Thursday, December 10, 2009

Working with CodeBaby Production Studio & Adobe Captivate 4

One of the really exciting features of DevLearn 09 Conference was the Marketplace Expo. Walking around the Marketplace Expo I was introduced to a number of new eLearning tools that really caught my eye. On the top of the list was the offering from CodeBaby, a unique production application with a set of life-like male and female avatars that one can lip synch with narration. When I first saw how the characters were able to lip synch with the audio file I was really floored. While many of us have encountered various avatars while we surf the web, the CodeBay characters have a natural appeal and are very engaging, with a human like quality that is hard to resist. I think it was this natural appeal that really got me hooked and I spent some time talking with the wonderful CodeBaby staff that were present at the conference to learn how I could integrate their characters into my Adobe Captivate 4 projects. I was excited to learn that once I had animated my CodeBaby character I could export it as a FLV or SWF and bring it right into Adobe Captivate 4.

By that time I was through talking to the CodeBaby staff my head was swirling. Once I got back to New Jersey I had emailed Audrey Dalton, eLearning Product Marketing Specialist at CodeBaby and she was able to set me up for a Trial of CodeBaby Prooduction Studio. The staff at CodeBaby were really fantastic and they set up a webinar to walk me through the steps to create my first CodeBaby project. A big thanks goes out to Jeff and Jim for coordinating this webinar. As sophisticated as the CodeBay software is I found it very intuitive to use and was up and running in no time. Using a copy of Audacity I was able to record my voice and import it directly into the CodeBaby Production Studio. Upon import, one of the really cool features is the auto animate feature which synchs the lips of the character from the wav. file. To see it in action is not to believe- it is a little spooky. Not only does CodeBaby synch your lips but the way the body, eyes and the figure moves so gracefully there are times you forget it is a avatar. Once I saw what I was able to do, I thought about all of the ways I could use CodeBay to make my demonstrations and simulations that much more engaging. Now imagine having my CodeBaby avatar as a guide on the side moving along the demonstration or assisting me during a simulation. With that in mind I got to work and am in the process of integrating a couple of scenarios with CodeBaby into my Adobe Captivate projects. Using short 5 to 15 seconds snippets my CodeBaby character can guide you through the process on screen, keeping my students engaged and supported.

In the example that follows I am introducing my students to Write:Outloud, a talking word processor and am having them work through a simulation of what it is like to use the Spell Checker. You will see how I was able to integrate the CodeBaby character (with my voice) into the simulation video which adds great depth and support for a user who maybe unfamiliar with the software application. The CodeBaby character can guide the student on screen and help them to learn how to use the software. I would be interested in your comments and how you think CodeBaby could be integrated into your projects. Here is the link to view the Write:Outloud Video.

 
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