Effect how-to: child drawing

rlc4810 wrote on 3/20/2006, 4:58 AM
I'm trying to figure out how to do something: I want to show a child's drawing of a stick-figure being 'drawn' on the screen. With an invisible crayon, draw the head, then the body, then the arms, legs, the dots for eyes, then a smiling mouth.

I can fairly easily place each line (the head, the body, the arms, etc.) of the drawing on a separate track with a transparent background, then overlay and composite them together in stages. The part I can't figure out is how to get the effect of the lines being drawn. That is, the circle for the head wouldn't just appear on the canvas all at once. The movement of the 'invisible crayon' would move around in a circle, starting at one point, moving around and closing the circle, the crayon would move down from the head, drawing the body, etc.

I imagine something like this can be done with bezier masking. But I can't quite figure out the combination. Does anyone have any ideas on how this could be done? I have Vegas 6 and Paint Shop Pro in my arsenal of tools to work with.

Rick <><


richard-courtney wrote on 3/20/2006, 6:06 AM
Do you have a tablet or one of those tablet pc computers?
I have a tablet pc laptop and record the video out from the S-Video

The circle might be best done by starting with the circle fully drawn
then erase it with a bezier and several keyframes. Then right click
on the clip and select reverse.
rlc4810 wrote on 3/20/2006, 8:47 AM
Thanks so much for the reply. Unfortunately, I don't have a tablet pc computer. So I'm pretty much limited to whatever I can do within Vegas.

Could you elaborate a little more on how you could draw a circle with a bezier and keyframes? I had thought about trying to do something like this with bezier's, but can't figure out how to get a 'moving' mask. For example, forget the stick figure and the circle: suppose I just wanted to draw a straight line left to right on the screen. I assume I can start out with a graphic of the line on my timeline. How do I create and move a mask to gradually erase the line?

Or did I miss the point entirely????

Many thanks for your help!
Rick <><
corug7 wrote on 3/20/2006, 9:10 AM
You could probably use the WAX plugin from Satish over at www.debugmode.com. If you don't have it already is is a very powerful free plugin that offers a rotoscoping tool as well as other nifty stuff. It isn't the best or only game in town, but it's the cheapest.
AlanC wrote on 3/20/2006, 9:44 AM
Rick, how soon do you need to do this and do you have a screen capture utility?

mjroddy wrote on 3/20/2006, 10:27 AM
There are several ways that I can think of off the top of my head.
The easiest two are with bezier masks. Just make your mask on the desired track. Have the mask (probably just a simple box-like shape at first) covering nothing (so nothing shows yet). Then, say for your head object, go to frame 1 and move your bezier point to reveal a little of your head. Then go to a new keyframe, say, for example, frame 5 and move those bezier points to reveal more of your head. Since it's a circle, you may need to add points to make sure it's really uncovering. Repeat until your object is revealed.
The arms, body and legs could be done with a similar method.
You can use an Iris Wipe for the head, and linier wipes for each layer of the body, legs and arms. Just position the wipe starting point and angle and you should be good to go.
Tattoo wrote on 3/20/2006, 10:52 AM

I've only done this on a very simple scale, but here's how I would probably tackle this.

Method 1: If all of your elements are already saved as separate, transparent PNG files (i.e. one file for the left arm, one for the right, one for the body, etc.), then you can simply use hard edge "wipe" transition to "draw" that body part on (i.e. transition the "body" from top to bottom, transition the "left" arm either from upper left to lower right or vice versa, etc.). This works like a champ for basically straight pieces, not so much for circles. If you get really lucky (or just design it that way), you could use a "clock wipe" to draw in a circle (but the circle would have to be in the center of the screen). Otherwise, you have to bezier mask/keyframe the circle using method 2 below.

