I loaded back into Pencil2D and all my work is gone

I have been working on my first project with Pencil2D for about 2 weeks and have been saving my progress in a pclx file. I loaded the file this morning, and all the bitmap frames that I had drawn are now blank. How do I resolve this?

@davidgh121 Hi. I’m afraid to say that even though this is rare. It seems to happen on very particular circumstances under Windows OS and the developers have not been able to find a definitive solution.

The development builds don’t do seem to do this from current reports after other improvements but, since the damage is already done, I won’t recommend you to use them right now.

Honestly I’m really sorry this happened to you. If you have at least some preview videos you exported before you could try to import them back into Pencil2D or another app to get part of your work back,

However considering all of this I’m sorry to say that if you didn’t have an additional backup copy of your file (which we always recommend regardless of animation software used) I don’t think it will be possible to recover the lost work.

I personally always save at least 100 different files out from the same project with numbers to avoid this because Ive been burnt far too many times by both commercial and free software.

Additionally I can point you to some ideas and steps you can try to do in a different thread reply I wrote as an answer the same problem for another user about a year ago, but bottom line without a backup copy, there’s really nothing we can do on our end.

I’ll also link this other reply to help you selecting a potentially different software in case you want to switch in order to make your work faster or smoother than what you could do with Pencil2D

I recommend Opentoonz (which released today a new version actually) or Krita for improved drawing.

Thanks for the reply Jose. I saved the file with all the frames contained inside it, and when I opened it again the frames weren’t there anymore. I don’t think having another back-up copy of the animation file would make any difference. The only other thing to do would be to save every single frame individually as back-ups, which I suppose I could do but I don’t really see the point of having an animation software to draw them all in one file if that’s the case. Thanks for your suggestions but I don’t think I’ll be using this software anymore.


Greetings David,

I apologize if I wasn’t clear. It was not my intent to confuse or provide you with inaccurate information. When I mentioned saving backup files, I didn’t mean saving every single frame separately. That would certainly increase your workload unnecessarily.

What I meant was creating the habit of saving a new separate file in regular intervals (perhaps daily) to preserve a snapshot of your progress at every significant milestone of your animation work.

My take on this is that one shouldn’t save over the same file more than 5 to 10 times. It’s not a hard rule by any means, just something that becomes a habit after a while.

I personally work with different commercial packages for my animation job and this has saved me countless headaches ever since I started out.

I’m sad to say that even paid software has this problem despite their more advanced autosave & auto backup features, particularly apps like Adobe Animate, Toonboom Harmony & Moho which have a similar file structure as Pencil2D (internal text files keep track of the drawn resources).

I empathize a bit too much with this problem because before I got the compulsive habit of saving backups, I had lost months of paid work to paid software, and their tech support is surprisingly thin for such big companies.

I even have a collection of several files from each software that were rendered useless after having the software crash or by saving normally after a a long shift, which certainly does not make it better, but to me it’s a reminder that all of these tools can potentially have the user experience drawbacks in their workflow.

This is why, and I apologize again for my insistence, I feel I must emphasize that regardless of the software that you choose in the near future, please do consider saving backup copies of your work, or using a file versioning software, so you can fall back to a previous copy and avoid a complete loss of work in the future.

Thanks for your suggestions but I don’t think I’ll be using this software anymore.

is more than understandable, and I really hope you find a software that can help you produce animation more comfortably.

Best regards,

I was wondering, @JoseMoreno, if perhaps this kind of issue should be warned about on the P2D website? It might not be the most attractive statement, but it might help a lot more people who do try it out.

@JoeyH Hey Joey. We have warned about this and other issues on the release blogposts for each version of the software. Several times in fact.

This “lose-my-work” issue (not the actual name) has had so many variants ever since the inception of the Pencil2D branch of the project, it is unreal.

In the past it was much worse as everyone would report literally having their files erased. It was improved over time but the after Windows and macOS got their permissions bs setup, the blank frames issue and the partial saving bug where the file is corrupted even if you save normally, began to appear.

Also this really does happen to a marginal amount of people in aggregate if we compare the amount of downloads to the amount of reports.

I was discussing with another dev that since social media has lost power (twitter, facebook, etc) it has been difficult to communicate and reach to more users. But perhaps we need a sticky in the forum first and foremost since it’s one of the most visited parts of the site after the downloads IIRC.

Another thing is that the nightly builds do not seem to have this problem as frequently or if at all since there were some corrective measures taken after the original release of 0.6.6.

This is why we took on to release a short statement on social media to direct people to use the nightly builds instead of the current download, however this should also be reflected on the website.

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Gotcha. That makes sense, I didn’t know.

I will confirm that the Nightly Builds I use don’t have this issue often, but I do save frequent backups like mad!


I know the frustration that this has caused you. I agree with Jose that it’s a problem with Windows.

I make multiple saves, but every 6 or so I add 1 to then end of the filename. Pepper.pclx, Pepper-2.pclx etc. I end up with a large collection of files, but if the last save in a session fails, I’ve got a file to start from!

I’ve also found that Windows sometimes hides files in unexpected directories.

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