18 Replies Latest reply on May 13, 2015 4:08 PM by davidp158

    how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?

    davidp158 Level 1

      This isn't directly about After Effects, but the end result is something I will use with After Effects...so here goes:

       

      I'm looking for a way to use Photoshop or Corel Painter to "draw" an alphabet, while capturing the strokes as they are done in real time. I don't want to see the application's screen cursor. I also don't want to take the completed letter(s) and reveal them with a matte. This doesn't look real, and is also problematic where lines intersect. So, I'm thinking there must be a way to do a video screen capture, but I'm not familiar with applications that do this. Can anyone suggest how to go about this?

       

      Here's an example of what I'd like to recreate:

      http://videohive.net/item/mondo/3063469?sso?WT.ac=search_item&WT.seg_1=search_item&WT.z_au thor=EmperorVFX

       

      This example appears to have been done with real media, ink and brush. I'm guessing the artist may have shot video from behind a translucent substrate as the letters were drawn, and then flipped the video (so the letters weren't backwards). It looks great, but I'm hoping there is a way to mimic this effect on my Mac. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

       

      thanks!

        • 1. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
          Dave LaRonde Level 6

          Ironic, isn't it?

           

          The animated typeface example you cite employs precisely the things you refuse to use in After Effects.  The reason that you don't notice them is because they happen so quickly.... which is a trick that AE practitioners have used since Days Of Yore.

           

          So........ how do you intend to resolve what you see and what you want?

           

          I will admit that in a frame-by-frame examination of the animation, there are intentional irregularities introduced into creating a given letter, which implies that the creator took a whole, big boatload of time to craft each and every letter.  Furthermore, I have no doubt that the the creator selected the most visually-impressive animations for the demo.

           

          Is this something that you are willing to undertake?  Or do you have fiath that AE can do such things automatically, so you expend neither time nor effort in accomplishing them?

          • 2. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
            davidp158 Level 1

            Dave - Thanks for the reply, but...

             

            Maybe the example I referenced was not the best one, but its all I could find at the moment. FWIW, I have seen examples where the beginning of the stroke was clearly not a static image masked in AE. I have explored revealing text with animated mattes/paths, and in most cases, that technique works just fine. The main issue is that when strokes intersect, a static image can not be masked in any way that reveals the underlying stroke. I could create images of individual/partial strokes, and composite them in AE, but I am thinking a video capture would be a better solution.

             

            Its not that I "refuse to use" conventions in AE. I am simply asking about about techniques to video capture strokes. Answers to that question is how I may resolve what I see and want.

            • 3. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              Sorry, I equated "I don't want" with "I refuse".  My bad, I guess.

               

              Animating the drawing-on of any typeface isn't as straightforward as it appears.

               

              There is the issue of intersections in certain letters, such as the letter q written in cursive: if you use either an animated mask or an effect such as Write-On as a track matte, it requires great care to reveal just enough, but not too much.

               

              There is the issue of sequencing: which strokes of the brush or pen happen before others,  and what is each stroke's relative speed?  Should it take more time in a certain part of  a letter, and less time elsewhere as the letter is written?  When should the t's be crossed, and the i's dotted?

               

              There is the issue of an "organic feel", the animated irregularities that help to sell the effect visually.  Which effects in After Effects will best suit your purpose to make it visually-convincing, how much should they vary, and how do you animate the variations?

               

              And the final issue: time.  How much time are you willing to invest in this project?

               

              These are issues that only the designer can answer, yet they all play crucial roles in building the animation. 

               

              I once spent four hours animating a person's signature, using a close-up shot of the person actually signing, plus a scan of the signature.  The result looked like the person signed in felt-tip pen, which was a good thing: I insisted that the person used a felt-tip pen.  I used that particular animation at least a dozen times. 

               

              For me, it was worth it.

              • 4. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                Freshprinceofeugene Level 1

                there are actually a few programs that can do this, the term you are looking for is "video scribing", if you google search that term you will find a wealth of info.

