Animated Human Videos

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It will be great to have images of people (a character that I can build will be excellent! boy, girl, man, woman...) that you can use and easily animate to do the basic operations like talking, walking, raising hand and pointing etc.
I would like to be able to select a character (let's say a lady) and the animation will move her lips as if she is talking while hearing the narration... same for walking, pointing etc.
something like they do easily in GoAnimate.com
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hemy_perry

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Posted 12 months ago

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Daniel

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This kind of thing has specialised software already avaliable. It's a area which has to be done well or not at all and think this would take camtasia into a field it's not aimed at. Crazy talk, poser, dazed are just a few that are dedicated to this.


Dan
(Edited)
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Rick Stone

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I agree that this is something specialized software is better suited for.

Personally, I'd MUCH rather see the devs tackle things that have been long time asks. Especially things that would seem simple on the surface and would appeal to the masses.

Cheers... Rick :)
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hemy_perry

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I am not looking for highly sophisticated 3D animation app. Just something like cartoon characters that I could use to present the trainings that I generate, to help making the user experience of watching a video better. 
I would rather use a single software to generate a single video than several or at least a supported combination of software (e.g. The 'share option' from Snagit into Camtasia)
Thanks
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Daniel

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Iv worked in the CG industry for 15 years and its unfortunate that iv had to shed out so much money on different software to perform different stages of the task.  This is down to the fact that while many peices of software try to be a jack of all trades, they are normally are only a master of a few tasks at best, the rest gets done in dedicated apps that do a much better job.  When a company like Techsmith try to venture into a area such as 2D 2.5D character animation it would not only never come up to par with the likes of a app like Crazy talk, but it would take the development resources away from areas that are in much need.

I like your idea of having a character to speak for training, but think it would look very tacky, and gimmicky if implemented with limited resources, and would confuse the target audience of what Camtasia is all about.

If Techsmith should enhance anything its the direction of integrated live steaming options, much better video editing workflows, VST, and visual FX plugin support, or at the least add proper noise reduction, colour grading, compositing layer modes.

You should have  a look at CrazyTalk, its moved on quite a bit since I last checked it out, that would offer you what your asking.

Dan
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Rick Stone

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Overall I like what you have expressed, Dan. But I'm a bit confused with one thing you said.

*************************************************************
If Techsmith should enhance anything its the direction of integrated live steaming options,
*************************************************************

What is confusing me is the bit about the live streaming  options. In a way, that statement in and of itself is amusing from the standpoint of Camtasia moving away from its core functions. 

Perhaps you might elaborate on how you envision Camtasia working with live streaming? Maybe then it might make sense to an old guy like me, where I see Camtasia and my mind goes to creating tutorials that have been scripted out, then edited after you record them to polish them up. None of that seems remotely possible with a live stream. I might imagine a live stream could contain all manner of warts and wrinkles. (I'm assuming here that you are possibly referring to recording a live stream. But then again, I have a friend that records these today using Camtasia. So if it's already possible, how does it need enhancing? What would the enhancement do if it were added?)

Cheers... Rick :)
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Daniel

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Hello Rick.

After many years of producing training tutorials in essence like you say there is some preparation, even scripting involved for highly polished training.  This is the core area that iv used Camtasia Studio for many years.  The type of training I do is in the creative arts, technology and Video manuals. 

During the last year or so iv noticed that many of the training providers also do live feed sessions with their followers, mainly for promoting their up and coming training content, Q@A, and even teaching live.  I have recently started to teach sessions live where by this opens  you up to a large audience all from one single session.  The software used is rather simple, even free and does the job just fine, I use OBS studio, yet I feel this is part of my process now for teaching, and is not a departure for what Im already doing, but an extension to it.

If it was to be a rather complex, even huge implementation for such a extension then maybe this would not be an ideal addition right now, however Cantasia has for some time allowed the direct upload to Youtube.  Youtube  now allows live streaming, and it makes sense for Camtasia to follow suit, and offer this ability from from their own software.  This is not something iv asked for or even mentioned apart from in the example you reffer to in my last reply, but is simply a idea of where I feel time and effort would be best put after and not before other areas have advanced first.

