-through.
The purpose of us grouping our hero layers because we now want to create it into a template. What I can do is select our Hero Master group from the Network View, then use the keyboard shortcut [Command] + [C] to copy on Mac or [Ctrl] + [C] to copy on Windows and then I can go back to the Library View by clicking on this down arrow. We're going to put it in the Stage Library. I can just click in this side of the Stage Library, so the right side, and use [Command] + [V] to paste or you can use [Ctrl] + [V] to paste on Windows. You can see that the Rename dialogue box appears. I'm just going to keep it as Hero_Master-G.tpl. Actually, in fact, maybe I'll just name it Hero_Master.tpl and get rid of the group and say OK. Now if we save this scene and then do what we did before, and that's create a new scene, and I'll rename this New again, and click on the Create button, and then we go into the Timeline and into our Stage Library, and we grab the Hero Master template, and once again we can either drag and drop it into the Camera View or the left side of the Timeline View, and then we uncollapse our layer, you can see that not only has all of our timing remained, so we see this little animated bit of the leg kicking up, but then we also see the head turns, so that drawing substitution. All of those things, all of those connections, all of our effects, composites, pegs, advanced groupings, function columns, the scene length, the drawings, etc. have been retained within our template that was created through the Network View, which we didn't see when we created our template through the Timeline View. That's obviously an advantage of creating templates in the Network View. That's it for the tutorial How To Create Templates. Stay tuned for the next tutorial How to Setup a Scene and Animate Objects and the Camera.