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Chapter 4. The Captivate Timeline and Objects

Chapter 4. The Captivate Timeline and Objects

The key to working with any sort of New Media presentation is understanding the importance of time. We can, for example, have objects appear in a slide for durations ranging from one-tenth of a second to infinity. One of the frustrations encountered when working with Captivate's predecessor—RoboDemo—was an inability to control time. Slide timing was dependent upon the duration of the objects on a slide. As well, controlling when those objects appeared was a convoluted process at best.

The introduction of the timeline in Captivate puts the control of time back in the hands of the developer. Best of all, this control is graphical. Everything on the slide—from audio to mouse movement—is visible, not only can each element be moved forward or backward on the timeline, but the amount of time it is visible or plays can be changed easily.

The timeline also introduces the concept of objects to Captivate. Any thing on the timeline is now referred to as an “object.” Thus, audio files appearing on a timeline are “audio objects,” mouse movements are “mouse objects,” and so on.

The other place where “objects” appear is in the Edit View panel. When a slide is captured, it isn't fixed in place and unable to be edited or manipulated. It can be enhanced through the use of objects. Objects in Captivate are, essentially, extra items that can be added to the slides in your presentation. The list of the objects both created from within Captivate and from external applications is surprisingly quite extensive. You can add the following objects to a Captivate slide:

  • Animations such as AVI files and Flash files

  • Buttons

  • Captions

  • Click boxes

  • Highlight boxes

  • Images created or edited in a variety of drawing applications, such as Fireworks MX 2004 or Freehand MX

  • Rollover captions

  • Rollover images

  • Text entry boxes

  • Audio files

This chapter reviews how to use the timeline and how to add or otherwise manipulate objects, in general.

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