Camera Layer Help

So this has most likely been talked about but for some reason it is impossible to find a clear, straight forward tutorial on how this program works.

Alright so the camera layer is confusing, annoying, and down right unnatural for an animation program.

My camera/canvas size is 1080x720

Not being able to see the edges of said canvas when I zoom or more around is painful and extremely annoying

I want to export my frames so I can color them in another program. This is what I see in the program:

And this is what I see what I export the images:

The frames are cut off and I have no idea how I can fix this or move things because it always ends up the same no matter what I do.

Can I please have help with framing, and can someone please give me a clear and concise “how to”/tutorial on how the camera layer works?

I just want to make my animation final without any more problems over simple things that should not even be an issue in the first place.

@aven12 Hey. Sorry to hear you’re having difficulties with Pencil. Have you seen the image sequence to video export tutorials on the page? the process that I follow should clear most doubts regarding the camera layer, since it is briefly explained that when you export you a) have to select the camera layer and b) you have to give it a proper resolution by double clicking the camera layer. This is independent from the export resolution dialog you get when using the export option.

The camera system is pretty straightforward once you analyze it. What you see when you are drawing is basically the “drawing view”. But only when you select the camera, you are in effect looking “through” the “camera view” framing your image.

When you double click the camera layer you are able to change the final image resolution, and whatever appears inside the camera frame, will be rendered as a picture, like a real camera would. I know this sounds like an obvious remark, but apparently it’s not as simple as the original developer thought for others to understand this concept.

If you choose to export your images without selecting the camera, you’ll get whatever the size of your canvas is at the moment of export. If you, for example, resize the window so small you can’t even see your cursor. The image will be exported at such size, but, if you do the same while having the camera layer selected, and giving it an appropriate size previous to the labor of animation, you’ll be able to export safely at your intended size.

Finally, if you did all of this and you still are having issues, please try to download the latest Nightly Build for MAC (Jan 14 2016). However do not delete your current Pencil installation, since Nightly Builds are standalone versions, but they are experimental despite having most bug fixes to date.

You can download it here:

Hope this helps. If it doesn’t let us know to see what can be done. If you need a tutorial on the camera layer, I might have some free time next week and i’ll gladly record one, although I don’t have a MAC it should function in the same way.

Thank you for the response but I have followed all the offered steps, I made sure to export with the camera layer selected and I have the 1080x720 put in for the resolution.

I don’t understand why, no matter how I move the image or zoom, the exported images are still cropped.

I only just downloaded this program because of other issues, sucks that I have to continue downloading new things over really simple matters.


When i click the reset zoom option it causes everything to look like how the image exports

How come there isn’t a way to change this? If I zoom or move things this is all it’s going to export. This is why having an actual canvas with edges would help instead of the infinite void of white. I have no idea where my edges are or if my drawing is even in frame no matter how many times i rework the resolution.

Can this not be changed? I don’t know what I did to have my drawings now permanently cropped in the camera view but I did it unknowingly because this is a kinda faulty system.

Can I save my frames or am I going to have to take screenshots of everything just so I can keep working?

@aven12 Okay let me ask the following 1) Did you tested the Nightly Build I suggested by following the link on my previous reply? This might help to fix this problem, and I know for fact that the Nightly Build for January 2016 has always the camera frame turned on to lessen the ambiguity and improve how you interact with your scene.

  1. Have you tried using the hand tool, while having the camera layer selected? Until recently this could move your camera and in previous versions you could animated your camera as well (this is not activated in the Nightly Build)

  2. I hate to inconvenience you further, but is it possible for you to upload your pencil save file along with the data folder that is located next to it, so I can take a look at it?

Everytime you save an animation you get two things: a file with the .PCL extension which is like an address book, helping organize the resources you’ve created for your animation, and in the same location there’s always a folder that contains important configuration files as well as all the drawings you’ve made, however these are not properly framed as you would expect because of the way Pencil treats things, they are more like the “raw images” which are later organized and positioned by the PCL configuration file.

Anyway if you could upload your project maybe I could see something that we could be missing and if I can fix it I would gladly make a private video for you so we can try to troubleshoot this issue.

I wish there would be more I could do, but I’m only a volunteer for the site, and it seems it will stay that way for some time :confused:

Anyway let me know what happens. Cheers.

I downloaded it and besides the zip with all the folders and all nothing popped up? and there is nothing in any of the folders I can download or use?

Yes I have been using the hand tool, no matter where i move the image it still exports as cropped.

And I can try? Where/how should I upload it?

@aven12 apologies for the delay, I’ve been busy at work during the weekend. You could try to upload a compressed ZIP file with the PCL and the project folder and then upload it to a personal dropbox or google drive account. If you don’t have either account you could try and use, however you’d need to have the recipient’s email. If you have to choose the latter you can put as the recipients email address the following:

It’s really not that difficult, so hopefully we can check what’s happening.

Regarding the Nightly Build, once you download the Zip file, you have to unzip it (uncompress the file) and youll get all those folders and stuff right?. Well you have to locate the Pencil.dmg file and double click on it. As far as I know dmg files are mac executable files.

Regarding the hand tool, I was just asking to rule out precisely that, but what you’re writing makes me think it’s an old bug that was already fixed in the newer version.

Once I get the files I’ll try to make a video. I Have windows, but it might be possible for me to ask a friend to let me user her MAC, however I can’t guarantee you that I’ll be able to fully troubleshoot your issue with a MAC.

Hope we can help you soon to fix your issue though. Take care.

Hi @aven12

What you are experienced with the CameraLayer is a Bug that prevents users to setup canvas size as desire.
I found out a work-around and I would like you to follow the next steps to see if it will work for you too:

  1. Open pencil2d for the first time
  2. Go to the CameraLayer and click on it to resize it to your taste. Click OK
  3. Go to the BitmapLayer and draw something at the corners of your canvas (for you to check it when it is rendered)
  4. Now go to File > Export > Image (here a Dialogue box showing the actual size of your Camera/Layer, which can be change if we want to, but it is of NO use right now since it will only render the size initialled typed on the Camera Layer/step 2) OK > File name > save.
    Result: the canvas was resized and stretched and you will not be able to see the corners/draws of your canvas.

Now a turn around:
5. Without closing Pencil2D repeat step 2 but now type a different data size for your camera (for instance I have my camera size set for 1920/1080 and I typed 2200/1300). Click OK
6. Repeat step 2 AGAIN but this time typing the correct size for the camera
7. Repeat step 4.
Result: the image is rendered with the right size