The Truth About Pinched Head

People are always asking me how we came up with the name Pinched Head for our company so I decided to set the record straight once and for all with an explainer video.

Explainers are a fun way to tell a story. They are short animated videos used primarily to promote a business, product or service in a simple, and compelling way.

There are a lot of animation tools on the market that make it easy to create these videos – I used VideoScribe by Sparkol for this one, but the tool is only a means to an end. There’s no guarantee you’ll have a great video when you are done.

Here are some tips to help you create a killer explainer video:
  1. The key to a great explainer video starts with a well-crafted script that is no longer than 90 seconds in length – who-ah I just made it with mine.  
  2. It should focus on the benefits of your business, product or service.
  3. There IS room for humour (or humor if you are American). People love to be entertained.
  4. The quality of the voiceover is important – even more important than the visuals so use a professional if you can.
  5. Keep the action moving – keep changing things up to keep the video interesting.
  6. Include a clear call to action – oops I don’t have one in mine, but if you like what you see leave a comment.
    Ok cool, now I have a call to action.

 

 

 

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Looking Down on Elearning

I ordered a drone last year thinking that it  might be easier for people to learn certain tasks if they could view the steps from a higher vantage point. The drone company went bust so that put an end to that big idea, at least for the time being. I still believe that using the aerial perspective has a place in training especially for teaching activities like driver training so I created a simple lesson on parallel parking using Storyline instead. Click the picture to check it out. A video version would have been slicker but I think this does the trick.

Launch Presentation
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Spring is here so it’s time for a drop-down menu

Not only do you get to see some pretty pictures from my garden but you also get to see a nifty custom built drop-down menu in Storyline 360. What could be better!

Launch Presentation

Click on the picture to launch the demo.

How I did it 

I started by creating two variables in Storyline:  One is a boolean (True/False) variable called menu and the other is a numeric variable called menuToggle

Next, I turned off all the default tabs in the Storyline player and added my own custom tab called Toggle Menu – ok so that is the easy part.

I added some JavaScript to the tab that increments the value of menuToggle each time the tab is clicked.

Here is the code.

var player=GetPlayer();
var menuVal=player.GetVar(“menuToggle“);
menuVal++;
player.SetVar(“menuToggle“,menuVal);

That’s all for the custom tab.

Now on to the Slide Master

First I created a layer in the Slide Master that contains the toggle menu (the menu is just some rectangle shapes with hover states and triggers to jump to specific slides when clicked. I added Fly In enter and Fly Out exit animations to each of the topics.

To keep the menu from flying out before the user clicks, I used a Cue Point to pause the timeline until the user clicks one of the topics.

On the base slide of the Slide Master, I added a trigger to toggle the value of menu when the variable menuToggle changes.  If you’ve been paying attention you already know that the JavaScript on the custom tab causes menuToggle to change every time someone clicks the tab.

I then added a couple more triggers to the base Slide Master: one trigger to show the menu layer when the variable menu changes if the value of menu is equal to true and another trigger to resume the timeline on the menu layer (remember I  paused it using a cue point) when the variable menu changes if the value of menu is false.

Finally, I published and then crossed my fingers that it worked on all the different browsers and devices.  (It did test on IE 11, Edge, Chrome and Safari on the iPad and it seems good to go.)

 

 

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Interactive BMI Calculator

Here is a nifty Body Mass Index calculator that I created in Storyline 2 a while ago as part of a larger project.  The calculations are kind of old school – done completely using Storyline variables and triggers. I am still amazed at what you can do with triggers in Storyline, but if I were to redo this again, I’d probably use JavaScript to make the coding cleaner.  I did republish the project in Storyline 360 to take advantage of all that lovely HTML5 output.

Just click the image to launch the calculator.

Launch Presentation

I’ve included the Storyline (360) source file here for those of you who are interested in seeing how it was done. 

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Animated Math Quiz

Over the holidays I spent some time learning Adobe Character Animator CC – The application is still in beta and has a few rough edges especially when it comes to animating scenes but overall I really love how easy it is to create animated characters in this tool. 

In my first attempt, I created the characters and the grocery scene in Animator and then pulled it into Articulate Storyline 360 to create the quiz functionality. You know the drill, click the picture to view the demo.

Launch Presentation
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