We experiment with new tools to create our videos and illustrations. Tech is simply a tool in our eyes, and because of that, we focus on our goal of what we are trying to do as our driving force---not the tech itself. It's why we believe that you can do video creation with students in the classroom even with limited tech.
How did you make your videos when you first started?
When we started (in 2013), we only used a cell phone to record audio, Moviemaker (free) to edit our videos, and Microsoft Paint to illustrate. You can see our milestones here from when we first started.
How do you generally create Amoeba Sisters videos (and comics and GIFs) now?
For our videos, Pinky writes a script and records the audio of her reading it. Petunia takes the script to draw all of the individual images. Then, Petunia's individual images are timed to Pinky's audio in movie editing software. With enough pictures, we can sometimes time them close enough together to give an animated look, but we aren't using animating software.
Drawing Software- Petunia has no artistic background, but she practices a lot. She now uses the software Autodesk's Sketchbook for all illustrations that go into our videos and GIFs. All of the illustrations- for videos and for GIFs- are individual image files. Occasionally, Petunia uses a program called Procreate to make some of her comics as shown here in her speed draw.
Drawing Hardware- It's hard to imagine (or maybe it's not ;P), but Petunia used a simple computer mouse to draw for a long time for a lot of our videos. As her drawings have evolved, she now uses a Cintiq 13 HD drawing tablet by Wacom. Occasionally, Petunia uses her iPad when she uses the program Procreate to make some of her comics as shown here in her speed draw.
Audio Software- Pinky still uses the free program Audacity to record. It works for both PC and Apple computers. While you don't technically need any audio software (we didn't in the beginning), it adds a lot of awesome features like cutting things out or removing background noise.
Audio Hardware- Pinky now uses this Yeti microphone. She also made a "portable sound booth" to put her microphone in which we think has made a difference in our more recent videos. You can find a lot of instructions for making one of these online!
Movie Editing Software- After wanting some extra features, we switched over to Camtasia, which we really like. Images drawn by Petunia and audio recorded by Pinky are placed into this program to make our videos.
I notice you animate some portions of your videos. What tool do you use to animate?
We don't really do any fancy animating. Our videos are a series of illustrations timed to audio, but when the illustrations are placed closely together with minor alterations, they can give an animated look. To do this, we create an image, save it, reopen it to make a slight change (such an image rotation or position change), save the new image, and repeat--- and we eventually end with a series of images that can appear animated once they are all put into a movie editing program in order. If trying this out, we would suggest naming your images numerically in sequence as shown below.