How to Make a Camera or an Object Shake

Did you ever wonder how to make the Earth look like it is shaking, or how to shake an object in your scene? Learn how to make a camera shake in Toon Boom Animate as we show you how to use the camera in creative and dynamic ways to cause tension, fear and suspense in your animation. Find out how to use the Xsheet to create random values to give your shake a less mechanical look. Discover how to isolate the shake of an independent drawing object.

What You Need to Create a Camera Shake

To create a camera shake, you will need a few elements:

  • A drawing element
  • A background element (optional)
  • Camera layer
  • Camera peg layer

Creating Your Camera Shake

After producing the necessary drawing elements that you desire for your scene, such as characters, a background and perhaps a foreground overlay, you are ready to create a camera shake. Simply follow these steps below:

To create a camera shake:

  1. In the Timeline view, under the Layer menu, add a camera to your scene, if you have not already done so.
  2. Add a Peg to your camera and have the Camera layer attach automatically by clicking on the Add Peg button.
  3. On the right-side of the Timeline view, click in the first cell of the Camera-P layer and select Insert > Keyframe to insert a key frame.
  4. In the Xsheet view, click on the Show Column List button to open an extra window on the right-side of the Xsheet view that will display the selected layer's property columns.
    If nothing appears in the new window, return to the Timeline view and verify that your Camera-P layer is selected (high-lighted in dark grey).
  5. In the Xsheet view, expand the Column List view.
  6. Select the cells in the Camera-P_x column that correspond to the length of time and moment in your scene that you would like the camera to shake for.
  7. Right-click (Windows) or [Ctrl] + click (Mac) in any one of these cells and select Exposure > Fill Cells Randomly.
  8. In the Fill Cells Randomly dialog box, choose Minimum and Maximum Values between 0 and 1, as well as the number of Holds that you want.
  9. Click on the Apply button and then click OK. The Camera-P_x column should now be filled with values between 0 and 1.
  10. In the Playback menu at the top of your workspace, click on the Play button to view the results of this change. You should see your drawing elements shaking randomly from side-to-side.
  11. Undo the Fill Cells Randomly step for the Camera-P_x column and repeat step 6 to step 10 for the Camera-P_y and Camera-P_z columns one at a time.
    • For the Camera-P_y column you should see your drawing elements shake up and down.
    • For the Camera-P_z column your drawing elements should appear to be pulsating or you should see what appears to the camera randomly zooming in and out.
  12. Decide which shake, or combination of shakes, would be the most appropriate for the effect that you desire and fill these columns accordingly, or fill them all at once if you wish.

You should now have a convincing camera shake!

Creating a Shaking Object

Sometimes it is not the Earth that you need to shake, but just one object in your scene. This could be a glass on a table, reverberating due to someone slamming down their fist on the other end… or it could be a gorilla jumping up and down and shaking wildly in anger.

After producing this object and perhaps the cause of this object's reactionary movement, you are ready to make the object shake. Simply follow these steps below:

What You Need to Create a Shaking Object

To create a shaking object, you will need the following elements:

  • Drawing element to be shaken
  • A peg layer for the drawing element layer
  • A background element or causal elements (optional)
  1. In the Timeline view, under the Layer menu add a Peg to the drawing object that you wish to shake, if you have not already done so. In this case, it is the Gorilla layer.
    To have the layer attach automatically to the Peg, select the drawing object layer and click on the Add Peg button.
  2. On the right-side of the Timeline view, click in the first cell of the Gorilla-P layer and press [F6] to insert a key frame.
  3. In the Xsheet view, click on the Show Column List button to open an extra window on the right-side of the Xsheet view that will display the property columns of the selected layer.
    If nothing appears in the new window, return to the Timeline view and verify that your Gorilla-P layer is selected (high-lighted in dark grey).
  4. In the Xsheet view, expand the Column List view.
  5. Select the cells in the Gorilla-P_x column that correspond to the length of time and moment in your scene that you would like the object to shake for.
  6. Right-click (Windows) or [Ctrl] + click (Mac) in any one of these cells and select Exposure > Fill Cells Randomly.
  7. In the Fill Cells Randomly dialog box, choose Minimum and Maximum Values between 0 and 1, as well as the number of Holds that you require.
  8. Click on the Apply button and then click OK.
    The Gorilla-P_x column should now be filled with values between 0 and 1.
  9. In the Playback menu at the top of your workspace, click on the Play button to view the results of this change.
    You should see your drawing elements shaking randomly from side-to-side.
  10. Undo the Fill Cells Randomly step for the Gorilla-P_x column and repeat step 5 to step 9 for the Gorilla-P_y and Gorilla-P_z columns one at a time.
    • For the Gorilla-P_y column you should see your drawing elements shake up and down.
    • For the Gorilla-P_z column your drawing elements should appear to be pulsating or you should see what appears to the camera randomly zooming in and out.
  11. Decide which shake, or combination of shakes, would be the most appropriate for the effect that you want and fill these columns accordingly, or fill them all at once if you wish.

You should now have a convincing shaking object!