Project Management Tools Are Needed To Automate Repetitive Workflow Processes

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I do a lot of high volume screencasting projects; currently, I'm updating 186 archived projects, all related to documenting the same software product; the workflows to do this involve going through a lot of repetitive, project management stuff that could be eliminated if they could be set by tools/options properties; the potential time savings is significant

this 5 minute screencast covers the workflow details and quantifies the [labor] time savings possible ...

http://www.screencast.com/t/40he9yjo65H

I do not know if others work this way, but, for me, these enhansements would significantly improve the Camtasia Studio Editor
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kayakman, Champion

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Posted 4 years ago

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Timbre4, Champion

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You clearly made your points with this clip! I'm about 60% through 120 brand new product clips myself and what you say will apply to me next time around when I just want to change screen elements. 
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Joe Morgan

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I can appreciate what you are wanting to do kayakman and Timbre4. 

 In Photoshop you can create Actions that will accomplish the same thing.   

For the most part these actions are just Macros. Have you considered getting a macro recording program like the one from Jitbit? https://www.jitbit.com/macro-recorder/

It won't handle all your needs. But it can automate a lot of them. If you record the macro properly it can handle some pretty complex tasks.   
You can also create .exe files for your macros. Launch an .exe and you are done.

I don't envision Camtasia implementing the  automation you seek any time soon. In my opinion, macros are a good option.

Regards, Joe
(Edited)
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kayakman, Champion

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Thanks for chiming in Joe, and thanks for the JitBit referral; I'll look into that.

Yes, much of what I'm looking for are like macros; but I believe that the time has come where such capability should be an integral part of Camtasia itself.

Ever since CS6, I've maintained a library of Camtasia Studio "wish list items"; function automation has always a key item on that list.

As the CS Editor has become more and more capable, accomplishing many editing tasks has become more complicated and time consuming [like applying cursor, clip, and project properties, managing multiple tracks, bulk Library actions, etc].  I've done numerous time-motion studies on the cost benefit of automating many CS tasks, and the results have always been quite impressive.  I've found, that in prosecuting many screencasting tasks, that labor and effort could be reduced by 30% or more if only certain tasks could be reduced to a single click of the mouse.  For me, shaving 30% off an assignment is very material.

I often think of Camtasia projects as video tasks data stores; and for many editing tasks, being able to work with a data[base] view of the camproj values would be much more logical, faster, and less error prone than wading through the Editors graphic UI.  According, I often do much of my project editing directly within the camproj itself.  Not for the faint-of-heart, but in many situations, much faster than working with the Editor UI.

I often mentally compare Camtasia to Microsoft's Access database application; Access is intuitive, mostly user friendly, an app that makes it quick and easy to achieve a desired result.  However, Access can make use of the VBA scripting [programing] language].  Using VBA within Access allows one to easily automate most database-use action; the corresponding improvement is usability can be extreme.

If only Camtasis supported VBA [or even VB]!

Just my two cents worth here; but I believe it's something that should be implemented in the near term. 
(Edited)
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kayakman, Champion

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I downloaded JitBit and gave it a run; it does a good job of recording macros; but I ran into many instances of hotkey conflicts with different applications [tested with Camtasia Studio, Snagit 12, and Access 2016]; I also saw numerous strange behaviors, especially if a recorded macro was played when its underlying application target was not configured exactly like it was when the macro was recorded

I tried to record macros that would automate the issues I described in by initial post's video

I was successful at scripting noise removal and adding a cursor effects profile; but attempting to interact with the editing dimensions controls always failed [pop-up modal dialog]; I was also successful in scripting the zip into production folder after a production, but that implementation was limited my Windows Explorer configuration

however, the demands imposed on strict mouse movements and launch configurations seemed to substantially limit these macro's usability

one point quickly became evident: although it was possible to script [automate] some repetitive editing tasks, the macros only ran at the rate I was able to create then at; this factor, plus the extra time and effort it took to script them in the first place, actually resulted in more time being used to get a given job done, than by just doing the job manually; I'm sure this can be improved by practice and skill at macro recording, but I'm not sure there will be an acceptable net benefit from investing all the time and effort

it seems that, to get what I want out of Camtasia Studio tasks automation, such functionality will need to be build into the Editor itself; then, the automation functions could run at processor speed, instead of recorded macro speed, and the time savings I desperately seek could be realized
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Joe Morgan

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It would be great to have a feature like that built into Camtasia.

 I use Premier Pro CS6, After Effects, etc. I can apply any of the special effects built into Premier Pro. Then, save my settings as a named effect. When it comes to file handling and project settings, you still need to do all of those things manually. Same goes for After Effects.

 

There are ways to speed up the macro reordering playback.

1. Start your recording with your cursor in the proper location.

2. Record the actions that you are going to make with the cursor in that position.

3. Then, immediately pause the recording by hitting Ctrl + R.

4. Move your cursor to the next location before recording your next action. Ctrl + R restarts the recording as well.

5. Then just keep repeating the previous steps until you have a complete macro.

This speeds playback of the macro quite a bit. It's a little painstaking but so are repetitive actions.

You can turn up the actual speed of macro playbacks in settings. There is a slider, the default position is centered. I found that if I place the slider halfway between the default position and the high-speed position the macros work well. Any faster and the cursor movement gets ahead of pop-up windows and it starts dropping actions.

The biggest problem with macros is that they will only work correctly if the programs UI layout is consistent and unchanged. Camtasia won’t allow you to save a custom layout. So that certainly doesn’t help matters.

I know it's not an ideal solution. However, once you get past the learning curve. Macros can come in very handy.

As far as Hot Keys go. The program understands cursor movement. It can also do a lot of other things. I have never dug deep into the program. I don't have many uses for macros.  

Regards, Joe

Good luck with your 180 videos.
(Edited)
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Joe Morgan

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I was curious how much time Macros actually save. I've never tested for this before.

This short demonstration indicates that 37 seconds of manual input can be reduced to just over 11 seconds.
Obviously, there are variables that make this an imperfect test.

But I answered my question and threw together a video to show you the results. 

Take a peek. http://www.screencast.com/t/Cu7wykU5uK

Regards, Joe 
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kayakman, Champion

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thanks for the screencast, Joe

I've seen similar results when I tried recording a macro correctly, eliminating manual mouse movement times

I'm curious: how did you get the background color change part to work?  it will never work in a macro for me [on Win 7 64]
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kayakman, Champion

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looks like it's the "more background colors" dialog that is not working; the macro mouse movements miss it by a mile every time
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Joe Morgan

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I use windows 8 and it works for me.

If you accidently change the UI layout  a fraction of an inch, the macro will not be accurate. 
I tested the macro I made for the video to ensure that the background color actually changed.It did.
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kayakman, Champion

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your screencast shows that you set the background color using the 1st dialog that appears, where you can click on a color in a grid; I always have to click on the "more background colors" option, and choose one that has been saved [a custom value]; I'd be curious to know if scripting a macro [on Win 8] where that additional modal dialog has to be used, will work for you?
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Joe Morgan

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Yes, when I tried it the same thing happened to me.
There is a setting that allows the recording of macros that are more prone to stick to within a pop up window.



I tried it and it worked perfectly. However, on my third test it opened my NexusFont program somehow along with another program.
So I'm willing to bet this is a risky setting to use. LOL
I just wanted to share that with you.
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kayakman, Champion

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Thanks for looking into this for me Joe, I appreciate it
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Sofia Nicklasson

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It was very helpful and thanks for the screencast.

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