What’s new, Animator’s Toolbar 2.5

YES! This month I will release the 2.5 update for the Animator’s Toolbar.
A personal high point when it comes to long-tail development. With this update the Animator’s Toolbar will finally extend Photoshop’s timeline functions.

In this post I’ll show you what’s new and when applicable, provide you with examples showing you how to use it. If you have any questions, remarks or requests, just leave a comment at the end of the post and I’ll reply.

NEW “New Animation Panel”

It baffles me why there are no timeline options for starting a new document especially when explicitly using video format presets. On top of that I hear a lot of complaints about the default duration of the timeline which brings me to the new version of the “New Animation Panel”.

Set the size of your new animation project using the presets drop-down menu or manually. Although dpi has nothing to do with video I find it preferable to work at a higher dpi for better effects and line rendering. I added the Colormode option for those who need it. By default the current background color is used for the background layer.

Probably the most interesting addition to the panel is the option to specify the duration of your project. Use a colon notation to insert the duration in minutes:seconds:frames. It’s not mandatory to provide minutes or seconds.

A two second timeline can be created using this notation 2:00

When a single number is entered it’s interpreted as the number of frames, the timeline’s duration is then determent by the selected FrameRate. Photoshop’s default project duration of 5 seconds kicks in when it fails.

Finally there’s the option to generate an empty Video Layer with the provided specifications and/or create a Video Group from the default timeline content.

Trim and Move

Video Groups

After I had the chance to look through one of  Nicolas Ménard’s source files I realised I had to figure out a way to work with or inside Video Groups. When you’re a heavy user of Video Groups (like Nicolas) the current implementation of the Trim and Move tools have proven to be completely useless to you. With the 2.5 update it is now possible to trim layer in- and out points inside Video Groups. Moving a layer’s in- and out points within Video Groups is overruled by the fact that layers are automatically sequenced.

It can be useful to call the move command inside a Video Group to close gaps that have appeared after moving layers around manually.

Animated in Photoshop by Nicolas Ménard

Multiple Layers

It’s now possible to move or trim multiple layer to the same position or duration. Beware that if you apply one of these commands on layers outside of a Video Group your timing will be lost.

Alt-click a trim command to auto-sequence the layers after trimming when they’re not part of a Group or Video Group.

Trim multiple Layers at once
Trim multiple Layers at once was previously impossible

Roll Edit

The new addition to the Move/Trim group is the Roll Edit button. To make a Roll Edit select two layers and place the playhead where you want the edit to role/move to.

New tool in the Move/Trim group; Roll Edit
New tool in the “Move/Trim group” –  Roll Edit works inside and outside Video Groups

When there is a gap between the selected layer a Roll Edit will close it. When used on Video Layers without sufficient footage the command will throw an error.

Modes

As a prequel to the configuration panel, which will be added in version 3.0, I’ve added “modes”.
At this time the toolbar is equipped with three modes:

the animator's toolbar: mode 1
Default mode 1: almost the same button structure as the current version (2) of the toolbar
Animator's Toolbar in mode 2
Minimised mode 2: only timeline edit and navigation buttons of which some have double functionality (indicated in the tooltip) by ALT or SHIFT clicking the buttons.
Minimised mode 3: only timeline edit and navigation buttons of which some have double functionality (indicated in the tooltip) by ALT or SHIFT clicking the buttons and hidden labels.

By clicking the modes button you can toggle the two modes and select the one you prefer.

I hope you’ll enjoy the new update. Next week I’ll be uploading it to the adobe-addons website. If you have any questions, remarks or requests, just leave a comment and I’ll reply.

48 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. This is brilliant, I’ve been using it in conjunction with some action scripts i have written.

    http://e-onn.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/updated-set-of-photoshop-actions-that.html?m=1

    Hope you find then useful.

    Im still trying to make them into a Panel but in the meantime run them in ‘Action’ Button mode.
    There are instructions for use on the blog page and also in the actions as well.

