How to use Custom Effect in Actions?


Almost 8 years ago I posted this article on my personal blog: Editing Motion Paths and Using Custom Effects. 

Since that time Effects have been improved a lot, advanced and shared actions can make life much easier. Time to upgrade that blog post, meanwhile testing the behavior of effects in HTML output in CP2019. While Flash was always to be trusted, that is not the case for HTML output. And indeed, I bumped onto a problem with the Scale effect, and sometimes the Rotate to effect. When those problems are solved, I will post a published movie. The workflow to use Custom effects in a shared or advanced action is however still the same since many versions. It is a bit complicated, I have answered many questions about it in the forums. I will write it out now step by step.

When do you need  a custom effect?

Effects have been improved in some ways. Some parameters can be defined in the Advanced Actions dialog box. Look for the start time of an effect, its duration and more numeric fields (alpha, rotation, ease in/out, alpha….). However when using a combination of effects over and over again, you can create one custom effect which saves that combination and can applied in one step including the sequence and duration of the different effects. Another practical example are the motion effects, where you need to edit the motion path, which is certainly the case for more complicated custom motion paths.  This screenshot shows an example of a complicated combination of effects on the Timeline. It was meant to be applied to simulate a swimming fish:

Step by Step

Step 1:  Create and save effect

Create the effect or combination of effects on any object as a ‘Self)time based animation and test it out thoroughly (Preview HTML in Browser for a non-responsive project) in several browsers before saving it with a custom name.

You don’t need to save it in a specific folder. I use to save it with the project I am working on as is the case in the screenshot above. Effects are stored in XML-files.

Step 2: Apply the custom effect as time-based animation

If you would try to use the saved effect in a shared/advanced action it will no be available. If this is the first custom effect you ever created, there will not even be a Custom category to choose from You need first to delete all the individual effects applied to the object (above it was to the object SV_Fish (a SVG image). Then apply the custom effect as a (Self) time based animation again, but now with ‘one’ effect chosen with the browse button.

When looking at the timeline you’ll see exactly the same result as in the screenshot at the beginning: all the effects in the correct sequence and with the duration you had chosen.

The result of this second application is that the Category ‘Custom’ will now have been created, and it will have the new custom effect ‘Swimming’.

Step “: use in advanced or shared action

If you only wanted to apply this action using an interactive object, you could use a simple action. The field Category will now have the Custom category.

However often effects are used in Advanced or Shared actions in combination with other commands. In this example the Fishes are originally hidden, so I need to Show them and apply the effectn eventually also have an audio clip playing separately.

The two buttons on this example will trigger the same shared action. Both fishes are hidden in output at the start. When creating the advanced action, the category Custom can now be used, and the available parameters (start, duration) could be edited, but mostly you’ll not want to do that.

Because I needed to use this action twice, maybe also later in other projects unchanged or as template for other actions, I preferred a shared action which will have only one parameter: the object itself. An effect cannot be a parameter. However, the effect can not only be applied to one object, but also to a group. I can replace one fish by a group of fishes.

7 responses
Hi Lieve, I am trying to do a simple entrance of two objects. 1 enters from the left with the Entrance effects, and one should enter from the right with the Entrance effects. The issue is, that the second doesn't show at all at 1.3 seconds. I've checked the pause timing on all the slides and set them for much later (like 9.9 out of 10). Any advice on a fix? I love this concept of the post above! Thanks Anne
Sorry, forgot to mention, I am using cp 2017
I think, I may have figured it out... What do you think? I have a Glossary button on the master slide and it has a pause at 3 sec. I cannot edit the timing on that button on the master slide to remove the pause. But if I click the button while previewing, after I close the glossary, then the second effects will show. So I am assuming it has to do with this "pause" at 3 sec on my button on the master slide. Anne
You cannot insert screenshots in comments here. May I invite you to go to the eLearning Community or the Adobe forums with your question? I would need to see the timeline and the setup of the effects in that slide. Check the version number as well, should be
Shape buttons on master slides always pause each slide at the end if the pause is enabled. You can disable the pausing only on the Master slide, in the Actions tab. But that means that pausing point will disappear on all slides having that button.
Although the Timeline is also used for master slides it only has the fuctioality of a layers panel, to control the stacking order. No object on the master slide can have a timing. By default a shape button will pause each slide based on that master slide. That pause shows up at 3secs, at the end of the master slide. It means literally that each slide based on that master slide, whatever its duration, will pause at its end. This is certainly not the cause of your problem here.
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