Camtasia 2018 Themes; Good, Bad and Ugly

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  • Updated 5 months ago
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This post is in response to a question that Kelly Rush asked in this thread. I've split it off because that thread dealt with "what could be" whereas this deals with "what is", and putting it in the former will get it buried under a lot of clutter:


Thanks for pointing that out Drew! We did in fact add a new feature
called theming to help with making it easier to access some of your
commonly used fonts and colors. Since it's a new feature, we'd love to hear any feedback that folks would be willing to share about how they currently or hope to use it.

For those who have yet to encounter it...


You can define a theme via the third tab of the Properties panel when you insert an annotation. You can define a foreground colour, two background colours and up to two accents. One of these colours, you can set as the default for annotation backgrounds which use that style. Inexplicably, by default that colour is Accent 1, but that's easy enough to change. You can also set your preferred typeface. Not font; a font is a combination of typeface AND size, which this is not as I'll come back to.


Here's the good.

Once you've defined a theme, you can select it to apply to any annotation (or a group of annotations) by just selecting the corresponding style in the drop-down window. In this way you have the same foreground colour, background colour and typeface.

If you add that asset to the library, it will retain the theme setting.


Here's the bad.


If you in any way alter the theme by changing its colours, for example, it does NOT cascade the change to all annotations in the project the way changing say a Word style or a CSS style does. Instead, it breaks the connection between all of the annotations and the theme, leaving them "themeless" and with whatever colours that they had before you changed the theme.

Oh, and this includes the objects that you have in your library.

It looks to me like rather than customising the theme colours, it deletes the theme and creates a new one which is why you then need to go back and reapply the updated theme to every object.


In every project.

So the great dream that you might have had about your company changing its colours, and you simply having to tweak your theme to update all of your projects?

It ain't happening.

Here's the ugly.

The purpose of this exercise - and it was a noble purpose - was to increase consistency of appearance. However even aside from the issue above (set once, then don't touch it or you'll break it) the issue of setting FIXED, PIXEL BASED sizes for objects still hasn't been addressed, and the font size still plays "stretchy-squishy" with the expansion and contraction of the annotations. The "Scale" means nothing; different objects can have the same scales and different, inconsistent sizes. As a result, you STILL have inconsistency in object sizes and text sizes, which makes projects look amateurish.

And here's the bottom line

Themes are a step in the right direction but there are still quite a few steps to take in that direction if we're really going to be able to produce consistent and therefore professional-looking videos.
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Mal Reynolds

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  • Eeh, at least they're trying...

Posted 5 months ago

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Joe Morgan

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Here's my take

The Good

Yeah, nice addition. Themes are time savers. No scrolling for your favorite fonts/typeface or colors.

 

The Bad.

Let’s say you change a Theme. Say change the Color.

Select all the callouts. Then, apply a different Theme. Default will work.

Then, apply the updated theme and all the callout will change to the updated theme.

They won’t update as you update the theme. I was testing that this morning.

As far as updating all your projects goes. Premier Pro can’t update closed projects for you. I’m not aware of any program that can. I would think all similar projects would need to be updated manually.

Same with the Library, a separate entity. It’s just storage really.

The Ugly.

Yeah, more control would be ideal.  

I think the real disconnect is TechSmith is trying to keep the program “To Simple” to use. In some of the wrong places.

Legacy callouts still give you full control over size but the themes are not as easy to apply. You can click on a color or font and select one from the fly out menus.


 I started editing with U-Lead which is now Corel Video Studio. It’s another program that does too much for you. In a quest to keep editing simple. “It’s not as simplified today”.

 But still suffers from the same “let me do it for you” mindset. And a mountain of plug-ins that don’t know what the other one is doing. It’s what happens to a program when you build its future around semi-compatible plug-ins. I cringe when people request Camtasia plug-ins. Because good ones aren’t cheap. You would absolutely have to charge more for Camtasia to get quality plug ins.   That was another point I wanted to make.

 

The more polished and sophisticated your taste.  The more “Let me do it for you” doesn’t work.

I think there’s to many “Corel Video Studio” video editors using Camtasia. There perfectly content with inconsistent callouts and font sizes. Getting this corrected is like bashing your head against a wall and expecting it not to hurt.

I don’t care for Camtasia’s callouts.

You won’t see a Camtasia styled callout on National TV regularly. Maybe back in the 70’s or 80’s? I’m sure there’s been isolated incidences of similar thought bubbles. But there not common, that’s for sure.

Legacy callouts are the only ones I like to use. Glossy and 3D Edge being my favorite. But that’s when I’m being too lazy to create something in Photoshop, Premier Pro or After Effects.

At the very least, the new callouts should have the same settings available as the Legacy callouts. But, there a newer and redesigned callout. So, color me less than optimistic.

