Camtasia 2021: New and Exciting Features!

Gord Isman Camtasia, Camtasia Tutorials with FREE Templates!, General

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Camtasia 2021 is finally here!

The new and exciting features included in this Camtasia 2020 release will have you feeling like a pro video editor. Camtasia has always been the most powerful screen recording software on the market, but now it's even better with these updates. This blog post will review some of the main features and how they can help you create more professional videos for your audience.

If you're looking to get started with Camtasia 2021, then, in addition to this blog post, take a look at my YouTube review and tutorial, where I break down each feature so that even beginners can learn how to use them!

Now, let's look at a feature-by-feature review of Camtasia 2021.

(Note: Timestamps are live links to chapters in the accompanying YouTube video.)

Transitions (02:06)

It’s been quite a long wait for us to get some more exciting transitions to use in Camtasia. Before this release, there were around 30 transitions, and the last time we got an update, a few releases ago, there was just one transition added – the Whip Spin, which was a great addition.

Now, there are over 120!! By my math, that’s an additional 90+ transitions!

I must say, TechSmith really over-delivered on these!

There are 9 categories to explore, and there is a whole variety of Zooms, blurs, fades, wipes, solids, spins and other specialized transitions to choose from.

This collection of transitions will help you add some great professional-quality effects that add more polish to your videos.


Transition Categories

Camtasia 2021 has 90 + new transitions, organized by Type

Corner Rounding (03:19)

A new visual effect in Camtasia 2021 is Corner Rounding. It allows you to soften the sharp corners of your media and experiment with interesting shapes for a custom look.

Corner Rounding Effect

Round corners of clips and objects.

Media Matte (04:52)

In Camtasia 2020, the Track Mattes Modes feature was introduced. This gave you the capability to create static and animated masks that define how the contents of different tracks get displayed. In addition, there was Alpha, Alpha Invert, Luminosity, and Luminosity Invert modes.

With the introduction of the Media Matte Visual Effect in Camtasia 2021, we have a simpler solution with the addition of an Intensity control. The effect allows you to transform otherwise ordinary shapes, text and footage into eye-catching visuals and motion graphics. 

The effect will only show for the length of the affected media.

Media Matte Visual Effect

The Media Matte Visual Effect in Camtasia 2021 adds flexibility to masks, without needing to use the Track Matte Effect.

3D LUT (07:03)

If you want to change the mood and feel of your footage quickly, use the new 3D LUT Visual Effect in Camtasia 2021. The Color LUT or Color Look-Up Table effect is based on a file format used by experienced filmmakers and photographers.

At launch, this is only available for the Mac but will be available soon for Windows via a future update to the 2021 release.

This a much-need feature for the creator who wants their video production to look more professional.

3D Lut

Lottie File Support (07:38)

With Lottie file support in Camtasia 2021, you can now import dynamic and expressive character animations to your videos that pro animators make in other tools. Like Adobe After Effects. You can also find FREE animations and ones to buy through various marketplaces on the web.

If you want to explore more about Lottie files, one place is the Marketplace at https://lottiefiles.com/. And another place to look is https://drawer.design/.

I must say, this new feature file type integration is REALLY giving Camtasia creators the ability to use next-level artistic assets in their videos.

Lottie Files Media Type

With Lottie file support in Camtasia 2021, you can now import dynamic and expressive character animations.

Toggle Effects (08:19)

The toggle effects feature in Camtasia 2021 is fantastic as it lets you turn off an effect and then put it back on again. Sometimes I find this necessary to help me differentiate between the effects that are running.

Motion Blur (09:05)

With the Motion Blur effect, you can Instantly make your effects and movement feel smoother or more natural. Note that these changes are subtle and may not be easily seen on a small mobile phone screen.

Here are a few examples with a before and after version so that you can appreciate the subtle enhancement that the motion blur effect achieves.

(Play this video Chapter - click here - to see all the examples.)

Example 1: logo blur - enhanced spin and blur

Example 2: logo blur - higher intensity blur - appears faster

Motion Blur animation

Motion blur can make your effects and movement feel smoother or more natural.

Example 3: text blur effect

Example 4: text blurring and easing

Example 5: zoom in blur and easing 

Example 6: icon with custom animation and a variety of easing options

Emphasize Audio (13:33)

In Camtasia 2021, The Emphasize Audio Effect is a game-changing, fast, and easy way to get your video sounding professional, especially if you have a screencast or narration track and additional audio, like music, in the background.

You can choose a primary narration/voice track and duck all the others into the background.

The first step in the process of setting up this effect is to be sure that you’ve got your music bed on the timeline and aligned to play along with your narration track. The music bed is commonly placed below the narration track.

Next, apply the Emphasize Audio Effect to the primary audio track you want to use - your narration clip.

Once that’s done, you can adjust the Emphasis of your narration track by tweaking its Emphasize Properties, including Emphasis, Ramp Position, and Ramp In/Out timings.