    One question re-Toolbar. is there a way to offset the layers. I tend to work as layers rather than video layers. I find it quicker and easier to move and edit.
    And sometimes i import drawings from Sketchbook pro so into photoshop an offset of 1 or 2 frames would be a extremely useful

    Thanks again

    Ian

    1. Hi Ian,

      Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you find it usefull. I’ll check out your post and actions at a later time. Thank you for sharing too :-)

      In regards to your question to offset layers; You can use the trim tools to sequence layers. If you want all your drawings to show for two frames, place the playhead on frame 1, select all the layers and ALT-click to trim and
      sequence.

      I just found out that when you don’t have a background layer (which happens when you make a video time the photoshop way) the toolbar fails to sequence the layers and makes a VideoGroup instead.

      When you use the “new project” button on the toolbar this won’t happen (plus the benefit of additional settings for setting op your project)

      Let me know if this works for you.
      Regards,

      Patrick

  2. Your extension looks very useful, but I’ve never been able to get anything to install using the Adobe Exchange. It’d be much appreciated if you’d post the ZXP file alongside the Adobe Exchange link.

    1. I did consider making the zxp available for download but at this point I find it useful to keep distribution of the files at a centralised location. Because I’m still developing the tool I find it useful to know how many people are currently using which version and the ratings and reviews through the adobe add-ons site are a great help and motivation to me.

      What issues are you experiencing when you try to install the plug-in?

      1. I don’t know if this is the same issue Marco is experiencing, but it seems now to be impossible to install extensions from Adobe Exchange if one is using an enterprise/volume license. The installation requires sign-in with an Adobe ID which is tied to an active CS license, which enterprise users do not have…

    2. Marco,

      I’ve made the previous versions of the toolbar available for download from the plug-in archive. In combination with zxp-installer this might be the solution to your problem.

      http://zxpinstaller.com/

      Let me know if this works for you.

      Patrick

  3. This is very helpful tool, thank you.
    I would love to have buttons on the timeline for duplicating and replacing frames for animation, rather than using the keyboard shortcuts. This would be great especially for doing straight ahead animation.
    Thanks again.

      1. Thank you for your input. Good to know someone is looking forward to the new functions. It has not been released yet but coming soon! Adding new stuff every release, building in small increments.

    1. Hi Ian,

      Very usefull set of actions and a very clear explanation video on how to use it.
      Thank you for sharing.

      (I would have liked to share on here if the video had a voice-over)

      Regards,
      Patrick

  4. AWESOME, MAN! Last year I’ve been in touch with Ménard (btw, he has a fucking great work!!) trying to develop some thing to speed up his animation labor… but it didn’t work the way we wanted =(

    But I’m glad to see you’ve got some advice from him to make the toolbar even better!

    I have some ideas (create mp4 videos from video groups or layers, create a dropbox link from this video and send them automatically to your partners’ emails / track data from kinect so you can move character(?)) and I’d like to work with you to make them and the next version of this toolbar =-)… if you think you need someone, of course.

    See ya \o

    1. Thank you for the kind words. It was nice to get some input from a Photoshop animator like Nicolas (the result still has to be published in v2.6). All in due time.
      You have some great idea’s but they’re beyond the scope of the toolbar.

      I think they would make great scripts/plugins on their own. The kinect would probably be best suited for after effects integration.

  5. Hello,
    I find this toolbar gonna be helpful for my work. I would want to try this. Is there a link where I can download it?

    Thanks. :)

    1. Hey Jeroen!

      Bedankt voor je support!

      I’ll keep chipping away at the problems of animating in photoshop until my toolbar becomes obsolete.
      Did you animate “jam de la crème” in photoshop?

    1. Hi Charlie,

      I have considered it but the user-base for CS6 is very small compared to the CC version. And the CC version is still not finished. I have a few more custom functions, already developed, to add to the CC toolbar.

      What functionality (of the CC version) would you like to see added to the CS6 version?

