Losing drawings on the timeline just by hitting add or subtract

I’m very new at this so i’m hoping I’m just missing something simple. When I hit the - sign in the timeline all my drawings disappear… I just closed the file without saving the changes so I would expect the drawings to be there when I reopened it but they were still gone! Very frustrating…

I’m sorry to hear about your experience. First let me provide a little bit of background on how these parts of Pencil2D work:

There are two pairs + and - buttons on the timeline. The leftmost ones are for creating a new layer or deleting the active layer respectively. The rightmost ones are for creating a new frame or deleting the current frame.

When you delete a frame, you can undo that action by going to Edit > Undo in the top menu or using the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+z by default). However when you delete an entire layer, that unfortunately cannot be undone currently. Because of this, when you attempt to delete a layer, a warning message should come up.

Pencil2D will not save anything in an new project until you have saved that project for the first time. Closing Pencil2D without saving, will result in all unsaved changed being lost forever. This includes all changes made since the last time the project was saved, or all changes if the project has never been saved. Attempting to close the program with unsaved changes also should produce a warning popup.

So, I’m afraid your drawings in this case are unrecoverable because they were never saved, and may have already been lost if you deleted the whole layer. We recommend saving a new project right away, resaving it often. Making backup copies of your save file is also strongly recommended, because on rare occasions Pencil2D can corrupt the project file and without backups you can even lose saved work. Backups can be made by making copies of the project file in your file explorer, or by using the File > Save As… item in Pencil2D’s top menu.

Thank you so much for your reply! I’m thinking now that the problems I had may have been related to having Autosave turned on. Just playing with the frames on the timeline shouldn’t lead to the loss of all the frames with drawings in them, right? I wasn’t using the Layers + and – buttons at all… Btw is a keyframe the same as a frame? I thought perhaps only certain frames might be designated as keyframes. So for example with my drawings of a figure dribbling a basketball once and doing a layup I could make the ball hitting the floor, and each step into keyframes and fill in with frames in between…? Clicking on the timeline above the Bitmap Layer bar moves you to a specific frame. But clicking on the frame at the BL level just darkens the box – what is this for? I’m sure it’s in the tutorials somewhere but I thought I’d ask. Lastly is there a way to copy and paste a drawing from one project to another. If I’m overdoing the questions here please just refer me to the tutorials (I’ve watched quite a few but perhaps, being older, they don’t sink in as well as they should, lol). Any help is much appreciated, thx again.

You drawings should only be removed by deleting layers, deleting keyframes, clearing frames (the bin icon in the tools panel), or deleting selections. There is a bug in v0.6.6 which can result in the frame becoming blank under certain circumstances (if I recall correctly it was caused sometimes when moving frames). In that case, reloading the save file or a backup file is the best solution.

Frames are all the individual images that are shown in sequence to produce an animation. For animating in general, the term keyframes refers to the frames for critical points in a motion (usually the starting and finishing frame of a motion). In this same context, inbetweens are frames drawn between keyframes which are used to smooth out the motion. This is like what you are describing. However here when talking about Pencil2D, I and several others use keyframes to describe the unique frames of a layer, ie. the boxes in the timeline. This comes from the terminology used in the user interface and also in the underlying code of Pencil2D. Pencil2D does not have any built-in way of marking what part of a motion a particular image belongs to, it only has frames with keys (which have boxes in the timeline), and frames without keys (which do not have boxes and take their image from the previous key). To confuse things further, sometimes these “keyframes” are just referred to as frames.

When the keys on the timeline are shaded, that simply indicates that they are selected. In v0.6.6, this shading is only used to allow you to move multiple keyframes at the same time on the timeline. You do this by clicking and dragging one of the selected boxes.

If you make a selection with the selection tool, you can copy that selection and paste it to any other program, or open up another project and paste it there. However we don’t recommend having multiple Pencil2D projects open at the same time. If you want to copy whole layers, the best way to do this is to open the project you want to add them to, and us the File > Import > Layers from Project file. You could also export images from one project as an image sequence and then import that image sequence to another project, depending on your needs.