Animating Traditionally with Toon Boom

A beginner's walkthrough of traditional animation, using Toon Boom's professional applications.
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  • Lectures 27
  • Length 1 hour
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 9/2015 English

Course Description

This course was originally created for students participating in Skills Ontario's Animation Challenge (similar to the 11 Second Club), as a way to quickly get them comfortable with both the fundamentals of traditional animation as well as practical knowledge of Toon Boom's software. To do this, the course is designed to walk through the completion of a scene starting from analyzing dialogue, to story-boarding, to creating actual animation, while being sure to emphasize the core principles of animation.

With this in mind, the course is best suited for animation students that are either new to the medium, or those looking to bring their traditional skills to the digital realm, using Toon Boom. While there are many videos available online that feature Toon Boom's software, most of them focus on cut-out style animation, or puppets, rather than traditional frame-by-frame style animation. After getting many remarks from even industry pros surprised that Toon Boom can actually not only support traditional animation, but do it amazingly well, I felt it high time for some video tutorials focussing on the basics.

This course features Toon Boom's Storyboard Pro, and Harmony 11, industry standards in animation software. Although, to keep up with all the version changes, I've made sure to focus on features that are also available in both older and newer versions of Harmony as well Toon Boom's former Animate and Animate Pro applications. And for those absolute beginners, there's still plenty of information that can be used, whether you're still drawing with a pencil, or deciding what type of software to pick up for your next animated project.

This course includes 19, densely-packed lessons, over the span of exactly an hour.

A great way to fast-track your working knowledge of both animation and Toon Boom basics!

What are the requirements?

  • This course features Toon Boom's Harmony and Storyboard Pro. While recommended, they're not required as the lessons focus on traditional animation fundamentals.
  • Also compatible with Toon Boom's Animate, and Animate Pro.
  • As a digital animation course, a Wacom tablet is highly recommended for drawing in the software.
  • No prior software knowledge required.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Create an animated scene, from scratch, using traditional animation principles and workflow
  • Create a simple storyboard and animatic using Toon Boom's Storyboard Pro.
  • Create frame-by-frame animation using Toon Boom's Harmony.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is meant for beginner 2D animation students, focussing on animation principles and workflow.
  • Traditional animators looking to quickly transfer their skills to Toon Boom's software will also benefit from the introduction of the basic and essential tools needed to animate frame-by-frame.
  • This course is probably not for you if you're looking for more advanced features or rigging cut-out style characters.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Start Here
Course Introduction

Download the Project Files for the course.

Section 2: Analyzing Dialogue

Let's listen to our audio clip.


Before we can start drawing, we have to listen for clues that help describe our characters and scene. I'll be analyzing the provided dialogue, and you'll get to see what type of things to look for when listening to a dialogue clip for the first time.

Practice Exercise - Dialogue
Section 3: Character Design
Starting with simple shapes, I'll be going through the process of designing a character for animation.
Practice Exercise - Character Design
Section 4: Storyboarding

Introduction to Storyboard Pro, and starting a new project.


Discover the interface, navigate workspaces, layers, vector vs bitmap basics, and the Select tool.


Working with Tool Properties, customize the Brush tool, working with Captions, and important hot-keys.


I create our first storyboard scene, discussing staging, perspective, and adding tones.


Here, I add a second scene, discussing more on staging/layout; as well as demonstrating the Cutter tool, and an alternative way to tone your drawings.


Create the last scene, using additional panels to depict a change of action in the scene, and the Onion Skin to see drawings between panels.


Use Storyboard Pro to create an animatic from our drawings, adding our dialogue clip, and time out the images to the audio. Then, export the animatic for Harmony/Animate/Animate Pro.

Practice Exercises - Storyboarding
Section 5: Acting for Animation

I revisit the dialogue clip listening for performance cues, and discuss acting for animation as reference, including live acting samples.

Practice Exercise - Acting
Section 6: Animation

Introduction to Harmony, and opening the animatic.


Import artwork into Harmony, and create and manipulate layers.


Using the Brush vs the Pencil tools; and how to create and work with Harmony's unique Smart Colour System.


Drawing our first key poses (pose-to-pose), working with drawing exposure and the Onion Skin


Inbetweening, arcs, S-curves, C-curves, and follow-though


Squash and Stretch, and animating the lip sync (without using the cut-out lip-sync feature).


With the rough animation complete, clean up the drawings using a consistent line weight, and finally, add colour.


Now that the animation is done, remove or hide the unwanted layers, and export the finished animation to a QuickTime movie file.

Practice Exercises - Animation
Additional Resources

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Instructor Biography

Apollo Okamura, Illustrator, Animator, and Animation Instructor

I've worked as a professional artist for twenty years, with the majority of that time in the game industry, working with such licenses as Rifts, Robotech, Transformers, and many others. During that time, I have also had the opportunity to study classical animation at Sheridan College, and later went on to return there as an animation professor. My class curriculum focussed on the digital side of animation, including Flash, Toon Boom, Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects. After that, I joined Toon Boom, as a full-time international trainer, working closely with major schools, studios, and events, around the world. While there, I was even able to help shape the professional certification program used today.

Since then, while I might sneak in a few freelance projects here and there, my main passion remains dedicated to teaching.

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