Is there a way to make an animation of an entire Illustrator project from start to finish?

I don't want to screen capture movie (as if it were a tutorial), nor do I want "my current view" of the progress (e.g. no zooming in and out). Rather, the animation should be of the whole artboard as the art gets created, step-by-step.

(I've seen this done for Proceate here)

  • It's done with screen capture software. You simply capture everything on screen, then edit the captured movie afterwards.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 1:58
  • Any normal screen capture software will also record the interface and the cursor. I wonder if there's something to only capture the artboard, it's easy on the tablet, but I can't find anything like that for desktop...
    – Yisela
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 3:55
  • @Yisela There are probably many screen recording applications that don't have the option to hide cursor, but there are also many that do have it, like: Camtasia Studio, Screenflow, CamStudio ( Not to be confused with the first one. This one is opensource. ). You can get rid of the illustrator interface by pressing F couple times or TAB once, but hiding the interface is not necessary. You can record a specific region in your screen, which in this case could be the artboard.
    – Joonas
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 7:18
  • @Yisela Screenflow on the Mac records keystrokes, cursors, and sounds as options which can be turned off (or on) after the recording has been made.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 7:45
  • You could also save frame by frame(assign an action to export the artboard maybe, or javascript an autosave using setInterval();), which i suspect thats how the morgan freeman painting was achieved. Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


To get a static view of your project without any zooming, you can just create a new window for it and use screen capture software to record that window. With your project open, just use Window > New Window and make it whatever size or position needed (you can drag it to a different monitor outside of Illustrator too).

The caveat with this is that some of your actions won't be as "live" as others. For instance, drawing a shape will be live, drawing a brush stroke will not.

Screen capture example


An alternate method for recording what you did is to: Mine the Undo. By making a exceptionally large undo you should be able to fit quite a long sequence to actions in the undo. The caveat is that the entire work has to be done in one go or expand every time you quit.

One can edit the AIPrefs to set the undo levels higher than default 200 by editing the variables:

/undoDepth 5
/maxUndoDepth 200

If you need more then 200 steps. Then just make a script that emits file save and undo for your scene. Obviously it wont record mistakes done by undo, this might be good or bad. As a bonus you can export vector versions of the progress.

This is quite light on your operation and you can get as big animations as you like even if you screen wouldn't support so big images and does not use up real estate when you work.

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