Some of the features Iv found in OBS studio I can see Techsmith could do, but much better.  I once thought that live streaming is just letting people see your screen and you wing in to some extent, but now I understand that much preparation can be put into a live stream training session.  You can prepare pages that include pre made videos that have already been made in camtasia studio.  You can prepair your content in advanced, and have it at hand which includes video, images, music, but more important interactivity with your audience.  These are just some of things iv discovered, but what is for sure is it is very closely related to Camtasia as its a training tool.  I once thought too that live streaming would be full of as you said " warts and wrinkles" that is true to some extent, but not so much if you are prepaired, and the essence of slight human error is not always a bad thing if your message appeals to a wider audience.

To sum things up, live streaming has now become more common, and is now being used to teach, demonstrate a skill, and interact with your customers.  I would be quite happy to continue to use a separate program as I am now, but so far have found both OBS Studio, and Camtasia are being used side by side, and can see me expanding on this in the near future.  This is not what I regard as a top needed feature for Camtasia, but is something that has some relation to what Camtasia is about, a teaching aid that sits within the bounds of what camtasia is known for, reaching your audience.

Dan
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Joe Morgan

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I understand what your looking for hemy_perry,

However, there's no such thing as an un-sophisticated animation app that can do what you are asking.

Meet Darkman, a character I created for Crazy Talk Animator. Darkman is nothing more than a single PNG image.
The Mouth, eyes, and moving limbs are all created by the program.

Excuse the low frame rate jitters and resolution. This forum blocks out most high quality  GIF's . Even if they are well under the 2mb upload limit.

I made a still image of my Dog Talk. Her eye's blink and I can even make her sway around.

I can add any form of bone structure I desire to any image. Then animate it one bone at a time.

If you look at my dogs mouth, it's open because she's speaking.However, the automated mouth movements. Never match the spoken words.There's usually a lot of editing that needs to be done to make it look right.

This is 2-D character motion. 

 

3-D characters require multiple png images combined into one character. With several  angles of the same character so the character can turn sideways and look at you "as an example".Or walk away from you, etc.


The point is this.These are complex animations to create. You won't find a standard video editing program that offers this feature.
 
Adobe's After Effects has broken into the field with Character Creator. It uses your webcam to read your facial expressions.Head movement, Smile, Blink, Talk, etc.
Pretty cool.The lip movements fit the voice and are very accurate as a result.


However, moving the character around is just as painstaking as all complex animations are.

 GoAnimate made me curious.I've never seen this one before.

GoAnimate would like you to believe you can create  complete and informative videos in 5 min. or less. At least that's the impression I got.
You can add to a voice to a scripted video "Template" in 5 min. But that's about it.
 


For $300 dollars a year the Go Animate logo "Actually Appears" on your rendered videos???

For $600 a year you can remove it.

I got a kick out of that blatant free advertising rip off they offer.Pay them to advertise their product.Wow!



Bottom line, this isn't in Camtasia's wheelhouse or anyone elses for the most part.

It's not for the faint of heart either. If your new to video editing, don't get sucked into the hype. You won't be creating animated videos that will impress anyone right away. And the learning curve is steep. You've got to invest a lot of hours just to get a handle on things. Making animations, backgrounds, props,etc.  Smooth, fluid and realistic. Is a  never ending learning experience.

Regards,Joe
(Edited)
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afrohlich

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@Daniel, Rick, and Joe.

I totally agree with what you guys have said and I appreciate the feedback.  

Hemy_perry's question gave me some ideas and I would like to ask for some suggestions.  

I have been screencasting my lectures for my students and using a flipped class design for a while.  I want to make a change and start recording myself lecturing, using a froward board (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNnsU1e8uoM&list=PLAJeeGT03E4d0agEQJ4yi0K0D4Klsha_o).  I also would like to add some interactivity, someone asking me questions or answering to the ones I normally ask in class.

Hemy_perry's question made me think that maybe I could create a small classroom, 4 or 5 students sitting down in their desks (or just standing?) and these students would then "interact" with me in my recording.  Perhaps they could even have a debate among themselves.  I believe that once the classroom is set, I can save it and for every lesson, just add the animation, then export a video clip to add to Camtasia.

I don't know if the scene would be better done in 2D or in 3D.  I also think that I would either use teenagers or cartoon characters.  I have checked on the products you guys suggested above and have also emailed their support asking for feedback but I haven't heard from them yet.

I found Poser 11, iClone, Crazy talk are possibilities to getting the job done, but I am a little bit lost in here.  I don't know which app is the best way to go and whether or not I need their pro versions or basic ones.

My constraints are:

1 Money - I have just spent a good chunk with software and hardware and I know I have more coming down the pipe.  Although both companies have educational pricing.

