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Layers

Project

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  • show/hide the project

    When this switch is off, no layer is visible (irrespective of the show/hide settings of each layer). Right-click on this switch to show/hide the project in the projection window independently of its visibility in the main window.

  • project name

    Until you save the project, it is shown as an [unsaved project], right-click on its name to close the project or save the project to some file. When the project has an unsaved modification, there is a star after its name. You can also close and save the project in Top Menu/File.

  • play/pause project

    Play/pause the project. When paused, no layer is playing (irrespective of the play/pause settings of each layer).

  • rewind all layers

    Rewind instantly each layer to its first frame.

  • erase all layers

    Erases every frame of every layer. Undo button can undo this on the active layer as far as nothing was drawn on the layer since the erase. Changing the active layer you can undo this erase on each layer one by one.

Note that the hide and pause states of the project override the respective states of the layers. That is, a layer is shown only if both the project shown/hide switch and its own show/hide switch are both in play state. Similarly, a layer is playing only if both the project play/pause switch and its own play/pause switch are both in play state.

Layer List

A project consists of several layers in layer slots. The layer slots determine the drawing order of the layers, smaller slot value (lower in the list) means that the layer in this slot is drawn earlier.

A project can contain layers of four types: static, loop, finite and infinite. As different layer types are better for different things, you are allowed to combine them as you like. The layer types are the following:

  • img static layer

    It has only a single frame and thus it cannot be animated. It is perfect to create background drawings.

  • img loop layer

    It rewinds to the beginning when it reaches its last frame and is playing again from the first frame. This is the most convenient and important layer type when it comes to live animation.

  • img finite layer

    It plays once and stops when reached the last frame. It needs to be rewound manually. On a finite layer you can even create traditional animations with the unique tools of Fragmenter.

  • img infinite layer

    It plays once and when it reaches its last frame it keeps extending it with additional frames. It is good if you want to make a live drawing that keeps changing over time without recurring parts.
    Note that initially an infinite layer has only one (empty) frame and even when it is not paused, it does not start to extend its length until something is drawn on it.

    Both on a finite and on an infinite layer, if you set the tail length so that all previous frames are visible, it can be used to make animations of drawings that gradually appear (these are also called whiteboard animations).

In each layer slot you have the following elements:

  • slot number

  • show/hide layer

    When this switch is off, the layer is not visible. Right-click on this switch to show/hide the layer in the projection window independently of its visibility in the main window.

  • layer name

    • You can choose which layer is active by clicking on its name. You always draw on the active layer.

    • Grab and drop the layer name to another slot to change the order of layers.

    • Right-Click on the name of a layer to see a context menu, where you can rename, save and delete the layer.

    • It is possible that that in a slot there is no layer, then click on img add layer button to open the add layer context menu where you can set the name and type of the new layer.

Active layer

There is always (at most) one layer which is set to active. You always draw on the active layer. The animation tools detailed here change the behaviour of the active layer.

layer name

  • slot number

  • show/hide layer

  • layer name

  • layer type

    Click on it to change its type.

layer length

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  • length of the layer in frames

    Click on it to change the length of the layer in frames - be cautious as if you set it to a lower value than it was, then the extra frames will be lost.

  • length of the layer in seconds

    Click on it to change the length of the layer in seconds - be cautious as if you set it to a lower value than it was, then the extra frames will be lost.

  • the speed of the layer given in FPS (frames per second)

    This cannot be changed.

As explained in the beginning, a layer has a certain tail length which determines how many frames preceding the current frame are visible. There are two ways to count this, taking into account all frames, or taking into account only the frames that have content on them (called non-empty frames). Additionally, one can set that the visible frames fade out/fade in gradually or not.

The following animation tools affect the active layer (not all of them apply to every type of layer).

tail properties

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  • fade in on/off

    Click on it to turn on/off the fading off of the frames of the tail that are farthest back from the current frame.

  • tail length slider

    This slider shows the length of the tail. Grab the slider to set the tail length to any value. CTRL+click to input exact value.

