Importing images

Pencil currently supports the ability to import images, this can prove useful when making seperate designs outside of the program first, or using reference images to guide your animation, or if you simply decide to animate by hand first and import those images after. You can import a raster image at a particular frame in a bitmap layer by using the Import image… command in the File Menu under Import. Alternatively, you can drag and drop bitmap images from an external window onto the canvas. A key is created for each imported image. This is particularly useful when you have a lot of images. By default, the center of each image is set to the centre of the view. If you want to import your images at a particular location, use the select tool and drag a rectangle on the canvas. The images will be imported in the rectangle. If the images are larger than the rectangle, they will be rescaled.

NOTE 1: By importing images into selected boxes on the canvas that does not match the exact proportions of the image itself, it will produce a distorted image due to the fact that the image is literally placed in the box to fill every available pixel regardless of size or dimension.

NOTE 2: That you can also paste images from the clipboard, ie from other applications by copying/pasting (this currently pastes the top-left corner of the image to the center of the canvas).

NOTE 3: Additional functions have been added to allow a user to import image sequences into the timeline through the File⇒Import menu. The images will need to be numbered to be placed in the correct frame of the timeline.

3 thoughts on “Importing images

  1. cecile

    when I imported my picture (jpeg photo of a hill and sky) I couldn’t see the animation of my character (I only drew a simple ball with a black line) both layers are showing (they are both turned on and the switch little round button/tool for all layers is also turned on black), the one on top is the character animation, the one below is the picture background and they are both bitmaps… the onion skin os off.
    I thought the character layer on top will be like transparent and that we can see the picture through .
    is there anything I don’t know?

    1. cecile

      it’s a bit hard to explain but to make it clear I’m trying to animate a character with a black contour line on top of a background that is a photo of a landscape, a jpeg image that I have imported into my scene in Pencil 2D. I’ve got 2 layers bitmaps so far and made a few keys (a few for the animation and just one, the first one for the background picture). when I play it I see the background (the lower layer) but not the animation layer. thanks for your help

      1. Profile photo of Jose MorenoJose Moreno

        Good Evening Cecile,

        First of all thank you for trying out Pencil2D. I would urge you to register and post any further questions and doubts in the proper forum that was created for the community here:

        To answer your current question, I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you several things:
        1) What version of Pencil2D are you using?
        2) Which Operative System are you using? (e.g Windows, Linux, MAC OSX, etc)

        In version 0.5.4b, which is the most stable version to date, Pencil2D has a reverse order to how layers are organized. Basically the top-most layer will be at the bottom of a layer stack, and the one that is closest to the camera going towards the bottom, will be first. My proposal is to try moving your background to the top, and your animation layer below the background. As it stands that should solve your issue.

        If your issue is not solved, please post in the forum answering the questions I outlined above, so we can give you proper support because the comment section for the manual is not an ideal place to hold this kind of help request. Take care.


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