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August 30, 2007

New 'secret' features in Adobe Captivate 3

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When releasing a new version, we typically focus on the big new features with the website or eseminars. Yet, there are a ton of other enhancements and changes that can make your authoring a lot easier. So here are a few of these 'secret' new features:

FTP settings in Adobe Captivate 3Multiple FTP options: In CP3, you can define multiple FTP options that are retained. You can have a test FTP server and a Live FTP server.

Export project preferences You can easily share your project settings with others or reuse with another project.

LMS Bookmarking will now work on non interactive slides. A project does not require to have an interactive object for bookmarking the progress. Typical scenario: a demonstration capture or an information type slide.

Sending results via Email Body or as attachment. You can choose to send their results in the email body or as attachment. The attachment can be open in notepad.

Question slide buttons can be customized in CP3. One can set them as image button or set any other button properties.

Adding a text animtion for typing textReplace typing object with editable Text Animation In CP3, we have a text animation with a typing effect so if you made a mistake during the capture, it's easy to fix without having to rerecord.

Autosize button Buttons now autosize to the text, so you don't have to manually drag the edges to size.

Adobe Captivate text entry box optionsRetain text option in Text Entry Box There is an option added in text entry box dialog which will allow you to retain the text or always start with blank/default when a user goes back in a simulation and returns to a slide with a text entry box.

FMR (Full Motion Recording) configuration files You can set preferences for full motion recording using the FMRConsts.ini file located in the Adobe Captivate installation folder. Search for FMRConsts in the online help.

Re-recording Script can be edited If you use the re-recording functionality (currently limited to capturing IE6), you change the step by step script. Search for re-recording script in the online help.

Text Caption Property File - I haven't even played with this one myself so I don't really have more info on it yet ...

August 28, 2007

Winwriters Survey

For those of you involved with initiatives that support the fields of technical communication, instructional design, help system development and elearning, I thought this survey might be of interest to you. You might want to take this survey or pass it on to someone that would be interested.  I think the deadline to participate is this month.

http://www.winwriters.com/surveys/skillstech07/

August 27, 2007

Editing Full Motion Recording Slides

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Our team has made a little nifty utility available to edit Full Motion Recording slides. FMR slides are generated during drag/drop actions or when you record in full motion recording mode - it's similar to .avi-based recording except we generate a .swf on the fly. However, .swf files can typically not be edited inside Adobe Captivate. You can delete, split, and insert .swf files.

Simply export the .swf of such a slide (use the library) and edit with the FMR editor. Subrahmanya wrote a Dev Center article on how to use the utility.

Download the FMR editor from the Dev Center.

August 24, 2007

Missing Caption Styles?

Caption Styles Folder for Adobe CaptivateWe have added some new caption styles in Adobe Captivate 3 and moved some of the older styles into another folder called More. If for some reason, the caption styles don't show up for selection in the caption style drop down box, you might have to change the .fcm to .FCM in this folder C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Captivate 3\Gallery\Captions\More.

Thanks to Rick Stone for the tip :)

August 21, 2007

What microphone to use?

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In seminars and customer meetings, the question on what mic to use keeps coming up. I am not an audio expert so you definitely want to do some research if CD quality is required. Usually, if I need high quality, I just go to a local recording studio. The hour there including editing is only around $50 and the quality is perfect, Plantronics headset to record audio for Adobe Captivatesince the room is sound proof and they work with $30k plus equipment. In most cases though, I just use a very simple and cheap unidirectional mic or my Plantronics headset. They do the job in 99% of the projects.

Snowball microphone to record audio in Adobe CaptivateA friend of mine has been using Blue Snowball USB mic to record the SMEs who think it's really cool because it has a bit of a retro look. This is an omni-directional mic, meaning, it will record audio from all directions including ambient noise. A quiet or soundproof room will give you best results. You might also want to invest in a Pop-Filter. They are cheap and worth it.

For audio editing, you might want to take a look at Adobe Soundbooth to have additional functionality such as noise or hiss reduction, audio filters, and effects. You can also easily compose music scores :)

Here is another tip from my friend: Get some kind of percussion instrument to create a sound you can easily recognize in the visual wave format. That way, you know exactly when to cut the audio between slides. When her SMEs mess up, she simply hits it twice to quickly find the second take.

August 13, 2007

Advanced e-Learning Instructional Design: New Techniques and Strategies

The eLearning Guild has an interesting Online Forum coming up: Advanced e-Learning Instructional Design: New Techniques and Strategies August 16 & 17.

