Tag Archives: 6

Adobe Unveils Captivate 6 with HTML5 Support

Last week, Adobe announced the release of Adobe Captivate 6, which is their application for building electronic learning projects like quizzes, tests and teaching tools. HTML5 programming, HD video capture and some PowerPoint and quiz enhancements are added in the new version.


Captivate 6 box

PRESS RELEASE

SAN JOSE, Calif. — June, 15 2012 — Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the immediate availability of Adobe® Captivate® 6, a significant upgrade to its industry-leading eLearning authoring software for rapidly creating a wide range of interactive eLearning and HTML5-based mobile Learning content. Designed with today’s mobile learners in mind, Captivate 6 enables eLearning developers, corporate trainers, educators and other business users to help deliver dynamic, SCORM- and AICC-compliant course content that is accessible anytime, anywhere.

“Today, learners expect engaging eLearning options on their iOS and Android devices – static presentations shrunk to fit mobile screens aren’t enough,” said Naresh Gupta, senior vice president, Print and Publishing, Adobe. “Captivate 6 gives subject matter experts and content creators the ability to deliver eLearning content to mobile devices that is as robust and interactive as the content delivered to desktops.”

Captivate 6 enhancements improve mobile access and boost learner’s engagement – top features include:

  • HTML5 Publishing with Pause and Resume Capabilities: Publish interactive HTML5 eLearning content that is accessible from both iOS and Android devices and leverage mobile presets to help ensure seamless mobile distribution. By publishing eLearning content as both SWF and HTML5, learners can begin a course on their desktop, pause and later resume on a different device.
  • HD Screencast: Quickly create HD-quality demos within the new “capture-as-a-video” workflow. Edit video and add transitions, smart shapes, audio and captions. Insert another video in a picture-in-picture format and publish it to YouTube – all within the same UI.
  • Attractive Out-of-the-Box Assets: Select from a wide range of preloaded actors and set them against customizable backdrops to give content a more personal touch. Include additional interactivity by inserting smart learning interactions, such as widgets, animated rollovers and more, with just a few clicks.
  • Enhanced PowerPoint Roundtripping: Import PowerPoint 2010 slides along with objects, animations and multimedia into eLearning projects with better fidelity conversation workflow. Easily update pre-existing PowerPoint content, which will be automatically synced via the dynamically linked import feature.
  • Enhanced Quizzing: Utilize pre-tests to assess the knowledge, skill level or training needs of individual learners. Based on results, direct learners to the appropriate section and use post-tests to gauge what resonates. Allow learners to revisit a relevant section after answering a quiz question incorrectly and, if necessary, discourage guesswork by penalizing for wrong answers.

With Captivate 6, trainers and educators can individualize eLearning modules by recording voiceovers and other sounds that automatically play back when a learner clicks on a specified object. Course designers can also ensure that eLearning content maintains a consistent look and feel using customizable, professionally designed themes. Improved LMS integration helps eLearning developers effortlessly publish content to leading learning management systems, including Moodle, Blackboard, Plateau, Saba and SumTotal.

Quotes

Dustin Tauer, vice president, Training and Development, Easel Solutions

“Many of our customers want to access eLearning content on mobile devices but getting content there has been a challenge. Now, HTML5 publishing with Captivate 6 makes it easy to extend eLearning to mobile devices without forcing the author to learn new programming code.”

Eric Fields, senior eLearning consultant, Learning and Development, Coventry Health Care Workers’ Comp Services

“Adobe Captivate 6 HD screencasting provides a seamless workflow for all my video capture and editing needs. I no longer need additional software, which means no more incompatibility breakdowns and procurement delays working with multiple software packages.”

Damien Bruyndonckx, multimedia assistant, IHECS, Haute Ecole Gallilee

“Advanced interactions and the new collection of characters in Adobe Captivate 6 streamline how I develop interactive, fun, and engaging content that humanizes eLearning, and energizes learners to improve their scores.”

