In my previous post
I explained the work flow to create a custom Theme Colors palette, starting from an Adobe Color palette (ase). Theme Colors palettes can be applied to any theme, they are stored in the Layouts folder of the Public documents, they are not project specific. This article will show the consequences of applying a new Theme Colors palette to a theme. As you probably know a theme has three principal components: object styles, master slides and skin.
Moreover Captivate 8.0.1 allows to apply theme colors to a bunch of learning interactions (not to all yet). That is a big improvement, because most of those interactions have their own themes and it was a lot of work in former versions to edit colors in the interactions to match the theme of the project.
How are Theme colors used?
You can customize one of the existing themes by changing the Theme colors in the first place, then adding objects, changing styles, master slides etc. For a totally new theme you will probably start with the Blank theme. Maybe in a third article I will offer some tips about using Blank theme. In this post I will only talk about the other themes, and the way a new colors palette will interact with them.
In the dropdown list under Select Theme Colors, you'll see on top the category 'Custom Theme Colors' and to the bottom 'Pretest Theme Colors'.
For each included theme you'll find two Theme color palettes in Captivate 8: one with the same name as the theme (in 'Preset Theme Colors'), and one with that name followed by Shade (in 'Custom Theme Colors'). Example: Flat color palette, and Flat Shade color palette. Only the Blank theme is an exception.
When you open the Theme Colors window, and choose Customize for a palette, you'll see 10 colors. A name has been given to each color, but those names are misleading, as I will explain.
I prefer to label them color 1-10. Why? What do you expect when seeing a name like 'Title', 'Sub-Title', 'Slide BG', 'Fill', Stroke? I naively (or is it my engineer's mind) supposed that the first color (Title) would be applied to the Titles on the Master slides, the second color (Sub-Title) to the subtitles on master slides, Fill and Stroke to shapes or other objects, Slide BG to the background of the slides (project background). But when I explored the themes, included with Captivate, I discovered that this is almost never the case :). If you download this file
, you'll see two tables: one for text styles and one for the three states of Shapes. Some conclusions:
- Font color of the default Title Smart Shape Style which is used on the Master slides is the first color 'Title' in themes Flat, Green, Nimble, White and Woodgrain. Blackboard uses Text 2 (Color 4), Clean Blue, Clouds and Vivid use Skin 2 (Color 9), Half Tone uses Stroke (Color 6).
- Font color of the default Sub-Title Smart Shape Style, also used on Master slides is never color 2 'Sub-Title' except for the Flat theme. All other themes use another color.
- Font color of Caption text uses quite a myriad of colors: Stroke (color 6), Text 1 (color 3), Sub-Title, Sub-Title tint 5 (color 2 - see tints later on), Title (color 1), Skin 2 (color 9).
- Same for the three font styles on Question slides: Title, Question and Answer.
The default Shape style in the Object Style Manager has three states (Normal, Down and Rollover) because every shape can be used as a button. In the second table you'll see Stroke color, Font color, Fill color (Solid or Gradient, and Alpha) for the three states. Only the Font color seems to remain the same for each state - not always a good choice (sometimes unreadable because of change in fill).
Why did I create those tables? If you change the theme colors, some of the object styles, master slides and skin will change based on the new colors and on setup of the colors in the original palette. This means that the same custom color palette will create a different look, depending on the theme for which it is used. Not all object styles are using theme colors however, some will not change color: this is the case for the new Success/Failure/Hint smart shapes that you can use to replace the captions for interactive objects and question slides (Preferences). Of course, the old Success/Failure/Hint captions cannot apply theme colors neither, but for the shapes this is possible without having to create custom captions in a graphics editor.
I created the color palette 'Lilybiri' based on my logo (see previous post). Browse this Picture Gallery. You'll see one slide, with that palette applied to the White, Vivid, Flat and Halftone Themes. Watch the colors of the master slides, Title, Subtitle, Caption and the 'rollover' state of an inserted shape button. You see that the result is totally different.
If you want to change just the theme colors for an existing theme you have to check the master slides and the object styles. I would have preferred to have more consistency in the use of the theme colors in the themes. Especially in this version, because to create a custom theme you need to start from an existing theme, certainly for responsive projects.
In the first article I already explained that Captivate will create 5 tints for each of the theme colors, besides the base colors of the palette. Some of those tints are used in the existing themes: on master slides, in object styles and in the skin.
Contrary to the base theme colors, which I indicate now with codes 1.0, 2.0 .... 10.0, you do not have any control over the way those tints are created. I use code 1.1, 1.2 ... 1.5 for the tints based on color 1.0 in my code system. If you apply a custom theme colors palette, Captivate will create those tints, but my curious mind wondered "HOW"? Because the term 'tint' was used, I suspected that looking at the HSB code would be a better idea than the provided Hexadecimal or RGB codes. HSB is used in a lot of Adobe applications to indicate Hue, Saturation and Brightness. I have now a complete table with HSB-codes for all provided theme color palettes. I didn't include it here, it was meant to discover the logic of the tints creation. And there is some consistency, my conclusions (see also the image below):
- For gray colors (like 4D4D4D, E6E6E6...) you'll see that Hue and Saturation remain equal to 0 and only the Brightness will decrease from tint 1 to 5. Same of course for Black (000000) and White (FFFFFF).
- For normal colors the Hue remains constant (there are small variations) for all tints.
- First tints (1-3 or 1-4) keep high Brightness but start with lower Saturation that will increase
- Last tints (4-5 or 5) keep Saturation of previous tints but decrease the Brightness
Depending on the default Theme you are using, the tints can be slightly different, but not in the same way as what I showed about the style colors in the previous point.
Learning Interactions - Theme Colors
Some learning interactions do have their proper themes. Now it is possible to apply the colors of the active Theme Colors palette to the interactions as well. However, they are not applied automatically, you need to use the Custom button. There are two possible work flows:
For the (older) interactions Accordion, Tabs, Process Circle, Pyramid Stack, Timeline, Circle Matrix, Pyramid Matrix, Glossary, Word Search and Certificate
- The interaction themes are at the left, with default theme selected; use the Custom button at the bottom
- Default Colors are activated, and you could customize them using the Customize button, but then you'll see the old cold dialog box, which has no link to your theme colors
- Click on Theme colors: the preview will be changed immediately, and the Customize button now appears under Theme Colors
- When using this customize button, you'll see the Theme colors with their tints when changing a color.
For the new games Catch AlphaNum, Jeopardy, Memory and Millionaire
- After setting up the game, go to the second screen (mostly with an red arrow at bottom right) to Customize
- Look for the button 'Color settings': in some games it is at the top, in other (like in the screenshot) at the bottom
- Same work flow there: if you click on Theme colors the present color palette will be applied
- Customize becomes available under Theme colors instead of Default colors and will show you the Theme colors palette with all the tints.
The other interactions do not yet offer the possibility to use theme colors.
- Be careful when creating a custom color palette to apply to an existing theme: look at the two default palettes provided for that theme and try to assign bright colors to the same color number as those palettes, same for darker colors. Maybe the table I offered with the use of the theme colors in all themes can help.
- Check the object styles after applying the new color palette, the easiest way is in the Object Style Manager; do not forget that shapes have colors for the three states
- After checking the object styles, check the master slides: objects and background will have changed colors as well. If you use shapes for Success/Failure/Hint messages, check their style because they will not be changed to the new color palette.
- I didn't mention the skin, but playbar as well as TOC settings will also get color changes when applying a new color palette, check them as well
- When using learning interactions, try to change to Theme Colors if they offer that possibility, and double-check the result that you can edit with the Customize button.