Storyline 2 – You SHOULD be using Motion Paths

If you’ve been a developer in the Storyline 1.0 world, then you’ve certainly thought of some features that you really wished had existed. One feature that I’m sure you’ve wanted was the ability to move an image from one spot on the screen to another at any given time without it having to leave the canvas entirely. Seems simple enough, right? No, it wasn’t simple at all. You had to use external means (ie. javascript) to get little things like that to happen.

Not helpful, and felt like a step backwards in creating a course with engaging content.

Fast forward to today when Storyline 2 is up and running. The first feature I had to check out when I opened Storyline 2 was the Motion Path option. Thankfully, there is a LOT of potential behind the Motion Path. Not only can you have an image move from one spot to another while it’s already on screen, but you can set the movement to be controlled by Triggers, Cue Points, or the Timeline. We can create our own movement path or use a series of presets. This alone opens a huge door for designers to be far more creative with course designs.

I’ve put together a small example of what the motion path feature mixed with click triggers can do. Again, shifting images from one spot to another is not easily attainable without the use of code in Storyline 1.0.

In this example we see a header that houses informational text including directions at the end. Below the header are three boxes that you can click. Once you click each box, the box uses the motion path to shift up behind the header but stopping just a bit short for design purposes, revealing the image behind the box.

Here’s a working example of what we’re about to put together:

Step 1

Start a new storyline project file. Import an image for the header, 3 images for clickable boxes, and an image or text that you would like to be revealed when the boxes move.

You want your Header image to stay at the top of the timeline, then the 3 boxes, and finally the reveal image. This is to make sure that the image to be revealed is nestled behind everything else.

Your project should initially look something like this:

Example 1

Step 2

Now that we have our pieces in order, we need to make the whole thing function. To begin, select the Box 1 image. While selected, locate and click the ‘Animations’ tab at the top of the screen within Storyline 2. Click ‘Add Motion Path’ then select the first option titled ‘Lines’.

Example 2

Step 3

The screen shifts back to your project, and now you see a line in the middle of your Box 1 that goes straight down to a ghosted image of Box 1. This line represents the path of movement that the box will take, and the ghosted image is showing you where the box will land. Since we want the image to move up and not down, hover your mouse over the little red circle inside the ghosted image of Box 1. While holding shift, left-click and drag the box up until it has just the base of the box hanging under the header image. It should like this:

Example 3

Step 4

Now that we have our ending position of Box 1, we’re nearly ready to make it move when we click it. Currently, if we were to preview this slide, the box will slide up as soon as the Timeline begins. We don’t want the Timeline to determine when the box moves, instead- we want to click the box to make it move. To do this is really quite easy.

First, click the image of box 1. On the right of the screen, you’ll notice our area to create/edit triggers. Since we clicked Box 1, Box 1 is highlighted in blue here on the right. Above box 1, click the second icon that looks like a pencil and pad of paper. This will allow us to edit how this motion path is treated when we click Box 1.

We want to leave our Action to move (since we want to move the box). Our Object remains at Box 1 since this is what we’re moving. Our Path remains at Line Motion Path 1 since this is the only motion path we have created (when you add new boxes, make sure to select path 2 or path 3). Now, we want to change When to ‘User clicks’ since we want the box to move when we click the box and only when we click the box. Finally, the object to move when we click Box 1 will be Box 1 (we want have the object that we’re clicking to be the object that moves). Your edited trigger should look like this:

Example 4

Step 5

Now, repeat these same steps for Box 2 and Box 3. Box 2 will have Motion Path 2 and Box 3 will have, you guessed it, Motion Path 3.

Once you have all boxes setup, you can preview the slide. You should notice that each box, as they are clicked, slide up behind the header revealing the image you set below. However, now you’ll probably notice that you can still click the bottom of those boxes, causing them to pop back to their original place and restarting the motion animation.

To stop this from happening, create a zero-alpha image that is the width of the area you want to cover, and that is thick enough to cover the bottoms of these boxes that are hanging below the header. We want this image to be completely invisible so we can toss it on top of everything in our course, acting as a click-blocker. Once created, import the image into your course and position it over the area that the bottoms of Boxes 1, 2, and 3 are hanging. Like this:

Example 5

That’s it. You’ve got yourself a quick and simple reveal-style activity. There is a lot of room for engaging design with these motions paths, so jump in and get designing!

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