Advanced Cycle And Peg Looping With A Walk Cycle

In Toon Boom Studio, two very useful options can help you work your way through without too much pain.

Walk cycles are probably one of the things animators will draw the most. It’s always great to have a trick or two so that we can save time doing them. In Toon Boom Studio, two very useful options can help you work your way through without too much pain, here you will learn about:

  • Using the Create Advanced Cycle Option
  • Using the Change Loops Option

These options can easily be mixed up at the beginning, but once you learn the difference, they can both be powerful tools!

Creating Your Walk Cycle

The first step is to create a stationary walk cycle. There are no real frame limits. Use a character such as this walking baby. Make sure that you develop a full cycle, meaning that your character must do two steps. Once it completed, you are ready to make the character cross the screen!

Creating a walk cycle

Adding the Peg and Creating the Motion Path

Your character is now ready to be added to a peg:

  1. Click the Add Peg Element button.
  2. Drag your character element over the peg to connect it.
    Adding a peg element
    Once your character is connected to your peg, you will need to create a motion path that will go from left-to-right or right-to-left depending on your animation.

To create a motion path:

  1. Select the Motion Tool from Sceneplanning Tools toolbar.
  2. Drag the last keyframe to the left or the right while holding [Shift].
    A motion path will appear.
    Create a motion path
  3. Run through your animation a few times and see if your character’s feet are sliding on the ground.
  4. If they are sliding you must adjust the length of the motion path until it looks like the feet are no longer sliding.

Once the adjustments are done, you are ready to start repeating your cycle.

Using the Create Advanced Cycle Option

The next step is to repeat the hand drawn animation several times so that there are enough frames for the character to cross the screen.

  1. In the Timeline View, right click the first empty cell of your hand-drawn animation and select Create Advanced Cycle.
    Create Advanced Cycle
    The Advanced Cycle window opens. This contains two windows, one for the First Drawing and one for the Last Drawing. Make sure that both drawings are correct. If you want to change the drawing, simply use the slider or enter the name of the cell in the specified text box.
    Advanced cycle window
  2. Next, select the number of times you want the cycle to repeat.
    • None: If you don’t want the cycle to repeat.
    • Continuous: If you want the cycle to restart with the first drawing on each loop.
      For example, if you create two continuous drawing loops for drawings-2-3, the resulting loop would be: 1-2-3-1-2-3.
    • Forward-Backward: If you want to restart the loop with the previous drawing.
      For example, if you create 2 forward-backward loops with drawings 1-2-3, the resulting loop would be: 1-2-3-2-1-2-3-2.
  3. Type the number of times you want the cycle repeat in the Loops field.
    If you want to repeat the cycle for a specific number of frames, type a value in the Frames field.
    In this example, the baby walk will loop 5 times.
    Animation Tips & Tricks
  4. Click on OK to close the window and go back to your work.

If you browse through your animation, you will now see that the character will move from left to right only during the first cycle. After, it will be stationary again. You can change this by using the Change Loops option.

Using the Change Loops Option

The Change Loops option is specific to the peg and is used to repeat a peg sequence. You can repeat cycles of hand drawn animation using the Advanced Cycle option.

  1. First you must select the first empty cell next to the last peg keyframe in the timeline.
  2. Right-click and select Change Loops.
    Change Loops Option
  3. Enter the number of loops you wish to create.
    In this example we created 6 loops.
    How many loops
  4. Click on OK to close the window and go back to your work.
    If at the end of your animation, you notice that the peg loops do not fit with your hand drawn animation. This can easily be corrected by dragging the end of the peg sequence up to the same frame as your animation.
    Animation Tips & Tricks
    You can now play your animation to see the result!

Your character should now walk all the way to the end of your motion path.

Moving the Motion Path

Now that the animation is completed, you will probably notice that the motion path is not correctly placed in your scene. To move the motion path so that your character comes in and goes out of the screen:

  • Using the Select tool from the Sceneplanning Tools toolbar, click on the motion path and move the it until your are satisfied with its position and the result.
    Moving the Motion Path

Summary

Here are some important things you should remember:

  • The Create Advanced Cycle option is specifically used to repeat drawing cells.
  • The Change Loops option is used to repeat a selected section of a peg.
  • Repeating a peg will not create copies of your drawing cells, it will only repeat the Motion Path.
  • Use both options together to save time and effort.

Good luck!