I've been trying to obtain an animation like this one from PHDComics:


Does anybody have a good idea of how to achieve it? or at least on which program is this artist (Jorge Cham) doing the illustration? (Paint, Ai, Ps...?)

What I've done so far is doing the illustration on Ai, record the screen and then make the film play faster by about 2000-2500%. But I think Ai is not what I need, coloring becomes complicated.

I tried to contact him without success and I also google it a lot of times, look at interviews etc. He only says he uses a graphic tablet.

Any help is appreciated.



1 Answer 1


This was done pretty much the way you describe, but with Photoshop. The clue came at 3:04 in the video:

PHD Animation frame

That marquee, cursor and center point affordance are from Photoshop. You can even tell that he has the Shift key held down, because the proportions of the letters don't change and the cursor isn't exactly on that corner point.

He's using a Wacom tablet or (more likely) a Cintiq, along with a nice cartoon font I don't immediately recognize. Really a lot of work, though, any way you slice it, and very nicely done.

  • Alan, thank you for taking the time to see the video with detail. Yes it seems Ps!!, and it's certainly pushing the shift key on that scene. I've been practicing with Ps this morning and it suits me well, I will stick with it by now. Thank! Mar 26, 2014 at 13:36
  • You're welcome! It was a fun bit of detective work. :) Mar 26, 2014 at 20:07
  • Alan, maybe this is worth another question. Well I try it here first. Look here is another animation, but quite more advanced from the same guy. Do you think this is achievable with Photoshop and screen recording? or we are talking about another software now? or a mix of others. youtube.com/watch?v=uG4xe9cNpP0 Mar 30, 2014 at 11:26
  • Same kit, I'd say. It wouldn't have to be screen capture software like Camtasia, although it could be. There's some sophisticated video editing (and not-so-sophisticated audio). Many elements look like they were recorded separately as their own clips then layered on the timeline in the final compositing stage. Mar 31, 2014 at 1:59
  • Yes yes they have tu be separated, just wondering how he achieved the transparency of the upper layer drawings on the video recording/editing. If I get the answer I will share it here. :) Mar 31, 2014 at 7:20

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