    When the slider is set to value x then in addition to the current frame, x further frames are shown for a loop layer. These tail frames loop back to the last frame of the layer if necessary. Example: for a loop layer with 20 frames, the current frame is 6 and the tail length is 10 then the following 10 frames are visible: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 20 ,19 ,18 ,17.

    For a finite or infinite layer the tail frames do not loop back to the last frame, so if x is more than the index of the current frame then all the frames preceding the current frame are shown but nothing else. Example: for a finite layer with 20 frames, the current frame is 6 and the tail length is 10 then the following 6 frames are visible: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

    Note that when the tail length is set to 0, no frame of this layer is visible, not even the current frame. Also, when the tail length is set to the full length of the layer than all frames of the layer are shown together without being animated.

  • fade out on/off

    Click on it to turn on/off fading off of the frames that are ahead of the current frame. That is, either frames ahead of the current frame are not visible or some of them are visible gradually fading off.

set frame-by-frame animation

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  • img omit empty frames on/off

    Click to turn on/off omit empty mode, if it's enabled, then when counting the tail length, only the non-empty frames are counted.

    Example: if tail length is set to 1 and omit empty is switched on, then exactly one frame is always shown, perfect for frame-by-frame animation.

  • img set frame-by-frame animation mode

    Click on this button to set several things that together imitate traditional frame-by-frame animation:

    • turn on omit empty mode

    • set the length of the tail to 1

    • turn off both type of fadings

    Practically, clicking on this button sets to show always exactly one frame, allowing frame-by-frame animation

  • img set onion skin mode mode

    Click on this button to set several things that together imitate traditional onion skinning:

    • turn on omit empty mode

    • set the length of the tail to 2

    • turn on both type of fadings

    Practically, clicking on this button sets to how exactly one frame and additionally one partially faded-out frame before and after this frame, achieving the traditional onion skinning effect.

timeline

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  • rewind

    Click on it to rewind instantly the active layer to its first frame.

  • timeline

    This slider shows the current frame of the layer. Click on the slider to go to any frame of the layer. Grab and move the slider to scrub through the timeline. CTRL+click to input exact value. Right-click on the timeline to open the context menu to erase the contents of the current frame.

  • erase

    Click on it to erase the contents of all frames. You can undo this with the undo button.

set current frame

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These buttons allow you to change the current frame in a precise way. Only the play/pause button (the middle one) is visible when the active layer is not paused.

  • jump to previous non-empty frame

  • jump backward

    Click on it to go backward x frames, where the value of x is visible on the button and can be changed by right-clicking on the button.

  • play/pause the active layer

  • jump forward

    Click on it to go forward x frames, where the value of x is visible on the button and can be changed by right-clicking on the button.

  • jump to next non-empty frame

Note that the jump backward and forward buttons loop around the beginning and the end of the layer when the active layer is a loop layer, but do not loop around otherwise.

Example: drawing a looping frame-by-frame animation

  1. Choose or create a loop layer with 120 frames and make it active.

  2. Pause and rewind the layer to the first frame.

  3. Click on the set onion skin mode button, ideal for onion skinning as with this setting while drawing you also see the previous and next drawing with some transparency.

  4. Right-click on the jump forward button and set the jump value to 5. With this setting we will create a frame-by-frame animation which has 60%5=12 drawings per second (assuming that the playback speed of the layer is 60 FPS).

  5. Draw the first frame, click on the jump forward button, draw the second frame, click again on the jump forward button, etc. until you reach again the first frame. If you want it to make a good looking animated loop, keep in mind that the last drawing should also connect smoothly to the first drawing. The fading of the frames before and after the current one behaves like traditional onion skinning, helping you to draw a smooth animated loop. You have to draw 120/5=24 drawings for a full loop.

    Alternately, you can draw the first frame, manually go to any further frame on the timeline, draw the second frame, etc. until you have finished your animation. It does not matter if your drawings are evenly spaced on the timeline or not. You can also add a drawing inbetween two already drawn ones at a later point by manually going there on the timeline.

  6. When all drawings are done, click on the set frame-by-frame animation mode button, this way always exactly one drawing is visible.

  7. Play (unpause) the layer.