If you love scribing as much as we do, then why not join our Celebration of Scribing feature. Each month we’ll provide you with a theme, a script, some facts, maybe even the audio or soundtrack and you can provide the scribe. In recognition of the best scribe, we will showcase the winning scribe on our Facebook page. Think of the great exposure your work will receive!
This year Monopoly are celebrating their 80th Anniversary so to kick things off we are starting with a fantastic story about this awesome American game with a brilliantly British twist.
Feel free to use this story to start you off, or tell us about your own Monopoly adventures; is there a war still raging over the ownership of Piccadilly Circus, or is there a reason your token is always the old boot!
Stories are powerful tools that when used effectively can move an audience to your cause.
Over the past few decades psychologists have begun looking at the power of stories and how these affect the human mind. Their results highlight that stories can dramatically change our attitudes, fears, beliefs and values as we become entangled in the plot lines and characters we hear about.
Research shows that this is not just linked to children and their fairytales, but adults too. Our minds still function in the same way as stories remain the most natural way we process information. They are the most effective form of communication and when written or told with a sense of purpose, they can be crucial in persuading others to understand your vision, cause, concept and product.
Businesses often make the fatal mistake of thinking they are above story, preferring the traditional “data dump” instead when pitching their information. It’s a common mistake; people feel that statistics are more impressive than the stories behind the stats. If you heard about a new medication that has improved the lives of 8,000 patients, would you sit up and take notice? What if you heard that the same medication had transformed the life of Alice, a 34 year old mother of 2, who before would get breathless walking up the stairs? Who has not worked in over a year and needs to remain on oxygen just to walk outside? Yet now she is able to run with her children, return to work as a school teacher and enjoy the life she thought was lost? Which grabs your attention? I hope it’s the latter.
So, if you want to make an impact, move you co-workers into action, or allow your product to become a bestseller, there really is no better way to package your point. Story tips for success:
Tug on the heart strings- Story provokes memory, causes an emotional response and links the audience to the concept.
Know your audience- Take a moment to know who you are aiming your story at; this will enable you to create a greater connection.
Make your call- The reason you are telling your story is to call the audience to action. Make sure this is clear.
Video- essential or just for YouTube?
It’s predicted that this year 90% of web traffic will be in video format.
There is a reason 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. It’s because it’s engaging and memorable; video uses a number of our senses to process the message meaning that it can be remembered better than the written word. It also requires less effort to receive the message; video allows for instant gratification with information being delivered at a faster rate than reading text.
But video is not just to showcase the latest dance craze or hilarious pet antics. Businesses can harness the power of video and allow it to change their revenue and product demand.
Figures demonstrate that 85% of consumers are more likely to buy having watched the product video as opposed to reading the text. Not only this but video enhances SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) results, as video is 53 times more likely to rank within the top search engine results when compared with text alone. This actually makes websites that feature video more visual that those that don’t.
If you’re looking to advertise or showcase a product, nothing does it better than video. Studies have highlighted that users (particularly those aged 18-34) are twice as likely to rely on video to decide on which company to purchase from when compared with users of an older generation. In addition, having viewed the video 38% of this age group are more likely to visit the store that sells the item. And finally, 31% of consumers used YouTube to shop for an item and 37% watched the video on the retailer’s website. Perhaps most significantly, 28% of these consumers went on to purchase the item compared with on 2% who did not use video to affect their spending.
Video is a persuasive medium. It provides unrivalled ways for companies to connect with their customers and provides an engaging user experience. Not only does it provide a better way for your company, product, or concept to be found online, but it allows a better route for consumers to purchase and discover more about you.
Additionally, if viewers like your message, they will share it. For example, clicks on “like” and “dislike” buttons are outweighed 10:1 in favour of “like”. People like telling others about what they love.
Use an animated video? This isn’t Disney
The power of story and video are key to capturing the attention of your audience. VideoScribe offers the ability to utilise these mediums enabling you to deliver your concept, vision or product cost effectively and without the need for technical know-how.
With images being drawn before the eyes of the audience, VideoScribe offers captivating and compelling videos which have been created by you. This relatively new platform to express yourself remains impressive in its simplicity. As the images are drawn the audience has to connect the lines and work hard to link concept with context (what is being said and what is being drawn). By completing this process the viewer is instantly more engaged, committed and interested in the scribe video.
It is believed because of this heightened involvement, scribe videos allow the audience to comprehend the subject more clearly then when delivered using a “talking head” video format. In addition by utilising the camera, the creator can ensure that the attention of the viewer doesn’t drift, this can also assist with clarifying points of interest or concepts that are hard to grasp.
