Guide: What is an Explainer video?

Posted on Thursday, 27 September 2012

Explainer Woman
When the kind people at Adobe Touch @AdobeTouch asked me how my drawings using Adobe Ideas where coming along when I was creating an animated video project, I responded by showing them my finished animated video. They mentioned on Twitter that they had watched it and said that ‘It’s Wonderful‘ and that they would love to share my story and my creative process and video on their Adobe Touch Facebook community, which I am more than happy to do:

Different TechniquesWhen I created this 2D animated video project I wanted to come up with an alternative way to creating my characters, backgrounds and props artwork. I have been using a range of different techniques in the past, from my artist pens on paper to my light box or interactive pen tablets on a computer. This time I wanted to avoid the time consuming process of scanning all my line drawings on paper with my scanner, to then import them into software for cleanup and finally rasterize and color. I also wanted to avoid using my normal interactive pen tablet that I don’t feel gives me the natural feeling similar to sketching using pen and paper.

I decided to look into other alternatives for creating my line art and I figured why not try to make use of my brand new well known 3rd generation tablet (below) and find a suitable app to draw my sketches with? I wanted something with basic layer features, color picker and drawing capabilities without requiring a lot of advanced features like filters. I just wanted it for sketching and cleaning them up! So I compared the features of some drawing applications for my tablet and decided that Adobe Ideas had all the basic features I needed plus being pretty easy to learn and just great in general.

At first I did a few quick sketches to try it out and then I went ahead to work on all the drawings I knew I would need for my animated video. Here is a photo of my tablet with Adobe Ideas installed on it while working on one of my drawings:

Drawing on the Adobe Ideas App

I used the undo feature, brush size, pan and opacity functions a lot and zoomed in to work on the finer details. The color picker was also helpful and so was the eraser for touching up my strokes. I also really liked the fact that I did not have to sit at my desk at all times to do my drawings. Here is one of the characters I created in progress:

Character Sketch
As I mentioned the interface is clean and tidy and it’s easy to change the opacity on layers so you can use layers for rough sketches to help you draw the finished drawing:

To save my drawings and access them on a computer I signed up for a Adobe Creative Cloud account. With this account I could then add my Idea to an album and Sync my files and access all my drawings easily. Personally I also like to email me my drawings to myself as a .pdf file, which is another available option. With over 35+ drawings I had only used about 1% of my available Cloud storage space:

While I colored a lot of my drawings on a computer for speed, here is an example of a drawing that I colored in Adobe Ideas. I used multiple layers, for sketching and for creating the line art. In this case I created the character and the desk in the same file so I kept them on separate layers. Below I have both a sketch layer and line art turned on:

For coloring purposes I used a larger brush size when coloring my drawings. Scaling the size of the brush is really quick which I found really helpful. The eraser can also be very useful for cleaning up any mistakes. Below is the above image after coloring:

I continued working on all characters and props in new files, remembering to keep my objects on separate layers. You can turn your layers on and off to help you see what you are currently working on more easily:

Here is my lab technician character in progress where all my layers are enabled to ensure that my character and objects all fit together nicely:

An important reason why I like Adobe Ideas is that my sketched drawings are in vector format. I have 17+ years experience of Adobe Photoshop and I also like to draw both on paper and on the computer, but I have never been interested in vector-based illustrations using anchor points, paths and shapes, so for me this is a process that means I can sketch and draw by hand but still get vectors so I can scale it to the size I need later before rasterizing later during animation.

You can see all your drawings inside of Adobe Ideas, you can name your files and you can duplicate or delete a file as you wish:

On a computer I downloaded my finished drawings from my Adobe Creative Cloud account and then continued to work on my drawings including coloring, color correction and any further touching up for preparing to be used in my animation later.

The final step was saving rasterized versions with the resolution required to be used in my intended format, glorious 1080p HD resolution.

I created all the line art (characters, backgrounds and object drawings) for this animation in Adobe Ideas. Here you can view my animated video ‘How does it work?’:

If you like the rounded corner edges on my video I have created a free to download .PSD file on this page that is ready to apply to your 1080p (1920×1080) videos as the top layer during video editing.

I hope you enjoy my work. If you are interested in hiring me to create your animated video please do contact me to discuss your project.


Anders Sundstedt

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