Helpful Links

Pricing and Availability

Adobe Captivate 6 is immediately available through Adobe authorized resellers and the Adobe Store for an estimated street price of US$899. Captivate 5.5 and Captivate 4 users can upgrade at a discounted price of US$359 and US$539, respectively. Qualified education users can purchase Captivate 6 for US$299. For a free trial, visit www.adobe.com/go/trycaptivate.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.

Adobe Releases Creative Suite 6 and Creative Cloud

Adobe announced today the release of Creative Suite 6 (CS6) and the Adobe Creative Cloud, representing the latest in the company’s lineup of applications for creative professionals. They will be available for purchase in May.

Both products had been previously announced—Creative Cloud was first announced back in October at Adobe MAX—and there are many official and unofficial “sneak peek” videos online of new CS6 features. Some applications have also been available as public betas, including Photoshop CS6 (1 million downloads as of this writing), Edge and Muse (over 1 million downloads each). Despite this early exposure, the creative community seems more excited over this release than some previous Creative Suite releases and the response to the public betas have been very positive. The Photoshop CS6 beta has been downloaded more than any in Adobe’s history.

The Creative Cloud structure

Adobe Creative Cloud is a response by Adobe to the changing nature of software and online services. It’s become clear that large version releases every 18 to 24 months is an anachronism compared to bug fixes pushed over the Internet or online apps handled by many hands across Github. Most of the CS6 products are the same familiar ones we’ve used for years, but Creative Cloud provides a new pricing model, online services and a new activation/updating system.

Adobe Creative Cloud includes:

Lightroom 4 and the Digital Publishing Suite will not be included until the summer. Adobe Touch applications for iOS are planned for release before the summer, particularly Photoshop Touch which my source says will be available in May.

Adobe Creative Cloud is not dependent on an Internet connection; software is downloaded to the user’s computer and can run without a connection. The installed software does check Adobe’s servers once a month to ensure a valid Creative Cloud license exists for the user based on his/her Adobe ID. Software updates can be pushed directly to the user’s computer and content will be available on all devices through Creative Cloud synchronization.

Purchasing software through a Creative Cloud subscription has some advantages. Typically, a Creative Suite customer gets a boxed product that can be installed on two machines—typically a desktop and laptop computer—but the box contains either Mac or Windows versions. Creative Cloud users are still restricted to two machines but one can be a Mac and the other Windows. This is a sweet deal for Mac users who happen to use a PC laptop.

There is also a free subscription available for prospective Creative Cloud customers. The free subscription includes 2GB of cloud storage for projects and trials of all available software. Note that if you buy into Creative Cloud and then cancel at some point, the software will stop working (after it pings the server) but your cloud storage space remains for several months.

Creative Cloud Pricing

Adobe Creative Cloud costs $49.99 per month annually or $74.99 per month, paid monthly. There’s also an introductory rate of $29.99 per month for users of CS3, CS4, CS5 or CS5.5. A version of Creative Cloud optimized for teams will cost $69.99 per person per month. This team-optimized product will include expert services and support, company IT tools and workstation synchronization, but it’s buried deep in Adobe’s development timeline and a fall release would not surprise me.

What if I don’t want Creative Cloud?

Adobe expects many users to create on tablets and mobile devices first, then polish their creations with CS6 and eventually “publish anywhere” with software like Edge—which converts animations to HTML5—and services like Business Catalyst. I reviewed the Adobe Touch apps and I thought they were not robust enough as a whole to bring more than a kernel of a final product back to the desktop, so I’m glad to see a typical Creative Suite workflow—without most of the Creative Cloud-specific features—is still possible.

CS6 icons

There are four Creative Suite 6 suites:

  • Design Standard includes:
    • Acrobat X Pro
    • InDesign CS6
    • Illustrator CS6
    • Photoshop CS6
  • Design Premium and Web Premium have been combined into one suite that includes:
    • All Design Standard products
    • Dreamweaver CS6
    • Fireworks CS6
    • Flash Professional CS6
    • Photoshop CS6 Extended replaces Photoshop CS6
  • Production Premium includes:
    • After Effects CS6
    • Audition CS6
    • Illustrator CS6
    • Photoshop CS6 Extended
    • Premiere Pro CS6
    • Encore CS6
    • Prelude CS6 (new)
    • SpeedGrade CS6 (new)
  • Master Collection includes all CS6 applications.