Frank Nguyen, who has co-authored Efficiency in Learning, will present the general session Fact or Fiction. And Mark Chrisman, who runs the Seattle Adobe Captivate user group, will present on Using effective design principles - you are probably going to see some cool tips and tricks around Adobe Captivate in this session. (The session descriptions are on the eLearning Guild site).

There are some great other sessions - hopefully I have time to check them out too ...

August 10, 2007

Step-by-Step Workbook Updated for Adobe Captivate 3

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Adobe Captivate 3 work book with CDLearn the basics of using Adobe Captivate 3 with the updated version of Kevin Siegel's step-by-step workbook. Essentials of Adobe Captivate 3 is currently the only book (with practice exercises and CD-Rom) that covers the new version and will give you a solid introduction to the product. The book has been updated to include the new features and is available for preorder - I believe it's nearly finished and just needs to get printed.

Here is a discount coupon code so you can save 15% in the entire IconLogic store:

mulgen15ad21140 (This is for IconLogic.com only, not the Adobe store)

 

August 9, 2007

Tips on creating effective eLearning - free eseminar

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Friday the 24th at 10am Pacific Time, we are going to have an eseminar with Dr. Ruth Clark as part of our Luminary eSeminars series. I'll join Ruth to show how to actually implement some of the principles in Adobe Captivate. The presentation is quite fascinating and packed with facts and samples based on the new edition of her book eLearning & the Science of Instruction - this is one of the key books I recommend when it comes to using multimedia in eLearning. We'll also try to make the session very interactive for you. Ruth has just published a white paper with us that covers some of the principles discussed in the eseminar. It's a short and easy read and very applicable to creating content with Adobe Captivate.

Register

Friday, August 24, 2007
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM US/Pacific

 

PS: Another great resource for research-based elearning design is Will Thalheimer including lots of things you should know in his blog (for example bogus research data that is commonly cited).

August 8, 2007

Creating a Single SWF with Adobe Captivate 3

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Adobe Captivate 3 generates multiple output files. These files are all published into a single folder and typically contain the HTML file, the actual content SWF, the playback control SWF and possibly a JavaScript file and now some more with the new version. Here are some tips of what to do to generate a single SWF:

  • Uncheck "Show borders" in the skins dialog - this will include the playback controls directly in your main content SWF.
  • Do not include video files or full motion recordings (even when you do a drag/drop action during recording, a full motion file slide is generated) - for faster loading and reducing the file size of the main content SWF, these files are external SWF files now.
  • Using question pools creates additional external files - this allows randomization at runtime from the question pool. To create one file, keep questions in your main project.
  • Hotspot questions use external SWF files to display the area on the hotspot the learner clicked on.

There might be more - I'll keep updating this list.


August 7, 2007

Dev Center for CP3 live and CP3 now shipping

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Adobe Captivate 3 Developer Center LiveAdobe Captivate 3 is now shipping and our Developer Center is now live with 4 new articles:

  • Frank Nguyen, who is now at UCSD, describes how to implement the guidelines from Ruth Clark's white paper in Adobe Captivate.
  • Steve Howard, an Authorware pro, shares some great insights in CP3 as an eLearning authoring tool for Authorware users.
  • Mark Chrisman, who runs the Seattle CP user group, provides tips on inserting Flash animations.
  • My article is just an intro to Adobe Captivate 3 and the new features.

If you have any tips/tricks to share, please let us know - we are always looking for authors for our developer center.

August 2, 2007

Do I need a serial number for the trial?

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Adobe Captivate 3 trial screenLooks like our new licensing screen is causing some confusion. I have received some questions regarding the need to enter a serial number for the trial. Simply check the radio button I want to try Adobe Captivate 3 free for 30 days highlighted in the screenshot on the right - that will run CP3 in trial mode. There is no need for a serial number to try the product.

If you do get a different screen than this, please contact customer service. We are looking into this.

August 1, 2007

Adobe Captivate Games

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Adobe Captivate 3 car puzzle gameWow - I just received the .cp files for the car puzzle and maze game and they were created even simpler than I initially thought. I assumed the car puzzle uses inserted .SWF files to show the car moving - no way, it's using images stacked in the timeline! Very creative and easy. It still blows me away that you can develop this type of content using very simple techniques - without programming. I uploaded the project files to the Adobe Exchange where you can download them to check out.

PS: The Adobe Exchange might currently still say "Adobe Captivate 2" for the projects but they were created in Adobe Captivate 3 and please only open them in this version - you can download the trial from our web site.