Emphasize Audio Effect

Control the relative volume of the narration track to the rest of the audio.

The Emphasis parameter controls the relative volume of the narration track to the rest of the audio, which is the music bed. An Emphasis value of 0 means that there is no Emphasis in play. In other words, the effect is doing nothing.

And, an Emphasis value of 100 means that you will only hear the narration sound and no music. The default is 80%, and it reflects a nice balance so that you can hear the narration well above the music bed. If you want to raise the relative volume of the narration, then move the slider above 80%.

Next, you can tune the Ramp Position. By default, the Ramp Position is set to Outside. Outside means that Ramp In and Ramp Out seconds apply outside of the narration track. That means Ramping In before the narration and Ramping Out after the Narration.

The Inside Ramp Position setting means that the ducking Ramp In seconds will not start until the narration starts, and the Ramp Out seconds will start before the narration ends.

And finally, the Span Ramp Position means that the Ramp In and Ramp Out seconds will straddle the start/end of the narration.

VU Meter (16:00)

The VU meter is also new. If you click on the smaller VU meter, you’ll get the larger vertical one to show onscreen. Press the small one again, and you toggle the larger one-off. I really like the addition of this feature because I can see the VU scale and more accurately measure the sound level of recordings and edit the volume if required. The red color on the meter means that your volume is too high and you’re likely distorting/clipping the sound.

Share Narration to Audiate (16:26)

Camtasia can now quickly pass audio narration back and forth with TechSmith’s Audiate. This integration will help you edit your audio like editing text in a document and improve the sound quality of your recording. 

Share to Audiate

Pass audio narration back and forth with TechSmith’s Audiate.

Group Tabs (Group Assets) (16:50)

In Camtasia 2021, The Group Tabbed interface that has been on the Mac is now here for Windows!

This new for Windows, tabbed timeline grouping workflow helps to streamline and organize your Groups. This is very helpful when working with more sophisticated assets you create with multiple nested Groups.

Group Tabs on Timeline

Streamline and organize your Groups. Most helpful with the more sophisticated assets you create with multiple nested Groups.

Quick Properties (17:58), Quick Property Editor (18:54)

The automatically created group assets work with the updatable Quick Properties and Quick Properties Editor.

If I use the Quick Properties to change from one color to another, all occurrences of that color change in one go. I can also easily edit the text elements in the asset because they are also accessible in the Quick Properties tab.

The beauty of all of this expanded control and customization is the simplicity. It’s simple and fast because you don’t have to navigate to the Annotation Properties for each element to make the changes and then go to the next element and repeat the same steps over. The Quick Properties tab involves just one stop to make the Color and Text changes for all the annotations. This is very efficient when editing complex assets with multiple nested Groups.

In the editor, you can see several options to control how asset properties are exposed for easy control in the Quick Properties Tab.

Quick Properties and Quick Properties Editor

The automatically created group assets work with the updatable Quick Properties and Quick Properties Editor.

For example, you can control Label Names, arrange list order, link similar asset elements together (e.g. Callouts), and assign theme properties for colors and fonts.

You can even add/remove properties in the editor, and they won’t show in Quick Properties. Notice that the logo is sitting in the Available Properties section and therefore doesn’t show under Quick Properties.)

If you want to bring something back, under the Available Properties, click on the green icon (green with +) next to the object you want to add controls to, and then Save.

Be sure that you save your changes before you leave the editor so that the changes get reflected in the Quick Properties Tab.

So, the Quick Properties are a great timesaver for color and text changes. Still, they don’t replace what might need to be done for more complicated things like animation tuning – e.g., timing changes and detailed animating with other effects, properties, and more.

Pro Tip: You can convert your existing 2020 Windows library assets to have Quick Asset Properties by adding them to the timeline, ungrouping, and then grouping again – this will auto-generate the Quick Properties that previously didn’t exist.

Proxy Video (21:08)

The Create Proxy feature helps to improve your editing workflow experience greatly by compressing your high-resolution media files to a lower resolution at 25%. This makes for a lot less friction while scrubbing your media on the timeline. The choppiness and delays are pretty much gone! This adds to your video editing efficiency, especially when you are scrubbing backwards!

To create a proxy for the file, in the Media bin, hover over the clip you want to create the proxy for and click the right mouse button. Next, select the Create Proxy menu option. 

Create Proxy File

Compress your high-resolution media files and have a lot less friction while scrubbing your media on the timeline.

You’ll notice that the image of the media clip will show a green progress bar. Once the proxy creation has completed, you will also see the light orange circle appear in the lower-left area of the media clip icon, and you will see a similar icon on all the media clips on the timeline that use the original source media has been proxied.

When you look at the clip on the canvas, you can see that the resolution quality has dropped, but now, scrub along the timeline with the playhead and feel how much less friction there is. You now see a lot more frames as you move in both directions. It’s much smoother, and you have a more accurate feel.

Note that when you apply the proxy, it will apply to the complete media clip, no matter how many cuts you may have done on the timeline.

