Does Clip Studio Paint have a Timelapse Feature?
Yes. As of v 1.10.5 in December 2020, Clip Studio Paint added the ability to create a timelapse video of your illustration process. It will record your canvas as you draw and allow you to export a final video in a variety of screen sizes and time lengths.
It may not be the most powerful timelapse feature, but it very likely gives you everything you need, particularly if you’re looking to make videos for your social media accounts.
What Is Clip Studio Paint’s Timelapse Actually Recording?
It’s recording your marks, not the time you spent working on a piece.
With a screen recording application, it creates a video that will include all the “dead” time. If you walk away from the computer to get a drink, the screen recording will show nothing happening for two minutes. If you then made a timelapse from that video, you’d have a small period where nothing appears to change in the video. It would just look like it froze for a second or more.
Clip Studio Paint is, instead, recording the marks you make on your canvas. The CSP timelapse is a sped up collection of all your brush strokes, not of the time spent making them. If you walk away from the computer for 12 hours, CSP will have recorded nothing for its timelapse.
It also does not record the chrome of the application surrounding your canvas. That is, you won’t see which brush you’re using or which settings your adjusting. This is a timelapse of only the canvas, itself.
In effect, the timelapse is a collection of all the changes made to the canvas, and then sped up to whatever degree necessary to reach its intended final run time.
How to Start a Timelapse
You start it when you create your canvas to make your illustration.
At the very bottom of the New Illustration window (from File -> New or CMD/CTRL-N), there’s a checkbox that reads “Record timelapse”. Checking that box does exactly what you expect it would.
The first time you check that box, you’ll get an informational window that lets you know the timelapse video is stored with your .clip file, which might become significantly larger because of it. Obviously, the more work you do to the image, the more data CSP is saving to that file. Larger file sizes might take longer to save and will definitely use up more space in your local storage.
Once you start your drawing, the timelapse feature runs invisibly in the background. You might even forget that it’s running. There’s no UI element like a red light or a pulsing camera icon that shows you it’s running. You need to look it up in the menu. Here’s how.
How to End a Timelapse
The timelapse never finishes recording on its own. Once started, it’ll always be running and saving information to your final Clip Studio Paint project file (filename.clip).
If you want to end it early, however, you can. In the menu bar, go to File -> Timelapse -> Record Timelapse. There will be a checkmark there to indicate that it’s recording.
If you click it now, CSP will ask you if you’re completely sure you want to do that:
Warning: Ending the timelapse deletes the timelapse.
If you want to save a timelapse of your progress up to this point, do that first before you end the timelapse. CSP deletes all that information once you end the timelapse and there’s no going back. (Well, you can restore from a backup of the saved file if you’re using some kind of version control or have an automated backup system with versioning going on. Dropbox and Apple’s Time Machine can both save you that way.)
The “Delete and turn off” button is very specific and detailed like that to remind you that you can’t simply end a timelapse. Ending it is the same as deleting it.
How to Start a Timelapse After You Started Drawing
But, wait! What if you forgot to check that box when you created the new illustration? Is it too late to start a timelapse?
The good news is that you can start a timelapse at any point, even if you didn’t check that box when you created your canvas in the first place.
The bad news for you, though, is that CSP is not a miracle worker. It cannot remember what you’ve already done up to this point. The timelapse can only record what it sees as it’s recording, no more and no less.
Go to File -> Timelapse -> Record Timelapse
We’ll assume that option isn’t checked already, which means that it isn’t currently running. Once you click on it, CSP will put the checkmark next to it and a new timelapse will begin.
How to Save a Timelapse Video
Go to the menu bar and select File -> Timelapse -> Export Timelapse
That will bring up this window:
That large white box at the top is a preview of your timelapse in its current aspect ratio. It’s playing in a loop from beginning to end to give you a preview of what you’ve made. There’s a scrubber underneath it so you can play/pause the preview or jump to any point.
The Export Options section underneath gives you three key components of the final video:
Length: How long do you want this timelapse video to run? You only get three options: 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and All. Yes, that last option means you’ll get the entire video, no matter how long it took you to draw it. That might come in handy if you wanted to export it to a video editing program later, or if you really wanted people to see every brush stroke you made.
Size: How big do you want the final video to be? You get three options here, again: 1280, 1080, and 720. Basically, it’s the three flavors of high def video. You’re not getting 4k, though, but let’s not get greedy.
Aspect Ratio: How do you want your final video to look? What are the videos proportions? Clip Studio Paint provides six options: Original, 16:9, 4:3, 1:1, 4:5, 9:16. It will add black borders to frame your original illustration to center it in the aspect ratio you’ve chosen.
This is, in many ways, the most important option of the three, and tips you off to what the intention of the timelapse feature is. No matter what the aspect ratio of your art is, CSP is giving you all the options you need to make a final video that will fit into all social media aspect ratios.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for what those aspect ratios might look like with a drawing I worked on that was originally in A4 (roughly 8.5 x 11) ratio.
You can see where 1:1 would be handy for an Instagram post. Instagram Stories and TikTok run at 9:16. YouTube is 16:9, generally speaking, and Twitter will take darn near anything you throw at it .
After you’ve made all of these decisions, click the “OK” button, provide a name and location for your file, and you’re good to go.
A few quick FAQs:
How Can I Tell If a Timelapse Is Already Running?
In the Clip Studio Paint menu bar, click on File -> Timelapse and look at the option named “Record Timelapse”.
If a timelapse is currently running, a checkmark will appear to its left.
If there is no checkmark, you can click that option now to start a new timelapse that will cover everything from this point forward.
Will I Lose My Timelapse If I Close CSP or Reboot My Computer?
No, all of the information is saved to your .clip project file. You can come and go as you please.
You can close down Clip Studio Paint, reboot your computer, and not come back to your file for six months. The next time you load it, all of the information needed for the timelapse will already be there with the file, and the timelapse will still be running.
Keep the file, keep the timelapse
What Format is the Final Timelapse Video In?
Clip Studio Paint uses the MP4 video format for its exports.
It’s a well-established standard that most every video application — and web browser — uses. As a bonus, MP4 file sizes are smaller than many other video codecs.
This is all to say that you can post the final file directly to social media or import it into your favorite video editor without a problem.
How Can I Get More Power in my Timelapse?
If you want to do more with your timelapse, you’ll need to create it yourself. Use a screen recording application to capture the screen and then take it into a video editor to edit it however you like — for speed, size, format, etc.
I recommend Screenflow for your screen recording needs. (I show you how to set this up in “Artists: How to Record Yourself Drawing Digitally” over on our sister site, PipelineComics.com.) It’s a very powerful tool that will create a file and give you a powerful editor to make all the changes you might want.
You can speed it up or slow it down to any degree. You can speed up or slow down specific parts. You can zoom in on parts or highlight things as the video goes. You can even show what keys you were pressing on screen as the video plays. You can even make edits to the video to get rid of the ten really embarrassing hands you drew before one finally looked right. And you can superimpose any graphics or text you might want on top of it all.
The Clip Studio Paint timelapse feature is limited, but it gets the job done without being confusing. When you start having the itch to make more powerful videos, anyway, it’ll be time to upgrade to more specific software.