Creating Whiteboards

As I mentioned in the About Me section, I have some programs for creating whiteboard artwork.  The types of whiteboard work I do falls into two categories: it is either created from pen strokes traced manually (text is almost always this type), or it is created directly from an image.

Whiteboards from Manual Traces

When the desired output is only lines and not a full image, I will usually opt to use the tracing method.  For this I will start in Photoshop and manually trace the lines I wish to have drawn on the whiteboard. For text, I’ll type and position the message using the Text tool, and then trace over the letters with the shape layer.  The text acts as my template, and only the lines I trace manually will appear in the final output.  This is the time consuming part.

Then from Photoshop I export the shape layer in Adobe Illustrator format.  I then have a program which converts the poly-lines from Adobe Illustrator format into whiteboard pen strokes.  In the process, it also makes “double” lines, using a second line in the background color to make the lines appear thinner.

Then, in the final step, a second program loads the pen strokes and automatically moves and clicks the mouse, quickly tracing the lines onto the whiteboard.  Since the pen strokes are stored, it is easy to recreate any signs I’ve already made, which is convenient when I want to change a sign temporarily.

Whiteboards from Images

Creating a whiteboard copy of an image requires three steps.  First, I have to manually adjust the image into a certain format that is the right size uses only those colors that can be drawn on the whiteboard.  The whiteboards have only 8 pen colors.  For cartoonish images this is less of an issue, but when the original image is a photo, it can be difficult to represent the image with the pen colors available.

While manually editing the image, I will usually remove some of the fine detail, if it will not translate well into the final image, or if it will detract from the finished product.  Excessive detail can not only spoil the look of the final image, but more pen strokes create more lag.

Depending on the complexity of the original image, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, or sometimes more.  This first step is the most time consuming.

Once the image has been put in the right format, the second step is to process it with a program of mine.  This program takes the image as input and creates a long list of pen strokes as output.  These pen strokes are saved to a text file.

The third and final step is to take the pen strokes and apply them to the whiteboard.  This is done using a second program that reads the text file and automatically moves and clicks the mouse.  For some images this can take quite a while.  Some of the most detailed images have as many as 6000 pen strokes.

This example here has about 2300 pen strokes:

That’s it for now!

In the future I’ll be posting some examples from my portfolio.  I’ve made quite a lot of pictures over my YoVille career!


  • By Jonny Pants, February 11, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

    Sorry about all the questions I ask you, but here’s another 😛 Does the program that processes pictures go through a row looking for changes in color?

  • By Lightning Jamie, February 12, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

    well it’s a little more complicated than that, but essentially yes

  • By Borio Coraggio, February 22, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

    how can i get this prog ?

  • By Jonny Pants, April 7, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks for all your help. I’ve actually made some money from my whiteboards thanks to you. :)

  • By Aaron, May 15, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

    how do i get the program to do this? would love to know

  • By luis, May 27, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

    i need that program pleas

  • By john, June 15, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

    i downloaded your programm auto draw and it is cool, my question is how am i going to change the picturei would like to draw instead of just the”demo” please tell me..thanks much!

  • By Lightning Jamie, June 15, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

    You can draw your own picture by clicking Make a Custom Whiteboard (or here) and following the steps 1-4.

  • By lpiouty, June 17, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

    sir where can we get a vochuour or a coupon for a frey key can you gimme one plz?

  • By Luna bells, June 25, 2010 @ 9:40 am

    what if u dont have an f2 key

  • By Lightning Jamie, June 25, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

    Alt-Shift-2 also works. I’ll add it to the documentation. Looks like I forgot to add it before.

  • By Charmaine, July 1, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

    I have a apple macbook laptop will it work on my macbook ?

  • By Lightning Jamie, July 2, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

    Sorry, the program only works on windows. This is because the hooks for controlling the mouse are very different for Macs. Perhaps someday there may be support for Mac or Linux but there’s no plan for it right now.

Other Links to this Post

  1. Lightning Jamie's Blog » Making Whiteboards: Now You Can Too! — June 14, 2010 @ 5:31 am

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