Using Model Sheets In Toon Boom Studio

A Model Sheet can be a very important tool when creating animated content, especially when you are working in a team.

A Model Sheet can be a very important tool when creating animated content, especially when you are working in a team. A model sheet will help keep props, characters and background elements "on model" and avoid problems with proportions. Creating templates of your model sheets to work with in Toon Boom Studio is a great way to keep track of changes, and keep the whole team informed. Here are steps to creating a very useful model sheet for use in Toon Boom Studio, that will also help you manage your character palettes.

Create a Model Sheet

Draw your character in different poses and expressions so that you can easily see what the character will look like from every angle. When you've created the character turnaround, and a few supplemental poses, copy and paste all the separate drawings, and create one drawing of your model sheet. Clean up the poses of your model sheet, then create a new palette for your character and paint them. At this point you could go as far as creating different styles for your character's palette.

Kenvin Model Sheet

Save the Model Sheet as a template

Save the model sheet as a template

Once the model sheet is cleaned up and painted, copy this drawing into your library and save it as a template. If you are the only one working on your project, save the model sheet in a library somewhere on your computer so you can have access to in any project you work on. If you are to be working with a team, create a library somewhere on the network everyone will have access to and save the model sheet there. Organize your library into catalogs to keep things clear.

Add the Model Sheet to your scene before you start animating

When it's time to start animating your character in a new project, you'll want to import the model sheet of your character to use as reference. If your model sheet has been painted already, importing this template into your new project will also bring in the correct palette to use. With the correct character palette and all its styles already in your project, you can start drawing and painting your character right away, with the right colours

Keep the Model Sheet up to date

Edit the Model Sheet Template

It's very easy in Toon Boom Studio to change any of the colours you've used to paint your characters. But what do you do if you want these changes to be applied to all projects you've created using this palette? Once you add your template to your project, it is no longer linked to the library. If you make changes to the template, the changes will not be reflected in your scene, and if you make changes in your scene, they will not be reflected in the template. The best way to keep track of changes you make to a character is to edit the template directly in the library. This way, you always know that whatever changes have been applied to the template are the latest. To do so, simply right-click ([Ctrl]-click on Mac) on your template, and choose Edit Template from the dropdown menu.

Edit Template

This will open your template as a scene and you will be able to make modifications to the look of the character and update the colours in the palette.

Once you've finished making changes, don't forget to go back to your project. Right-click ([Ctrl]-click on Mac) in the library window again and choose Return to scene, then choose your scene.

 Scene -1

Apply Model Sheet changes to you current project

Now the version of the model sheet saved in your library is updated. But how do you apply these changes to your current project? A special drag and drop option will let you do this easily. In order to apply the new palette changes to your current project, you will have to add the new model sheet to your scene. Simply dragging into your Timeline will not update the colours, and will automatically revert back to the original colours in the scene. Try the Drag Special option by holding the [Alt] key ([Ctrl] on Mac) when you add your template to your scene. In order for this to work, you will have to drag your template on top of a copy of the model sheet already in your scene. Holding down the [Alt] key ([Ctrl] on Mac) while adding a completely new element will import it as a Media Element.

apply model sheet changes to your currrent project

When using the Drag Special option, you will get this dialog box when you let your template go in the Timeline:

dialog box

Make sure the Update Colors box is checked, and your character's palette colours will be updated to reflect changes made to the template! You can choose to check the Overwrite existing drawings box so you don't create a whole new drawing in your model sheet element.

Download the project file here: Using Model Sheets In Toon Boom Studio