Plus the viral nature of video means that your viewers can become viral advocates of your business, product and cause.
It is thought if good visuals and a compelling story are ignored, the idea may go unnoticed. Therefore by harnessing the power of video and story you can create dynamic scribe videos easily and engage viewers like never before.
We recently got into UK Glamour magazine. Here’s the scribe that they featured…
Check out the stories that got us there…
My story begins when I finished university in 2004; I graduated from Falmouth with a First in Graphic Design and was ready to set the design world on fire! I began work as a designer at a prestigious company in Bristol; our clients were highly influential and featured well known toy manufacturers and film companies. The job was everything I had wanted. I was working with significant clients and my design work was being viewed by millions of people across the world. The work load was intense but manageable and more importantly, enjoyable.
However, before long the influential clients began changing the parameters of their contracts, asking that the design content be increased but for the same, or in some cases, reduced costs and timescales. Keen to keep such clients, the team met these requests and the workload escalated. Designs that would have been allocated 3-4 days now needed to be completed in 3-4 hours. With the pressure on, staying late was the only option, and as the team started to work weekends I found it hard to let down friends and family for the sake of my career. Although I’m not afraid of hard work, this wasn’t what I had signed up to and my relationship with my childhood sweetheart, Ben, was already starting to suffer. Even though I was unwilling to sacrifice all of my social time to benefit the company, my work was not going unnoticed. Promotions were on the horizon and despite the pressure I was enjoying the work.
At this time I continued to work on the packaging for high profile children’s toys. Although this was a great opportunity, it was definitely bitter sweet. I was helping to produce a product that encouraged girls to dress and behave in a certain way and fuelled children to badger their parents into letting them have the latest and greatest. I continued to complete the work but my moral compass was pulling me in another direction. My views towards my work started to become tainted, and an incident in a toy shop marked the beginning of the end.
Whilst shopping with a friend, her daughter became fixated with a particular toy. However when she was denied this, she quickly became upset. The upset turned to crying, the crying to screaming and the screaming to a full scale tantrum! I stood helpless watching the situation unfold; to my horror I realised the toy in question was one that I had helped market. I realised that I had unwittingly contributed to this situation. My designs had helped ensnare my friends’ daughter, had provoked this response and had resulted in my friend picking up the pieces. I had become part of the corporate monster; I was not an awkward onlooker in the store but part of the problem.
When I returned to work, I knew another promotion was in the offing. Suddenly I could see my career progression before me; it was everything I had wanted, and yet it could not have been further from what I needed. I realised what I needed was my life back, to be able to spend time with Ben, friends and family, but also be part of something that was ultimately doing good and I could feel proud of being a part of. Over the years I’d read a lot of Glamour articles about women who had it all; great job, car, house, processions and gave it all up to pursue careers that gave them a sense of self worth and pride.
Encouraged, I met with an acquaintance; Jon. I had heard he was developing animation software, which empowered the user to be creative and share their message. When he heard of my situation he offered me the job of designer at his company Sparkol; at the time it was just him working on the project, there was no money coming in and no guarantee that the idea would be a success. I considered my options and realised that by leaving my current job I would be leaving my stable salary and my job security. However, Jon’s enthusiasm and commitment was contagious. I accepted his offer and work started slowly with the project being revised on several occasions.
In 2010 we officially launched but subscriptions to the software were low and not sustained. We returned again to the drawing board and drew inspiration from a whiteboard animation video we saw on YouTube. The video used stop-motion-capture style graphics to portray the concept and made a dry subject engaging and dynamic. When we looked into this we realised that the production costs of such videos were more than £30,000 as ideas and concepts were outsourced at huge expense to the customer. Our idea was simple. Empower the user to create this style of animation video for a minimal cost. VideoScribe was born and this had to be our “sink or swim” moment.
With a new idea I was energised and work began quickly on an image library and branding. What started as an app, quickly became a desktop version due to high demand. Subscriptions began to pour in and are continuing to grow at a rate of 200% per month. VideoScribe is now an international brand and is being used across the world in innovative ways on a daily basis. The high demand has seen the team quadruple in size within 6 months, all of whom are passionate and committed to the product. In addition I now have a great work life balance and I’m proud to be a part of a really great venture.
In the early part of 2012 I read a 1 page Glamour article about career truths to ignore. The article featured a short list of career generalisations such as “only men can get to the top” and “I’ve reached the glass ceiling, there’s nowhere else to go”. I was so taken by it that I immediately tore it from the magazine and stuck it to my fridge. I genuinely had no idea how I would overcome even one of these sayings- all I knew is that someday I would be thankful to glamour for changing my life.
