Let's face it, some of the eLearning content you are required to create is a bit... shall we say, dry? A tad boring? A teeny bit heavy on the text and short on graphics?
One easy way to spruce up your eLearning content is to add characters (or guides). But where do you find quality images to use as guides? The good news is that both Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate offer some awesome, and most importantly, free Characters--out of the box.Let's take a look at the Character features in both programs. While Characters have been around for several years in Captivate, and in both versions of Storyline, the images below are taken from the most recent versions of both programs, Captivate version 8; Storyline version 2.
Articulate Storyline 2
To insert a Character on a Storyline slide, open a slide and from the Insert tab on the Ribbon, click Character. You'll find two choices in the Character drop-down menu: Illustrated Character and Photographic Character.
In the image below, I've selected Illustrated Character, which opened the Characters dialog box. From here, you'll find multiple Characters, Expressions, and Poses.
I found the Expression options particularly cool... plenty from which to choose.
Shown below are Storyline's many poses. And if you look in the lower right of the dialog box, you'll even find three pose directions (Left, Front, Right).
And perhaps my favorite thing about Storyline's Characters is how easy it is to change the appearance of an inserted Character. In the Image below, notice that you can select a Character and totally change it to another character, change its Expression, Pose... even its Perspective. Simply awesome!
If you'd rather work with Photographic Characters, go back to the Character drop-down menu and choose Photographic Characters. As with the Illustrated Characters, you'll find multiple actors and poses.
Adobe Captivate 8
To insert a Character in Adobe Captivate, simply choose Media > Characters.
Similar to Storyline, Captivate's Characters dialog box presents you with several Categories, Characters, and Poses. (In the image below, I've selected a Character and Pose from the Business Category.)
If Captivate's Illustrated Characters work better for you, choose Illustrated from the Category drop-down menu and you'll be presented with four Illustrated Characters and various poses.
If you want to change the Character's pose in Captivate, you'll need to manually delete the Character from the slide and replace it with another (not as cool as Storyline's edit-on-the-fly technique, but perfectly functional).
Note: The Characters shown above aren't limited to Storyline and Captivate. You'll find many of the same Characters in Presenter.
If you're not happy with the selection of characters that come with those programs, you'll find resources on the web offering thousands of eLearning characters. While you'll need to purchase those characters (typically in groups or packs), you are almost guaranteed to find the perfect character to fit within your scene.
Between the two, the eLearning Brothers is likely the better-known company (orange anyone?). They call their Characters "cutout people," and they've got thousands of them.
Over on the eLearning Art website, characters are referred to as "people cutout images." And like the eLearning Brothers, there are plenty from which to choose.
Another quick Internet search took me to eLearning.net where I found several free characters.
If you'd prefer stock photography for your eLearning projects, the eLearning Coach has compiled a handy list of resources.
Lastly, check out AJ's article on free zombie characters... perfect for the season.