      1. The main feature I would love to see is the Multiple Layers option added to the CS6 Version, it’s really a headache having to extend each single layer manually when working with large projects. This option would be a huge time saver! I really appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into this extension, Thanks!

      1. Hello Patrick,

        Thank you for your answer (and for your “ps” !)

        Unfortunately , the extension does not appear in “window/extensions”.
        I tried using ” extension manager ” but I get the following message:

        unable to install the extension.
        ” com.configurator.tadbcc ” . Make sure the ” manifest.xml ” file of this extension to be valid …

        you see what it is?

        Thanks !

          1. Hello Patrick,

            I’m using Photoshop cc 2015 (mac)
            with Creative Cloud.

            I’ve also dowloaded Extension Manager via Creative Cloud.

            Maybe the problem is that I use the Mac version ?

  6. Hello,

    I am an animation student who would like to share this plug-in with my peers. I’d like to know if there’s a way to extract this plug-in or a way to obtain it without the cloud. I ask because the way our school computers are set up they re-start and wipe everything once we shut them down. If there is a way, to make it portable so students can reinstall it on a different computer if they need too.

    1. Hi Dijon,

      Thank you for your interest in the Toolbar. At this time I provide most previous versions of the toolbar as a separate download through the plugin-archive. To access the archive you first need to register. Version 2.5.0 is very capable of aiding you in your animation. As you will see in the Plugin Archive, version 2.5.3 is currently in development meaning 2.5.2 will be available for download soon.

      Regards,

      Patrick Deen

  7. None of these versions work for cs6, no matter which way i try to install the .zxp file it says extension is invaild. AdobeExtensionManager/ZXP Installer :(

    1. Hi Lukasz,

      Sorry to hear the zxp files are not working on your system. A lot has changed since the release of the CS6 version.

      I’m currently working on Keyboard Shortcut scripts for the latest version of the Animator’s Toolbar. Once these are done I’m planning to create a CS6 version with the same functionality.

      Regards,

      Patrick

  8. Hey Patrick!

    Love the toolbar, been using it for about a year, it has really streamlined my work flow when animating in Photoshop.

    My question is, did you ever implement the edit multiple layers option that Charlie was talking about (July 25, 2016)?

    I’m still running 2.5.2, but if your update has that option I think it would be worth it to get the latest version.

    Thanks for making such an amazing add-on.

    Cheers,
    Taybrook

    1. Hey Taybrook, thank you for the kind words.

      Editing multiple layers (as in trimming, moving and re-naming) was introduced in version 2.5.0 for CC. So your current version should be capable of those things.

      Charlie is talking about CS6 which is retracted and the new functions were never implemented.

      P.

      1. Thanks Patrick,
        The trimming and moving of multiple layers your toolbar has provided have been invaluable. I was specifically looking to change opacity on multiple layers that weren’t lined up with the current time indicator. Is that possible?

        T

        1. Changing opacity is not a toolbar function but it can be done.

          With multiple layers selected the opacity option in the layers panel is greyed out but you can still change the opacity by typing the required percentage (in quick succession if two digits) using the numbers on the top of your keyboard (not the numpad).

          Does that work for you?

  9. Hi Patrick,

    I just wanted to say the toolbar is really great, really saves time and makes the process of animating in Ps actually fun.

    Keep up! And thanks for making it!

    P

  10. Mr. Deen,

    I am trying to use the animators toolbar 3 and the onion skin does not show any frame prior to the blank frame I am drawing on…I set it up for 2 frames before.

    Thanks

    1. That’s not a toolbar issue, “Onion skinning” is natively done by Photoshop. The toolbar only provides easy access to the feature. Let me try and help you troubleshoot the problem:

      “Onion Skin Count” specifies how many previous and forward frames are displayed but “Frame Spacing” specifies the number of frames between the displayed frames. This could account for some frames not showing up.

      Other things I can think of are:

      1. Max transparency setting is too low
      2. Chosen blendmode prevents image from showing
      3. Other layers are blocking previous frames

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