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How ToApril 16, 2015

Using Illustrator CC to Create Graphics for Video in Adobe Premiere

It was that time again this morning. Time to take the raw product video I’d received from the video team and turn it into a branded and linked addition to the business’es media library. Also, of course, it means using my favorite tools to play with: Illustrator CC (like a third hand to me) and Adobe Premiere ( still in infatuation stage- and it feels like it could be a lifel-ong romance).  I love this part of the process, it gets me into research-n-learn mode. I’m all for it! Mind you, this means what I’m sharing here in this post is only what I’ve learned so far. By no means the ‘be all, end all’ of this realm.

Oh How They’ve Grown!

The Adobe CC tools have all grown sooooo much in the past two years. It’s as if they’ve read the minds of all the graphics nerds of the world and said “Voila, we’ve given you just what you wanted, as well as stuff you didn’t know you needed. Love us!”.  Right away I set up a new Premiere project for the video and drop it into the stage. (shhh, I don’t know if you still call it a stage in Premiere, but since that’s what I called it back in my Flash days, that’s what I’m going with.)    After watching the entirety a few times I’ve got ideas on what I’d like to add to it graphically to help it feel like a part of the ‘family’ of videos I’ve finished for the business in the past.  I’ll be needing:

  • an Intro title
  • an Intro graphic of the product – isolated photos
  • the lovely business’es Anniversary logo – which thankfully was created in vector
  • and a footer or overlay that would display through the video with a bit of product info

Since Illustrator CC has happily become my go-to graphics canvas I head over there to create these graphics bits in settings that I’m confident will scale well, and look fantastic when placed in the video. In years past I only viewed Illustrator as the realm of vector drawing, and being that I’m no illustrator (haaaaaaa, I can’t even draw stick figures well!) I’d rarely use it as a starting point. Since Illustrator CC and especially CC2014 my eyes have been opened to the huge gamut of production options it has hiding in its toolbars.  VECTORIZE ALL THE THINGS!  : )

What Exactly Do I Need For Graphics To Be Happy in Video?

First, we’ll need to know the resolution/dimensions of the video we’re working with. In my case it’s a 1920 x 1080 ~ I’m a very happy camper.  In creating a new artboard I chose the Video & Film Profile, then the preset for HDTV 1080 which matches my video dimensions like a charm.  So, in one fell swoop I’ve got an art board that helps me visualize the proportions of the graphics I need, and keeps them at a resolution to succeed. ; )

Video and FilmHow we handle building our graphics within this setup is up to us. The scene has literally been set and the creativity can begin. Once the bits are created and my ‘need’ list is satisfied it’s time to export those bits, to later import in Premiere. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this (so far) is to slice up the artboard with the Slice tool and then ‘Save Selected Slices’. The results are neatly grouped in an images folder, ready to use. As you can see from my screenshots, just like when using Illustrator CC for slicing up a web page design, you’ll need to keep in mind your placements to avoid bits of one graphic being included in the slice of another graphic. The art board is just the playground for the planning, so there’s no need (in my case) to keep them in their final intended spots. Moving them away from each other allows me to slice, then recompose within Premiere instead.

Setting Dimensions

All photos need to be isolated and the bezier pen is the billionaire playboy with the jet idling on the rooftop waiting for you to say ‘where to’.  I’m at home on this artboard after all. No need to be intimidated by the unknowns of Premiere. The logic applies as it would in preparing web or print graphics and what you see on this artboard is equal to what you’ll get once it’s placed.  Gritty here- it’ll be gritty there.


Graphics that “Sizzle”

Has a client ever asked you to make a project “sizzle”? If you’re anything like me you probably took a moment to look entirely dumbfounded before mustering up a reply that seemed somewhat competent. I can say now though, that prepping images well, and appropriately for video really does kinda feel like they ‘sizzle’. Kinda. Anyway, I’m stoked about ’em.  Bring on more videos!

Any tips for my next graphics + video? Know of something I’ve missed or that would be great to try out?
Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

My results: