Layer transformation keyframes are not saving

Hey everyone,

I just started using Pencil2D. I’m animating squashing and stretches on individual layers. I keyframe an animation of a layer bouncing about and it looks great! And then I play it back again and it stops moving. All the transformations I made in each keyframe just seem to disappear… I’ve tried saying yes and no to the “do you want to apply the transformation?” window that comes up once I’ve keyed the whole animation and I click away, and it happens either way.

Does anyone have a solution to this? Am I just doing it wrong?


@humanformat Hi, welcome to the forum. The thing is Pencil2D transofrmations are not automatically applied. Once you internalize this fact everything changes.

The process to transform something (for now) is:

  1. Make a selection on top of your drawing
  2. Pick the move tool
  3. Drag the selection corners to scale, ctrl + click inside the selection to rotate, or simply click & drag inside the selection to pan the drawing section.
  4. Once you do this you have to press Enter to confirm the selection. You can also click outside the selection to confirm.

Now I know it’s impractical to “cancel” the selection particularly if you’re trying to move the same drawing over a period of time, plus that alert is annoying but it was added because people kept messing up the transform over time and didn’t even notice so you would get complaints about how their transforms were unintended, etc…don’t know what’s worse to be honest but I digress, so to avoid the alert you have to use the keyboard shortcuts comma (,) & period (.) to move between frames. I personally use CTRL + A to select the entire drawing and then move it on each frame i jump to with the shortcuts.

We don’t force the transform to auto apply itself because it is useful to change the transform many times so the quality of image does not degrade too much (rotation is an exception due to missing processing algorithms) but overall once we make a pass to improve user experience most of these things will hopefully go away, right now all the critical problems are still being addressed by the developers.

In addition to the good advice from @JoseMoreno make sure you are creating a new keyframe for each frame you want the transformation to change on. Depending on your settings you could be modifying the transformation of a previous keyframe over and over again, also resulting in no motion.

I don’t understand at all… I can play the animation and watch it several times and then it just disappears right in front of me. I go to play it back after a few times and it stops working. I press enter to confirm the movement. I can see that I have to apply the transformation each frame and that seems to help. But is there any way to do this without degrading the layer? I’m doing a sequence in which an icon comes from a tiny spot and bounces onto screen, so it changes size pretty drastically, but by the time it’s full size, it’s essentially unrecognizable.

@humanformat Since Pencil2D is working with pixels, translating shouldn’t degrade the image quality, however rotation does… Hmm sounds like you are doing some kind of motion graphics with various transforms. In that case Pencil2D might not be the best program to tackle that since it is mostly geared towards hand drawn animation.

Just in case before investing more time into Pencil2D for this particular project, consider trying out the following apps geared for this kind of motion interpolation kind of movement.

  1. Enve2D Releases · MaurycyLiebner/enve · GitHub This program is under development so there might be some issues, but in general it’s usable.
  2. Synfig This one got a major release recently, it gotten better and should allow you to import an image and move it easily.

Note that i’m not saying to completely abandon Pencil2D, but rather to use extra tools to achieve the desired result. Doing that kind of animation (moving an existing imported image over the stage / scene) in the appropriate tool is a breeze in comparison.

You can then import this result into or out of Pencil2D to a video editor or any of these other programs to “composite” or flatten everything into a video. Even Pencil2D can do that if you import PNG’s with transparent backgrounds.

Edit: I got another idea. Use the camera layer in Pencil2D and animate the image. You can pan and rotate the camera with the hand tool, and the camera can be interpolated to a certain degree. Then this result can be exported as a PNG sequence with transparency turned on, into your “main” pencil2D file and you can then scribble over it.

@humanformat I made a moderately sized tutorial on how I would go about using the camera layer to animate a graphic and then import that back into Pencil2D. I hope this is helpful to achieve what you want only using Pencil2D, however do check out the other apps if you want to use actual vector artwork or special effects like blurs or particles and stuff like that.

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