Method 2: If all of the elements in your drawing don't run together (i.e. gaps in between), then it'd be relatively easy to keyframe the bezier masks. For the first keyframe, make a two-anchor mask (just a line) between elements in your drawing. Then move the cursor further along the timeframe to the point at which you want that element (i.e. the left arm) to be completely revealed, and add mask points and move the mask points as required to reveal that element. Probably easiest to reveal an element in the middle of the drawing and move out from there. Keep creating more keyframes and revealing more elements (body parts). Vegas will interpret between keyframes to provide a smooth reveal.

Note: (I'm assuming you're doing this in Pan/Crop) In the Pan/Crop window, you obviously have to check the "Mask" option at the bottom. Not so obvious, the Mask timeline (to the right of the mask checkbox and below the "Position" timeline) must be active (highlighted) for you to make changes to the mask.

Also, just to make sure we're not talking apples & oranges here, you have to create the drawing in a different program (PSP is great), and then save the image/images as a file (I think most use the transparent PNG). You only use Vegas to "reveal" parts of your drawing as time passes.

I haven't done much of this, so I'm sure someone else could explain it more elegantly and probably has much better techniques. Surely there's a tutorial about masking on www.vasst.com, as well.

rlc4810 wrote on 3/20/2006, 4:36 PM
Thanks so much to all who responded. I will give the masking tips a try to see what I can come up with. Bezier masks are new to me; haven't had an opportunity to do much with them.

I appreciate you all very much.
Rick <><
Jim H wrote on 3/20/2006, 4:54 PM
I would use a paint program to create each frame as I did for the script logo on this website:

B'ville Crosscountry

Start with the complete picture. Then frame by frame start erasing the lines bit by bit saving each frame as you go with either a transparent background or with a color you can drop out later in Vegas chromo. It's not that hard to do and you don't have to deal with drawing all those mask keyframes.
Grazie wrote on 3/20/2006, 5:24 PM
Have you considered "Animation Shop"? It is part of the PSP package. I haven't used it . . but maybe .. just maybe . .

AlanC wrote on 3/21/2006, 1:38 AM
Rick, have you tried MagicSketch?

I don't suppose you have because I only wrote the programme yesterday. I was intrigued by your question so I put together a very basic app that does what you are trying to achieve.

i.e. You can draw freehand in different colours, different brush sizes, and then play back what you have just drawn in slo-mo. (playback speed is adjustable).

If you have Camtasia or any thing similar you can capture the playback as an AVI.

I will develop the prog so that you will be able to render to AVI directly from the playback window but that will take some time, probably a few weeks.

If you (or anybody else) want a copy of MagicSketch in it's present form, let me know.


p.s. it's only 36kb so it will fly down a dial-up.
Grazie wrote on 3/21/2006, 1:49 AM
I'll beta it as well! Sounds bootiful! - G
Grazie wrote on 3/21/2006, 2:02 AM
Just done this with screen capture s/w using PsP! Pphhoarh!!

I think the real trick, I just did, not wanting to "show" the brush/pen, was to finish the drawing; set up screen capture; then do UNDO and REDO in PsP!! The stick man just appeared as if by magic. Now I've got him in AVI and I could also do a FLASH too!

This has been a most exciting and valuable thread .. oh yes . ..


rlc4810 wrote on 3/21/2006, 3:29 AM
Wow! Thanks for all the responses.

No, I currently don't have any kind of screen capture software. That sounds like it might work. Is there any freeware (or extremely cheapware) out there I might get to do this? I'll research 'Camtasia'. And I'm not familiar with 'MagicSketch', but might be interested in getting a copy.

I was going to try tackling it in PSP using Jim H.'s suggestion, where you create a bunch of .png's with the drawing in various stages of completion. Sounds kind of tedious, but I've got a feeling any method of doing this may be a bit on the tedious side!

My due date is about a week before Easter. I have a few days, but need to get to work!

Thanks again
Rick <><
AlanC wrote on 3/21/2006, 3:58 AM
Rick, a trial version of Bulents Screen Recorder is available at: http://www.thesilver.net/

I can send you a copy of MagicSketch but I'll need a e-mail address for you.


