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How do I make a smooth, HQ video from autoplay in EDrawings?

Question asked by Keiran Earl on Oct 6, 2014

I'm really surprised that more people haven't asked this before.

 

This is really a culmination of several problems.

 

#1 - I am not the author of our drawing. I make some of the marketing media for our company. I don't have Solidworks installed (although I have put a trial version on a test computer in the past when there was a problem that the others couldn't fix).

 

#2 - The author doesn't have time or interest to create quality video capture of smooth playback using his Quadro equipped computer.

 

#3 - Solidworks family products appear to be allergic to non-Pro Quadro/Fireplay/non-consumer grade GFX cards.

 

#4 - My office computer has no need of a high end GFX card. I have access to 5 computers here, one i5 PC with low-end consumer grade GFX cards (Radeon) (my standard office computer), one i5 PC with a mid-end GFX (nVidia), one i7 with nvidia 560 GTX Ti, and a couple of i7 laptops with nvidia 650M GFX cards. None of those computers require more than the cards they have and the cards that aren't officially supported by Adobe have been successfully added to my Adobe installations for use with Photoshop and Premiere Pro (CS6). However, Solidworks appears to have no "trick" to add cards - it's Quadro or nothing. This trick works on the laptops and my home PC with the 560 since they are OpenGL compatible, but naturally does not work for the Radeon.

 

#5 - As a video person, I find the animations to be... not very smooth and very not clean.

 

I used a straight screen capture at 60FPS to check draw speed of the animation and discovered that the frames varied dramatically. Some frames were drawing every 4 frames, others at 6, others 8 and 13 frames apart. This creates jerky, unpleasant video that is very difficult to play at any speed without looking very, very amateur. Variable frame rates like this are basically a fundamental "no-no" for video - particularly raw video footage for use in any type of Post-Processing workflow.

 

The causes of this are that the playback speed cannot be matched to the draw speed. The second problem is that the draw itself is typically incomplete and has lots of shape tearing as it animates, only getting a clean draw when the animation stops.

 

I have requested the original files from the author in the hopes that Solidworks itself has better controls for video, but that also means I have to set up a temporary install of Solidworks to view them. There's no way we're going to buy the program just to make 4 minutes of video footage for a background screen at an industry trade show for a couple of days.

 

Solutions?

There seem to be two obvious solutions.

#1 - Enable consumer grade video cards for the Edrawings "consumer grade" viewer to allow full quality playback - this probably goes against company policy for some inexplicable reason and probably wouldn't provide a complete solution.

#2 - Create some manner of ScreenCap video output that renders each frame properly as a native function of the EDrawings app. Or in the same fashion of Premiere Pro's RAM preview, allow a pre-render of the autoplay, which then launches a full screen HQ autoplay at any specified frame rate. All of the computers I have available have 16GB or more RAM, so there shouldn't be any reason that they would have a problem with a pre-render function like this. Even if the playback had to pause between animation positions for a bit longer, it would be no problem - it's easy to manipulate video where there are pauses and no motion on screen.

 

I'm really disappointed that the quality of these clips is so bad and that the only available solution (possibly) will be either to use a full version of the software, which defeats the purpose of even making/having EDrawings.

 

I know that I am not the only person who uses EDrawings to build short video clips of products to show them on Youtube or on video screens at trade shows and whatnot. I hope this could have some relevance to someone on the EDrawings team.

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