                • 5. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                  Dave LaRonde Level 6

                  Then if you already know how to do it, why on Earth are you farting around with After Effects?

                  • 6. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    These strokes are revealed one at a time with a matte. I haven't bought this template so you could be getting short movies of each letter that you'll have to positioin on the screen, but looking at the shots very carefully, there's nothing there that can't be done with  You solve the intersecting lines by breaking up the artwork. The brush stroke on top of another brush stroke is simply an layer above another layer with a blend mode like multiply or overlay applied. You can easily do exactly what you want in AE if:

                    1. Split up each stroke for each layer as a separate element
                    2. carefully choose the look and speed and shape of the animated matte that reveals the stroke
                    3. Use Blend Modes to layer the strokes on top of each other.

                    It's all a simple matter of breaking down each element to it's component part, separating them, and working with layers.

                     

                    If you really want to do it in one layer recording your drawing in Photoshop or Painter then use a screen capture program like Camtasia or Screenflow and turn off the cursor indication Then you'll have to key out the background of the screen cap program to end up with your alphabet. I think the other way would be faster and give you more control.

                     

                    Here's a few frames of a screen cap of the movie. You can clearly see th edge of the matte. The went to the trouble of actually matting each letter with a mask instead of just animating a stroke, but this was not a recording of somebody painting letters with a brush. If it were there would be no hard straight edge to the edge of the animation.

                     

                    animatiedFont.jpg

                    • 7. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                      Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      My post sat for a while so I missed the rest of the thread. The key to achieving the effect you want is to either film it with a camera, screen cap, or do an animated mask with something like roughen edges applied to the edge of the mask.

                       

                      The best examples of hand drawn fonts that I have seen that are really hand drawn have been shot against glass with ink and a brush. Depending on the speed of the strokes, you could even replicate that very well in AE by animating masks.

                       

                      As far as resolving the issue of intersecting strokes, that can be resolved by animating masks instead of just using a stroke to reveal the letters. It can also be resolved by breaking up the artwork. Neither is a very time consuming process if you approach it correctly.

                      • 8. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                        davidp158 Level 1

                        Yep, the mask reveal technique is a time consuming process, but good work takes time. The pace of the animation really needs attention to make the flow of the strokes mimic handwriting. There are plenty of tutorials that demonstrate the process, and I have a good handle on how to go about it.

                         

                        Looking again at the example I referenced, the letter E appears to be done with 3 individual strokes. Sure, it can be painted in layers and animated indivually, but I still think a video capture could do it all in one pass. Easier, faster, and wouldn't require a break in the handwriting process to produce overlapping strokes.

                         

                        I still want to find out how to do a video screen capture of drawn strokes, as this would be useful for more than just type. I have asked a few software companies if the tool cursors could be eliminated from the video capture, but none of them ever responded.

                         

                        cheers,

                        Dave

                        • 9. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                          davidp158 Level 1

                          Rick - Thanks for your post. I'm familiar with the process, and agree that an appropriate mask could create that brush effect. As Dave LaRonde pointed out, the animations typically happen fast enough to hide the mask.

                           

                          I wondered if any of the video screen capture apps allowed disabling the cursors, so I will look into Camtasia or Screenflow.

                           

                          Thanks guys for the helpful info!

                           

                          have a good weekend,

                          Dave

                          • 10. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                            davidp158 Level 1

                            That comment was from another person. If I already knew how to do this, I wouldn't be asking....LOL.

                            • 11. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                              Dave LaRonde Level 6

                              I still want to find out how to do a video screen capture of drawn strokes, as this would be useful for more than just type.

                               

                               

                              The short answer: multiple takes, and plenty of patience until you get just what you want at the speed you want. 

                               

                              I think you will find that even if you use AE's capabilitiy to record position keyframes, which has been present since version 3.1, if not earlier,  it will take many tries to get the precise look you seek, and it will probably never match the speed you hope.  There will always be painstaking tweaking involved.

