Creating Video

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fact file4.11 Six DrawPlus tips and tricks

1 Cutting, copying and pastingbirds

As with most graphics and word processing programs, in DrawPlus any selected element can be copied and pasted elsewhere. In keyframe animation mode Cut, Copy and Paste is particularly useful for copying two drawings to alternate frames to create an illusion of the character flying, running or walking, for example, using only two poses.

my designs2 The 'My Designs' Gallery

DrawPlus has an additional feature that is even more useful than the Cut, Copy and Paste buttons. It is the My Designs area on the Gallery tab, which has the capacity to store assets you produce yourself such as characters, scenes, and props for later re-use. The Gallery tab also contains folders with a wide selection of readymade graphics and clipart.

You can drag any selected element into the My Designs window, name the graphic in the dialog box that appears and it will be stored for future use. You can drag an instance of your stored graphic onto a frame and edit it at any time, leaving the original intact.

3 Group and separate characters' features

Simplify body parts for your character and draw them separately, saving them to the Gallery. Elements for limbs like arms and legs and for facial features like eyes can be grouped and ungrouped, repositioned and edited independently, which saves you having to draw numerous poses and expressions for each character.

cat face

The 'Crowfield Vincent' animation, for example, utilises relatively few drawings, although it has over 70 frames and a total running time of 21.4 seconds. The crow has a single body shape comprising a combined head and body, one tail, one wing (copied, inverted and resized where two are in view), one eye, one leg copied twice, and an upper and lower beak. You can edit these in many ways including changing the line and fill colours. The crow has a black fill with a white outline for the body, wings and tail. The golden rule is to be economic with drawing: edit and re-use components.

grouped bird

In DrawPlus X4 and above shapes no longer have to be closed because a new feature on the Context toolbar called Fill-on-Create allows unclosed vector shapes to be filled too.

4 Import, ungroup and edit existing clip art

Clip art can be imported into DrawPlus where you can ungroup the elements of the graphic and use them as a component in your animation. You can also modify some of the many pre-built design objects and elements stored in the DrawPlus Gallery folders. The Junk junk! animation adopts a cartoon dog and a bag of fish and chips as key elements of the storyline.

Junk Junk

5 Background layers

One of the most economical tricks if your backdrop appears on several frames or throughout the animation is to place it on a separate layer that sits at the bottom of the stack and run it forward to the end of the storyboard. Layers are essential for organizing objects separately, so that you can modify them without accidentally changing anything else.

The screenshot shows the layers for the first frame of the 'Lost in the city' animation with the cityscape at the bottom of the stack.


You can run an object such as the backdrop for the whole duration of the animation, or just for a given sequence of frames. You can also animate it by changing its properties such as colour or transparency, by moving it horizontally, by rotating it like the cityscape drawing, or by fading it away completely using increasing percentages of transparency.

cityscapebird layer

6 Pan and zoom just like the movies

DrawPlus has a Keyframe camera that allows you to pan across a frame and zoom in and out from a detail without having to re-draw, re-size or re-position elements.

In the 'Wallpaper cat' animation, for example, the camera zooms in on a bird that has stepped out of the wallpaper pattern, then pans across to the cat's face and zooms back out to take in the whole scene. This effect is achieved economically, as the same frame is repeated three times (see below). The frame is exactly the same, but the area to be viewed has been redefined with the Keyframe camera enabled.

wallpaper cat

video Grouping elements : demo : training

video Combine, group and order elements : demo : training

video Using layers : demo : training

video Serif Video Tutorial : Working with Layers

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