As I continue to contemplate the implication of images as buttons, I start realizing that some of the more difficult things I used to do are no longer necessary. For example, I used to download font-based icon sets and edit my Index.html file in my published Captivate project to display these fonts to show the icons I used for navigation purposes in my elearning course. Not a hugely tricky thing but still, it required extra steps that I would prefer I didn’t have to take. Now, of course, I can use the SVG-based icons that are in the new Assets Window in Adobe Captivate 2019 (Update 2). Unfortunately, this isn’t a long list, so it got me to thinking, what resource do I know of that includes hundreds of SVG based icons?
I thought of the Material Design Icons that Google maintains for developers looking to use material design in their apps. Of course, these are entirely free, and there is nothing to suggest that they are only for Android apps. I downloaded one or two to test them, and they work great. You can even use the color replace feature, which is excellent if you want to have different rollover and down states for your icons. Click on any of these icons and can choose to download them in SVG or PNG format, although I recommend SVG. You even get to select the color white or black.
Do you have questions about the new Adobe Captivate 2019 Update, or do you just have questions about eLearning in general? June me on YouTube live at 12:00 EDT | 16:00 UTC on Monday, June 17 for an Ask Me Anything.
The actual specifications for Adobe Captivate are relatively low. For Windows, Adobe recommends a 2 GHz or faster Intel processor, and you should be running The 64-bit version of Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 Or newer. For Mac OS, you need a multicore Intel processor, Mac OS X v10.13.5 (or later). Regardless of which platform you choose you will need 8 GB RAM, 10 GB of available hard-disk space, a display capable of 1024×768 resolution, although Adobe recommends 1280×1024, and the video card needs to be compatible with WebGL Graphics.
Those specifications are what I would describe as the bare minimum. When I buy a new computer, I do so with the future in mind. I want my computer to be able to run well for at least three years of new versions and software updates, preferable though, I want it to last five years.
And while Adobe Captivate is the core application for me for eLearning development, eLearning designer, developers often have to wear many hats. For example, you might be called upon to record your webcam for an explainer video at full 30 fps HD (something Captivate 2019 can’t do). You also may need to edit and publish the resulting video in Premiere Pro CC, an application that is hugely processor hungry and requires a much higher set of specifications and who knows what else. You need to prepare for these types of requests. Don’t forget that at the time I’m writing this article the most up to date version of Adobe Captivate in 2019 update 1. It’s safe to assume that there will be a major release before the year is through and several more over the next three years.
So my short answer is to buy the best computer that your budget will allow. If a hundred more dollars will make a difference, then bite the bullet and go a little beyond budget but if spending a bit more right now can stay off the purchasing of your next replacement by a year or more, it might be worth it.
I just completed this exercise, and here was my decision-making process. Three years ago I purchased an HP Pavilion with a 17″ display. I made some wrong choices when I bought this machine. I bought it with the thought that I wanted a desktop computer but in a portable package since I couldn’t afford both. The reality was that a 17-inch laptop is difficult to use when going mobile. I only travel for work about three or four times per year, but there is nothing more exhausting than lugging around a giant notebook from your hotel room to a conference facility. Unfortunately, I’m not important enough to always get a place in the same hotel as the conference. I know, first world problems. This time I decided to return to a 15″ display and in as small a package as I could get.
The first decision was Mac or PC. If you do a lot of video demos and software simulation and the desktop you need to be capturing is a PC, this makes the decision easy. Another factor is cost. While Macs are designed to be beautiful, they usually cost about $1,000 more than the PC equivalent. Since the money for any equipment for my company comes out of my pocket, the decision is pretty easy for me.
My previous laptop came with a 2GB hard drive, which I soon replaced with a 500GB SSD. This time around, I wanted an SSD right from the start. I looked for SSDs that used the M.2 standard, which is significantly faster than the SATA III SSDs from a few years ago. Ideally, I wanted a 1tb M.2 NVMe drive, but I knew I could get away with 500gb and upgrade later.
I knew I wanted at least 16GB of RAM. Again, this is an area you can upgrade but the machine needed to start at 16GB. A lot of YouTubers are also serious video editors for apparent reasons. Many spoke and upgraded to 32 right from the start. Knowing that video editing is part of my workflow, I will be keeping an eye on RAM prices and jump on a reasonable price when it comes along.
Again I was willing to give up my 17″ display for the advantage of something portable. I want quite prepared to go for a 13″ but I knew I used to have 15″ for many years.
When I purchased my 17″ HP Pavilion, I choose it because it was an intel core i7 processor. I learned after the fact that not all i7 processors are the same. The HP used an i7 6500U, which is only a two core processor and somewhat underpowered. I started looking at laptops that had the i7-8750H. While not the latest chip from Intel or the fastest, it is up there. It’s a six-core processor that runs at 2.21GHz with a max turbo frequency of 4.1GHz, so I expected to see an improvement with multitasking and performing tasks like rendering my edited videos.
