This introduction video shows you a little of everything so you can get an idea of what FlipBook can do and how easy it is to it.
FlipBook does everything you need to do it let’s you:
PAN, ZOOM, & ROTATE
FlipBook has 2 main windows, the Image Window and the Xsheet. The Image Window is where you draw, paint and preview your animation. The Xsheet is what animators use as a timeline. We designed it to look just like a media player so it would be familiar and easy to use. Then we added the additional icons that help you do what you want in FlipBook. You can go full screen or any size you want so you it’s easy to use whether you’re on a large desktop monitor or a laptop or tablet.
You can make the tool bars horizontal or vertical and put them anywhere you want them. In the Windows version you can even dock the tool bars on the edges of the window. You can even customize the main toolbar to include the icons that control the features you use the most.
Click on the FlipBook menu item to get a look at all the different video categories there are to show you what FlipBook can do and how easy it is to do it.
While in play mode FlipBook lets you scrub through the timeline so you can see the anotation play backwards forwards as your scrub. You just click on the slider above the play controls and drag it left or right. This very helpful when you want to see how the animation looks or when your listening to the soundtrack to synchronize it with the drawings.
Traditionally, animators have always used a vertical timeline because that’s how film goes through the projector. So every row is a frame and every column is a level. Levels are like layers but FlipBook has layers within levels so we use both terms for clarity.
Double click on any cel in the xsheet to open it for editing or to select it to change its timing or to cut, copy or paste it. When you click and drag on a range of cels they are all selected for cutting, copying and pasting but none of them are opened.
Although most activities will automatically create more frames when you need them, you can also insert and delete frames anytime you want under the edit menu or by right clicking on the frame number. We recommend you not create more frames than you need because that will just add to the time it takes to composite any changes you make.
The levels or columns on the right, closest to the background are behind the levels to the left. You can Append levels under the Edit menu if you need more than you had originally.
Check out the individual xsheet videos to see what else you can do with the xsheet.
FlipBook makes timing out your xsheets as easy as can be. Select any thumbnail and press a number key (1-9) on the keyboard to set the number of frames for which you want it to be displayed. If you want it to hold for more the 9 frames, just press the spacebar and enter the number in the popup dialog. FlipBook will even extend the scene if necessary to make room for the new timing. Then to make it even easier FlipBook will automatically select the next thumbnail so you can just press another number key to set the timing for that cel. So all you have to do is press one number key after another to work your way down the xsheet setting the timing for each cel.
And if you want to set a bunch of them to the same timing just hold the number key down as long as you want. So one press and hold can change the timing for the entire level.
One of the many ways that FlipBook provides to make it easy for you to edit your xsheets is the Slide feature. Just press the Alt key and then slide any thumbnail up or down and all the thumbnails below it will follow so you can move them all at once.
And for even more power you can select several adjacent levels and slide them all at once.
You can cut, copy and paste anything you can select. Select a cel, a row, a column or a range and then use either the menus, the icons or the shortcut keys to cut or copy the selection. Then click in the xsheet to select place where where you want the thumbnails to go.
If pasting creates duplicate cels then you will be asked whether you want them to be linked to the originals or not. If they’re linked painting or editing one will paint them all.
Then later on if you want to break the link . . .
There are several ways to insert frames into the xsheet and they all start with selecting one or more frames at the point in the xsheet where you want the new frame(s) to go.
From there you have 3 of options.
1. You can press the insert key if your keyboard has one. If you hold the insert key down while one or more frames is selected then FlipBook will continue to insert frames until you let go.
2. Right-click on a row number and enter the number of frames you want to insert and the frame where you want to insert them. Then click on the Insert button.
3. Go to the Edit menu and select Insert.
There are several ways to delete frames from the xsheet and they all start with selecting the frame(s) that you want to delete. From there you have 3 of options.
1. You can press the delete key if your keyboard has one. If you hold the delete key down while one or more empty frames is selected then FlipBook will continue to delete frames until you let do. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Some Mac keyboards call the backspace key a delete key but it’s really a backspace key.)
2. Right-click on a row number and enter the number of frames you want to delete and click on the Delete button.
3. Go to the Edit menu and select Delete.
Sometimes you need to add another level after you’ve already created your scene. In FlipBook you do this by going to the Edit menu and selecting Append Level. This will append another lever to the left side of the xsheet so the new level will be in front of any other levels you already have.
This is a really simple tutorial that just shows you the very basic steps of starting to draw your own animated cartoon.
This video is part of a great drawing tutorial done by Jason Ryan that shows you how easy it is to animate in DigiCel FlipBook.
One of the things that made FlipBook famous in the beginning was how fast and easy it is to shoot your pencil tests. You can just click on the Capture icon and start shooting images as fast as you can handle the pages.
A copy stand with lights is best but if you don’t have one, just mount your camera on something stable and aim it at your drawings. These days, webcams can do a pretty good job of capturing images with enough quality for pencil test.
For the best quality make sure you have a stable setup with enough light and accurate focus. Then adjust the White Threshold to help make the paper disappear and set the Black Threshold and the Gamma to keep the lines looking their best.
Note: People often ask us what camera we recommend. One of the best cameras we’ve found lately is the Agent V6 from Australia. It’s a high quality USB webcam at a great price, about $75 USD depending on the current exchange rate. It comes with a standard 1/4-20 tripod mount, has manual focus and you can turn the auto exposure off. Our initial tests went quite well.
If you’re looking for a good, affordable webcam to shoot your animation you should check this one out.
DigiCel FlipBook is everybody’s favorite pencil test software. The animators on every major 2D animation film in the last decade used FlipBook for their pencil tests. In fact FlipBook is used more for pencil test than anything else because it’s so fast and easy.
One of the things that makes FlipBook perfect for pencil test is the lightbox. Our lightbox leaves all the others in the dark ages. Instead of just showin the previous or even the previous and the next image like the others do, FlipBook puts your images on a stack exactly the same way animators put their drawing on a pegbar. FlipBook puts your drawings on the lightbox in the order that you select them and automatically takes them off when there are more than you want.
But beyond this FlipBook also lets you put images from other layers or levels on your lightbox and it automatically updates them so if you’re animating in level 1 and you select an image from level 2 FlipBook will always update that image to show you the image from level 2 that will be on the screen with the image in level 1 that you’re working on.
So while you’re in level 1 you can always see a ghosted image of what’s in the background along with what’s in any other level that you want.
Another great pencil test feature is our automatic background compositing. Whenever you leave FlipBook idle for a moment it uses that time to update the playback video with any changes you’ve made so unless your scene is too long or too heavy, it’s always ready to play anytime you click on the Play icon.
There are 4 types of images we can import into FlipBook. There are backgrounds,cels, overlays and movies.
Backgrounds are typically painted in full color on paper. They are always opaque and they always go in the back or on the bottom if you think of stacking up the images.
Cels are the line drawings that the animators draw to create the characters and objects that move to create the illusion of life. Traditionally they were always painted in solid colors but computer programs now make it possible for cels to be painted in full color too.
Overlays are also painted in full color but they are painted on transparent material to allow the background and other things to show through. These should be 32-bit images – with an alpha channel – to determine which part(s) of the image should be transparent.
Movies are like backgrounds but instead of one image holding through the entire scene, every frame can be different. They are usually full color and they go into the last or bottom level.
Each type of image needs to be imported differently to make sure you get the results you want. So there are four different videos on how to import images.
Background images can be full color, 24-bit images but they can also be gray scale if that’s what you want. Each image in the xsheet is automatically held until it is replaced by another image or stopped by inserting a blank image so you do not have to copy and paste the background image into every frame.
To import an image into the background highlight the square in the xsheet that is frame one in the background level. Then click on File> Import > Stills.
Since backgrounds can be bigger than the frame to allow you to pan and zoom on them, you have an option during the import process to scale the image to fit the frame. If you don’t turn that option on, then the size of the background is determined entirely by its resolution. It could be bigger or even smaller than the frame you’re putting it into.
Traditionally, the animator’s drawings are copied onto transparent material, called cels, and then the lines are traced over in ink so they show up well. Then the painters paint on the back of the cels so the lines are always in front and so the painters never actually touch the lines.
FlipBook duplicates this process by storing the ink and paint in separate files and editing them with separate tools. When you import pencil drawings into FlipBook, be sure to select “Import as Line Drawings” and FlipBook will automatically turn your drawings into cels.
Note: The default line color is black and on a computer the transparent part of the images shows up as white so your images will be black and white or gray scale. If you don’t want gray scale images in the foreground then you should import them as Color Overlays.