                              • 12. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                I've shot a bunch of ink flows and paint spills on camera. I have only shot someone painting lettering once. We had a Japanese calligrapher paint the opening titles for a film on glass and then rotoed him and the brush out of the shot. About 10 takes and 6 hours were required to get the shot in the studio. It took about 2 days to complete the shot using Commotion for roto and AE for compositing and successfully lay it over the background. This was in the AE 3.1 days (1997 if memory serves me). I could do the roto and the compositing much faster today but would still spend about the same time in the studio. BTW, I wish someone would revive commotion. It was the best software ever for roto and paint on video. Hands down the best.

                                 

                                There are some paint programs that I have seen that will let you record your strokes. I don't recall right now but I have it in the back of my head that Corel Painter was one that did this. That might be a better option. For me, however, revealing existing artwork with an animated mask with something like roughen edges would be the way to go. The project that I worked on on 97 was repeated in 2005. This time I was just sent the completed title art as a separate letter on a white piece of paper. I scanned them and animated a mask. Total time was about a day.

                                 

                                One other thing. Screenflow and Camtasia will allow you to hide the cursor but both record the cursor in Photoshop when you're painting. The best you can do is to have photoshop hide the brush and show only the cross hairs when painting.

                                • 13. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                                  Dave LaRonde Level 6

                                  BTW, I wish someone would revive commotion. It was the best software ever for roto and paint on video. Hands down the best.

                                  Oh, Amen, Brother!

                                   

                                  How on God's Green Earth did Adobe let that gem slip past them? 

                                   

                                  Rotosplines!

                                  • 14. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                                    Freshprinceofeugene Level 1

                                    I'm actually a different guy who just happened to chime in on the conversation.

                                    • 15. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                                      Klaus_Brandenburg Level 2

                                      How about getting a touch tablet like Wacom. You can use this with AEs paint tool and have the best of both worlds like your actual writing plus keyframeability over timing and stroke parameters plus you can adjust strokes you're not perfectly happy with. These tablets come in all price ranges and if you don't want to spend any money you could even use the touch panel of a laptop (which would be only good for single letters I guess).

                                      • 16. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                                        davidp158 Level 1

                                        Klaus - Thanks for your post. I've been using Wacom tablets for 8+ years, and already familiar with the "write on" techniques in After Effects. What I was inquiring about was video screen capture options. Rick suggested Camtasia and Screenflow, which are options that will do what I'm after.

                                         

                                        cheers,

                                        Dave

                                        • 17. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                                          evan-g Level 1

                                          A somewhat belated reply, as mentioned above Corel Painter and Art-Rage can both record a drawing session and replay it.
                                          So "can" Photoshop with the the enable tool recording in the actions panel, but almost always will give unreliable results except for very simple stuff.

                                          Painter used to be the go to app for this kind of thing, drawing and painting with organic strokes and revealing them too with painterly mattes,through the scripts function by recording and even saving frames on playback to a framestack which then could be exported as a movie. Unfortunately this has not been updated since early versions and once the framestack reaches 2GB in size it stops. So its not really useful for long and complex HD recordings.

                                          But one can use Camtasia to capture Painter's and Art-Rage's playback of the drawing session.

                                          Art-Rage and PS have similar recording style, they will record and playback zoom in/out, page rotate etc which becomes distracting. Painter just records the strokes.

                                          There is also Synthetic Studio artist which does animated painterly stuff but I haven't tried it.

                                          • 18. Re: how can I capture a drawn/painted stroke?
                                            davidp158 Level 1

                                            evan-g
                                            Sorry that I didn't see your post from 2 months ago, but thanks for responding.

                                            I tried Corel Painter for this effect, but the playback is hyper fast, and I want to be able to control the speed. I can live with the 2GB limit, but I haven't found a way to define how many frames per second Painter records. I emailed tech support a few times, but never got a reply. It is Corel, after all...

                                             

                                            Camtasia might be a better solution, as it probably has better recording options. Do you know if there is a way to disable the visibility of the cursor? I don't want to show the cursor in the captured video, but it would be helpful to have it when drawing. I will look into Camtasia and see if they have a demo download. Thanks for the suggestion.