The main difference between “@” and “&”:

You all know that @ is usually used to apply a command line:

 @CHARACTER stands position
 @transition …
 @pause for a beat / pause for # (seconds)

and so on… but what does the “&” do?

direction: left/right
position: screen left/center/right; upscreen left/right and so on…
#: number, either for time in seconds, size % or zone number

  1. Let’s say you want a Character placed and have him/her do an animation BEFORE you transition into a scene:
    @CHARACTER stands position in zone # AND CHARACTER faces direction AND CHARACTER is animation
    @transition fade in black 2

    -> the transition will be broken, means we see the character doing its animation and then it transitions in shortly

    To avoid this:

    @CHARACTER stands position in zone # AND CHARACTER faces direction
    &CHARACTER is animation
    @transition fade in black 2

    -> the transition will work perfectly

  2. You want a Character to say something while s/he walks?
    1. &CHARACTER walks to position in zone # in # AND CHARACTER faces direction AND CHARACTER does it while walk_talk_neutral
      CHARACTER
      Text

      The problem here in 1.: The Character would talk the whole time, that would look strange if you actually have more than one Character talking, I suggest this:

    2. &CHARACTER1 walks to position in zone # in # AND CHARACTER1 faces direction AND CHARACTER1 does it while walk_neutral AND CHARACTER2 walks to position in zone # in # AND CHARACTER2 faces direction AND CHARACTER2 does it while walk_neutral
      @pause for 2
      CHARACTER1 (walk_talk_happy)
      Text
      &CHARACTER1 is walk_neutral
      CHARACTER2 (walk_talk_happy)
      Text
      &CHARACTER2 is walk_neutral

      Here, in 2., Character 1 and 2 would switch from talking to not talking and still walk to a position. The same principle for walk to spot:

      &CHARACTER walks to spot size xxx yyy in # AND CHARACTER faces direction AND CHARACTER does it while walk_neutral
      CHARACTER (walk_talk_happy)
      Text
      &CHARACTER is walk_neutral
    3. When you enter a looping background:
      &CHARACTER enters direction to position AND CHARACTER does it while walk_neutral THEN CHARACTER is walk_neutral
      CHARACTER (walk_talk_happy)
      Text
      &CHARACTER is walk_neutral
  3. You want a NARRATOR BOX while panning?
    &pan to zone 3 in #
    NARRATOR
    Text
  4. You want to zoom on a CHARACTER or something in the background, while the Character talks or the NARRATOR says something?
    &zoom on xxx yyy to #% in #
    NARRATOR
    Text

    or

    &zoom on xxx yyy to #% in #
    CHARACTER (animation)
    Text
  5. Or pan and zoom on a Character who is saying something (with walk to spot or with walk to position)?
    &pan to zone 2 in # AND zoom on xxx yyy to #% in # AND CHARACTER walks to spot in # AND CHARACTER faces direction AND CHARACTER does it while walk_sad/walk_rear
    CHARACTER
    Text

    or

    &pan to zone # in # AND zoom on xxx yyy to #% in #
    @CHARACTER walks to spot in # AND CHARACTER faces direction AND CHARACTER does it while walk_sad/walk_rear
    CHARACTER
    Text

    Here the time (#) for pan and zoom is basically the same. But, the time for the walk to the spot needs adjustments, if you want to have the Character you follow visible in the scene.

    &follow CHARACTER to screen position in zone # in # AND zoom on xxx yyy to #% in # AND CHARACTER faces left/right AND CHARACTER does it while walk_sad/walk_rear
    CHARACTER
    Text

    Here the time (#) for follow and zoom is the same for the Character being focused on in the scene.

    (Just a quick reminder: When a Character walks to a spot in a different zone you either have to add or subtract the number of zone lengths (one length is 320). For example, the Character walks from screen center (160 0) in zone 2 to screen center in zone 1, you’ll have to write: @CHARACTER walks to size -160 0 in # (160-320 as you go a zone back it’s negative). If the Character walks to screen center in zone 3 it would be: … walks to size 480 0 in # (160+320) and to zone 4 it would be 900 0 in # (160+320+320).)

    In all these pan to and zoom on while narrating or talking cases, I suggest adding a “@pause for #” after the text. That will let the zoom and pans play out and you avoid that those are continued into the next scene. How long the pause has to be, you need to find out on your own. I suggest to start with @pause for 1 and test how it goes within the app. Try to imitate a fast reader and then you either elongate the pause or shorten the zoom/pan times.

  6. You want to avoid your Character standing in an awkward position after they said something?
    CHARACTER (deepbreath)
    (Oh my, what a day.)
    &CHARACTER is idle_sad
  7. Or react to something another Character said?
    CHARACTER1 (talk_arms_crossed)
    You can't be serious?
    &CHARACTER2 is deepbreath AND CHARACTER1 is idle_sad
  8. Transition in/out while a Character enters/exits:
    &CHARACTER enters from direction to screen position AND CHARACTER faces direction
    @transition fade in color #
    &CHARACTER exits direction AND CHARACTER faces direction
    @transition fade out color #

by ANTIKA (28.02.2017)

P.S. If anything is unclear, or you have a suggestion what might be added here, please feel free to contact us.

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8 thoughts on “How and When to Use @ and &

    1. Hey Aya, sorry for the late answer but the “#” just means you can replace it with the number you need, like instead of for @char walks to spot size xxx yyy in # <— # means in 2… 3… 4… 0.5 seconds 🙂
      or in zone # means you can replace it with the zone number you need 🙂 hope that helps to make it more clear

      Like

  1. I’m super new to this and the struggle is real! All I want is my stupid character to walk to another zone while carrying a dang box lmao! I feel like I’ve tried a million different codes, yours helps a lot! But I still seem to be missing something.. If I leave out the zone I want my character to walk to like
    @CHARACTER walks to spot x y z in 5 AND CHARACTER faces left AND CHARACTER is walk_carry_box, the code works, it’s just that the character walks to that spot in that zone. So then I tried to do with the zone added and it will not work, driving me crazy! lol. Thanks for any help you can give.

    Like

    1. oh gosh.. I’m so sorry I just saw the post now. I don’t know if you need any further help o.o, if so please contact here again, I’ll answer you by mail… Though I wrote under point 5 in this article that you have to add or subtract 320 from the x value to make the character walk to a different zone 🙂 from zone 2 to zone 1 you need to subtract and in the other direction to add 🙂

      Like

  2. This is amazing! Very helpful.. But i am stuck with something. I want all my characters to be on the screen in a specific zone before i do the fade into the scene. I would like it to fade into zone 2 not the first zone [1]. How do I do that?

    Would be helpful!
    Thank you!

    Like

    1. Hey! You should cut to the needed zone first, then place your characters in that zone (preferably using &), then fade in.
      Example:

      INT. BACKGROUND
      @cut to zone 3
      &CHARACTER1 spot 1 200 300 in zone 3 at layer 2 AND CHARACTER2 spot 1 250 300 in zone 3 at layer 1
      @transition fade in 1

      Like

    1. For example, if you want a character to move to a certain spot on the screen, you use the “walks to spot” command. But what if you want a character to move while dancing, or just being idle? Then you add the “AND CHARACTER does it while [insert animation here]” command. Try it!

      Like

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