I looked at many models of machines. Some important choices were the Razorblade 15; It was slim and had all the specs I was looking for; several gaming laptops had a great video card and the aforementioned i7-8750H processor, but they were bulky. I started to notice that when looking at various machines, I was always comparing them to the Dell XPS 15 9750. I decided that instead of trying to find a less expensive version of the Dell, I should buy the darn thing. I was lucky and noticed a few ways to justify making the purchase right away. First, it went on sale for about $250 of the regular price. Second, signing up for email notifications on the Dell website for me a further 10% off. Also, Dell offers 12 months no interest if you pay it off within that period.
The XPS 15 arrived this week, and as you can tell from unboxing video, I was very excited to have my new hardware. I hope this article helps you with your decision-making process whenever you need to make it.
I was wondering if anyone with some HTML skills might know how I can prevent my eLearning courses with text entry boxes from displaying previous entries. For example, if I have a name field in a software simulation and an end user clicks on the field, it might display content that was previously entered into other forms or content that was entered from previous attempts. Is there a way to prevent this?
The ADL Initiative bridges across Defense and other Federal agencies to encourage collaboration, facilitate interoperability, and promote best practices for using distributed learning to provide the highest-quality education, training, informal learning, and just-in-time support; tailored to individual needs and delivered cost-effectively, anytime and anywhere, to increase readiness, save resources, and facilitate interorganizational collaboration. If you are updating older courses for the DOD you should read and bookmark this article.
The first tool I used to make my explainer videos was the Video Demo feature in Adobe Captivate. Captivate is a great tool to rapidly record on-screen tutorials if you need to get a short tutorial out with limited time. Video Demo lets you record and not have to think about the decisions you can make later. The resulting Video Demo can be spliced to keep just what you need in your video. You can also zoom in and out and add some of the noninteractive objects that you can typically add to regular Adobe Captivate projects. In my earliest YouTube videos, I would splice the footage between the introduction and the tutorial itself and then add a full-size image of the video thumbnail and attach theme music to create my branding. It worked well and was easy to do. Because I was using Adobe Captivate to record Adobe Captivate it could be cumbersome to manage which instance was recording and which instance was for demonstrating. This is likely a problem unique to me, however.
Adobe Presenter Video Express
About three years ago I was introduced to Adobe Presenter Video Express. It slowly took over as my recording tool for my YouTube videos. The advantage it offers is that it’s a simple interface that does a small number of things quite well. It simultaneously records your webcam and your desktop screen, and once the recording is completed, you can edit the resulting video using nondestructive processes. At the simple click of one of three icons, you can switch the view between webcam, desktop or a stylized mixture of both.
It has a beautiful series of interfaces for adding markup tools for the desktop recording and branding for your videos as well. Its simplicity reminds me of an iOS app in that it does a small handful of things well. There is little you can customize, but that keeps the complexity of the tool to a minimum. The disadvantage of Adobe Presenter Video Express is that it doesn’t record system audio and the webcam recording is only at 15 frames per second. While you can get away with lower frame rates for your desktop recording, your webcam shows the quality loss of the lower frame rate. While most of my tutorials don’t require system audio, about once or twice a year I need to capture system audio. At those times I need to consider another way to record those videos.
Fast forward to the release of Adobe Captivate 2019 where Adobe introduced webcam recording in Video Demo. I thought this would allow me to return to Adobe Captivate Video Demo and still enjoy the simple and easy interface of Presenter Video Express. Unfortunately, the quality of the webcam recording is just not enough of an improvement. When you enlarge your webcam view to full screen, you realize that the webcam is even poorer quality than Presenter Video Express. I do like that Captivate allows me to add noninteractive objects to my videos and gives me the ability to edit the audio and record system audio, but since the release of Captivate 2019, I’ve continued to use Presenter Video Express.
The 15 frames per second webcam recording has always been an issue for me, regardless of which tool. Adobe has consistently stated that the reason for the lower frame rate is because of the strain on system resources of recording two things at once. Recently I decided to test this out using other software. In my last couple of YouTube videos, the tool I’ve used in Adobe Captivate Video Demo to record my desktop, while I used the standard Windows 10 Camera app to record my webcam. I end up with two videos, one of me and one of my desktop. I then import these into Adobe Premiere Pro CC and complete my editing there. Premiere Pro allows me to easily synchronize the two videos so I can have a single audio track that is persistent throughout the entire video, but I can splice the two videos back and forth. I lose the stylized webcam/desktop view that is so nice in Presenter Video Express; however, the full HD resolution video at 30 frames per second is worth it.
I suspect that Adobe Presenter Video Express will disappear at some point as more of its features end up in Adobe Captivate. I’m okay with that as my primary tool continues to be Captivate. I guess the advantage is that it’s forced me to learn Premiere Pro. I know it well enough to keep making my videos. If you would like to see what I’ve been capable of doing with Adobe software, check out my latest videos on my YouTube channel at https://YouTube.com/PaulWilsonLearning.