When I read the article I was 26, working as a senior nurse in a nursing home for young, disabled adults. I had qualified as a nurse in 2006 amid the NHS job crisis where you had a 1:5 chance of just getting an interview, (I should stress that I had wanted to be a nurse since I first visited my mum in hospital and had the ward sister place her nurses hat on my young head. During my visits I would don my hat and follow behind the nurses as they did their drug rounds- I was 4 at the time). As there were no jobs where I studied in Birmingham, I was forced to move home and live with my parents. I started to apply for jobs, but the story was the same at the local hospitals. I broadened my search to care homes around the area and then in my desperation, to schools, offices and shops. I attended an interview at a care home; although they weren’t looking for nurses, newly qualifieds are always hard to come by and I was hired on the spot. I was tremendously grateful. When I was offered the post I had an application form in my car for Sainsbury’s stacking shelves and an interview at Boots chemist that evening.
I started at the home and loved the clients and the staff. But the routine and structure began to wear thin; typically newly qualified nurses orientate towards fast, dynamic wards with a high influx of patients and drama. This was anything but. Within a year I started to look at Australia who were reaping the rewards of the UK NHS job crisis and recruiting new nurses to the posts they were looking for. However, within a few months the rhythm at the care home changed when the senior nurse went on sick leave. Within our team of nurses, no one wanted the responsibility of filling her role and I reluctantly took on the challenge of “Acting up”. It was a role I would for fill for 11 months; during this time I was given the challenge of changing the culture, routine and updating the archaic systems by joining forces with the committed management team. It was a job I relished, but managing a team of 90 (some of which were old enough to be my grandmother) wasn’t easy, but the home manager took me under her wing and I am forever grateful for her coaching.
I did receive the post despite my doubts about my age and abilities, and continued as I had started by empowering the staff and our clients. However, the routine began again and this was compounded by the added pressure of the senior nurse role. In my personal life, my relationship with Jon (my high school sweetheart) was becoming serious. Plus he had taken a job Mon-Fri and finding time together, when I worked all hours, was putting the relationship under strain. At this time, one of my nurses handed in her notice. Her reason for doing so was that she didn’t want to wake up knowing that she would be doing the same routine today as she would in 2 years time. This really hit home. I had started to become disillusioned with nursing; the press were particularly cutting about care, the pressure was exhausting and I couldn’t think how I could eventually have a family given the commitment to the job. Her comments resonated in my ears. I couldn’t think of anything more challenging than spending the rest of my working career as a nurse, and yet the thought of leaving was terrifying! I would be turning my back on my qualifications and everything I knew. The problem is, when you realise everything isn’t as you had hoped, you either have to act on it, or accept your fate!
It was at this time that I read the career truths to ignore in Glamour (I’m ashamed to say that this was lost during a “De-clutter your life!” moment). But I know it talked about glass ceilings- I had reached mine. On a tidy salary of £30K and career stability, I was doing well for someone aged 26, but the natural career progression was not really any more money and a heck load more stress. One of the Glamour truths was about changing career. Plus I had read loads of Glamour articles about women who gave up job security, amazing salary, great house etc. all to follow their passion. A career change was something I considered, but when you factor in university timescales, then a career and a family, you’re in your late 40’s before your career finally starts!
Clutching at straws, I contacted an acquaintance, Suzi, who was the wife of Jon’s colleague. She had left her stable job some years before, risking it all on a new software venture, Sparkol. Not really knowing how to help, she offered to train me in graphic design, but only if I would be willing to sacrifice a day off a week; also this would not be paid. As it turns out, Photoshop is a fickle mistress and I found this challenging, but couldn’t let this opportunity pass. Yet the Sparkol team didn’t need another designer at this time- certainly not a rookie. I appealed to the manager in an email and my writing style caught his attention. He could sense my passion and willingness not only to be involved but to start from the bottom and work my way up. I was offered the position of PR and Communications which I readily accepted!
However, in my social life, Jon and I had found and secured our house, but the timescales were becoming unmanageable. Sparkol wanted me to start immediately, but one thing you should never do is change jobs when securing a house and a mortgage. As December crept closer we threw caution to the wind, trusting that Sparkol was the right place for me. I handed in my notice at my previous job and my last working shift was Christmas Day.
As January approached I realised I was not only starting a new job (that I had no training in!), but moving into a new house and marrying the man I loved! In addition, Suzi has become a wonderful friend within work and outside, in fact she’s my bridesmaid!
