4 Tips - Assets Panel


Do not expect a complete overview of the Assets Panel in this article, may be later. The user interface is rather simple, intuitive. Opening  the panel is possible  with the big button Assets in the right part of the Big Button Bar. For he expert UI this will be the only button in the right part, fo the newbie UI the Assets button will be with the Properties and Library button. Opening is also possible using the Slides button,  option ‘Asset Library…’ on the left side of the bar.

At this moment the stored  assets are restricted to those available with Captivate (under Assets tab  or to downloaded assets (under Downloads tab). You cannot add custom assets fto the panel. For those custom assets remember that you can use external libraries.

The center tab – Discover – has two choices,  ‘Templates’ (confusing term, not the cptl template files) with a submenu or ‘Characters’. Both link to the site of the eLearning Brothers. Once downloaded, they will appear in the Downloads tab.

Tip 1: Projects/Slides

This is the first option under the Assets tab, opening by default with Slides selected. It allows you to choose individual slides for insertion in an existing project after the active slide. Under Projects you will see 6 Quick Start Projects (QSP), first of them is the Branching file. That file is meant for developers disliking variables and actions. It is based on the last QSP, labeled ‘Aspire’. 

All projects and slides are available in two formats:
  1. Non-responsive project (Blank project in Welcome screen)
  2. Responsive project with Fluid Boxes (none available for Breakpoints)

If you insert a slide in an existing project created in one of those types, the inserted slide will automatically be of the same type. A master slide may be added, and object styles but I’ll leave more details for another blog post about using QSP's

However, some users asked me "how do you open a full QSP in the wanted type"? There is no choice available after selecting a project.

Workaround which works for me: open first a project in the wanted type, either a blank project or a responsive project. Anyway you need an open project to launch the Assets panel. Selecting a QSP to open as new project, will open it in the same type as the already opened project. You can then delete the first project..

Tip 2: Characters

Contrary to previous versions, the characters packaged with Captivate are only installed on your system as thumbnails. You can find them in the Content folder under the eLearning assets. Each character has a folder bearing a number as name, and a subfolder Children, where you find all the thumbnails. When you insert a character in a project, the image is downloaded and stored in another subfolder with the name of the character (in this screenshot David), either in the High or the Low subsubfolder, depending on the chosen quality (Normal or High resolution):

Screenshot is taken on a Windows system. If you download a extra character from the eLB site, it will be stored under Characters_11_5, not in the Content folder.

It is still not possible to download more than one or all characters from a set at once (please log a feature request). However, if you like the Illustrated category, here is a tip. Characters in that category are based on one drawing file, which you can download as well. You have some choices for the format, I prefer AI (Illustrator). If you are comfortable with that vector image application, you can extract all characters from that file and export them not only as PNG, but also in other formats inclucing SVG (smaller file size and vector based, crisp look whatever the resolution - interesting for responsive projects). Those drawing files are always labeled ‘Name: Illustrated work files’. You can also use that file as reference file. After download it will be stored in the subfolder ‘Others’ under eLearning assets, (not in Content, nor Characters).

Tip 3: Icons

The files in this assets category are SVG’s. Once inserted you can convert them to a button. Editing the colors is very easy as I explained in a previous post.

Those icons are stored in a subfolder under the Contents folder in eLearning assets. When screening that folder you'll see that the 'icons' are in JPEG format. However when you insert an icon, the SVG is created in the same folder as the original JPEG image.

Tip 4: Buttons

I am finalizing another blog about the 6 button types available in Captivate 11.5, including advantages and disadvantages of each type. Which type of buttons do you insert from the Assets panel? That was bit of a mystery at first. When you insert a button from this asset category, it is a PNG image (bitmap) with the option ‘Use as button’ checked off. The three InBuilt states (Normal, Rollover, Down) which are normally included in a button object style, are identical. You have of course the possibility to edit the image for the other states once the button is inserted. However I was bit curious when watching the name of the image. Look at this screenshot of a button:

That name ‘Deep-download_up.png’ reminded me of the name convention needed for an (old) image button. For image buttons you need to create three images in the same size, with an identical name followed by _up (for normal state), _over for rollover state and _down  for the down state. Looking in the Buttons folder (under already mentioned Content folder) taught me that all the buttons had a similar name structure ending on _up.  The folder has is similar to the Characters and Icons subfolders: numbers as folder names. Each folder contains only one image file for the ‘up’ state.

