I am creating this article after receiving many questions about how i go about creating my own speed paintings. For those of you who don’t know, i’ve created many successful videos that recieved high ratings and views on YouTube (You can check my channel here at http://www.youtube.com/user/AshrafArtwork). I will tell you all about my experiences with speed paintings and what are the misconceptions that people have about them. The speed paintings discussed here is the process of creating your artwork digitally. By digitally i mean using the computer. Whether you use a graphic tablet (recommended) or even a mouse, digital speed paintings are created by using an external device that is connected directly to your computer. Speed paintings that are done using real tools (such as pencil,paper,canvas etc..) is a whole different story. Lets begin…
People make a big hassle about the software. To be honest with you guys, i personally believe that Photoshop is the BEST when it comes to quality and efficiency. It doesn’t really matter what kind of software you use as long as you have a decent application where you can adjust colors,layers and artistic tools (artistic tools such as smudging and dodging for example). Choose a software that would help you create the artwork YOU want to create. Guys, don’t forget that the main goal here is to actually make a great piece artwork and what you are doing is just recording the process of it. Imagine someone watching a speed painting video that is 3 minutes long and then the final results are bad? Then the whole video is rated badly! A good speed painting is rated about the quality of the final piece. People don’t care whether you followed the ‘correct procedures’ of creating an artwork or not, its not a test. Every artist has a different approach in creating his/her own final piece so don’t change the way you create an artwork . Draw like you draw naturally!
Before you start anything, you have to record it. We don’t use cameras or any external accessories to record off the screen (misconception), we use an internal recording software. You would want this software to record what you are doing in high quality AND save it in minimal disk space. Lets say your artwork takes 3 to 4 hours to create, you would then want a software that would record all this time and save in minimal disk space. I prefer to use a software called ‘Camtasia’ recorder. For me 3 to 4 hours with Camtasia would be around 700MB of disk space which I’m alright with. That is why i would really recommend that your computer would have a high disk space (minimum 100GB to be in the safe side). Regardless of what recorder you have, MAKE SURE that it has the function to choose the region of your painting window. We don’t want our recorder to record the whole screen because people are not interested in looking at your tools as much as they want to focus on the process of your work itself. With Camtasia, as soon as i click the Record button, i highlight the window in Photoshop that i draw in and then i start painting. I prefer to always stop every 30 minutes and create a new region and continue on because if your computer froze, you wouldn’t want to loose everything (that way your process is saved on many different files). Always test different recording softwares and try a sample of drawing for 2 minutes and then see what movie size has been created. Make sure that you are not filling your disk space or else your computer will crash.
3) MOVIE EDITOR
After you have finished your artwork, you should have lets say four video files saved from your recorder and your final photoshop artwork file. Now, you would have to combine all four movies and picture in a movie editing software to fast forward it or ‘speed it up’. For windows user, you can use Windows Movie Maker and for Mac users you can go ahead and use iMovie (both are great Free softwares). Just import your videos in it and then speed them up to a range from 3 to 5 minutes. Add music that is nearly as close to your timing of your video (it sucks when the video is over and the music is not). Guys, don’t forget that speed paintings should be FAST (hence speed paintings). People don’t want to sit and watch endless artworks being done forever, because they are partly interested in the final result too. You would want your final exported video to be between 3 to 5 minutes and not more than 30mb (assuming that you are going to upload your video on YouTube).
People use different softwares but i find the softwares mentioned above produce good quality for the smallest disk space. I know people who create speed paintings using Microsoft Paint! You gotta be true to yourself and use a software that you are comfortable using when you naturally create your own artwork. Remember, if your final result sucks, no one would care if you made it in Paint or in Photoshop. Same goes if your artwork looks brilliant. Bottom line is, use a software you have full control off and enjoy speed painting