Archive for the ‘screencasters’ Category

Episode 045 – Snapshot Mosaic

November 16, 2007

I’ve *finally* completed a new screencast. Sorry for the long delay. This one was a fun one. It demonstrates a fairly easy way to take a single image and break it up into component ‘snapshots’. So it looks like you took several pictures of different parts of an object and reassembled them. The example I do is a pretty basic one. You could do things like adjust the lightness, contrast or saturation of each snapshot separately to really give different creative effects.

This is another example where I really think Inkscape is significantly quicker than using Gimp or Photoshop for certain photographic projects. The method is simple, very intuitive and leaves room for lots of creative ideas once you get familiar with it.

Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

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Screencasters now accepting pity…er.. donations.

November 15, 2007

Heathenx and I have decided to add a completely voluntary donation button to our screencasters website. He seemed to articulate the reasoning just perfectly in his post. So don’t be too dismayed to see the paypal donation button on the site, we’re not going all capitalist and closed-source on ya, at least not until we take the thing public and retire to a beach in Tahiti..  😉

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Screencast 35 now glitch-free and up on YouTube

September 4, 2007

I finally got around to fixing the glitchy video by re-encoding my screencast episode 35. I also managed to upload it to YouTube although with it being over 10 minutes long, I once again had to split it up into part 1 and part 2.

The workflow was still by no means painless. There are a few things I still need to streamline, but definitely mencoder is the way to go for me.

Perspective Reflections – Inkscape Screencast

August 30, 2007


I’ve uploaded my latest Inkscape screencast (Episode 35). This one describes a neat method of creating reflections using a simple black to white mask. I discovered this neat trick at Nicu’s great blog.

While I’ve made reflections using Inkscape in the past, I’ve always had two problems. First, if the group of objects to be reflected consisted of multiple colours, using a simple opacity gradient was quite a pain. Second, creating a realistic looking reflection for an object in perspective (particularly photos) was very difficult. The one that we use on the screencaster LCD monitor thumbnail (at the top of this post) is really faked with a white opacity gradient. The problem being that if I changed the background to anything but white, you’d suddenly see the retardedness of it all. 😉

So the mask method eliminates these two problems and makes creating reflections of more complex objects (including perspectives) much easier and more elegant.

Hope you enjoy it.

For those who care about the mechanics of screencasting, this was actually the first one that I created solely with recordmydesktop, mencoder, and Audacity – although I did use an ffmpeg one-liner to extract a screenshot for the thumbnail (anybody know how to do that with mencoder/mplayer?). I think the quality is better and the workflow is definitely easier and more logical. Big thanks to Heathenx for helping me out with this stuff.

But it wasn’t completely without problem. You will notice some weird artifacting that occurs about 2 or 3 seconds into my sped-up intro. This wasn’t in the original ogg capture, but occurred somewhere during the post-processing. I thought it might disappear by the end – but no such luck. 😉 I’ve decided to leave it there for the time being and will correct it and replace the files when I can.. ie. not tonight. 😉

One other thing is that I haven’t yet put this one up on YouTube. It’s about 12min long, so I’m gonna have to split it up like I did with Episode 26. I’d like to do it with mencoder as well this time, so in the next couple of days I expect to have the two-parts finished and up on YouTube as well.

Shattered Photo – Inkscape Screencast

August 14, 2007

I’ve finished another Inkscape screencast, Episode 032 to be specific. This one shows one way of creating a shattered glass effect with a photo image using Inkscape. I’ve uploaded a lower quality version to YouTube and of course you can find it in significantly higher quality, along with all of our other screencasts at: screencasters.heathenx.org

Hope you enjoy it and find it useful. 🙂

Neon Sign Effect – Inkscape Screencast

July 4, 2007

I’ve done a new Inkscape screencast. This one quickly (very quickly) demonstrates how to easily achieve a neon sign effect. Maybe you’re putting together a tawdry pr0n site or something. 😉 What’s next you’re asking yourself… flashing Unicorn gifs?? 🙂

Check out this episode and all of our other Inkscape screencasts at screencasters.heathenx.org where you can view the flash version online or download a high quality avi of your very own.

Screencasters Update

June 28, 2007

There has been significant discussion over on this thread at inkscapeforum.com about our screencasters.heathenx.org site. We received several good suggestions and as a result we’ve updated the site slightly. Kudos to heathenx for his successful journey through video encoding hell, and his patience with my absolute skill at butchering his CSS work. 😉

Here’s the low-down on the changes:

– tweaks to the css to make it suck less in IE browsers

– we’re now streaming the swf files and offering up avi files for direct download (the avi’s are encoded with xvid and mp3 codecs for those interested).

– we now show the size of the avi file so that you know what you’re about to download

– we added anchor links for each episode so if great people like Ryan Lerch and Nico Buculei and other Inkscapers want to blog about specific screencasts they can link directly to the specific episode

That’s pretty much it. If you’ve got more suggestions, keep ’em coming. Although now maybe heathenx and I can concentrate more on coming up with some new screencasts.

A New Site is Born…

June 22, 2007


Well we’ve gone and done it. Fellow Inkscape screencaster heathenx and I have spent the last month or so putting together a home for higher quality versions of our screencasts. You can see the fruits of our labour at http://screencasters.heathenx.org.

About 6 months ago I uploaded my first Inkscape screencast to YouTube and soon after heathenx started doing them too [he does nothing but copy me ;)]. We’ve had plenty of views on YouTube, but two things always bugged us. The quality/size of the video, and the 10 minute/100MB limitation on uploads.

So while we won’t be abandoning the YouTube posts, we’re going to be putting our screencasts over on the new site and likely posting versions to YouTube in tandem with that.

We’ve got all of our 23 episodes up on the site right now. We decided to encode them in flash format (.swf files) for two reasons really: ubiquity of the flash format and easier streaming capability. You can download the swf files to your local machine and view them in your browser or any flash capable media player, or watch them right on the site in your browser. The site also has an RSS feed which will serve mainly as a outlet for announcements – ie. not as a video blog per se, at least for the time being.

Call me a masochist, but I have to say that the hurdles and challenges we had to overcome to get the site the way we wanted was the most fun I’ve had in a while. Both heathenx and myself are engineers and because of that, I think that we’re pretty much in our element when stuck with a problem and left to our own devices. The fact that we share the same dry and sometimes childish sense of humour didn’t hurt the fun factor either. A quick check of the About page will illustrate that fact quite clearly. 🙂

And that’s really the whole motive behind it. Fun. Sure, we could easily use the site to make millions (after all, we developed a completely custom-built content management system for it – in 80 lines of python [cough cough]), but we’re far too modest for that. 😉

So if you’ve enjoyed any of our past screencasts, or want to check them out, head on over to the site at: http://screencasters.heathenx.org

We’d appreciate your feedback to help improve the site, so if you’ve got any comments or questions, you can comment on this post, or email us at: screencasters AT heathenx.org

And of course, if you like the site (or hell, even if you don’t) spread the word to your screencast and/or Inkscape loving friends.