Announcing SlideDraw

By November 12, 2019 Apps

A few months back, my friends at Fellowship Church were looking to improve the experience of when Pastor Ed Young draws on slides. He just wanted to quickly outline a word and (sometimes) advance the slides. Their workflow at the time involved highly cumbersome Windows software, with a ton of extra UI on screen and no ability to update slides after the message had started. To advance a slide for Ed, the team had to remote in and use the mouse while on screen to click “next”. Fun times! These were just a few of the pain points. Well, we decided to get to work.

What is SlideDraw?

SlideDraw simply lets the presenter draw on top of images and navigate in the easiest way possible.  Plain and simple. Done.

We kept our “tentpoles” short and simple for SlideDraw, here is the list:
1. macOS based, the favorite platform of our creative and production friends.
2. Super simple for the presenter to use with no UI clutter.
3. Assist-able from the production team.
4. Production friendly features.

Let’s take look at each of these!

1. macOS. Running on our favorite platform of macOS, SlideDraw is a live presentation image annotation app designed with the touch screen in mind. And get this! With macOS Catalina’s Sidecar feature, an iPad with the Apple Pencil is a perfect pairing! This is a native (Swift 5) app as well.

2. Simple. The user interface for the presenter has been minimized to only give you what you need. Namely, simple color choices, preset stroke sizes, highlight mode and a simple undo function. And for fun, if you want to hide the drawing or navigation controls, you can. It’s perfect for the person who doesn’t want to draw, but just go back and forth.

SlideDraw’s Drawing Interface

3. Assist-able. SlideDraw has a separate window called the Control Panel. We recommend running this on a separate display during a production. The Control Panel lets you load in slides, advance around and even clear the drawings when needed. You can also reorder the slides while the presentation is going on.

The Control Panel in SlideDraw

4. Production Friendly. Serving in production for over twenty years has made me appreciate the little things, so this is easily my favorite tentpole to discuss.

  • Once, we saw at Fellowship once that the touchscreen TV needed to fade out during a video, so yeah, we added a button to do that on the Control Panel. No more fake black slide.
  • When you draw on a slide and go forward, and then back, guess what? The drawing on that slide is STILL THERE! And undo-able. Bam.
  • Images of the drawing (alpha PNG) are saved automatically as you move around in the presentation. Your Social Media curators will have some fun with those.
  • Clean Output Window, the source you take to your screens or your gigantic LED wall does NOT have the (previously ugly) drawing buttons and user interface on it. I love this.

Bonus Features: On top of that, we disable the system sleep, provide cursor blanking, present in true window full screen modes and more to make your life easier.

Throughout the development process, we invited a few of the fine folk from Fellowship Church to our Dallas office and they were even kind enough to leave a little note:

SlideDraw is exactly what we were looking for! We tried many other touchscreen drawing solutions and they all had major issues for our use. Too cluttered looking on the TV, confusing tools, clunky loading of slides, etc. SlideDraw has solved all of those problems for us – it’s a clean interface that is easy for our Pastor to use while communicating on stage; it has a screen output view that gets rid of all navigation / drawing tools for us to display through our switcher on other screens; it has a control panel that we can manage slides, re-order slides, control slide navigation or just be ready in case our Pastor needs help and no one notices it happening! And it even supports using an iPad / Apple Pencil for drawing – so cool! Not only is the app great, but Workflow Network provides great support as well.

Luke DeMoss – Production @ Fellowship Church

Thanks Luke. So nice of you!

Our friends, Mackenzie and Corbin, prepping the
SlideDraw control panel at Fellowship Church

SlideDraw is new, so we have plans to add little features as time goes on. We can’t wait to hear what you all think! Our main mini site SlideDraw.com has more info and of course, we are here to help.

A little disclaimer:

While we made this app with the touch screen in mind, macOS does not usually work “out of the box” with most touchscreen displays. At Fellowship Church and our other beta sites, 3rd party drivers were needed to make the Mac “see” the mouse / finger touches from the display. This is normal. We designed SlideDraw to utilize the most basic form of mouse movements like up, down, in and out. So, even before you install SlideDraw you can test out your own touch screen display to check if it will respond to touches on the Mac’s Finder. We listed a few that have been tested in our setup guide. That being said, even with all the energy we have put into this, SlideDraw may not be for everyone. So, we gave it a 14-day trial period.

A SlideDraw host MacMini in production

Created for you…

We are beginning to roll out a new phrase “created for you”… and we mean it! All of our products were designed to meet a need and sometimes became a direct answer to a problem. SlideDraw is no different and we are thrilled to share it with you!

– Matt