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How to Use iPad Procreate with Toon Boom Harmony to Make Simple Animation Interesting

Animation is expensive because it takes a ton of time. I recently was hired to create an educational animation that did not have a) a lot of money, and b) a lot of time. Hmmm…

The big challenge was to make an educational film not be incredibly flat without spending too much time doing actual animation. I experimented with this workflow and I think it came out pretty cool. Here’s how to do it.

Apps you will need to make this work:

Follow These Steps

  1. Draw the background in Procreate on the iPad. Here are some important things to keep in mind while drawing.
    • Previsualize the sequence of your drawing. Every stroke you make will be recorded and then played back as a video. You can get cool effects to make things unfold and evolve if you draw it in the right sequence.
    • Draw each element on a different layer. You will be able to use them as assets in Toon Boom Harmony later in the process.
    • If you want the character to be drawn into the scene along with the background, then include the character in the previous steps on a separate layer. You will be able to access the character as an asset in ToonBoom Harmony.
  2. Export the Procreate file as a video. Touch the Wrench icon>Share>Export video.
  3. Touch “Save to Dropbox” and select your project folder.
  4. touch “Save”
  5. Export the Procreate file as a Photoshop Document (PSD). Touch Wrench icon>Share>Share Artwork>PSD.
  6. repeat steps 3 and 4.
  7. Convert video format. Procreate exports the video to the .m4v format. Harmony only imports .mov files, so you will need to convert the file. Here’s how I do it.
    • Open the .m4v file in Quicktime Player.
    • Click File>Export>1080p…
    • Choose the correct folder and save.
  8. Open Toon Boom Harmony on your desktop and either create a new Scene or open your existing scene.
  9. Import the movie. File>Import>Movie. Choose the .mov file from Dropbox that you just converted.
  10. Select OK, unless you want to make changes to the default settings (they’re good as is).
  11. Your movie now exists as a sequence of images in Toon Boom. You can delete or extend the exposure of each frame as needed for timing in your scene.
  12. Import the PSD file. File>Import>Images… Choose the PSD file that you exported from Procreate.
  13. A dialogue box opens. Browse to the .psd file that you exported. (note: you cannot have any spaces in the layer names. If you do, you will have to either go back to procreate, rename, and reexport, OR open the document in Photoshop and edit).
  14. The default settings are good, but play around with them to see the different options.
  15. Click OK.
  16. A second dialogue box opens. I suggested you choose “separated layers” and “Straight”.
  17. Click OK.
  18. Now you have a new Drawing in Harmony in which each layer of your .psd file is a new frame.
  19. Create a new drawing (Command+R) for each layer.
  20. Drag the frame from the original drawing to the new drawing layer and you can manipulate it however you want in Harmony.

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