2 Time, I am not an artist nor a designer.  I don't have much time to go on a long and steep learning curve.  I just need something good enough to aid the teaching without being a distraction.

3 Computer I use a Surface Pro 4, i7 core, 16 GB of memory.  My computer's GPU isn't good, I know.  The issue is that I am teaching in international schools and I will be relocating to another country soon.  There is a limit to what I can haul around so a dedicated desktop or a gaming laptop are out of the question. 

What suggestions do you guys have?

I am sorry for my lengthy post and I appreciate any words of wisdom you guys have to share.

Alex
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Rick Stone

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Hi Alex - I really wish I had some decent information to share with you. Hopefully others will.  But I wanted to pop in and say that I appreciate the link to the video demonstrating that see through glass stuff. That's pretty cool and quite useful! 

Hopefully your experience will go much better than mine did. I tried to create some training once where I wanted a similar setup. But for me, it was one single person I was coaching as we moved through training material. I had worked with the person one on one in a real classroom and thought all was okay. But during the recording process, it was as if the person had never used a computer before. The outcome was dreadful and after recording for about three days, I never did end up with anything I could actually use. I abandoned the recording. I'm not sure if it was stage fright, knowing I was recording the process or what. 

Having said that, I do very much like your idea of having the participants involved so that the material has a more "involved" feel. I do wish you the very best of luck!

Cheers... Rick :)
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afrohlich

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Thanks for your encouraging words.
Alex
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Rasheedaht Omowunmi

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Afrohic please can we connect? My email is wunmimodest@gmail.com, I have the same idea and that's what got me to this site, looking for how to go around it.
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Joe Morgan

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So afrohlich,


I like the lighted forward board and what you are attempting to do. It’s a nice effect. Enough to post a detailed response. Covering these bases took some time to put together. This is a long post. Here’s what I got.

With regards to Pro versions of Software. With REALLUSION products. It’s a no brainer, Pro versions give you “Must Have” feature controls over the program for what you intend on doing. iClone, Crazy Talk Animator 3 and Crazy Talk 8 are all created by REALLUSION. These programs I have some firsthand knowledge of.

There is also a more expensive Pipeline version of these products. Pipeline versions allows for creating Custom Motions in iClone. Then importing those Items into Crazy Talk Animator 3.

 I didn’t go down that road. I watched tutorials on the subject. 3-D animations imported into CTA3. Creates a whole host of problems. In a nut shell, a character that rotates in CTA3. Is comprised of 100 layered images or more. These custom 3-D motions position layers out of order as the character rotates. Layers get further scrambled with changing degrees of rotation. It can take a lot of manual correction and masking to make these motions work. In some situations, it works well, a real time saver. In others, more trouble than its worth.

The Pipeline version of CTA3 allows for creating G3 characters in Photoshop and importing from . A daunting task if you ask me. There may be a site that shares Photoshop G3 characters.

Plus, you can download motions online for CTA3 for free. Pipeline versions will set you back an extra $100 bucks typically.

 You can create avatar heads in iClone and export them for use in Crazy Talk 8. You need CT8 Pipeline for that.

 

With regards to iClone and full 3-D character and animations.

Pro’s

Realistic looking Characters.

Vector based characters. Scalable to any size without degradation.

 iClone renders look awesome. There’s more positive attributes and features then I’m fully aware of, or will try to cover.

Is arguably the best program on the market for 3-D animation work?

Plenty of REALLUSION you tube tutorials to get you started. https://www.youtube.com/user/Reallusion/videos

 

Con’s

There’s a steep learning curve. A program one never masters, but can become awe-inspiring proficient with over time.   

You need a strong computer and graphics card to be productive. With applied shading and lighting effects, it can bring strong computers to their knees.

Doing work like this daily. Could justify investing in a desktop with 2 CPU’s and 4 graphics cards. 64GB of RAM. Depends on the depth of your animations. Especially with 3-d scenes, multiple camera angles, multiple characters, lighting, shadows, textures and surfaces, props, etc.

To get the best deal on the best plugins and hardware. You need the whole package. On sale it’s around $1200.00

Minimum Requirements

  • Dual core CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 5GB free hard disk space
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce GTX 400 Series / AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series
  • Video Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Display Resolution: 1024 x 768
  • Color Depth: True Color (32-bit)

Recommended Requirements

  • Intel i5 dual core CPU or higher
  • 8GB RAM or higher
  • 10GB free hard disk space or higher
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce GTX 600 Series / AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series or higher
  • Video Memory: 2GB RAM or higher
  • Video card compatible with Pixel Shader 3.0 recommended for optimized visual performance
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher

It’s almost impossible to fully appreciate iClone 7 if your unfamiliar with it. Here’s a trailer of its new features release. It’s worth a peek if you have time. It helps bring things into perspective as well “I think”

Bottom line, iClone doesn’t fit you’re search criteria from where I sit.



 Crazy Talk Animator 3

Pros

There’s enough included stock Scenes, Characters, Props, Motions, etc. to get you started.

Vector based characters. Scalable to any size without degradation.

Less demanding on system resources than iClone

Pro version is on sale through Dec 31 for $99

Plenty of REALLUSION you tube tutorials to get you started. https://www.youtube.com/user/Reallusion/videos

Cons

Steep Learning Curve. However, much easier than iClone

Auto lip syncing doesn’t work that well and requires a lot of corrections applied at times. It can be a bit like watching an old Godzilla movie at times.

Limited content available for purchase.

This might be what you’re looking for. Provided “You” and your laptop is up to the task.

 Windows

Minimum System Requirements:

  • Dual core CPU or higher
  • 2 GB RAM or higher recommended
  • 5 GB free hard disk space or higher recommended
  • Display Resolution: 1024 x 768 or higher
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT or higher /ATI Radeon HD 3850 or higher
  • Video Memory: 512MB RAM or higher recommended

Recommended System Requirements:

  • Dual core CPU or higher
  • 4 GB RAM or higher recommended
  • 10 GB free hard disk space or higher recommended
  • Display Resolution: 1440 x 900 or higher
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2 or higher /ATI Radeon HD 4890 Series or higher
  • Video Memory: 1 GB RAM or higher recommended

 

You can create Characters that emulate 3-D motion.

 G-2 characters rotate at 45 degree angles through 360 degrees. For a gradual turn, over time, you turn the character as the scene dictates. It’s not a subtle change, but with cartoon like characters and animations it blends right in.

You get almost “0” accessories “Hair styles, Hats, Shoes, etc.” For the characters to wear. You can purchase more accessories and characters online.

You can change the color of the characters Hair, Skin, Shoes, Clothing, etc.

You can even change some of the facial features to make the character look different. The image below depicts the different stance angles a G-2 characters can take. I’ve applied render styles. Some facial changes have been applied to the actors from the center outward. Different shaped face, new nose and eyes, etc. The center images, are unaltered with the exception of skin tone.


 
If you were to put characters in a classroom for a debate amongst each other.  



They would probably need to turn and face each other to have a debate. This would require timed key framed animations and G-2 characters.

I just threw those 3 characters behind a desk and made them sit. Adding voices and turning these actors to face one another wouldn’t be that difficult. However, production time keeps climbing with every animation I add.



 
You could create 2-D characters from photographs or graphics. As depicted with Darkman in the post above.

Or swap out the head of a CTA3 character and go that route.

Just map the facial features, keep the existing eyes and teeth or swap them out for computer generated ones.

If you stick to forward facing characters. It would cut down on production times.

Then there’s Crazy Talk 8

Pro’s

Least demanding program on system resources.

Learning Curve is less demanding than CTA3 and iClone

Also on sale through Dec 31 for $100

Plenty of REALLUSION you tube tutorials to get you started. https://www.youtube.com/user/Reallusion/videos

Cons

Steep Learning Curve. Not nearly as bad as Crazy Talk Animator 3 or iClone 7.

Auto lip syncing doesn’t work that well and requires a lot of corrections applied at times. It can be a bit like watching an old Godzilla movie at times.

Limited content available for purchase.

This might be what you’re looking for. Provided “You” and your laptop is up to the task.

To me, this may be your best option. The choice to me really hinges on that graphics card in your laptop to be honest.

Windows

Minimum Requirements:

  • Intel Pentium D CPU 3.40GHz (2 CPUs)
  • 2GB free hard disk space
  • Display Resolution: 1280 x 768
  • Color Depth: True Color (32-bit)
  • Graphics Card: Open GL v1.3-capable
  • Video Memory: 512MB RAM

Recommended Requirements:

  • Dual core CPU or higher
  • 8GB RAM or higher recommended
  • 2GB free hard disk space or higher recommended
  • Display Resolution: 1280 x 768 or higher
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 7 Series or higher /ATI HD 3000 Series or higher
  • Video Memory: 512MB RAM or higher recommended

 

 

Crazy Talk 8 can create talking avatars from the chest level upward.

The workflow is similar to CTA3 and iClone 7.

A Movie Producer and personal friend of mine was upset over some public filming disputes he was encountering.

I made an angry K.K. Avatar of him complaining for laughs.



I even made an animation in Crazy Talk Animator “2” of the park ranger giving him problems riding atop a monster truck looking for him. To stop him from filming. He leaps onto the truck. Rides around looking for him. Stops the truck, jumps off at KK’s campfire, Jumps back on the truck, looks for him, etc.

My point being?
The videos duration was under 2 minutes. It was the most complex project I had ever created in CTA 2. The program was fairly new to me at the time. I spent several hours on it.

Crazy Talk 8 would require the least amount of work. You could make avatars and fade them in and out. Bring them in as a group, or one at a time.



All the programs are one in the same to a certain degree. They share identical tools. Then CTA3 and iClone have progressive better tools than CT8 in that order.

It was a workout just explaining all this. I left a lot out, there’s more to these programs. But that’s it in an oversized nut shell.

I’ve glanced over an in-depth Poser 11 tutorial. It looks as complex as I expected it to be. Animations like these don’t create themselves.

If you want to do it, you’re going to need to invest some time to get there.

There’s a lot of ways to approach avatars and how you create them. What program you chose to use them in, etc. Creating them is just a start. Imagination and a game plan can take care of the rest.

Regards,Joe



(Edited)
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Charles Constable

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Excellent response just learning crazy 8 now and I am very impressed with ease of setup and the amount of time I can save doing mouth and eyes....
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Joe Morgan

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The response posted above was so long I had to submit the final 30% of it as an edited post. The Web page froze up before I could post everything.

This is an update to let you know there's more information posted in my thread than you would have received in the e-mail updates.

Regards,Joe
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afrohlich

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Joe,
I want to thank you for your work and your attention.  I loved the classroom setting you did and I could make them debate looking only at me.  I also liked a lot the suggestion of bringing the Crazy Talk Heads in and out of the video, to make their contribution.  
It is not what I was thinking on doing, but you are right when it comes to time to learn how to do these animations and also the graphics card on my computer.  It is very limited indeed.
I am going to do some homework and consider what you told me.  I am also going to check the educational prices.
I will return with info once I decide on something.
Once again,
Thanks
Alex
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Joe Morgan

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Glad I could help. Ideally, Crazy Talk Animator gives you the best of both worlds. Because you get that classroom right in the program as a scene that's ready to go.
Plus having the ability to move entire characters body's around as your skills improve as opposed to being limited to head shots in crazy talk 8 is much better.  
Plus you can frame CTA3 recordings so that you capture just the head and shoulders of an actor.
 

Are you sticking with Camtasia to produce your forward board/animated productions?
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afrohlich

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Joe,

I really want to thank you for all your help.  I did a little survey here in the house and my wife and daughter liked the cartoon animation style of CTA.  My daughter even said that the talking heads were creepy.  :-)

At any rate, I was exactly leaning in the direction you suggested, go with CTA, start with almost still interactions and then improve the animations as my skills improve.  I also like that I can create more scenes and also use historical figures.  On the old days of traditional lecture, I used the "particle people" to create stories introducing concepts in mechanics. 
When you told me that they already have the classroom set, it was a deal breaker.

Right now I am waiting to see what they tell me about educator's pricing.  I have also received an offer to upgrade while in testing period.  I am going to wait until Saturday to see what I hear from them on the educational front, otherwise, I am purchasing  a license to take advantage of the discount.

Regarding Camtasia, I would say yes.  I find Camtasia to be powerful enough for my needs, easy to use, and flexible.  Even with the light board, I am still going to have a lot of screen casting for worksheets, software tutorials, and exam reviews.  I agree with Rick, Camtasia does a good job at what I need.  The only thing I really wished it was better is with the quizzes and feedback system.  Do you have any suggestion?

Thank you very much.

Alex
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Rick Stone

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Hi Alex

If you want better quizzing, you might go give Adobe Captivate a kick in the tires. They offer a free trial. I also believe they have educational pricing as well as a monthly subscription plan.

Click here to visit the Captivate page

Cheers... Rick :)