If you want to import color images into the foreground they should be 32-bit images with an alpha channel. The alpha channel determines which part of the image will be transparent to let the background and other stuff behind the image show through.
Select Import as Color Overlay. If your images don’t have an alpha channel, FlipBook can create one for you. Turn on the Keying option and set the keying value to determine which shades of white you want to become transparent. A value of 255 means it only “pure” white will become transparent. A value of 240 will also make things that are not quite “pure” white become invisible.
This is a quick and easy way to be able to see through your overlays. It is not the best way to do this. There are very expensive programs that do nothing but create alpha channels But this will do if you’re in a hurry and not too picky.
Note: If your image doesn’t have an alpha channel and you don’t let FlipBook make one for you then the image will be treated like a cel and will be converted to cel and you will only see shades of gray.
FlipBook lets you import movies into your scenes. All of the most common file formats are supported and the main thing to know about importing movies is that they should almost always be imported into the background level. In virtually every case a movie file is opaque. You can’t see “through” it. So if you don’t put it in the background it’s going to hide anything that is behind it.
Importing movies is great for lots of reasons.
You may want to import a movie so you can animate over the top of it.
You may want to import a movie so you can trace over a character to learn how to animate it on your own. Or you may want to use it as reference where it’s the foundation of what you want your character to do but then you add your own creative ideas to it.
When FlipBook imports a movie that has a soundtrack it splits off the soundtrack and creates a sound file for it since that’s how FlipBook is used to dealing with sound.
Movies are usually Windows AVI files or OS X MOV files and they are almost always opaque so they should be imported into the background.
If you import a color movie and it turns into black and white, then you probably imported it into the foreground and since it doesn’t have an alpha channel to make it an overlay FlipBook is treating it like a cel.
FlipBook lets you have up to 3 soundtracks per scene depending on which version you choose. Each soundtrack can hold one sound file and it can synched to start anytime in the scene that you want (see Sound Sync). Sound files come in an infinite variety of file formats and compression methods. FlipBook uses Windows or OS X to process sound files so whatever sound codecs you have available to your operating system should be available for FlipBook. But in general FlipBook likes WAV, MP3 and AIF files.
To import a sound file, highlight the soundtrack (column) that you want it to go into click on File > Import > Sound. You can drag the image of the sound file up and down to synchronize it. The sound will stop playing at the end of the scene. So if you have a short scene and a long sound file, you won’t hear the whole sound file.
Sound files take up valuable memory so it’s best to trim the sound file to the size you need for the scene to save memory space.
FlipBook lets you have up to 3 different soundtracks in your scene and all you have to do is drag n drop to get them there. To sync the sound with the animation just drag the sound up and down in the xsheet by holding down the Alt key.
You can also import your sound by clicking on File > Import > Sound. Once the file is in the scene, FlipBook let’s you sync any point in the soundfile to any frame in the scene for total control. Just open the sound dialog by right-clicking on the header at the top of the level and enter the frame # in the scene and the point in the sound file (measured in seconds) that belong together.
This training video covers the fastest and easiest ways to paint your animation with DigiCel FlipBook.
This video shows how to select part of an image from a cel and cut or copy it and paste it back into a cel and then move it, scale it, squash and stretch it or rotate it before dropping it permanently into place.
AutoFill is an amazing feature that let’s you paint your entire scene in a few seconds. Just pick a color, select the layers that you want to paint and let her rip. Every enclosed area in the entire scene will be painted in a matter of seconds. AutoFill should be the first step in painting every scene. Paint what you can with AutoFill and then do the rest with our other powerful painting features.
Whether you call it opaquing or hidden line removal, AutoFill does it. Now you can watch your pencil tests without seeing the background through the character. And for an even better view of what’s going on in the scene paint each layer a different color by running AutoFill on each layer separately. Now you can exactly what’s going on in each layer without the background showing through your characters.
AutoFill is also perfect for painting frames or scenes where the same color is used in lots of different places in the frame, like a brick wall or splash or a frame full of bubbles.
AutoFill actually floods the entire frame with the selected color and then erases everything that isn’t enclosed. So the only thing left to do is to erase the negative space.