2013 is shaping up to be a pretty great year, and without Glamour Magazine that gave me the encouragement and inspiration to change career I wouldn’t be as blissfully happy as I am now.
One of the newer features in VideoScribe is the option to pick your paper colour using a Hex Colour Code. We thought we would explain this a little more as it can look a bit complicated. However this is really useful if you want to be specific in choosing your colours.
Hex Colour Codes are 6-character codes that look like these, #147E5A or #00FF00. They are used to specify colours when working on the web. In most programmes using a colour picker will just give you the code you need, but it can help knowing a bit more about how it works.
You will probably have heard of RGB (red, green, blue). These are the colours that, mixed together, make up the colours your computer screen shows. The Hex Colour Code simply uses 6 characters (2 for each colour in RGB) to specify how much of each colour is being used. The first 2 characters show the amount of red, the second 2, the amount of green and the last 2, blue.
Hex Colour Codes use letters as well as numbers to be more specific, the values in Hex Codes begin at 0 (no amount of that colour), go to 9 then continue to A up to F (the most amount of that colour). The letters correspond with numbers after 9, so A=10, B=11 up to F=16. Hexadecimal means 16 so there are 16 values, 0-9 gives 10 then A-F gives another six.
Common Hex Codes you may see are #FF0000, #00FF00 and #0000FF, these correspond to pure red, pure green and pure blue. Because F is the highest amount of that colour and 0 is nothing, #FF0000 means all red and nothing else.
Lets show this a bit more by looking at a more complex colour, something like #F79512, a nice bright orange. It looks complicated but if we take it apart there is a lot of red, F7 (remember the F is 15), quite a lot of green, 95, and a little bit of blue, 12. So if you type this into the Hex Colour Code box in VideoScribe, you would get a nice orange colour.
You can also use VideoScribe to choose your colour; just go to the colour wheel and select your colour, then copy the Hex code from the box there as you may want to use that in some of your images in a programme outside like illustrator.
Hopefully this makes Hex codes a bit less daunting now and helps you to use them effectively in your future scribes.
As a lot of people are now creating their own SVGs for their scribes here is some helpful advice on the topic.
In VideoScribe images need to be drawn with a simple stroke – either with the pencil or the pen tool. The brush definition needs to be set to ‘basic’. If you draw the line with the brush tool, illustrator will expand it on saving and there won’t be a stroke in the file for VideoScribe to draw.
If you want to draw with the brush like we have done in the image below you effectively need to get VideoScribe to draw another stroke exactly like the original but isn’t actually visible.
This is how we do it at Sparkol,
Copy the brush stroke.
Paste it in the same place behind the first stroke.
Then set the brush definition of this new stroke to ‘basic’ and take off any brush effect.
Make the thickness of the new stroke enough to cover your original brush stroke.
Set the transparency of this new stroke to 0%.
This process means you are asking VideoScribe to draw along the new transparent stroke but revealing the opaque brush stroke that is in the same place.
Step 4 is very important to how well your image will draw in VideoScribe. This will make sure when the transparent, ‘basic’ stroke is drawn it will reveal everything that is visible in the same place, so revealing your original brush stroke.
Images not drawn in Illustrator…
The same applies if you bring in an image or illustration done outside of illustrator, perhaps drawn by hand. VideoScribe will not draw the image unless there is a ‘basic’ stroke in it. So the best way to overcome this is to simply draw over the image with a ‘basic’ stroke, making sure the new stroke is thick enough to cover the imported image. Make this stroke transparent then save as an .svg. Again this should mean in VideoScribe the transparent stroke is drawn, but it reveals your original illustration.
VideoScribe draws whatever is ‘at the back’ first and finishes with whatever was drawn last or ‘nearest’ the front. Keep that in mind if you want certain things to be drawn first or last.
You can use links within your own SVGs but you must make sure they are embedded when you save it, just linking it won’t work when brought into VideoScribe.
The right size…
When making your own SVGs there is no definite size that you must use but there are some things that will help images to look better and be a lot easier to edit and resize in VideoScribe. At Sparkol we normally use a canvas size of 400 x 400 pixels, this is a good size to make up scenes you want to then draw in VideoScribe. Feel free to make the canvas size bigger if you need to but there is no need to make your images huge, the quality won’t change in VideoScribe, just the size.
It is wise to keep to one canvas size throughout when creating different images for the same scribe. Keeping all images relative to each other, although on different canvases, makes editing a lot easier once in VideoScribe. When morphing, an image’s original size is used, so if the image is resized a lot it can look quite odd during the morph.
