By Linda Register 2/8/11
I’ve been curious for a while about what it would take to add avatars to a Lectora course. So last week, I signed up for a CodeBaby free trial and got to work. We have sample courses online; I picked the Lectora Golf Basics course that needed an instructor to liven things up! Click on the arrow to see the results.
I followed the basic instructions to get started with CodeBaby Studio since I’m new to all this Flash animation software. To create a character and animate it was much easier than I expected. The first thing you do is choose a character to animate and drop it into your project workspace. There are several standard characters to choose from. I wanted someone without a tie for my golf instructor.
You simply choose a CodeBaby character and drag it into the project workspace to get started.
I already scripted and recorded MP3 voice narration files so I just imported my first MP3 under the “import assets” menu option. I chose the option to import the narration as a dialog and auto animate the file. The program then lip-syncs and animates with realistic body motions. You can also alter the animation any way you want by dragging, dropping, or deleting motions on the auto animation track. I had fun with that feature.
You can use the auto animation feature and then edit more with an extensive
menu. The preview window shows you what the character will do.
I created seven projects, each representing a different page in my Lectora course. The animations need to be exported as Flash files with transparent backgrounds. I worked with the CodeBaby staff to remove the trial watermark for my production. Once I had the Lectora course open in “edit” mode, I simply dragged the SWF file onto the page and adjusted from there. To preserve the transparent background in the SWF, in Lectora you right click on the file, open “properties” and then pick the parameters tab. Add a parameter named “wmode” and enter “transparent” into the value field. One note, the background shows up in Lectora edit and preview modes, use “preview in browser” to see the animation with transparency.
This is the top level menu in CodeBaby.
I worked on this project on and off for about four days. The parts that took the longest were planning the script and then fiddling with the animation motions. It takes a while to learn all the animation options. CodeBaby offers a lot more than I used to create my basic course. You can create custom characters, adjust lighting and camera angles and use other sophisticated features. I’m pleased with the results. The character adds motion, sound and personality to my course and I didn’t have to read a manual. Adding Flash animation as a way to create more interest for the learner is not hard to achieve with CodeBaby and Lectora Inspire. And, it was fun!
Linda Register is part of the marketing team at Trivantis. Her main responsibilities in the Marketing group are working on the Trivantis.com Web team, communications, planning and writing. Linda has a journalism degree from the University of Oregon.