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Old May 29th, 2008, 11:56 PM   #1
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Drawing into video - help please

Ok - I'm not sure of the technical stuff so I'll just describe what I'm trying to do here.

I'm producing a ski instructional DVD.
For some sections I need to be able to draw curves and then place stills of these into my video.

I have ZeusDraw which is a vector drawing program that allows me to draw bezier curves.

It only allows me to export in certain formats, and when I import those into Final Cut Express they seem fine in the viewer but a little "fuzzy" or "jagged" in the browser. I've been using JPEG format to export/import as both programs recognise those... tried TIFF also but no better...

Any ideas? Anyone done this stuff and can point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:07 AM   #2
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Remember that video pixels are different from "regular" pixels in that they are not square, so you need to not only make sure that your export resolution matches your video, but that its proportions match as well.

I did something similar to what you describe in this satiric video. The effect begins at 2:34
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umEpXKdTm5k
I created the lines in Freehand (another vector-based program) and exported them as an eps file which I then rendered to proper resolution in Photoshop. Then I animated the effects in Final Cut Pro.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 03:27 AM   #3
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FRANK

Thanks - but that is the problem... how do I tell a drawing program to export it into EPS - when it only has JPG, TIFF etc? Do I need EPS??

The drawing program has a page layout - but that is A4, A5, etc... not pixel sized....

Should I set custom page size that is sized to my computer screen?

And how do I "render to proper resolution"

I have a friend who is a graphic design artist - but her solution involves buying Adobe Creative Suite and a tablet - so much money....

I don't want to create works of art... just draw some simple curves that explain technical stuff about skiing...

I seem to recall that I could once draw what I wish in simple Word processing and Presentation software - but now they only allow drawing of fixed shapes not lines.... And the drawing program has limited export ability... I can get slides from Keynotes into FCE easily... but I cannot draw in Keynotes....
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Old May 30th, 2008, 11:10 AM   #4
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Janis-

I think your biggest obstacle is the limitations of ZeusDraw by itself. I think what you're creating there needs to be further modified or enev re-created in, say, Photoshop to make it better compatible with your editing program.

The nice thing about the abiity to export as an eps from a vector-based program is that the eps remains resolution-independent until it is rasterized. The file formats available through ZeusDraw are all raster-based, and to be video compliant they need to be re-rasterized. This could be the source of your fuzziness in FCE.

Your friend's advice regarding the Adobe Creative Suite would certainly do the trick (and although a graphics tablet is nice, it's not necessary) but being as expensive as it is, it's not terribly practical. There is also a rather steep learning curve. My day job happens to be as a graphic designer, so I've been using these programs for years.

Your best bet might be to make the graphics you need in ZeusDraw as a preliminary version, and then outsource the creation of the final version to a graphic designer who understands the requirements of video.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #5
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I've looked at Zeusdraw for you. Just select a higher DPI setting when you export (600 DPI maybe higher as needed). Also make sure you choose a higher quality setting (9 should be fine).

Check the JPG file resolution from the finder using command-i. The size should be larger than your video resolution. You can then resize in FCP (never upsize).

Ideally you would export the exact size you need and not resize in FCP, but I seen no quick way to do that from Zeusdraw.

Not being a FCP user I can't say if exporting as Postscript or PDF will render better results in FCP (or if they can even be used). I use Adobe Illustrator with After Effects and can import/use vector images seamlessly.

George/
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Old May 30th, 2008, 07:21 PM   #6
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Thanks FRank and George

George -I already tried that... exported at 1000dpi... no better...

The one I am trying atm is the easiest drawing - simple arcs that describe radius of a turn... the "vertical" section of the arc is fine but the "horizontal" bits are awful...

If I use lineform and export as SVG will it improve the outcome?

I'm trying not to employ a graphic designer as I have a heap of these technical drawings that must be right and I think it would take longer to explain than to draw them...

I'm not struggling to draw - just to import and retain quality in FCE
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Old May 30th, 2008, 08:50 PM   #7
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OK - I'm still struggling with this... I've looked at other drawing programs(eg.Intaglio) and there is no way to set my drawing size as pixels... again as in Zeusdraw I have a choice of paper formats only...or I CAN set a custom size in cm's not pixels...

Can anybody explain please how to deal with this....
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Old May 30th, 2008, 08:51 PM   #8
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George the JPG file resolution was 9596x 6205
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Old May 30th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #9
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This is real wild thought, but could you photograph the drawings and import the photos? Or even make a short video clip of each one. Hanging a piece of foamcore on the wall and tacking paper drawings to the foamcore should work. If they were drawn in a PC, you could print them out first at high resolution.

Sort of redundant and low tech but if it works...
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Old May 30th, 2008, 09:26 PM   #10
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Jim - yeah if I have to I'll try something like that... but it seems crazy I cannot do such a simple thing.... FCE has so many wizz bang things - but it cannot read a simple vector drawing?

Keynotes/pages can do all sorts of guff but not draw a simple bezier curve?

I'm sure it cannot be that hard... but I just cannot work out what I have to do to make it work....
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Old May 30th, 2008, 10:35 PM   #11
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Uhhh - after 50 years in the computer industry, let me assure you that it can indeed be that hard!

I can't begin to tell enough stories of major companies I've worked with having to do even stranger things to get data out of one system and into another. I can even recollect companies taking computer printouts and having the data re-entered by hand because the systems wouldn't talk to each other.

There probably is a way to get the info from A to B but finding the better way may not be easy and after a while frustration sets in.

Have you asked the tech support folks at chromatic bytes if they're aware of any way to do it?

I'm a PC person myself so can't really help with any of the details. I was just wondering if there might be a different package you have that you could use as an intermediary, ie get the curves out of Zeus Draw into something that can export them in a format that FCE likes. I have to do this all the time to get data from some CAD packages into Cinema 4D correctly
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Old May 30th, 2008, 11:50 PM   #12
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Janis-

Sent you a PM
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Old May 31st, 2008, 05:30 AM   #13
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Improvement in situation - I think....

It seems Keynotes can draw bezier curves.... so now I just need to save the Keynotes drawing as a QT movie yes?
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Old June 5th, 2008, 01:18 AM   #14
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Drew bezier curves in Keynotes...
Exported them as Quicktime movie
Imported to FCE
Connected a TV to camcorder to computer and .....

the images look fine :D



Only issue now is that the images have a flicker on the TV...

Any hints? This is almost solved

Thankyou everyone
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