I’ve been working on some animations for my consulting engagement. My new “green-screen” workflow involves Camtasia Studio’s Replace a Color feature, a large secondary motor, and the Cintiq 12 WX (although any USB tablet will probably do fine). It works really well! I re-rendered my 4-minute video because I wanted to use the WAV export as the audio instead of the MP3 export – better audio quality.
My old workflow (Artrage Studio Pro script recording and then some text manipulation to get it to save frames) ran about 4 hours per audio minute. This one’s at about two hours per audio minute, and it could take even less of my time if I could delegate the editing and synchronization to someone else. (Not for this one because of the contract, but maybe next time!)
Here are some other ways to cheat when animating sketches. Click on the image for a larger version.
No samples, sorry, but maybe I’ll plan my own animations after this consulting project is finished.
In the meantime, here’s a quick glimpse of how to use Remove a Color in Camtasia Studio:
When I got today’s e-mail announcement of Camtasia Studio 8.1, I was super-excited. You see, one of the new features is Remove Colour, which is also known as green-screening (although you can use other colours if you want). This is great for people who want to splice video with other video, like dropping in another background or placing your video on top of your screenshots. Getting an evenly-lit, well-coloured background can be a challenge when doing green-screening…
… but if you’re drawing digitally, it’s a piece of cake. =) And it lets you do cool stuff! See below:
In the past, I’ve done a few short animations using digital sketches. To keep things on track without running out of space, I pre-draw my sketches, then trace over them. I used Artrage Studio Pro for this because it allowed you to record and replay drawing strokes, so I could draw everything, start recording, and then redraw the image. I like Autodesk Sketchbook Pro much better, though. I’d been thinking about buying a separate video editing program to handle greenscreening, but having it built into Camtasia Studio is even better.
Here’s how I did this video:
I drew an image using a color I knew I wasn’t going to be using in the final image. For fun, I used non-photo blue (rgb: 164, 221, 237), which is one of the colours that artists use when sketching on paper because it practically disappears when the drawing is scanned in grayscale.
I started the Camtasia recording and drew over my image using a different color.
I edited the Camtasia recording, splitting the tracks and turning on Remove Color for some parts. I also added some text callouts.
You can find the Remove Color option under Visual Properties (select More > Visual Properties if you don’t see it). Enjoy!
People often want to sit beside me to see how I’m drawing my sketchnotes, so I thought I’d record one session and put together a short video. Here’s how I drew yesterday’s sketchnote. In this video, I zoomed in so that you’re not distracted by all the other controls I have open. =)
Most of the sketchnote artists I know work on paper – sketchbooks, large sheets of paper, whatever. A few use iPads or Android tablets. Few people use tablet PCs, possibly because most designers like using Macs and Apple’s not keen on the tablet PC / stylus combination. I love how I can use my Lenovo X220 Tablet PC to sketchnote, and I want to share what I’ve been learning along the way.
Working on the computer, it’s easy to:
paste in pictures and templates
draw over a light grid for alignment and spacing
move things around, erase things, resize things
draw without worrying about blurring or smudging
export to different resolutions
publish immediately after an event, which is great for following up and for catching the wave of interest on Twitter and blogs
capture my sketchnoting process and turn it into a speed-drawing video
I use Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. If I want to record my sketches while I’m doing them, I turn on Camtasia Studio as well. I used to use ArtRage for drawing and animation, and I’ve produced 1-minute animated sketchnotes using that, but it’s not as responsive and pen-friendly as Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is.
Working on a tablet PC is so different from working on paper or on a digitizing tablet like those small Wacom ones. On paper, you can use your peripheral vision to keep the big picture in mind as you’re working on some detail. With digital sketchnoting, I zoom in so that I can draw legible letters, so I don’t have that sense of space – but I can work at various zoom levels using very similar motions, so I can be more consistent. The ability to sketchnote an event in person without needing a special table or access to a power outlet allows me to put the spotlight on all sorts of events, while a digital workflow lets me publish things right away and spread the ideas even further.
Some organizational tips if you’re heading down this path as well:
Invest the time in developing your templates. I’ve been experimenting with different aspect ratios. Lately, I’ve been using a 7.5”x10” template at 300dpi, which means that I can print my sketchnotes on letter-sized paper, and they still look decent at 11×17”. I also have templates for a square grid and for credits so that I don’t spend time lining up my name, Twitter handle, and URL just so.
Save the colours and your favourite brushes to your palette. Make it easy to switch between colours by adding them to your palette. Experiment with the right brush widths too, and save those.
Pay attention to how you name your files and save your images. Exporting files with descriptive names saves me lots of time when it comes to filing and searching them afterwards. I sketchnoted more than a hundred 1-hour talks last year, and I often find myself using Evernote to dig up a specific sketch.
Lots of people tell me they’d love to learn how to do things like this. I want to help people improve their visual communication skills. What kinds of questions do you need answered? What would help you get started?