Webinar Gold: Master Slide Layouts in Adobe Captivate

I recently completed and published my first two elearning modules using Adobe Captivate 7. However, I couldn’t figure out themes and templates and the Object Manager. Putting it all together was too cumbersome, and when the template got pulled from the project, the design suffered.

In an attempt to get back on track, I just watched a webinar by Mark Hooper, called Master Slide Layouts in Adobe Captivate. WOW! Although some stuff I was familiar with, Mark presented other indispensable nuggets of information that I absolutely needed! At first, I found Mark’s style to be a little slow, but all of his information was excellent, and the reading chat filled the gaps in areas where I already knew the topic. I will look for more of his work in the future! 🙂

I will try and summarize the most important pieces I’ve learned, but I highly recommend viewing this free, recorded webinar: https://lodestone.adobeconnect.com/_a1022323674/p4gzhnxwbw4/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

Here are my million-dollar takeaways. If you desire to learn how to do any of these, I recommend taking an hour and watching this webinar:

  • 1024×768 is still the standard size, especially for mobile devices. 1280 is achieved when counting the width of the navigation bar.
  • I can store custom gradients! If only I’d known this weeks ago!!!!
  • Themes and Templates work hand-in-hand, but they are different:
    • A theme (.cptm) can store Master Slides and Styles
    • A template (.cptl) can store Themes, Filmstrip slides, and Library objects
  • The Object Style Manager allows you to set defaults for objects (like the default style of a text object)
    • You can save and send stored object styles (.cps) to other Captivate users
  • Master Slide Snippets:
    • The top-left, slightly larger master slide is the main slide (name of theme)
    • You can store a background and slide objects on the larger master slide, and then choose whether or not to use either:
      • the background
      • objects in other master slide templates

This is my lazy blog post for the day, but I hope it helps!


Finding Free Stock Photography Online

Where do you get your stock photography?

This question comes up nearly every time I discuss training with a fellow trainer or instructional designer. I usually pick and choose from one or two canned answers, but really, there’s a science behind it. I love science, and I love pictures, so I’m pretty good at coming up with out-of-the-box ways to get really nice photos for free.

Here’s some techniques I use when looking for artwork online.

Remember to always ask and receive permission before using pictures, and provide credit to the photographer or publication.

  1. Search Wikimedia Commons. Many of these are covered under generous creative commons licenses. This looks like its growing.
  2. Use Google Image Search Advanced Settings
  3. Search Google Image Search using a picture’s URL
    I plan to write a separate article about this, but it’s a love at first site thing 🙂 A site I follow on Facebook posted a beautiful picture from NASA. Here’s what I did to find it on Google Image search:

    1. Right-click on the image and select copy image URL
    2. Open Google Image Search
    3. Click the camera on the right-side of the search text field*
      *For those using the Chrome browser, right-click on the image and choose “Search Google for this image” for a faster search.
    4. Paste the URL you copied in step A and click Search.
    5. Reap the rewards 🙂
  4. Use photos from Facebook friends and contacts who take good pictures
  5. Find local photography clubs that will let you use their photos. Colleges and high schools are options.
  6. Find .gov sites related to the type of photos you are looking for. Most if not all (not sure about laws) government sites are in the public domain, so photos they own are available for public use. For example, NASA’s Media Usage Guidelines page provides guidelines for using NASA photos.Here is the beautiful photo that inspired me to write this blog post:

    satellite from space with lights from nasa 1980419_805568286130851_8333884728513564778_o

    Image Credit: NASA

    Here are some .gov sites (including .us, which is state) which offer free media images (go to usa.gov and search for “media images”):

    1. http://www.vdh.state.va.us/news/MediaImages/index.htm
      Medical Images from VDH
    2. http://www.justice.gov/dea/media.shtml
      Interesting selection of images…
    3. http://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright
      Lots of military images – clearinghouse I found from the NASA site
  7. Be frugal, but be open to spending a little money. Of course, our department pays for an iStock Photo account. While I do not endorse them, I use their site and have been happy with the quality of the photos we’ve purchased from them. Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and pay $20 for “the right image”. However, also remember, one slide, visible for about 45 seconds, now costs an additional $20.

With a little creative searching in the right places, you’d be surprised how many photos are out there for you to use.

Do you have any other search ideas? Post them in comments!