Custom Effects in Advanced/Shared Actions


Almost 8 years ago I posted this article on my personal blog: Editing Motion Paths and Using Custom Effects. 

Since that time Effects have been improved a lot, advanced and shared actions can make life much easier. Time to upgrade that blog post, meanwhile testing the behavior of effects in HTML output in CP2019. While Flash was always to be trusted, that is not the case for HTML output. And indeed, I bumped onto a problem with the Scale effect, and sometimes the Rotate to effect. When those problems are solved, I will post a published movie. The workflow to use Custom effects in a shared or advanced action is however still the same since many versions. It is a bit complicated, I have answered many questions about it in the forums. I will write it out now step by step.

When do you need  a custom effect?

Effects have been improved in some ways. Some parameters can be defined in the Advanced Actions dialog box. Look for the start time of an effect, its duration and more numeric fields (alpha, rotation, ease in/out, alpha….). However when using a combination of effects over and over again, you can create one custom effect which saves that combination and can applied in one step including the sequence and duration of the different effects. Another practical example are the motion effects, where you need to edit the motion path, which is certainly the case for more complicated custom motion paths.  This screenshot shows an example of a complicated combination of effects on the Timeline. It was meant to be applied to simulate a swimming fish:

Step by Step

Step 1:  Create and save effect

Create the effect or combination of effects on any object as a ‘Self)time based animation and test it out thoroughly (Preview HTML in Browser for a non-responsive project) in several browsers before saving it with a custom name.

You don’t need to save it in a specific folder. I use to save it with the project I am working on as is the case in the screenshot above. Effects are stored in XML-files.

Step 2: Apply the custom effect as time-based animation

If you would try to use the saved effect in a shared/advanced action it will no be available. If this is the first custom effect you ever created, there will not even be a Custom category to choose from You need first to delete all the individual effects applied to the object (above it was to the object SV_Fish (a SVG image). Then apply the custom effect as a (Self) time based animation again, but now with ‘one’ effect chosen with the browse button.

When looking at the timeline you’ll see exactly the same result as in the screenshot at the beginning: all the effects in the correct sequence and with the duration you had chosen.

The result of this second application is that the Category ‘Custom’ will now have been created, and it will have the new custom effect ‘Swimming’.

Step “: use in advanced or shared action

If you only wanted to apply this action using an interactive object, you could use a simple action. The field Category will now have the Custom category.

However often effects are used in Advanced or Shared actions in combination with other commands. In this example the Fishes are originally hidden, so I need to Show them and apply the effectn eventually also have an audio clip playing separately.

The two buttons on this example will trigger the same shared action. Both fishes are hidden in output at the start. When creating the advanced action, the category Custom can now be used, and the available parameters (start, duration) could be edited, but mostly you’ll not want to do that.

Because I needed to use this action twice, maybe also later in other projects unchanged or as template for other actions, I preferred a shared action which will have only one parameter: the object itself. An effect cannot be a parameter. However, the effect can not only be applied to one object, but also to a group. I can replace one fish by a group of fishes.

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Creating a straight line with custom LeftToRight effect

I’m attempting to create a straight line for a custom LeftToRight effect on an object. The problem is when I adjust the motion path, any slight movement up or down throws the whole thing off. Is there a key combination (such as ctrl+shift) where I can adjust the length of the motion path without having to use my mouse to do it?

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Individual Effects Are Still Lost When Grouping Objects?

Hello, all,

I have been very busy the last few months on projects and teaching Captivate 2017 and unfortunately this has meant that only now am I finally investigating Captivate 2019.

My first question: is it the case that individual object effects are lost still when those objects are grouped? I know this was a feature that didn’t make it into CP2017 despite the fact that the help section reported that individual effects are retained when objects are grouped. However, I just now tried it in CP2019 and it still seems to be the case.

  1. I placed two objects on the stage.
  2. I applied an effect to each in the Timing properties.
  3. I grouped the objects.
  4. The individual effects are now gone.

I even previewed in HTML5 and saw that the object effects are gone.

So I looked in the Help at

And see there what appears to be contradictions.

In the section on Applying effects to individual objects, it shows:


While applying effects to object groups, keep in mind that effects applied to individual objects are not retained.

However, in the section on Applying effects to a group of objects, it shows:


The effects on a group and on individual member objects are summative. For example, if a group of objects is set to rotate right, and an individual object is also set to rotate right, then that object rotates to an angle which is the sum of both the rotations.

Things to consider when applying effects on groups and individual group members

The ability to apply effects on a group of objects and on individual group members is a very powerful feature and can be used to demonstrate a variety of concepts, such as, for example, the movement of planets around the sun, while at the same time rotating around their individual axis.