AlanC wrote on 3/21/2006, 5:32 AM
Any volunteers to Beta test my MagicSketch programme?

It's pretty basic at the moment but I would like some feedback.

Please e-mail me at: alan(at)collinge(dot)wanadoo.co.uk

richard-courtney wrote on 3/21/2006, 7:15 AM
I should have mentioned this nifty program to change your cursor
either custom or none (if using a tablet you know where the cursor
rlc4810 wrote on 3/21/2006, 9:40 AM

My email:


Rick <><
AlanC wrote on 3/22/2006, 5:00 AM
Any more volunteers to Beta test my MagicSketch programme?

Please e-mail me at: alan(at)collinge(dot)wanadoo.co.uk for a FREE copy.

JohnnyRoy wrote on 3/22/2006, 9:38 AM
I realize the original request was how to do this in Vegas but I just wanted to point out that this is extremely simple to do in Mirage Studio and Bauhaus Software even has a video tutorial that will take you step-by-step through the process. It’s a bit expensive for a one-shot deal but if you do this all the time, it might be worth looking into. Of course, Mirage does a whole lot more than just handwriting FX.

Steve Mann wrote on 3/23/2006, 10:11 PM
You guys are always looking for the hard way to do things. What do you think you are - Hollywood producers, where cost is never an object?

If you are smooth with a mouse, then all you need to buy is Snagit.
If you need more control, buy a small Wacom tablet.

Open Snagit and select video capture.
Open MS Paint
Select "Image", "Attributes"
Set size to '640X480 Pixels', 'Black and White', 'Invert Colors'
Select the brush tool
Select white in the color box (lower left corner)

Turn on snagit movie capture and select the drawing area.
Draw your picture
Stop the Snagit capture

Save the AVI file and you're finished.

If you do it on a colored background, you can chromakey it out and get just the drawing. Works for making a map route or signature.

Steve Mann

lwx wrote on 4/11/2006, 2:15 PM
Just to point it out, since this is a pretty easy task in Mirage, you could download and install the demo version -- it's fully functional and licensed for the 30 day demo period. You could easily do your animation and have lots of time to spare ... for free :)
Jimmy_W wrote on 4/11/2006, 2:34 PM
You can do this easily in Vegas as mjroddy (Matthew) suggested. Without downloading anything. Mirage is fairly complex is it not? I think I will give it a whirl myself.
lwx wrote on 4/11/2006, 3:11 PM
Well, complexity is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. It would probably take me a few minutes to do this, but a) I can't draw worth a hoot, and b) I've been using Mirage since day one, so it's second nature to me.

That said, the workflow would basically be'pick a tool, pick a color, click Record, draw, click Stop Recording' ... it's not much more difficult than that, though of course the options are endless.

p.s. - really didn't intend to pooh-pooh any of the other suggestions at all, just pointing out the possibility of using Mirage for free for this purpose.
rlc4810 wrote on 4/12/2006, 6:40 AM
I never got back with the group to share what I finally landed on for a solution. I actually ended up using a combination of suggested techniques with the tools I had at hand to produce a very satisfactory result.

I found an existing graphic that looked like I wanted the finished product to appear. Within Paint Shop Pro, I painstakingly pulled apart and exported each line of the drawing as a separate .png file with alpha transparency. I then imported all the individual .png's into Vegas onto separate video tracks, with each line of the drawing being revealed on its individual timeline in stages. I then used Bezier masking on each line as suggested by mjroddy to slowly reveal each line across keyframes. Bezier masking is a bit tricky!!! I learned a lot, and discovered I need lots more practice!!!!

When this was all composited together, it created a very nice effect, just what I had in mind. I actually ended up doing another more complex picture of a 'coloring book' flower. With this one, I actually had several lines being 'drawn' simultaneously, as though several invisible hands were working on different sections. It ended up looking very cool, in my opinion.

I want to thank each and every one of you folks for taking the time to offer suggestions to help me. One of the great things about working with Vegas is all the wonderful support I get from this board.

Thanks so much!
Rick <><