We have had a few questions asking about the new scribe we have put up on our site recently, so here are a few tips on some of the things that we did.
1. Making things disappear. This was done using simple morphs, just lots of them! To make something look as though it disappears, we morphed the image we want to get rid of, into an image where the lines are the same colour as the paper. Put the new image (the one with the lines the same colour as the paper) directly on top of the original image and take the time for it down to 0.1 seconds (the quickest it can go) and it should look like it disappears. Have a closer look in this scribe here.
2. Bringing things onto the screen without a hand. Again this was done using the morph tool. This time we used exactly the same image, putting the first one off screen (using the camera position) and the second one on screen (with the same camera angle). Then we morphed the first one into the second and adjusted the timing. Have a look in this scribe.
3. Transparency. The image of the glasses that drops down at one point is made outside of VideoScribe where the bit of the glasses is blue but then made transparent without any stroke, and the blurred symbols are also made without a stroke. The rims of the glasses have a stroke so they are the only bit you see when they drop down, until the image stops then the fill (blue transparency and blurred symbols) appears. See it in action in this scribe.
4. The music notes. You will notice that when you morph objects with a fill you will only be able to see the lines during the morph and the fill after the morph, so the fill for the musical notes is actually a stroke; we coloured in the parts we wanted filled with a stroke. Then we used a slow morph of the same image, from one place to another to make it look like they were moving along the lines. Have a look at this scribe.
You can either download and import these or use the world wide web icon on the add image screen and paste in these URLs to add the images to your scribe.
When importing the PNG speech bubble, I chose not to trace and increased the image quality to 1600px. The scribble was rotated and stretched for each quote to give a slightly different effect. There yours for free!
I drew the speech bubble myself and am pretty proud of it! Will be interested to see what you create using this idea.
Here’s how to import the ‘Scribble out’ element via URL:
From the Canvas, select ‘Add an image to the canvas’:
From this point select the Globe icon (Web URL):
If you now enter http://www.sparkol.com/videoscribe/downloads/scribbleout.svg in to the search bar and press ‘OK’, you will now have the Scribble out element on your canvas!:
Here at Sparkol, we’re pretty excited. The latest VideoScribe desktop version has now been released.
Yes- that’s right- VideoScribe version 1.3 is now out with some awesome new additions. We listened to your comments and have incorporated a number of these into the new version, adding a lot of our own ideas too.
Don’t worry if your suggestions haven’t been included in this release; as VideoScribe continues to evolve we will be looking to develop the product further- so keep the suggestions coming!
So what can you expect from this version? Let’s take a look.
New Visual layout features
This new version offers a great, clean look and a clearer use of canvas size and position on any screen size.
It also remembers your screen size when you next log in rather than reverting back to the default size.
To engage your audience even better, we’ve added in the option of moving in your images from any direction and provided different erasing options for a more realistic movement. This should keep your audience on their toes.
Also, we’ve discontinued the hand pack download, now you can just download hands (including custom hands) as you need them through the hands and pens dialog.
New audio accompaniment
We now have over 270 music tracks to choose from. For your ease of use, we’ve categorised them according to their style and length. Did we mention; they’re free to use?
New images and features
We’ve developed hundreds of new Pro images including a whole new character set, and to make it easier to see all these images, you can now preview each one before importing this into your scribe. In addition you can now browse your computer for new images and create a favourites list so that your key images are easy to find.
There is also a new easy way to manage fonts. You can now bring them in straight from a file and preview them better.
There is also a new brush drawing style adding an arty twist to your work.
In addition, we are also offering a PDF output for your scribes which will take an overview of you whole canvas and export it as a PDF.
To save you the hassle of downloading our updates, we thought we’d offer this service automatically. Now every time an update is released it’ll be on your VideoScribe when you next log in.
Here are all the features at a glance:
• Automatic updates for future releases
• Clean new look
• Clearer use of canvas size and position
• Browse your computer for images
• Image favourites
• Preview your image before using
• New drawing style: Brush
• Move in hand: Bring in hand from any direction
• Improved font management
• Preview fonts
• No more hand packs- now browse hands online and download as needed
• Hundreds of new Pro images including a new character set
• Hundreds of new music sound tracks
• Music categorised by style and length
• PDF output
• Various bug fixes including auto save timing
• File association (.scribe) to open files.
How to Install:
Ensure you have logged out of VideoScribe.
If you log into the dashboard using your VideoScribe login, you will be able to select the update from the left hand side of the screen.
Simply select your device from the list and the download will begin.
Once you have downloaded the file, double click on the file to start the install.