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Text following narration

Hello! I'm just beginning to discover all the wonders of this fantastic application and platform! Hardly a tech guy, but learning the ins and outs of the program hasn't been as challenging as I thought it would be, thanks to a very helpful user guide and intuitive interface. There's just one thing I'm wondering: how to I use the text tool to create text that follows my narration of the story (highlighting words, at at least having them appear line by line on the page as they do in your Astrojammies story). Then, how would one set up the command to allow users to either have narration on, or turn it off? Please advise as I'm totally stumped on this one!

Thanks,
Dave
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  • Hi Dave,

    Actually Composer does not currently have this feature. "Astrojammies" was made on the same platform but is not the best example to follow since there was custom code in there as well.

    The way you can approximate this effect does not involve the text tool. You make all your text as PNG files (like any other image), and use Behaviors to have them appear at the same time as an Audio file. I like to use a time sequence triggered by the "Page Did Appear" command, which means the page load after the page-turn.

    Page Did Appear,
    Wait 1 second,
    Play Audio 1 Instantly and Turn off Hiding for Text 1,
    Wait 1.5 seconds (however long that Audio 1 clip is)
    Play Audio 2 Instantly and Turn off Hiding for Text 2,
    ... and so on.

    I hope this helps!

    Stacey
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  • 1
    Second answer. How does one set up narration on/off?

    Lay the groundwork:
    1) Use the Master page to create a "settings" button which will appear on every page but the cover. I like little "gears turning" but you can do anything, really. This has a command that says on user touch, Show Index.

    2) Make sure when you import your voiceovers, you classify them as Speech in the sound controls. When you import sound effects, ensure they are classified as Effects. Also, if you do not want things interrupting each other, put them on separate channels.

    Make an Index page with controls... OR, put the on/off buttons on the Cover only. It's up to you.

    1) Create a "Read to Me" button that appears in both on and off states.

    2) Put the "Read to me" (on) button where you want it, and then put the off version right on top of it, but set the off version to Hidden (use the Inspector menu).

    3) Create a Behavior that says upon user touch to "on button," do two things: One, mute all Speech. This will work because all your voiceovers have been classified as "Speech." Two, unhide the "Off" button.

    4) Now set up the opposite behaviors on the "off" button. If someone touches that, it should Unmute all Speech, and then Hide itself to reveal the "on" button again.

    Happy Composing!
    Stacey
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  • Dan, is this still the best way to have text appear as narration sounds? Has anything changed since Stacey helped with her answer? Thanks
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  • Dan (Official Rep) November 15, 2013 15:51
    Its pretty much the same, only now er have On Page Audio which means you don't need to to make a behaviour to stop the audio on page ends like before.

    One thing I would change though is

    I would chain the audio play msgs instead of time them out, much easier and less prone to breakage. Give Audio 1,2,3 and Text Highlight 1,2,3

    Play Audio 1

    IF Audio 1 Audio Track Ended
    THEN Audio 2 Play Audio Instantly
    Set Hidden ON Text Highlight 1

    IF Audio 2 Audio Track Ended
    THEN Audio 3 Play Audio Instantly
    Set Hidden ON Text Highlight 2

    IF Audio 3 Audio Track Ended
    THEN Set Hidden ON Text Highlight 3

    IF Audio 1 Audio Track Started
    THEN Set Hidden OFF Text Highlight 1

    IF Audio 2 Audio Track Started
    THEN Set Hidden OFF Text Highlight 2

    IF Audio 3 Audio Track Started
    THEN Set Hidden OFF Text Highlight 3

    This works, but if you want people to be able to do it line by line later it will not work as once you do line two it will go onto line 3 automatically.
    • Thanks Dan! I have 4 lines per page and want to just auto have them appear and narrate together. I don't want the reader to stop/start it (if I'm understanding what you wrote at the end). Actually, the entire line won't necessarily be highlighted all at once, there may be a pause for a portion of the narration/line for some lines.
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  • I got the above directions to work and did label each as Audio rather than speech. Now when I'm trying to get the option to not have the book read, I select Mute Speech, but because I didn't label them Speech it's still audio on the pages. I tried the first page and changed (in the inspector) the titles from Audio1 to Speech 1 etc. but it is still playing. Does the actual audio file have to be named Speech or is it ok to change the name of the audio file in the inspector to Speech? I know I'm doing something wrong, just don't know what.

    Also, I have 4 lines of text as individual png files which appear as a line is narrated. But, what I want is to have all 4 lines to appear at once as the page opens if the button Read It Myself is picked.

    So, I have 2 different ways to read, one with each line appearing as narration and I want the other way to have all 4 lines to show as the page opens if they want to read it themselves. Please help me accomplish that goal. :)

    Thanks so much!
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  • Dan (Official Rep) November 19, 2013 08:21
    Hi

    The name has no baring on anything and is purely for ease of identification in menus. You need to set the "Type" property to Speech is you want Mute Speech to stop it.

    If you have 4 full images that have the highlight then I suggest you put them in an animation object and use "Move To Next" instead of show/hide as it simplifies the logic and means that only 2 of the 4 images are in RAM at once.

    There is as a way to do this that requires setting proxies on the Master and then using behaviours to "read" their state and doing things based upon that. But this is a big issue and should not be so hard and convoluted. Needs to be handled at the System level to make it more robust. When do you plan to release the app?
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  • I'm following Stacey's instructions and each of the 4 lines of type is a separate png file. The inspector doesn't have a text properties that I can find for the png files, it offers image properties and no way to change to Speech (at least that I can find).

