animation

Storyline vs. Captivate Part 7

SL2vsCAP8

Today is a continuation of this ongoing comparison. For a full comparison, check out this post.

Feature Captivate 8 Storyline 2 Notes
508 Compliance This could be an entire post on its own. Suffice it to say that Captivate used to win this category hands down. But the most recent update of SL2 added some really great 508 options that I think have now pushed SL to the forefront on this category. These include being able to heavily customize keyboard tabbing in addition to some of the more standard options.
Closed Captioning Captivate offers built in closed captioning. You can customize the look and timing and, while a bit time consuming, it is pretty easy to do (And important!). SL offers no way to do built in closed captioning. You can custom create this but it takes a LOT of time (I have done it before!). Your best option in SL, though it isn’t as useful for the learner, is to use the notes feature as a transcript. This is the one area of 508 compliance where Captivate wins hands down. Either way, captioning videos is tough to do. You can always use You Tube, Aegisub or other online programs to caption videos or other portions of your project.
Adding Video & Animations SL has a lot less options for the types of videos you can import and for embedding from a website. However, it does allow you to split one video across multiple slides. This can come in handy if you want to have users interact with the video in order to advance it. You do also have more control over the look of the video player skin. You can add in any Flash element, video from a file (FLV, MP4, SWF – other types will convert to MP4 when imported), video from a website (you will need the embed code), or record video from your webcam into SL. You can also embed web objects (that is, web pages) into the project. You don’t have any control over how a video player looks but you can turn it off if you want.
Object Animations & Effects Captivate has a text animation option that is quick and easy to use. It just simply does PPT style text animations. It also has a somewhat hidden effects panel that is not very user friendly but is actually quite powerful. This can be used to add animations and effects to almost any element of your project. Captivate also allows you to “time” some of your effects, such as an object glow. Storyline’s animation options aren’t as powerful, but they are very easy to use. There are tabs for transitions (entry animation effects for entire slides) and for animations (entry, exit, and motion path effects for individual objects). It also allows you to also trigger a motion path. All SL effects (shadow, reflection, glow) are static and applied to an object for the entire time it is on the screen.
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Cartoons Compete: PowToon vs. GoAnimate

giphy

Sometimes in eLearning you need to create a quick animated short, either to insert into a longer course or to stand on its own. Storyline 2 actually makes this pretty simple, but there are some platforms that exist that make it even easier by providing built-in graphics; we all know that creating or finding images can take forever!

Two of the leaders in this area are PowToon and GoAnimate. As I mentioned last week, our team recently switched from PowToon to GoAnimate. In the process of switching, I was looking for a comparison of the two but not much was out there. So, if you are thinking about purchasing or switching to one of these platforms, you’re in luck!

 

Pros

PowToon is simple to use.  Creating and timing objects is easy. I like the way that PowToon uses a timeline even though you can only view and adjust one object a time on it. It has the basics and the free plan has some good features and options.

Cons

AUDIO. You can only import 1 audio file into the entire project so both creating the audio and timing it to your slides can be really tricky.

You also don’t have much control over the props and characters. They are set in stone. So, if the prop you need doesn’t really fit into your color scheme, too bad.

Pricing

The free plan offers a decent selection of styles and can be a good way to get started with PowToon. It will only let you share your video through YouTube or with a direct link, so if you want to download videos this isn’t a workable option. However, you can pay per export. The thing that I really don’t like about the free version is that it has both a watermark and an annoying outro slide at the end that has a little “created using PowToon” jingle.

For $228 a year you can get a pretty good business plan that allows you to download videos, get rid of the watermark and outro, and has a lot more included styles though not all of the styles. The only downside to this plan is that you are only allowed to use the videos for your own business; they can not be sold.

If you want the whole shebang, it’ll cost you $684 a year, though they sometimes run specials that will allow you to get the best plan for the price of $228 a year.

Why we switched

GoAnimate offers superb control over both audio and visual elements. You can even create your own custom characters in several of the styles and sync their talking to your audio narration.  It’s impressive! In addition, you can make characters actually hold objects (and they move with the objects in hand) and there are several more options for exits and entrances in addition to motion paths.

Also, you can search for a particular prop among all styles which is super handy and something I was often wished for with PowToon.

GoAnimate also has lots of features I didn’t know I was missing like a Ken Burns effect, great built-in “scenes” that can be modified as needed, and cool infographic animations.

What’s missing

I think my only let down with GoAnimate is that timing objects is a definitely trickier. There is a timeline but it only shows the scenes and audio, not the individual elements in each scene. You have to time objects relative to each other which can be tricky and makes time the full scene difficult. I think the best workaround for this is to create several short scenes with a couple of things happening as opposed to one longer scene with several actions.

GoAnimate does make this a little smoother than PowToon, including the fact that handwritten text matches up exactly with non-handwritten text, an issue I battled in PowToon more than once. I also just realized the other day that you can fit the scene duration to the content so that helps as well.

Pricing

The free plan for GoAnimate doesn’t allow exporting either, however you can copy embed code for the video or share a link. Also, the branding is a little less intrusive than that of PowToons in that there is only a small logo and not a jarring outro. However, you can only create videos that are less than 30 seconds long.

The mid level plan is $299 a year, about the same a PowToon and with basically the same additional features.You do get access to ALL the styles with this plan which is nice but you still have a watermark and can only use the videos internally.

The high level plan is $599 a year, considerably less than PowToon and, in my opinion, with a great deal more to offer.

In addition, GoAnimate offers a team subscription. It’s pricey, starting at $2000 a year for 3 subscribers, but allows separate accounts to collaborate on videos which is pretty handy.

So which one is better for me?

Glad you asked! Overall, I think GoAnimate is a better tool with more bang for your buck.  If they would add slide elements to the timeline, I would even call it close to perfect! However, if you are looking for a great tool to create some (longer than 30 second) free videos, PowToon definitely has the upper hand. Either way, these tools are easy to use and can really up your animation game!

Do you use either of these? Or another tool that you like?  Please share your experience in the comments!

How to Work with Instructional Designers

Happy Halloween everyone!

In an appropriate celebration of this spooky holiday, the ELH Challenge for the week centers around things that Instructional Designers don’t like to hear – the tricks amongst the treats of our jobs.

My team recently got a shiny new subscription to GoAnimate and so I decided to try it out and make a short video for this challenge. In order to make it a little more useful so we can share it around the office, I framed the video as “Things You Should Know About Working with Instructional Designers”. It’s a bit of a work in progress; we are also going to add some tips at the end. But for now, here it is!

Enjoy!

Welcome to My (Flat) World

This week’s eLearning Heroes Challenge was to create a flat office or desktop theme based on your own work space. I love the visual design challenges so I jumped into to this one wholeheartedly!

What is flat design?

For the visual design newbies out there, flat design is a style that focuses on making images look simple, rather than realistic.  It’s 2D rather than 3D with minimal shadows and shading and is very clean and modern. It is also really easy to create flat images using just some basic shapes!

My inspiration

photoHere is a picture of my work space.  It’s cluttered (though not as cluttered as it was yesterday!).
Because of that, I decided to use it as inspiration rather than create an exact replica.  I actually tried making a close replica at first and boy was it
terrible.  Perhaps this means I need to simplify my office set up?

Well, that’s a question for another day.

My design

I ended up cutting out some of the desk shelving and moving the cork boards over to that area instead. I also cut out all the stacks of papers and magazines and flies as well as 4 of my 5 pencil cups.  I don’t know why I have so many pencil cups but I’m sure it is someone else’s fault.

2014-09-16_11-43-53I decided to keep my most fun element, a panda shaped pencil sharpener and mini shredder (you turn its tail to make either action happen), along with my yellow walls. I also added in my cat on top of the printer as that is her favorite napping spot when I’m in the office.

Adding some interactivity

In theory, this would be used as a setting for an interaction.  I think it would be a little crowded to use as a simple background. So I went ahead and added some interactive elements into it. You can drag the pencil to the panda to sharpen it, view “videos” by clicking on the webcam or first monitor, read an excerpt from one of the books, or view documents in the inbox, on the cork board, and from the printer.

Click on the image above to check it out and let me know what you think!  You can also download the source file to use or pick apart at your leisure.

Postscript: While my office has a PC desktop setup, I actually created this on my brand new Macbook Pro while sitting on the sofa in my living room… Just another person prodding Articulate for a native Mac version of Storyline. (Yes, I have put in a feature request!)

