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Learn some of the best ways to reduce the heaviness of your project file while working in Storyboard Pro.
So there are several ways that you can reduce the heaviness of your project file while working. The first one is by using a plain brush versus a textured brush. So right now, I have the brush tool selected. And I have a plain vector brush selected. So now, I'm going to make a stroke in the Stage View with this brush, and then I'm going to select one of the textured brushes and make another stroke in the Stage View.
So if it isn't obvious about what we see here, the plain stroke is actually a vector stroke, which means it takes up very little memory or space, because it's resolution-free, whereas, the textured stroke down here is actually bitmap-based and therefore is resolution-dependent and therefore heavier when used in a project. So what we recommend when doing rough sketching like this is to use plain vector lines as they are lighter. However, if you do like the natural rough look of textured lines, what we would recommend is that when importing bitmaps to create your own textured lines, just make sure that they're at a reasonable size and resolution.
Another thing to look out for is that when you create layers for the panels in your project, you can create two different kinds. You can create vector layers and you can create bitmap layers. So if you're gonna be doing a lot of shading with different colors and textures, it's actually recommended to use a bitmap layer instead of a vector layer with a textured brush. So I'll show you what I mean quickly. It's like a textured brush for this bitmap layer. And we know that it's a bitmap layer because of this blue highlighted bar here on the left-hand side. And as you can see, none of the other layers have that, so they're all vector layers. And then let's just select a random color and maybe increase the size a bit and start drawing. So we're shading this in. And then maybe we select another color, and we start shading in. So if you're doing things like this, definitely do this on a bitmap layer and not on a vector layer.
The next that we would recommend to optimize your project is to flatten your lines when you sketch. And you can either do this as you're sketching or after the fact. So if we take a look at these lines, I can do this by selecting the Select Tool and then maybe by grabbing some of these lines here, you can see that they're actually all individual strokes. And this can be great for many reasons. It offers a lot of flexibility and the fact that you can then scale these lines how you want that you can reposition them, that you can recolor them. You can do all sorts of things. However, all of this flexibility means that more memory is being taken up, especially if there are many strokes like we see here with this sketch.
So like I said, the first way to flatten lines is to do it as you go. So what we're going to do is select the brush tool from the tool bar. And from the tool properties of the brush tool, we're going to click on this little button right here, which is the Auto-flatten button. And then if I draw a few lines overlapping and then go back to the Select Tool, you'll see that even if I try to select a single stroke of these three lines, they get selected as one object. So if I do that again without the Auto-flatten selected, and I select the Select Tool, I can select these lines individually. And they're still their own object. So that's the first way.
The second way is to flatten lines that already exist. And you can do this in several ways. I'm just gonna delete these quickly. So the first way would be to select a few strokes on any given layer. So on layer B, we can see that we have two individual strokes here, so I could select them both, and then go to the top menu and select Tools > Flatten, or use the keyboard shortcut list to adjust the side. And now, when I try to select one stroke, they both get selected, and we can see that any of the dividing line between them has disappeared and they appear as one object.
You can also flatten the lines of any given layer by selecting that layer and going to the top menu and selecting Tools > Flatten. So now, if I try to select any of those lines, they're all flattened. The reason that we two flattened groups here is because this set of lines actually isn't touching this set of lines. So there needs to be an overlap between the strokes in order for them to be flattened together. And in addition to that, they need to be the same color. So in my next example, I'm going to flatten all the lines in a layer for several layers at once. But let's create a different colored stroke quickly, just so you can see that it won't get flattened.
So I'm going to select layer C, which is this arm, and layer C1, which this arm. So I'm going to select them by holding Shift to select two layers and then go to top menu once again and select Tools > Flatten and then select the Select Tool again. And now, if we click off those layers and click on them again, so for C1, we can see it's now one object, same for C2, except for this red line. We can still move it by itself. Although now you can see a hole appear here where it once was, which is the result of flattening two different colored lines together.
So the last bit of advice we can impart is when you try to integrate other bitmaps. So sometimes, Storyboard panels are created as images or in a third-party software and they're imported in as bitmaps. A lot of people try to go by the rule of getting the highest resolution image as possible because they assume that means that whatever they export will also be of equal quality and caliber. The fact of the matter is any export that you make from Storyboard Pro, whether it's a PDF or animatic, will not improve in quality if you use images that have higher resolution than the project size.
So for example, if your project is NTSC, then if you use images that are higher than 720x540 at 72 DPI, the results will not be any clearer, any sharper of any higher resolution. So that's another way of keeping your project file size down and keeping the processes in your project move in quickly.