Adobe Edge, Muse and Lightroom 4 are not CS6 applications and aren’t available in any CS6 suite, though they are included in Creative Cloud.

Prices are:

  • CS6 Design Standard: $1,299 full, $299 upgrade
  • CS6 Design & Web Premium: $1,899 full, $399 upgrade
  • CS6 Production Premium: $1,899 full, $399 upgrade
  • CS6 Master Collection: $2,599 full, $549 upgrade

Flash Builder 4.6 and Acrobat X will not see an update, but Creative Cloud users will get their updates automatically when they are available. CS5.5 single-product subscribers will be able to continue their subscriptions at $19.99 per month per product, and they will also score 10GB of Creative Cloud space. However, CS5.5 suite subscribers will need to transition to Creative Cloud.

What’s in Creative Suite 6?

A lot of readers will really just want to know what’s in the newest versions of the Creative Suite products. There are two new CS6 applications, both in the video category:

  • SpeedGrade CS6, for color grading and color-correcting video
  • Prelude CS6, for adding metadata to clips on import and handling shoot data

There are a huge number of new features for CS6, particularly for some of the flagship products like Photoshop. I think this is why so many public beta users are getting excited for the launch. I am using a few prerelease betas of CS6 software but I prefer to work with the shipping product before I write a review, so those will be forthcoming.

Conclusion

Adobe is naturally excited about the CS6 and Creative Cloud launch, which Scott Morris—Senior Marketing Director for Creative Pros—said might be the most important launch in Adobe’s history. The Creative Cloud product is what makes it so important—it’s a rethinking of the way Adobe delivers products, and it’s the first single product that puts the entire creative workflow in the user’s hands.

REVIEW: Sibelius 6 Is Close To Perfect

In 1997, I was a student at an Iowa college that offered no courses in graphic design or web design beyond basic HTML—which at the time was advanced enough. I was more of a musician than a designer then, and I loved composing with an Alesis QS8 synthesizer and an application called Encore. Finale was the industry standard at the time, but I also heard about an upstart application named Sibelius, named after the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, and several major composers who used it (the most notable was Steve Reich). I never did see the application.

sibelius-box

12 years later, I heard that Sibelius—now the industry standard—was owned by video powerhouse Avid and had just been updated to version 6. I use music in my multimedia work and so I was curious to see what Sibelius 6 can do for composers, and I came away with an unbelievable experience.

The best production values

Any application that plays a phrase from a Jean Sibelius piece when starting up is obviously designed for those who appreciate and produce good music. Many little touches and attention to detail make Sibelius a refined application:

  • Music is laid out on parchment paper with a striking blue background. This is much improved from the plain white backgrounds I’m used to.
  • Sibelius ships with an easy-to-use handbook and a huge reference guide, making this the first application I’ve reviewed with a printed manual since Adobe’s CS3 Production Premium. Online help manuals are nice but having it in writing on one’s desk is helpful.
  • Sibelius does an outstanding job laying out notes and other marks in the cleanest and most logical way. This is not really a concern for designers who just want to get their music in a digital format but it’s necessary for composers who print their music. Users can’t view music in any format other than standard score layout but I wouldn’t expect Sibelius to offer a radical format such as a Flash-like timeline layout.
  • Music can be inputted and performed without a device such as a synthesizer or other MIDI device. It takes a little setup but it’s really quite easy to put together multi-instrument compositions. The instruments are synthesized so they’re not perfect (though the new piano sound is extremely close), but proper dynamics and markings help make compositions sound authentic. The one ding I would give Sibelius is in its exporting feature: full audio can be exported but only in AIFF format. Converting AIFF to MP3 requires a third-party converter, which is readily available.