This feature lets you use the number keys to determine how many frames you want to paint at once. Just pick the fill tool, pick your color then put the cursor inside whatever you want to paint and press a number key on the keyboard. FlipBook will paint the color into that spot in as many frames as you choose. If you press 3 it will paint 3 frames. If you press 7 it will paint 7 frames. And if you press 0 it will paint all the way to the end of the scene.
FlipBook’s Drag n Fill feature saves you tons of time painting things that are connected and the same color. Imagine painting a brick wall. If you had to click in every brick, who knows how long it would take. But with Drag n Fill you can just drag the fill tool through all the bricks and it will fill them all without you ever having to lift the fill tool.
Speed Painting lets you paint one object all the way through the scene as quickly as possible. Just pick your color and select the fill tool then hold down the shift key while you paint. FlipBook will automatically advance to the next frame as quickly as possible so all you have to do is click in the object you want to paint. So now painting is just a mater of click, click, click and it’s really fast.
Changing tools and colors in order to paint one entire frame wastes time and opens the door for mistakes. But if you pick one object and paint it all the way through the scene then you don’t have to change tools or colors and you’re less likely to make a mistake.
Use the tracing pen to trace over the lines when you want to change the line color. You can make the tip large so that it will cover the lines as you trace. It will only change the color of the lines without changing anything else about them.
If you hold the shift key down when you touch the tracing pen to the line then all of the adjacent lines will instantly be painted to the selected color. If you want to trace a lot of the lines but not all of the lines you can trace over the points at each end and then shift click in the middle to change the color of the line between the those two points.
Color models are basically a graphic representation of the color palette that only contain the colors that you really need. They’re usually painted images that you can click on to select colors to paint with. FlipBook lets you save any cel as the color model for the level the cel is in. So instead of looking at a palette full of colors and not knowing for sure which shade of which color you’re supposed to paint with, it’s easier to use a color and just click on the skin to get the color for the skin. This makes sure you always get the right color.
To make a color model, just select any cel in the level that has all the colors you want in it and click on File > Save As Model. Then Shift-Click on the title bar at the top of the palette to toggle back and forth between the palette and the model.
But what if the object you’re painting is small, like any eye or a button? The best thing to do is to add a spot of that color outside of the character but near where it belongs. This spot can be bigger than the eye or the button so it makes the color easier to select.
FlipBook can automatically create, paint, blur and position cast shadows for you. All you have to do is make the first one look like you want and FlipBook will do the rest.
Automatic Rim Lights
Multi-Level Painting is a really powerful feature that can save you time while animating and painting.
Sometimes you have overlapping objects spread over multiple levels. Normally you have to draw all the lines to enclose the object and make sure the paint won’t spill out when painting. Not Any More!
FlipBook’s Full Reference Editing lets you see the lines from other levels while you’re drawing and the Multi-Level Painting feature will take those lines into account when it’s filling things. So even if Jupiter’s ears aren’t completely closed on level 2 the paint won’t spill out if the lines on level 1 complete the enclosure.
This makes it easier when you’re drawing the lines and doing the painting but it also makes your animation look better because you don’t get the build up from having lines in the same place on multiple levels.
In this video we’ll show you how to do a simple foreground pan. Like all camera moves you want to pause on the frame where you want the move to begin. Then you position your foreground object, in this case it will be Jupiter, where you want him to be at the beginning of the pan.
Then you go to the last frame of the pan and position Jupiter where you want him to be at the end of the pan.
FlipBook does the rest. Just press play to see Jupiter move from the first spot to the second spot. You may notice that his feet slide on the ground because he’s not moving far enough during the time allowed for the pan.
In this video we do a simple foreground pan to make Jupiter walk across the screen instead of walking in place as he was drawn.
Here’s a quick and easy way to do a simple zoom.
We’ll have a video for this before too long but the way you do a blur is just the same as doing a pan or a zoom.
Just go to the first frame of the blur, click on the blur icon, select the object you want to blur and adjust the value by dragging up or down in the image window.
Then go to the last frame of the blur, click on the blur icon, and set the values by dragging up or down.
FlipBook lets you control the transparency of any level and it can adjust it gradually from frame to frame so you can fade one level out while you fade another one in.
Just pause the scene on the frame where you want to start fading or dissolving and click on the camera move icon. Then select something in the level you’re going to fade and then drag on the fade slider to adjust the transparency. Then do the same thing on the