Automated sequential image saves

Hello Jan, I’d like to propose a new feature.

I would love to see a feature where Pro Motion will automatically save out a flattened state of the current, active canvas on a preset timer/interval. For example, save out a flattened .gif image every 60 seconds. A multi-digit suffix could be added to the filename to create a sequence of files that could then be used to create a time-lapsed movie of the drawing process in some movie editing app of choice. Also, prior to writing out another image, a check could be run to compare if the canvas has been modified or not since the last save to rule out unnecessary image duplicates. A file path could be specified to write these sequences to and keep them in a separate folder.

You see, in these days of rampant AI content threatening the livelihoods of artists, one last remaining way of proving that your pixel art is genuine and hand-drawn and not just some AI conversion is to screen-record the drawing process. This is something artists have been getting more requests for and is something I personally would love to be able to cater to. Using screen-recording software (like OBS) is a popular choice, but it can be very resource heavy, taking up a ton of disc-space and making the computer run hot and loud. It also records a lot of undesirable actions (like zooming, scrolling, etc.) and requires careful monitoring of the recording state.
Having Pro Motion writing out small 10-20 kilobyte sized frames every so often would be a very elegant and lightweight way of creating perfect timelapse videos of the creative process.

It is also increasingly popular to create recordings of the drawing process for educational purposes, like video tutorials. Or provided as extra rewards in Patreon tiers.

What do you think, is this something you think is worth adding?

Have you tried this?

alt text: File Menu > Animation > Create from Modification History

If your work can only be done in multiple sessions, you could just fire up this bad boy every time before you close the program. Then, splice them all together in a vid editor.

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Hi Cageburner. Thank you for the reply. I was not aware of this function so I spent a bit of time playing around with it. This is a really cool feature that goes some way towards creating a timelapse of the creation process. I was able to write out all the frames successfully.

There are some obvious risks with this method however. Most obviously, what if you forget to run the command after a drawing session and close down Pro Motion? Or worse, if Pro Motion crashes, (which unfortunately it still does more than I’d like it to). In both cases you’d lose the ability to create frames for that period.

Another problem could be excessive frames. What if you spent 3-4 hours doing manual dithering or something else that creates many small changes. (It would make for quite a dull recording. :sweat_smile:)

I couldn’t see of a way to increase the frame padding which could be problematic with importing files sequentially in the correct order. However that can be circumvented by setting the start index (in the File->Animation->Save as single images) setting to 1000 or higher.

Lastly, the process of creating all the frames and then writing out the files is unfortunately rather slow. I ran a test just now of just 200 or so steps which took about 13 seconds on my computer for a 320x149px canvas. Writing out the frames to disc as individual files took 37 seconds. So 50 seconds. Not unreasonable, but if we extrapolate that out to a multi hour long drawing session with possibly thousands of frames (can Pro Motion even store that many frames in its timeline (I truly don’t know)) it would quickly become a hindrance.

So while this feature can be good for short drawing stints, I think a simple automatic intermittent snapshot feature would be a better workflow.

Most worries, valid, and are mine as well.

Your mileage will vary depending on your PC specs, but I’ve already tried this on a near 12 hour session file with a 320x240 canvas. Firing the feature took around 5-8~ish minutes.

It will take some time, but not as much as doing 3d renders. So it’s still pretty fast, all things considering.
There is also this:

As you can see, mine’s not enabled. Honestly, i just found this today. LOL
Imma enable this from today on and see how it works for me.

In time, we’ll know if it actually helps speeds up the process when doing this render.

Would be great if Jan could revisit this feature and enhance it somehow. But i don’t exactly have any solid suggestions for it right now.

Yeah I saw that multi-threading feature too. Haven’t tried it yet as it is experimental.

The thing is, I’m running Pro Motion via Parallels on a Mac. So there is naturally a performance hit as well as a stability hit. I’d be very hesitant to try a 12 hour stint without generating the modification history due to fear of losing it all in a crash.

Modification history won’t fire unless you save the project file first. So it has some level of security.

But yeah, pretty inconvenient if it crashed somewhere along the way from a recording perspective.

Hi @cageburner & @DutchDimension ,

the multi threading feature is just made to improve canvas rendering speed. It would not help with what is discussed here.
I understood the feature wish but I still think that a screen recorder is still best for the purpose you can just record with one FPS or something and then reduce frames accordingly. Maybe there are even tools around that support FPS values smaller that one frame per second.

Alright. Thanks for the response, Jan!