Meet the Storytellers – Free Template

The Articulate challenge this week was to create an interactive org chart. Since I am writing a series on storytelling with several guest bloggers, I created a “Meet the Storytellers” interaction.

storytellers_intro

It’s a fairly simple interaction with one little frill – when you click on a person to view more, the information slides in, and then slides out when you are done.  Also, the person’s image stays in front of the sliding information the entire time.  Click the image below to try it out.

2014-07-24_11-38-19

This effect can be accomplished pretty easily using slide layers.  Below is a quick explanation, then a download of a template you can use to create a similar interaction.

  1. Create the layers that will appear for each option – these are your entrance layers.
  2. Give the objects in this layer the appropriate entrance animations.
  3. Duplicate these layers – the duplicates become your exit layers.
  4. Give the objects in the exit layers the appropriate exit animations and delete the entrance animations.
  5. Create an exit button on each entrance layer that navigates to the corresponding exit layer when clicked.
  6. Shorten the timeline for the exit layers to .75 seconds.
  7. Trigger the exit layers to hide when the timeline ends.

That’s it!

If you want an image, like the faces in this example, to stay in front of the information that slides in and out, just copy the image to each applicable slide layer and make sure it has no associated entrance or exit animations on those layers.

You can download the template by clicking on the image below.

2014-07-24_12-35-57Use the comment box to let me know if this template is helpful or if you have any questions on how to personalize it.

Celebrating Independence from Cognitive Overload

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!  I am looking forward to a long weekend of food and fireworks (and trying to soothe frightened dogs).

In an early celebration, I participated in David Anderson’s eLearning Heroes Challenge this week with a quiz on avoiding cognitive overload in multimedia learning. (and, now that I am writing this I am wishing I had given it a fireworks theme… hindsight…)

Anyway, I had fun making it and think it is kind of a cool quiz.

principles

The setup

The quiz asks the person taking it to create a Storyline slide with minimal cognitive load.  Yes, the learner is “creating” a Storyline slide within a Storyline project.

It focuses on the use of Mayer’s 10 Principles of Multimedia Learning. You can use the “hint” link on the player to access more information about those principles.

I initially wanted to do this with drag and drop, but in the interest of time decided it would be best to just use some buttons.

choices

Why keys?

keysWell, when I was creating the buttons for the Image category, there were two key pictures – one with a single key and one with a bunch of keys.  To me they very simply illustrated the difference between the necessary information and extraneous context.  I decided that this would be a great simple image and topic to run with.

The choices

Again, in the interest of time, I decided to limit the number of elements the learner had control over.  3 elements were key (pun intended) – the audio, the image, and the text.

For audio, I started with just a simple On or Off choice.  However, since timing is an important element of Mayer’s 10 principles, I switched it up.  There ended up being 3 choices – Audio on with image/word syncing, audio on with no syncing, and audio off.

I used the image to touch on the idea of only including essential information.  This could have been done in other ways as well, but I figured this would be the simplest.  So, there were 3 images choices – basic (one key), with context (a whole keychain), and no image.  In a drag and drop scenario, you could have more control over placement, but for simplicity the image placement is set.

The text got a little more complicated. There are so many ways to include text on a slide! I broke it into 2 categories that covered most text options: amount of words (key words vs. longer descriptions) and word placement (with the picture or standing off on the side). You also have the option of including no image. This gives the learner 5 different text options.

example

The logic

There were lots of triggers with lots of conditions in this project. With 45 different possible set ups, I had to be mindful about how I set up the slide logic.

One way I minimized items on the screen was to make good use of states. The audio had 2 visual states (on and off), the image had 3 (bare bones, with context, and hidden), and the text had 7 (hidden, a paragraph, bullets, key words for both image states, and short descriptions for both image states).

states

I also needed to make sure that all the buttons changed the states of any elements they affected.  So, for instance, if you have set up a complex image with key words, then changed to the simple image, the placement of the key words needed to change.

The logic for allowing the learner to preview the slide they created and for giving feedback got a little tricky, but I won’t go into detail on that here. However, if you would like to see the project file, just drop me a line or comment below.

preview       feedback

Give it a try! 

Click the graphic below to test our your knowledge of Mayer’s 10 Principles of Multimedia Learning.

intro