Regards,Joe
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Mal Reynolds

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Hi Joe, I think you misunderstood what I was saying on one point:

As far as updating all your projects goes. Premier Pro can’t update closed projects for you. I’m not aware of any program that can. I would think all similar projects would need to be updated manually.
I'm not talking about updating projects while they're closed. Consider the situation with Microsoft Word styles. The styles are (if you're doing it right) defined in a template. If you change the style definition in the template then it doesn't change the documents that link to that template while they're still closed but the next time you open the document, the document will reflect the changes to the underlying styles.
Arguably the same is true of CSS. If you change the stylesheet then it makes no changes to any of the HTML documents that use the stylesheet. However the next time you open the page it will be rendered in the modified style.

I would have expected Themes to operate the same way. That is, the definition of the theme living outside of any given project, and the project simply looking up the current definition of the theme when it opens and applying it to all object which use that theme. As I pointed out and you reiterated, that doesn't happen. Change the style, and instead it breaks all of the assignments.
The library is a slightly different kettle of fish, since a library object isn't just descriptive; it's a complete object. Once it has been placed on the timeline it could be modified. And those modifications may not be the same each time you use that object.

Returning to the (admittedly imperfect) web analogy, a library object is like a page template. I don't expect that when you update the template, each page which was based on it will change. But I would have implemented Themes more like a CSS stylesheet; it doesn't do anything to change the page, just describe what it looks like when the document is open. That isn't what's happening here.
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Joe Morgan

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I got ya,Yeah I'm familiar with templates for sure. Don't use them to often but there great time savers.
I use Premier Pro a lot. When you apply an effect and come up with something you like. You can save it as a preset. But you have to apply that effect to every clip individually. Or to every clip at the same time/ or blocks of clips through an adjustment layer. "But that's another topic".lol
So for a theme to not be applied to every callout added to the timeline seems natural to me. Plus,I use arrows and sketch motion callouts quite often. There usually red or some other bright color.Probably not a theme color in most cases. So I'd be changing those colors quite often. I'm not sure how to win that battle.
Well, actually I do. I still don't like the regular callouts so it's not much of a battle.Don't use them, no battle. 

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Kelly Rush, Product Manager

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Hi Mal and Joe,

First, thanks so much for the honest, constructive feedback you've provided. Hearing this level of detail about your experience is instrumental for us to continue to improve Camtasia for everyone!

As you're probably aware, theming is a new feature in Camtasia, and we're looking at how to continue to refine the experience so that it grows in value over time. If either of you are interested in jumping on a phone call, we'd love to pick your brains a bit more about how we can continue to improve theming in Camtasia (let me know if so and we'll get in touch).

Thanks once again for your feedback, it's greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Kelly
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Mal Reynolds

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I'm not knocking back the idea, but I'd like to play around with it a bit more first. Thanks for taking the time to reply, much appreciated.
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Kelly Rush, Product Manager

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Sure thing Mal. Play around with it, get a feel for what works well and what needs improvement, and then let's chat!

Cheers,

Kelly
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Joe Morgan

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I suppose I'm kind of in the same boat as Mal. Not to familiar with themes at this time.  But I got plenty of ideas on improving callouts/graphics.I don't mind talking about that either.
I'll use Themes but probably in a limited capacity. What you could really use is Gradient Callouts.
Coupled with Stroked Text. "Outlined Text"
Gradient outlined Callouts.
All of these elements need there opacity to have separate adjustments. That way you can have some decent looking titles using even basic shapes.

You can have an Enhanced Graphics Tab. A tab that spins features closed. Features could be disabled under that tab. Allowing users that prefer plain old callouts to go about editing as if nothing has changed.

I took a screen shot of a Camtasia callout with a tail. Tucked the tail away. Used the magic of Photoshop to give it a Gradient Fill, Outline with Gradient, Text with Gradient Stroke and varying degrees of opacity.
I don't like it as much as the one I created above it with black text, but I could see me using callouts that look like that one.Theres no reason Camtasia couldn't create  that exact title with simple gradients,outlines and opacity.
 
If SnagIt had gradients and leaned toward Camtasia's needs people could create titles and custom graphics there.SnagIt's partway there already with outlined text. It doesn't have independent controls for opacity.

Camtasia users might not be thrilled about it either.
But it's a TechSmith/in house solution.
I export frames to Photoshop to create titles and custom callouts with a look that works with everything else.Once I've created one, updating text and exporting additional ones is a quick process.With SnagIt you have share to Camtasia. You could shoot over new ones real quick like. Although, with SnagIt. You would need to copy and paste layers onto another transparent image before exporting.Because you cannot temperately hide with the base image.

Images have a Drawback. You can't animate the fonts independently. So it's really not the solution. 
 
That other Crisis 2 title is 100% Photoshop.
If Camtasia could create callouts that weren't so plane and bland. I would use them more often.
I'm convinced that over time that 60fps editing can draw in a lot more customers who couldn't care less about recording the screen or creating tutorials. Their buy Camtasia for it's simplicity, but there want more from annotations then you offer.
I'm don't see how a Library subscription with TechSmith's creations. Can fill the needs of most people.  I've found regardless of the platform, stock assets are pretty generic. And rarely look like anything I would create or want to use.

Some of them look pretty nice.So I'm not saying there unusable. But there highly recognizable.As with the callouts. You can spot most Camtasia productions on You Tube via annotations in a heart beat.

Regards,Joe
(Edited)