Interface

sibelius-screen

I find Sibelius’ interface a little harder to master because it doesn’t use the panel-based interfaces that Adobe has so successfully applied to its Creative Suite applications. Palettes such as the Navigator and Keypad are helpful but can’t be docked to the side of the window or hidden easily. I think this is because average Sibelius users are musicians and composers, and they are most likely using an instrument for input—few people would find it very productive to use just the keypad for adding notes and markings.

Sibelius is an exceptional tool for these users, partly due to the success of the new Magnetic Layout feature that lays notes out perfectly when taking input from an instrument. Back in 1997, I was moving notes around staves with my mouse and instrument input was usually not quite right. Magnetic Layout helps keep layouts clean and orderly, and a combination of Flexi-time™ input and the Renotate Performance plug-in do a good job of taking clean input from a performance on a synth or other MIDI instrument.

sibelius-magnetic

What’s new?

Since I’ve never used Sibelius before, I can’t really comment on the value in the Sibelius 6 upgrade. I can say that Sibelius 6 is light years ahead of anything I was using in 1997, but that doesn’t say much. Instead, let’s look at the new features in Sibelius 6:

  • Magnetic Layout, which is described in the previous section. I am really impressed by the smart technology behind this new feature—this is what makes composing on a computer easy for musicians and other performers.
  • sibelius-versions

  • Versions is a tool for storing and comparing drafts of a composition, similar to Adobe’s Version Cue but without the hassle that application demands. Versions are easily saved (there’s no keyboard shortcut for the Save Version command, but one can be created in Sibelius’ preferences). Versions can also be compared to one another and differences can be seen in the score on in a written list. The one thing I would want is an auto-save feature: Sibelius will offer to save a version when closing a score but doesn’t actually save versions automatically during use.
  • Sibelius 6 offers Keyboard and Fretboard windows that display a virtual piano keyboard or guitar fretboard. I’m surprised these are new additions: Encore had a keyboard window even in 1997.
  • sibelius-cccontrol

  • New classroom control features help teachers control copies of Sibelius 6 being used by students in a lab setting. Scores can be sent to and from any or all students, and the teacher can suspend students’ applications when lecturing or demonstrating. This obviously does not help the designer or the composer, but it goes to show that Sibelius is for the music education market as well as the composition market.
  • sibelius-rewire

  • Sibelius 6 now uses the ReWire standard to record audio from Sibelius to an audio application or workstation—everything from Pro Tools and Logic to Apple’s Garageband. This might be the best new feature for designers, though it’s most appropriate for performers working with a digital audio workstation (DAW).
  • sibelius-audioscore

  • Sibelius 6 ships with the Lite version of AudioScore, an application that lets singers input music via microphone. It’s always been easy to hook up a synth with MIDI or an electric guitar with a cable, but voice has been tough to capture. AudioScore does a good job with it, though the $249 AudioScore Ultimate is required if you want to create multiple tracks or display pitch.
  • As with most other companies, Avid is looking for ways to leverage online communities with its software products. The end result for Sibelius is SibeliusMusic.com, a community where Sibelius users can post, share and sell scores. I’ve not used it yet but there’s some good material there already—almost 100,000 scores!—and it could end up being a great source for music for multimedia and video.

Conclusion

It is amazing how far music notation software has come since I used Encore and Finale in 1997. Encore is now owned by gvox and looks like it hasn’t been updated in some time; Finale is still regularly updated and is probably Sibelius’ strongest competitor. However, I can only speak about my experience with Sibelius 6, which is exceptional. There are a few things I would suggest improving, mostly with little things like the audio exporting functions, but it is a phenomenal product for composers and also for music educators. Sibelius 6 ships with quite a bit of educational materials such as worksheets and exercises, and there are a few well-done scores that new users can learn a lot from.

I’m excited to review Sibelius 6 because, in my industry, there are many designers who can create visuals with Photoshop or animations with After Effects but don’t necessarily have control over the sound required for great multimedia. Applications like Soundbooth and Garageband are good tools but Sibelius 6 is a different kind of application. Designers looking to produce music for their projects should try it out.

Sibelius 6
Avid Software
US$599
Rating: 10/10