Of course you can edit the states in the project, using the Object state panel and copy/paste the button if you need more instances.  But you will not be able to reuse that button with the edited states in a future project.  I tried out a workflow based on my CP-intuition:

  • I duplicated the _up file in the Content\Buttons fokler for the button 5751 ‘Bubbly_downloads_up'
  • renamed the duplicates to Bubbly_downloads_over and Bubbly_downloads_down,
  • edited the duplicates in Photoshop, watch the result in this screenshot:

Success! When inserting the 'Bubbly....' button in a project, it had three InBuilt states. Not only when inserting in the same project, but also in other projects. You cannot have an object style for Images used as buttons, as is possible for shape buttons, text buttons, image buttons and transparent buttons. However this workflow opens an alternative for re-usability  (one domain where Captivate excels over other authoring tools). One drawback: Assets are only edited on the used device, they are not in the cloud.

More about buttons in a future blog as promised.

Character Editing - part 2 (Interactive Video)

In a previous article I described the workflow to edit a Character (from Media) with Photoshop, without damaging the original image. In this interactive video you’ll see the workflow: an inserted character from the Illustrated category will change colors and be flipped. This very simple workflow is suited only for regions with solid colors. The next interactive video will show the workflow to change a color in a photographic image.

Watch this video:

If you prefer watching a rescalable project on any device, use this link: CharacterEditPhotoshop

I used Photoshop CC2019 as editor, but the workflow is pretty much the same in older versions.

Character editing - part 1


Yesterday a question appeared on the forums: ‘How to save in the Library the edits to Characters’. In this use case it was meant to save the flipped version of the Character. In the Library the original version will always be kept. Result: when you drag another instance of the character on a slide, it will not be flipped. Edits to the character, made with the Edit image functionalities will never be saved to the original image in the Library.

Characters folder

As you probably know, the downloaded characters are stored (for Windows) in Public Documents, under AdobeeLearning Assets. If you have multiple versions of Captivate, you’ll find a subfolder ‘Characters xx’ for each of the versions. Because of that location you are able to edit the characters even without Administrator rights. 

For each character in the folder you’ll have a Thumbnails and an Images subfolder. The Thumbnails show all what is available for that character, the Images only the downloaded image, both in a High and a Low version.  Although you can always choose for 3 ways of inserting a character: Full, Half and CloseUp, there is only one image in Low and High version, real images for those who were downloaded, placeholders for the others. 

When you insert a character in a Captivate project, it will appear on the stage and in the Library. The file showing up in the Library can be one of the 6 possible versions: High/Low in CloseUp, Half or Full version. 

Editing Characters

On the stage

You can edit the Character  on the stage with the set of editing possibilities provided by Captivate:

  • Resizing, flipping, rotating using the Options tab in the Properties panel (inspector). 
  • Using the Edit Image button in the Properties.  It is a limited set of editing functionality but could be sufficient in some circumstances. In this image you’ll see some edited instances of the same character.

This workflow will not change the original image in the Library. However if you need to use the same edited image multiple times, you’ll have to use the copy/paste workflow. The editing is not saved in the Library.

In the Library

Eidting on the stage will keep the original image save. If you want to reuse the edited image multiple times in your course it can be a good idea to use the ‘Edit with….’ option on the image in the Library. You have to be careful not to change the original image as it is stored on your system. 

Do NOT Rename

Renaming the image in the Library is not a solution: when using Edit with… the original name will appear in the editing application. Have a look at these screenshots: renamed the image in the Library, opened it in Photoshop with ‘Edit with…’ and you’ll see the original name in PS.

If you save it that way that particular instance of the image will be changed also for future project. Bit confusing, but the other 5 instances remain untouched. In this example I edited the Low, Half version of Sarah01 (Illustrated category). As you can see in this screenshot, the other instances keep their original look, although you’ll find only one image for Low on your system.

Do Duplicate

What is the correct way to preserve the original image? You have to duplicate the image in the Library and edit the duplicate. You can see the result on this screenshot for the Sticky Woman, low resolution, Half instance:

Roundtripping in Photoshop with the duplicate image is not happening the first time as you are used to for normal images. It will get a generic name in PS, and you’ll have to export it to a PNG file, to a wanted location after the first editing. Later on roundtripping will happen in the usual way. I will show the workflow step-by-step in a future interactive video.

Multiple edited characters

If I need multiple edited characters in a course, to be reused over and over again I would prefer to create a layered Photoshop file and use the Import functionality. You did see that I created an extra folder for Characters under the Images folder in the Library in the last screenshot. With an Imported PS file that would be unnecessary.  Do not forget that it is always possible to use edited characters in the Library in any other project, by using the External Library workflow.


Watch this interactive video to see how you can realize the simple edits I showed in the screenshots in this blog.   You ‘ll also get an interactive video explaining the creation and use of an imported Photoshop source file. This post was meant as an introduction.