    Here is how I've been handling it per page.

    Set each text png file to Hidden On.
    Set each audio file to Auto Play Off & End On Page Turn Off

    On the inspector for the page I have:

    IF Page Will Appear
    THEN Wait 1:00

    Set Hidden Off to first text png
    Plan Audio Instantly to first audio file
    Wait 2:00

    Keep doing that for the 4 lines of type (pngs) & 4 audio files.

    I have about 10 pages of this and began to wonder how I could control having all 4 lines of type appear at once as the page opens, when the reader chooses the read to myself option.

    I seem to be stuck now on how to accomplish both silencing the speech so the reader can see all of the text on each page at once & having speech enabled and one line of text appears to match the narration and remains on the page. The lines don't disappear after being seen and narrated. By the time the 4th line is shown & narrated you can see all 4 of them.

    I have lots more to do to this app before releasing and it will probably be several months before I am in the final stages.

    Thanks for all your help!!
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  • I just did this with our app "I Love My Dad " . I Didn't want to cut up the audio because it was carefully married to the music and cutting it up line by line would have destroyed everything. So I approached this differently to what Dan has suggested. I also made it possible to turn the write on and voice over on and off on each page. I did it this way:

    1) Made two tracks; one with voice over and music and one with music only.

    2) Icons on right to switch modes was done with master controls and local controls to tell you which audio to switch. Both tracks play simultaneously and the volume is set to 0 or 1 as it's switched. The syncing was an issue so I made the audio manually repeat so that I could reset the syncing on replay.

    3) Then each word is highlighted as it's read - not just a sentence. So I used opacity to highlight text up and down:

    If audio track started
    change blue1 text Opacity to 1 /.2sec
    change black1 text Opacity to 0 /.2sec
    wait 0.2
    change blue1 text Opacity to 0 /.2sec
    change black1 text Opacity to 1 /.2sec
    change blue2 text Opacity to 1 /.2sec
    change black2 text Opacity to 0 /.2sec

    etc etc

    Using the Opacity to bring text up and down is also a nice way because you can fade up and down and it's not as jarring. But I also needed the hidden function for the next step.

    4) I used Hidden function to switch on text highlight on and text highlight off depending on whether the top right icon was set to read to me or read to myself. You don't want the text to highlight if you are reading to yourself.

    Let me know if you want more details - I could send you an example too if you like

    cheers

    Niki
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  • Dan (Official Rep) November 21, 2013 05:48
    Hi

    The Speech is only a setting on Audio and Audio Objects. Not image objects.

    The way to do this now requires you to set up a proxy object on the master. Set it to be Visible when mute is on and invisible when mute is off.

    Then you can READ the state of the proxy. If you tell an object to hide and its already hidden it won't send any events. If you tell it to hide and it was visible it will send a hidden event, so you know when you get a hidden event that it was visible.
    And vice versa if was invisible it was shown then a shown event is set.

    So on Page Appears you fire an event to "test" the state of the proxy. Then trap its Hidden/Shown event and act accordingly. I am adding build it events to Composer to make this much much simpler so if you are not launching for months, then I suggest you move on to other aspects of the book and wait for them.
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  • Hi Dan, thanks for your response.

    I'd really like to get the text working, but realize it will be easier when you get it built.

    There's always trying to figure out the matching issue. That should keep me busy for months. :)
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  • This question deals with creating your narration using Garageband. I was wondering if anyone has suggestion on the best settings to use when you create your narration. Also does the audio resolution need to be higher than good when recording. It will take up 50 precent more space for each recording and export if I put the setting on best. I am trying to get the best clarity I can using garageband and a microphone but there are so many choices and although I have tried many of them I can't really hear a difference. Any advice would be appreciated.
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    • Tammy, adding to Rafiq's comment I can give you some technical info (simplified) which should help clarify your concerns. Background; Music generally has a frequency response in the range of 20Hz to 20kHz. The male voice sits in the range of 85 to 180 Hz, the female voice 165 to 255 Hz. Theoretically, to get good sound quality one must sample the sound file at least twice the highest frequency you want to be able to hear. General audio industry standards are that music is sampled at 44.1 kHz for CD Quality and 96 kHz for DVD quality. Voice can be sampled much lower if you have to optimise the file sizes. But to be safe and make your life simple, use the same standard rate of 44.1 kHz for both music and voice audio if you use a sound utility that uses these references (like Audacity). Unfortunately, Garageband doesn't reference the export choices in these generally accepted standard descriptions, it gives you options of low, medium, high and highest. So for Garageband use the MEDIUM (128 kBits/s) option for both your music and voice audio exports. Only use HIGH and HIGHEST if you require the best quality music files. Lastly (without going into detail) use the export format AAC which will give you similar compression efficiencies as MP3 but you get better quality sound. Don't use AIFF (or WAV), although they are very good quality lossless formats, you don't need the considerable extra file size overheads of AIFF or WAV files. The last thing you should do is monitor the playback both on the iPad speakers and also on a good pair of headphones. Headphones will allow you to hear any bad quality or noisy audio files and some users will be using headphones! Hope that helps.
    • Thank you that did help.
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