When it comes to rendering, don’t worry because you can leave the proxy on. Rendering works on the original, higher resolution file.

Note, the proxy file is not physically saved in the area of your project files; rather, it’s stored in a … Camtasia Studio 21\Proxy Files location pathed off your installation.

This means that the proxy for a file is available to all projects once created.

Camtasia 2021 Standalone Projects (22:53)

Many people I work with struggle with managing and sharing their project files. Using the new Standalone Projects feature will make it much easier to work on different computers, collaborate with others, and overcome the problems of breaking paths and losing project media.

You create a Standalone Project when you save your project. If it’s your first “Save” or when you use “Save As”, you’ll see the Create Standalone Project option. This option is enabled by default, but you can toggle it on/off, depending on what you want to do.

Save As Standalone Project

Saving a project as a "standalone" project.

The Standalone project saved is really a Folder saved in the name of the project, along with all the assets and the .tscproj file saved in the folder.

Standalone Project File

The Standalone project saved is really a Folder saved in the name of the project, along with all the assets and the .tscproj file saved in the folder.

You can also open a Standalone project by doing a drag/drop of the folder into Camtasia. Similarly, you can open the project by doing a drag/drop of the .tscproj file itself.

This feature greatly simplifies the management of a project’s files and serves as a fast and easy way to move, archive and share your Camtasia projects as everything your need is in a single folder. This single folder approach is similar to what you work with after importing a project .zip file.

Pro Tip: If your workflow currently utilizes an organized folder with sub-folders set up for your projects, you may not want to use the Standalone projects feature as you lose that added sub-folder management level of file organization because all the files for the project are together in one folder. 

Width and Height (24:28)

Width and Height are two new properties added to the Visual Properties tab. These new controls will help you to fine-tune adjust your timeline objects. These are great for tuning elements in animations that need exact precision.

To me, it’s not just about the precision; it’s also about the time you save in setting up and updating your dimension details.

Width and Height precision

Width and Height will help you to fine-tune adjust your timeline objects.

Solo Track (25:40)

When you are editing a complex project in Camtasia 2021, you may want to focus in on one particular track because it’s easier to access an element without disrupting what’s surrounding it on the Canvas.

To ensure clean access and no disruption to the other elements, I use the Enable Solo Track option on each text field. Go to the Track label area, right-click and select Enable Solo Track.

Enable Solo Track

Focus in on one particular track because it’s easier to access an element without disrupting what’s surrounding it on the Canvas.

Once I’m done, I use the disable solo track option to make everything accessible again.

If you’ve enabled multiple solo tracks, you will see that disabling one of them won’t make all the other tracks accessible; instead, only the track you disabled becomes accessible.

To get all the tracks accessible in the scenario where you’ve solo enabled multiple tracks, use the Disable All Solo Tracks option.

Pro Tip: Another great situation where I can use this feature is when I do sound design in Camtasia. As you know, sound design means tinkering with many layers of tracks. If you want to test how certain sound effects and music play together, isolate your desired tracks with the Enable solo track feature.

Camtasia 2021 New Launcher/Welcome (26:55)

The Camtasia 2021 Launcher has a new look with larger Icons and a little different layout. The Get Started Tab features are now aligned horizontally rather than the vertical alignment before. Everything here looks familiar here.

New Launcher/Welcome Screen

The Camtasia 2021 Launcher has a new look with larger Icons and a little different layout.

Color Picker (28:24)

In Camtasia, before, there used to be an option to save custom colors in the Color Picker. They can now be saved in the Swatches panel, saving time from finding that color you want again.

Camtasia 2021 Updated Recorder UI (28:48)

The Recorder in Camtasia for Windows is a well-used component, and it’s getting a refreshed look for 2021 that’s modernized and streamlined. I especially like the big Camera preview!

Camtasia 2021 Recorder

The Camtasia Recorder is getting a refreshed look for 2021 that’s modernized and streamlined.

At release time, we see the Windows Recorder work in progress version that is planned to have a significant update very soon in the first maintenance update release.

So, you can use it with the limitations at Release time, or you have the option to continue using the Legacy Camtasia Recorder in the meantime.

Conslusion

If you’re looking for a video editing tool that will help you create professional-looking videos, then look no further. Camtasia 2021 has everything you need to make your videos stand out from the crowd. Camtasia 2021 is the latest release from TechSmith, and it’s loaded with new features (e.g. Quick Properties, Group Tabs, Solo Tracks, Proxy files, etc.) to improve your productivity and workflow. It also has some great NEW features that will help you add some nice visual candy (eg. 90+ new Transitions, 3D Luts, Media Matte, Motion Blur, Lottie Files, etc.) that will make all of your videos look very professional!

If you don’t already have a copy of Camtasia or want to update yours, then now is definitely the time! You can get started by clicking the link here if you are new to Camtasia, or you click here to get an upgrade, and I'll earn a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you.