Have you ever peeled an onion and looked through its thin skin? Did you
notice that you can almost see through it?
No, they're not meant to make you cry. Much to the contrary, onion skins
may well be making your life as a traditional animator a little bit more enjoyable.With
onion skins, it's like drawing over semi-transparent paper. If you didn't
have that, you'd be flipping the paper up and down again and again to see
the prior image(s) as reference lying under the current frame you're working
on, right? Well with translucent paper you can see the current drawing as
well as the prior one a bit dimmer, and even the next one before that. And
Dogwaffle 1.6 even looks ahead into the future and shows you the next two
This is of course a feature found in the animation control bar.:
Between the FPS (frame per second) and the +/- buttons (add/remove frames),
there is the onion skins button.
When you click this button, Dogwaffle will show not only the current frame
of the animation, but also the prior and following two frames. Of course if
these frames haven't been drawn yet, they'll be blank and not distinct from
the background color (e.g. plain white).
However, let's say you're drawing a ball which is on its way own for a bouncing
animation. You could see the current frame's situation as well as the two
prior and following two positions of the ball. As the ball reaches the floor
on the ground you could squeeze the circle into a flat ellipse. And
seeing the multiple frames overlying eachother will allow you to vary the
distance of the ball between frames to change the apparent speed at which
the bouncing ball flies due to gravity's acceleration.
Where else is this useful? When doing character animations like drawing
a walking person. As a kid, have you ever taken a pencil to draw short mini-animations
along the border of the pages of a boring book, such as a person looking like
a stickman jumping off a cliff and opening a parachute for a safe landing?
Don't you wish you would have had semi transparent paper then, to see the
prior pages through the current one?