Exporting Artwork for Print

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Exporting in Bitmap

Download printable PDF version

Harmony 10 is optimized in 64-bit, this allows you to take advantage of all the memory on your machine, this is far superior to 32 bit which has memory limitations and under some circumstances may crash when rendering a large image.

Harmony 10 eliminates this worry and since you can take advantage of all the memory on your machine, the likelihood of running out of memory is minimal.

For this reason, you can actually set up a resolution specifically for print, and create a bitmap image directly from Harmony. We recommend this method because you can:

  • Take advantage of all Harmony’s effects, including Cutters, Colour Overrides, textures, and Deform.
  • Fully integrate background elements, from Photoshop or Illustrator directly in Harmony.
  • Put sophisticated effects like depth blur, refract, and more.
  • Choose to create your final print image outside. Do this by rendering out individual bitmap images for each layer or specific groups of layers and then finesse and fine-tune in other applications for the final look.

Firstly, calculate the size of the resolution that you’ll need to export for your printed work. For example, if you want to print out an image of 40 inches by 60 inches (101.6 cm x 152.4 cm) at 150 DPI (dots per inch), then 40x150 by 60x150 is 6000 pixels by 9000 pixels. So in Toon Boom Harmony, you will want to set your resolution to be 6000 by 9000.

See the Appendix for the Values for Resolutions table, this will help with your calculation.

To set the resolution of your project:

  1. Go to Scene > Scene Settings and in the Resolution tab you can type in a custom resolution.
  2. Hit the Save button to save and add this resolution to the list so you can reuse it whenever you want.

    Now you can create your artwork, taking advantage of all the capabilities of Toon Boom Harmony. When it comes time to render, attach a Write module to either the final composite, or to individual layers if you want to render the layers separately. Then select the format of your choice, for example TGA or PNG. If you want to preserve transparency, select PNG4 to include the alpha channel.

    When you’re ready to render, select File > Export > Render Network, and this will export images for any Write modules in your Network view.

Exporting to Multiple Formats

Sometimes it becomes necessary to export to several different formats simultaneously. Let’s say, for example, if you want to export posters of several different sizes.

It can be helpful to set up all the resolution settings first for the different sizes that you may want to print out.

You can adjust the resolution parameters for width and height in Scene > Scene Settings, and then hit Save to save the setting and give it a name. To make it easy for you to work quickly you should first save and name all the presets you might want to access later.

When you set up your scene make sure that the current resolution of your project, set in Scene Settings, is the resolution you need for your maximum size. You will see your Camera frame adjust to match this resolution, allowing you to fine-tune the placement of this framing. To help you choose the correct resolution, refer to the Values for Resolutions table in the Appendix.

If you simply attach a Write module to the Composite module at the bottom of your project, this Write module will render with the resolution from your Scene Settings dialog.

If you would like to create a smaller poster from this scene, then there are two modules that will be helpful:

  • Scale-Output: This module allows you to scale down the overall scene
  • Crop: This module lets you crop the top or bottom of the frame, if the aspect ratio is different for the smaller poster.

If the different resolutions are all of a similar aspect ratio, for example, .692, .704, then you can use a Scale-Output module only. If the aspect ratios are considerably different, then you may need to add a Crop module before your Scale-Output. For help with Crop, see the User Guide.

Most of the time, however, you can simply use Scale-Output. Since we have already set up all our resolutions earlier you can just select the resolution from the dropdown list.

Once you have selected the resolution attach a new Write module under your Scale-Output module. Make sure you give this version it’s own unique name so you’ll be able to find it later.

Using this process, you can add as many Scale-Output modules and Write modules as you need for all your different sizes.

Exporting in Vector

When exporting artwork in vector, keep in mind that the common interchange formats, PDF and SWF, do not support all the effects that you can do in Harmony. So when you export artwork via PDF, the recommended format, you will not be able to use effects such as Blurs, Glows, or even Cutters from Harmony and also have this transfer out to your exported format.

This is a limitation of the PDF format itself, not of Harmony. Since the PDF format’s functionalities are not controlled by Toon Boom, we cannot expand upon what this format can contain.

For this reason, if you want to preserve the vector artwork you may want to create a simplified version of your production character when exporting for print.

To prepare your files for export, do the following:

  1. Remove all cutters, colour overrides, or other effects you may have in your scene, adjusting the artwork as necessary
  2. Optimize the layer order in the Network or Timeline to have a simple order
  3. Convert all composites within the scene to Pass-Through (if there are composites set to as Bitmap, then the artwork will be exported to PDF as a bitmap image)
  4. Create one composite at the end of your character or scene, and select as Vector for this one.
  5. Now adjust the Write module, connected to the character or scene, and in the Layer Properties for the output format, select PDF.

Textures that are painted in from the colour palette are not supported on the export to PDF. If you have textures, deforms, or effects, export in bitmap instead of vector.

Now your file is ready to export, you can do a File > Export > Render Network to render through your Write module.

To test your file, use Adobe Illustrator, or the program of your choice, to open the PDF file. From Illustrator, you can go to File > Place, and then uncheck the Link option to bring in the original artwork.

Now you will see your imported artwork, with all the original vector paths intact.

If you had a complicated network, with effects in it, those effects will be removed and the layer order may be out of sequence – so it is best to optimize the file before export as stated above.