Nested animations

Is it possible to do nested animations in Synfig (e.g. multiple independent timelines)? I’ve seen on the wiki about multiple canvases but I can’t find out how to do this.

In OpenToonz this is called sub x sheets and I think in Flash it was nested symbols.

You can do that through different files.
Each sif file would contain its own ‘Time’ settings, then you import them in your main project (File -> Import).

Although it’s a bit clumsy to work with, but I don’t know how to do it the other way.

I found out how to do this.

First I have to put a layer into a group. Then, I right click on the Canvas attribute > Export Value and then give it a new name in order to create a new canvas which is automatically nested under the main canvas.

Would be good if this was clearer on the wiki!

I’ve observed a few possible inconsistencies.

If I export a group to a new canvas and then put a new layer in that group then the layer won’t always appear in the new canvas.

If I’m in the parent canvas and have the exported group selected then synfig won’t let me create a new layer. But, if I create the layer when the exported layer isn’t selected then I can drag it into that group.

If I create a new layer whilst in the new sub-canvas, go to the main/parent canvas and move that layer out of the exported group the layer still sometimes visually appears in the sub-canvas.

I can animate a layer both in the main canvas and in the sub-canvas but the way points don’t how up in both canvases.

This is quite a lot so I might try and make a video showing this.

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I tried recording a video showing the errors but of course some of them couldn’t be replicated! But it does show the error of layers not appearing in different canvases but appearing in groups. (from 04:40)

I work in each one separately and update them to refresh.

This has a lot of errors: this links them using the resolution of each project in place to link with vectors resolution and this is very unstable.

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When you say separately do you mean separate .sif files?

Yes. I thought you were doing that. Import a sif into another sif.
But they do not work like symbols or clips. They are projects linked. I think that synfig does not have the possibility to create something symbols.

No that was @Svarov who was importing a .sif into another .sif. I explained in the third post that I was creating a nested canvas by exporting a group into a new canvas.

Oh, I see. I actually knew about this method but though it uses the same timeline as the parent canvas so I didn’t recommend it. Hmm, yet if you make animation of any layer before putting it in a separate canvas it will remain its animation, but timeline wouldn’t be available.

True. You have to go to the canvas properties to set the animation length then it can be played again.

I’ve added a bit of information to the wiki about creating a new canvas. This was hinted at in the original description but no instruction were given


This should be fixed in latest development release.

Yes, the functionality of exported canvases has a lot of issues that needs to be addressed… ^__^"

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Great! I’ll wait for the next release to try it out.

Is there a roadmap for htis? Next year I can see how the current implementationos compares to programs like OpenToonz and Enve.

Here is a nested animation I made.Its all done.It consists of two groups,a circle going left to right,a rectangle going left to right. These are groupedtogether in a group called skew that creates a spinning effect.nested Animation 1.sifz (2.1 KB)

Um, this discussion is more about creating nested animations using different canvases.

This is not in the nearest plans yet. At the moment our primary goals are improving rendering (thanks to @blackwarthog) and improving animation tools (such as Graphs panel and Sound, thanks to @rodolforg for that).

Here is what I see should be done here:

  1. Allow to un-export canvases (I saw there is a code already written for that, but no buttons visible in UI for performing that action)

  2. Currently it is possible to replace (switch) canvases by animating “Canvas” parameter of a Group - I think this is the base feature for having vector frame-by-frame animation in Synfig. And in fact it is very similar to architecture of OpenToonz.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t shows waypoints for switching events - it is not possible to edit time of switching. Well, actually from this page you can find that it IS possible to show waypoints for canvas switching events, see this video - But in this case you will not see child waypoints of the group (they should be displayed in the same row of “Canvas” parameter). So, to solve this we need to re-think layout of TimeTrack panel. And this work should be done after (or as part of) reworking of TImeTrack panel - (because we need

Sorry, I was wrong. This fix is available in Synfig 1.3.12, but not in 1.3.11.

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