However, keep some of the following tips in mind while using this feature to get the best impact:

  • Effects applied on a group that is set to play for rest of project will not display at runtime if:
    • Any object is interactive and has feedback shapes enabled
    • Some objects have Place Object on Top checked while others don’t
  • When a group contains an object that does not support effects (such as Zoom Area) then the group also does not support effects. For more information on zoom areas, see Creating zoom area.
  • When objects in a group are also used in a drag and drop interaction, then the group effects do not play
  • When the group includes a video object

So am I doing something wrong? Am I misunderstanding? Don’t the above sections contradict each other? Is it true that individual object affects can be retained or not when those objects are grouped?

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Captivate 17 – Zoom object not zooming

Hi I am new to captivate. Using Captivate 17. When I use the zoom area feature from objects the destination image just appears it does not zoom. The zoom source is in a different location to the zoom destination and destination is larger. I cannot find any controls to change the timing of the zoom so that the image ‘zooms’ and doesnt just appear. Can anyone help. Thank you.

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Customs Effects Cancelling One Another Out

Here’s another question related to a project I previously asked a question about.

I’m trying to make an object slide off the page to the right, change it’s state, and then slide back on to the page from the right.  The problem is that one effect seems to be cancelling out the other.  Here is the preview of the action:

Note that LefttoRight and RighttoLeft are both “custom” actions because I needed them to move specific distances.  I loaded the custom actions I saved (slideIn and slideOut), but the names changed when I saved the action.

Before I added the “Delay Next Action” command, the first effect (left to right, duration .4 sec) couldn’t be seen executing…instead the object seemed to disappear and then the object, with the state changed, would slide in from right to left.  After I added the delay, the object slides off the page (left to right) but never comes back (no right to left).

Any idea what I’m missing?



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Adobe Captivate – Card Flip Effect

In this video tutorial, I show you how you can use effects in Adobe Captivate to create the effect of a baseball card flip. For example, on one side of the card you have the image of the baseball player and on the back side, you have the player’s statistics. This could also be used to simulate what recipe cards might look like or used in credit card training that teaches employees to check for the signature of a client, and so on.

In this example, I used the baseball card for Bo Obama, President Barack Obama’s pet dog. Don’t ask me why they made a baseball card for the family pet, but like all government photography, it’s in the public domain so I’m free to use it for this example.

My Patreon subscribers can download the project file for this video.

eCard created in Adobe Captivate 2017

Having created eCards in the past using Flash, I wondered how far I could go in Captivate to create a animated video eCard.  Since Captivate features a timeline and includes effects and motion paths I thought I could create a sequence and output to video.  With a few concepts outlined in a storyboard I began work in Captivate to see what was possible. Although this is not really what Captivate was meant to do, it allowed me to get creative and dive deeper into features I don’t always use on a day to day basis when creating eLessons.

Let me know if you are interested in how this was put together, as I plan on posting the details on my blog.

What would better way to kick off my YouTube channel that with a holiday eCard! You can view it here:



#AdobeCaptivate #eLearning #Livestream – Making An Awesome Title Page 10/10/2017 10 AM EDT

In this Adobe Captivate eLearning Livestream, I will share with you some of my best practices for creating a really great title page for your eLearning project.

As per usual, I will also be taking questions if time permits so get your Captivate Questions ready for the Live Chat.

Follow the link right now to set up a reminder to get notified when this event becomes live on October 10th, 10 AM EDT.

#AdobeCaptivate #eLearning #Livestream – Making An Awesome Title Page

If you enjoy my LIVE STREAMS, please share them with your colleagues and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to make sure you’re notified of all my upcoming events. If you subscribe to my YouTube channel you will receive my Adobe Captivate 2017 – Responsive Custom Quiz Questions online course from Udemy for only $10 (a $50 value).

Webinar: Simple Steps to Create Stunning Interactions in Adobe Captivate

Captivate Webinar by Dr. Pooja JaisinghThe best way to beat the boredom in eLearning courses is to make them engaging and interactive. But adding learner interactivity in the courses can be time-consuming, and to some extent, challenging as well. These interactions also need to be relevant to the learning goals as well as help make the learning experience interesting.

During this session, you will learn simple ways to add interactivity in your eLearning courses using interactive objects, multi-state objects, drag and drops, effects, and actions in Adobe Captivate. You will also learn about the best practices to quickly convert drab and boring content to vibrant interactive eLearning.

Webinar title: Simple Steps to Create Stunning Interactions in Adobe Captivate

Date and time: Wed, Sep 06, 2017 at 9 AM Pacific / 12 PM Eastern

Registration link

Loop animation with Captivate 9 / Illustrate a background with a scenery running in loop

I know that a lot of users still use Captivate 9, so I put this video that shows a way to make a loop animation with Captivate 9.

The purpose of this video consists in showing how to illustrate a background with a loop animation.

The process shows a scenery running in loop and the way to design it: by creating visual cycles within a picture as we do in cartoons, then by applying an animation effect to this created picture, and finally by editing a Captivate script.

A lot of people have already found this video very useful for their projects.


For Captivate 2017 users: even if the way to make loop animations is now easier with the new “While” action, you will be able to see the way we can create visual cycles within a picture in order to reuse it, if you want to animate a background/scenery filling all the wide of your screen.

You can watch this video from the following link: