How do I sequence layers in the timeline?

CrysenleyCrysenley Website User Posts: 8

Hello, I'm new to Hitfilm. :)
I have been converting my animation over from Adobe After Effects to continue working on it for free with Hitfilm 4. So far the process has been going smoothly, though I experienced some hurdles along the way (like having to convert all the Photohop images to PNG ).

However, there's one function I desperately need to know:
does Hitfilm have a function similar to AE's Keyframe Assistant-->Sequence Layers?

When I import image frames as layers, add them to the composition's timeline, and set the duration for all of them; how do I then arrange all of them one after the other? Like, automatically position them one after the other, instead of all the layers taking up the same point in the timeline and overlapping. In AE this is called sequencing the layers using the Keyframe Assistant, but I'm wondering if there's an equivalent shortcut in Hitfilm 4... Arranging them all manually takes far too much time. :( And I often change the duration of certain layers, so I need an easy way to rearrange all the other ones quickly.
Asking this on Youtube I learned there's an option to set the default duration of all layers added to the timeline; however, for some reason even that hasn't worked for me. Either way, it's still not quite what I'm looking for.

Here's my animation currently. It's silly, but maybe looking at it will clear up what I mean, haha.

Thank you for your time. ^-^


  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,991 Ambassador

    It sounds like you're bringing in the frames as individual images.  Is that correct?  If so, I strongly recommend changing your workflow.  HitFilm can import an image sequence and treat it as a clip.  Just click the Import menu at the top of the media bin and choose "Image Sequence."  Select the folder that contains your sequence, and HitFilm will import everything as a single media item.  You can then drag that item onto the timeline.  No need to set frame lengths across numerous images.  Just set the frame rate for the sequence.  If you need to pause some parts, just split the clip around the frame that needs to pause and use the Rate Stretch tool to stretch out that frame to the desired length.

  • CrysenleyCrysenley Website User Posts: 8

    Thank you jsbarrett for the help. :) Apologies for taking so long to get back with you!
    I'm not sure if Image Sequencing meshes well with my workflow... My animation style is very sporadic and conservative, I constantly recycle images to save time. For instance, I have a sequence that repeats and switches between images 16, 17, and 18  for a few times. The second or so time they may each be a frame longer or shorter. Things like that.
    If I imported an entire shot as a single sequence, I would have to cut and duplicate it again and again across the entire sequence, sometimes for nearly every single image. Almost every image has a different duration in most shots. It just seems like more hassle than it's worth... Where as if I could just automatically sequence the layers that are in the timeline my issue would be resolved.
    Also, I just now tried to import an image sequence. The alpha of my PNG's seem to be all black... Not sure how to fix that.

  • CrysenleyCrysenley Website User Posts: 8

    Is there a page or forum I can submit feedback and suggestions to the Hitfilm team? I know even if my feedback is accepted and added to the to-do list it will be long before I see it implemented, but it will make me feel better knowing it will one day come.

    I feel layer sequencing is an essential feature to fasten workflow!

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,991 Ambassador

    @Crysenley re: the black alpha on your PNG images, what software are you using to create the PNGs?  It's possible that it might be saving the images with indexed color, which clashes with PNG transparency.  Or are the images working fine when imported individually, but the alpha is messed up when importing as a sequence?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 17,779 Ambassador

    Try right-clicking a file in the Media bin and select properties. From there uncheck from file (if applicable) and try the multiple options under alpha. 

  • ChuckMartinsChuckMartins Website User Posts: 14

    Something happened to my 400+ images in a sequence.

    Using Hitfilm 2017 pro I imported a png image sequence I made of a stop motion scene.  I needed to mask out the support props etc.  and add some special vfx.  But, I was having difficulty using the masking tools effectively because of camera pans and lack of clean plates etc.

    I decided to fix each image using Gimp.  It took several days but I finished it.  I imported the image sequence into Hitfilm and liked the result.

    However I noticed that one frame #89 could not be read and hitfilm would show a black frame.  All else was perfectly what I wanted.

    I then removed the #89 frame from the folder and reloaded the image sequence into the editor.  Upon playback another black frame would flash.

    Now the editor showed #88 as being unable to be read.  So I then remove #88 from the  folder and reloaded the image sequence into hitfilm.

    Now Hitfilm says it cannot load the sequence at all.  So,  I then put all the removed frames back into the folder and reload the Image sequence.  Now Hitfilm still cannot read the  files with no reason given.  I cannot see anything wrong with files.  

    You can only imagine my frustration.

    My picture viewer shows no problem.  I'm given no clue as what went wrong.  Help.

    OH, almost forgot.  Somewhere in all this Hitfilm quit twice with a GL error and error report sent (1 of the 2 reports couldn't be sent.)  Dunno why.  My vid card is a brand new Radion RX580. Drivers up to date.


  • CrysenleyCrysenley Website User Posts: 8

    jsbarrett Yeah, each PNG's alpha is just fine when I import them individually. I save them using Easy Paint Tool SAI, which admittedly lacks output options.

    Triem23  I tried that, but couldn't make it work for me still. Opening it up again today, everything seems to work without me having to tamper any setting. ._. Maybe just a bug then? My own temporary blind, deaf, and dumbness? I have no idea, haha

    JMcAllister Thank you! Imma give them a piece of my mind now!

    I still don't think I'll use Image Sequencing for this project, but I probably will in the future.  Thank you, everyone!

  • CrysenleyCrysenley Website User Posts: 8
    edited January 2018

    ChuckMartins Woah, Chuck! That sounds awfully frustrating and tedious! It must be a bug. Maybe what I experienced wasn't in my head, after all!
    Hopefully someone could chime in, though at this point you may get a faster response if you start your own thread, or maybe there's a forum specifically for bug reporting.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 17,779 Ambassador

    Oh.. Duh. When converting to an image sequence it's not keeping the alpha, is it? 

    The transparency is filled with black, of course. If you don't have pure black in your images add a demult effect to the image sequence. That will knock black to transparent. 

  • ChuckMartinsChuckMartins Website User Posts: 14

     Well tonight the file will import.  But frame 89 still can't be read.  It will read it if I import frame 89 as single image though. We'll see what happens when I put in the timeline.  I'll do a work around if I can.  But I think I'll contact support as I have an additional bug to report in the comp editor- the top layer's title gets squashed to the left so you can't read the title and the only way to fix it is to copy it and replace the collapsed one with the copy. Don't know what makes it collapse, I'll just find it that way.  Happens all the time. 

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,991 Ambassador

    Yeah, that layer title squashing is an odd one.  It's been around a while, but AFAIK, it's not something that can be repeated with a specific series of steps, so it's a tough bug to squash.

  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 3,821 Enthusiast

    That is the worst of the text label issues in Hitfilm. Rightly a bug verses a quirk/annoyance.

    Text labels have been annoying since Hitfilm 2017.  That is probably behind me with my new 27" 2560 horizontal resolution monitor. Unlikely to get truncated labels with the 33% extra horizontal elbow room.

  • CrysenleyCrysenley Website User Posts: 8

    Triem23 When it was bugging for me the entire image was black for one imported sequence (except for the image with no transparency), and the other sequence just the alpha portions were black. Last time I tried it all worked correctly, though.

    With that said, I decided I'm definitely not gonna use Image Sequencing for this project, given how unstable it apparently is. ^^;
    I'll just stick to my slow and steady method to win the race, haha!

  • CedricBonnierCedricBonnier Staff Administrator Posts: 1,189 Staff
    edited January 2018

    @ChuckMartins Could you upload your image sequence somewhere? I can have a look at why some frames are not loading. My first guess would be that your frame 89 is using a different format than the others, which is why it refuses to load.

    @Crysenley I don't think that image sequences are unstable. You can definitely give it a try by copying all your images to a different location on your disk and renaming them to image1, image2, etc. (they need to be in order for it to work) and then import them into HitFilm.

  • CrysenleyCrysenley Website User Posts: 8

    CedricBonnier I already have them named 1, 2, 3, etc. But some sequences I have 8a, 8b, if I ever need to insert some extra inbetweens to get a smoother movement. It seems like too much of a hassle to have to rename all the images over and over again each time I need to make a change... And again, Image Sequencing already doesn't mesh well with my workflow, my timing and editing is too sporadic. ^^;

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