TechSmith recently announced an update for Camtasia from version 2019 to version 2020. Some of the top enhancements you'll find in the Camtasia 2020 update include templates, placeholders, replaceable media, reversible transitions, a detachable Timeline, the ability to control callout text resizing (the feature can be toggled on or off), and magnetic tracks.
In the next few newsletters, I'll delve into some of the new Camtasia 2020 features. To begin, let's focus on the detachable Timeline, magnetic Timeline tracks, and reversible Transitions.
In the image below notice that I've added some media to the Camtasia Timeline. Gaps between Timeline objects aren't ideal, and I have two gaps as indicated by the orange annotations in the image.
One awesome new feature in Camtasia 2020 is the ability to instantly remove Timeline gaps via magnetic tracks. To enable this feature, click the magnet icon to the left of the track as shown in the image below.
The gaps between Timeline objects are instantly removed. And now that the track is magnetic, there won't be any gaps in the track moving forward.
Speaking of enhancements, do you notice anything strange in the image of the Camtasia 2020 interface below?
By default, the Timeline is anchored to the bottom of the Camtasia interface. In the image above, the Timeline is detached. Detaching the Timeline is helpful if you want to position it someplace specific on your display or on a second monitor. To enable the feature, choose View > Timeline > Detach Timeline.
Should you lose track of the Timeline (it can easily go behind the Camtasia main window), choose View > Timeline > Attach Timeline.
Last, but not least, you can now reverse Transition effects. In the animated image below, I've added the Cube Rotate transition to some media on the Timeline. Check out how I can make the cube rotate the opposite direction simply by clicking Reverse on the Properties panel.
Kevin Siegel is the founder and president of IconLogic, Inc. He has written hundreds of step-by-step computer training books on applications such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, Adobe RoboHelp, Adobe Presenter, and TechSmith Camtasia. Kevin spent five years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an award-winning photojournalist and has three decades’ experience as a trainer, publisher, technical writer, and eLearning developer. Kevin is a Certified Master Trainer (CMT), Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+), Certified Online Professional Trainer (COTP), and a frequent speaker at trade shows and conventions.
When creating eLearning in TechSmith Camtasia, Adobe Captivate, or Articulate Storyline, one critical consideration is the physical width and height of your project (also known as the canvas size).
The size of the project is measured in pixels and if you don't get this right from the start, changing your mind later could lead to some unintended consequences. (Objects being resized out of proportion is one of the biggest concerns.)
When I teach any of my eLearning courses, I encourage learners to consider their end-users when determining the size of the canvas. These days, most users access eLearning content on anything from a desktop computer to laptops to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
In my experience, most devices used to view eLearning are shaped more like rectangles than squares. For that reason, I think the eLearning canvas should be set up to use a 16:9 aspect ratio as opposed to 4:3.
The aspect ratio of an eLearning canvas designed to be viewed on its side, or in landscape mode, is the ratio of its longer side to its shorter side. If you go with a 4:3 aspect ratio (4 pixels across for every 3 pixels in height), you're working with a shape that is tending toward a square. If you go with 16:9 (16 pixels across for every 9 high), the shape is very much a rectangle.
Once you decide on the shape of your canvas (again, 16:9 is a strong rectangle shape), the exact size you use depends on your design and/or the needs of your users. Both 1024x576 and 1280x720 are 16:9 ratios. (Here's a handy list of 16:9 aspect ratios.)
So how do you ensure your aspect ratio is a 16:9 aspect ratio as opposed to 4:3. Read on!
Because eLearning often begins in Microsoft PowerPoint, let's start there. Go to the Design tab on the Ribbon and, from the Customize group, change the Slide Size to Widescreen (16:9).
In TechSmith Camtasia, click the drop-down menu just above the Canvas and choose Project Settings. From the Canvas Dimensions drop-down menu, choose a size from the Widescreen group. All of the sizes in this group are set to an aspect ratio of 16:9.
In Articulate Storyline, the default aspect ratio for new projects is 4:3. Go to the Design tab on the Ribbon and, from the Setup group, click Story Size.
From the Story Size drop-down menu, choose 720:405 (16:9) and then change the Width and Height as needed. Select Lock aspect ratio to ensure you're maintaining a 16:9 aspect ratio as you change the size.
In Adobe Captivate, when creating new projects, select Blank Project and then, from the Canvas drop-down menu, choose an appropriate 16:9 aspect ratio. If you need to change the size of an existing project, choose Modify > Rescale Project and change the Width and Height as appropriate.