I’m trying to change the theme and save my own and it seems to crash all the time. Is this functionality disabled on the trial version?
I’m doing it through the Themes –> Object Style Manager
Is this correct?
Earlier this month, I gave a presentation on Creating Custom Themes at our local Adobe Captivate User Group. As I was going through the step-by-step process of creating a theme, I found myself reflecting on my experience over the years – what worked, what didn’t work, and how to save time. In this article, I will share some of those lessons learned – as opposed to the step-by-step technique of creating a theme.
This article is aimed at intermediate Adobe Captivate users who have already created a few projects and are now ready to create a theme that reflects their client’s or company’s brand and/or ensures visual consistency across related e-learning modules.
“Begin with the end in mind.” ~ Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I find that careful planning and a little research before starting to create a custom theme saves a lot of development time.
According to the online Help (helpx.adobe.com/captivate/using/themes.html), a theme consists of the following components:
Planning helps to determine which of these components will need to be customized in the theme, as well as how they should be customized.
For example, it is not essential to customize the skin and TOC if they are never going to be used.
So, how do we know what to include in a theme?
Determining the look and feel of the theme is easier if the client has is a Style Guide or similar document which defines their company’s brand as this becomes the definitive guide for visual elements.
However, there have been many occasions when I have had the pleasure of creating the visual style from scratch. If this is the case, and there is a graphic designer or UI designer on the team, I use them as a resource. Frequently though, the budget does not include such a wonderful resource. In these situations, my primary concern is to start from a cohesive color palette that will help project a professional, polished finish.
To accomplish this, I either:
My favorite tool is ColorExplorer.com. Using the color picker, I can start from a color I like and the tool will generate complimentary colors. I can also upload an image, and it will extract a color palette from that. Any color palettes generated can be exported as an Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) file that can be exported into Captivate using the Swatch Manager. The image below shows a color palette generated from an image in Color Explorer. Options are available to extract up to 50 colors from an image in a single process.
Adobe Color CC has similar functionality (https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel/) and provides greater control over the colors generated from imported images. However, I find it less intuitive. The image below shows a color palette generated from an image in Adobe Color CC.
Another resource I like to use for inspirational color palettes is veerle.duoh.com/inspiration. Veerle (whom I do not know personally) generates color palettes from images people share with her and makes these available to download for free!
When my budget allows, I find that purchasing non-exclusive royalty rights to the images that inspire me often provides access to the PSD, AI or other vector image source files. In this way I can go beyond just using the colors, and also extract elements of the image to use as buttons and other key elements to maintain the cohesive theme. This is often very inexpensive. I usually spend between $35 – $80 on an image and reuse its assets over and over again –guilt-free!
Identifying which functional elements are necessary for a theme and which are not, can be a great time saver – both when creating the theme, and down the road as the theme will not need to undergo constant updates in order to provide Objects and functionality that are needed in the courses.
For example, in an Accessible course, the Matching Question type will not be used in a quiz, so there is no need to spend time customizing it or similar Quiz Master slides.
Another common example the use of custom navigation buttons. Although buttons cannot be defined in Master slides, Smart Shapes can. So, in this case I would add Smart Shapes as buttons to the appropriate Master slides when creating or customizing any standard layouts.
Yet another example would be simulations. If no simulations will be recorded, time can be saved by not customizing the Recording Defaults.
Depending on how my team is structured, and my specific role within the team, I use one of the following methods to identify key functional elements:
In order to create a theme, we have to start somewhere. The documentation recommends starting from the theme that is closest to the look and feel we want to achieve and customize it.
However, I find that starting from a theme that has very little formatting such Pearl or White and adding the styling needed can save time and effort. In my experience it can take a lot more time to locate and undo changes I don’t need. Additionally, if I am going to share the theme with other team members, I don’t want any hidden surprises.
The theme colors are used throughout the theme in myriad locations – text, backgrounds, slide colors, and so on. I’ve learned to customize the theme colors (using the desired color palette) as early as possible to ensure consistency across all elements within the project.
Obviously, we need to customize the Master slide layouts to reflect the layouts being used in the course and add any commonly used “buttons” as smart shapes. Here, I’ve learned to:
I’ve learned that there are a couple of advantages to starting the customization of Object Styles from within the Master Slide view:
The down side to this is that changes to multiple styles seems to be hit and miss. Sometimes the effect sticks, sometimes it doesn’t. But when it does work, it’s great!
After I’ve made the preliminary changes to text and object styles, I use the Object Style Manager to ensure that all the changes I defined in the Master Slide view have been applied. I also customize any object styles I may have missed, or I think might be useful later at a later date.
The Object Style Manager includes functionality to Export and Import Object Styles, so after making modifications, it is possible to save those changes in an external file which can be imported into other themes down the road – or so I have heard. I haven’t had the opportunity to do this in practice .
Don’t forget to customize the Skin and TOC Settings as well as the Recording Defaults if your projects require them. And then save the theme!
Themes can be saved in any desired location. Wherever you save them, they will still become immediately available within the Themes palette so be sure to pick a location you can easily find if you need to share copies of the theme with other team members.
Those are my tips and take-aways. What are yours? Please feel free to share them in the comments.
If you wish to participate with the live chat view this event on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u51xyh6HACw&feature=youtu.be
The post Continued Work on Our Captivate Theme Live Experiment appeared first on eLearning.
I have not looked recently, but know there have been past demo videos and examples of some of the features of Captivate. I have my own projects but I would like to show a few leaders here on campus what is possible using just generic content or at least non-our college content.
They want to see examples of videos/lessons using the Table Of Contents feature, knowledge checks during the lesson, quizzes that require viewing of the content before attempting the quiz, and getting a certificate at the end of the video/lesson. I might end up create an example, but we are under a VERY short deadline (Nov2nd) so I wanted to reach out here first.
Even if I can get links to some videos of some of these features, that would be great. Interactive preferred but optional.
I’ve decided to create a variety of Adobe Captivate 2017 themes to share with the Adobe eLearning community. This first attempt was inspired by one of my favourite wines from the Bordeaux region (see if you can guess which one).
It uses the Typekit font AdornS Serif Regular and AdornS Engraved Regular. My recommendation is to install these two fonts from Typekit.com before using this theme. My intention is to continue to add new themes that will be available for free download from my website below. I encourage you to bookmark the page below and periodically check back for more themes as they become available. Feel free to share that page with your colleagues as well.
If you are interested in developing your own themes, Adobe has a page dedicated to this process. You can check it out using the following link.