iBooks Author

Making A ‘Book’ With iBooks Author

Making a “book” with iBooks Author is not like anything you’ve ever done before.  We promise.

Apple did a fantastic thing in January when it released its iBooks Author software to the world. The software makes it possible to include audio, video, text, 3-D animations, interactive widgets, graphs, quizzes and HTML links all in a “book,” that Apple has heavily trademarked and called an “iBook.” 

It is important to distinguish here that an iBook made for the iPad can not be opened on a Kindle or a Nook.  You can’t even read one on a desktop of a Mac.  It’s a product for the iPad only.  (We’ve even argued that the word “Book” should be dropped from the description of what this is….)

Numerous times since January, this writer has had conversations with people who heard me talking about an iBook for the iPad, but they really had no idea what I was talking about.  Many still, even in August 2012, are confusing the iBook for an e-Pub book they’ve read on their Kindle or Nook.  Talk about frustrating.

Turning the Page

But it’s when you open a 3-D image of say, the Rio Azul mask in the soon-to-be-released 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya by scholar Dr. Mark Van Stone and you put the iPad in front of them that eyes pop. And then they touch their fingers to the iPad screen and begin to spin it around in a trance. The next reaction is, “WOW! My Kindle/Nook can’t do this.”  EXACTLY!  And then there is no going back….

The iBook is soon-to-be-released by Apple.

Today at ClaxtonCreative.com we begin a new series on iBooks Author.

At present, we have finished one book and are in final edits and approvals, ready to send it to Apple for their blessings and entry into the iTunes iBookstore. We have three other children’s books in the hopper and are looking to do other projects. Ultimately, we want to produce the series of books that started this whole pursuit via our sister project and website, TheWondersExpedition.com.

With the release of iBooks Author, yes, a lay person can make one of these books. But a word of caution.

We just invested seven months of seven-days-a-week work to discover the processes for how to make these technological wonders. Many of us have been given uplifting (sarcasm) advice to go get “real jobs,” to “take a salary,” etc., all the while knowing that what we are doing has never been done before and because of that, we can make a difference.

The iBook Challenge

There have been hours of frustration.  Hours of staring at settings in applications, cursing them, talking to them and begging them to work.

There have been hours listening to audio files and trying to remove sounds that we wish we hadn’t recorded (the convention center manager in Memphis will always remain one of our least favorite people on the planet.)

We’ve done editing on hours and hours of video clips.  Endured kernel crashes from computer software that the manufacturer says we’re causing because we’ve pushed their premium technology further than it may be ready or capable of going.

There have been days of going to bed puzzled. And days of not going to bed at all because we wanted to find a workable solution to a vexing problem and refused to let technology get the best of us.  This writer can think of at least three occasions where unraveling a particular issue took 36 hours here, 52 hours there, and another 16 hours there.

If you have this kind of a drive, this series is for you.  (If you’re interested in us doing it all for you, give us a call today at 972-863-8784.  We’d be happy to have your business.)

The iBook Information Sharing Strategy & Budding Community

We share this information willingly, though some might say we’re giving away trade secrets. Share with us something that’s not a secret because of the Internet…. When we have shared, we’ve found wonderful people around the world who have shared something mutual in return.  And we’re building a vast community of people like us; people who want to use this technology to change the world and make learning something along the lines of a discovery, not rote memorization.

We are on the verge of greatness with this new product.

Tomorrow we begin with the first step—exploring and explaining the software product, iBooks Author. The rest of the series will break down the aspects of an iBook—Photo & Images, Audio, Video, Widgets, 3-D animations, Text programs, and just as important as all the rest, where does one store all this information.  We invite you back to sample a little of each part and even more so, encourage you to share your stories or struggles. Through it all, we all will make better products for our growing number of readers.

It’s going to be an exciting series.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Adobe’s Premiere Pro CS6 Kernel Crashes Continue

I’m a very happy and satisfied Adobe Creative Cloud user. There’s no way I would have been able to use the suite without the monthly option given the budget I have right now.  But there is a major problem Premiere Pro CS6 has in causing repeated kernel crashes on my MacBook Pro purchased in March 2012 and after about eight calls with even up to Tier 2 tech support, many hours of memory checks on my MBP, etc. I’m still having serious issues with PR working when it comes to using Photoshop .png elements in my videos and on export. 

To their credit, Adobe’s Twitter representatives, particularly @AdobePremiere have been immediate and quite amazing.  For the past three weeks I’ve had Mr. Abhishek Kapoor from Tier 2 tech support calling me on an-every-couple-of days-basis to ask if I’ve had more problems.  His last diagnosis of why I was having issues was because I’d not ingested a series of videos via Adobe’s Prelude and Adobe’s Encoder and imported the metadata from my Canon HD video camera.

Dr. Barb MacLeod And Tortuguero Monument 6 Dramatic Reading

So with video shot Tuesday in Austin, Texas of Dr. Barb MacLeod, one of the leading Mayan epigraphers in the world, explaining the text of Tortuguero Monument 6, an Ancient Mayan glyph that talks about what’s expected to happen on Dec. 21, 2012, I went through the process of using Prelude and then converting the video to a .mov in Encoder.

Everything worked fine.  And in all, I did five ingest sessions of clips and have produced nine spectacular new videos to go in Dr. Mark Van Stone’s upcoming 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya iBook–set to be sent to Apple for approval almost as soon as this new clip is done.

But to do this last video, I’ve made .png files of every glyph on the major panels of Tortuguero Monument 6 and then pulled them into Premier Pro CS6.  That worked fine the first day.  And since there are eight columns of 17 glyphs and four columns of five glyphs each, that means there are 156 .pngs rotating in and out of the clip as Dr. MacLeod reads the most current interpretations of  this historical monument, it took some time to do–Like an entire day.  

The clips then had to be placed in PR CS6 in the right order, glyph E-1 then F1, then E-2, F-2 all the way down and across two-by-two.

Then yesterday, I added an establishment piece on the back that showed the entire monument, with the famous right piece off to the side.

And then all hell broke loose.  I had FOUR kernel crashes yesterday.  That means my Mac died and the only thing I could do to it was reboot.  Each time I kept going.

Today, I just deleted the background files that were added yesterday and decided I’d try to build in a crawl of the interpretive text underneath before adding the file that seemed to start the conflict.

And as soon as I began to try to play the crawl, kernel crash 1 of the day happened.

Kernel Crash Reports

I’ve also taken to putting Easter Egg messages in the kernel crash reports that are getting sent somewhere every time my machine crashes.  I’ve offered a reward to someone to actually contact me from reading them, but alas, that’s yet to happen.

And what good does it do for tech support to not be able to comprehend them?  For the five crashes I’ve now had in the past 24 hours, they all say that the crash happened at “Faulting CPU: 0x2.”  Seems to me that should mean something to someone.  Reports before have said Faulting CPU: 0x4 and Faulting CPU: 0x6, so there’s definitely something different about these crashes than the other ones.  Right?!?!

Frustration Abounds

I’m getting very angry about this.  I’ve been more than patient, but this incessant crashing is costing me time and has caused delays in production of our product for our client.

I have Final Cut Express on my machine, but have purposely switched over to Premier Pro to do the massive, high-quality work the 2012 iBook project is demanding.

Adobe repeatedly has checked my machine and found there to be nothing wrong with it.  The CPU is working.  And Tech Support’s Kapoor has run a five-hour mem test on my machine to determine there’s nothing wrong with the RAM.

That leads to one of two conclusions: 1) Adobe Premiere Pro has a bug in it, or 2) Adobe Premiere Pro isn’t capable of handling video when .png graphic files also are included in it–ones made by Adobe’s Photoshop CS6.

Like I have said, I’m a very satisfied and happy Creative Cloud customer.  I’m posting this because I’m asking for/seeking help and trying to raise awareness to this issue.  I’d call tech support right now and ask for help, I’d even send Abhishek Kapoor an email asking for more help, but it’s Saturday now, and apparently creativity is supposed to come to a halt on the weekends?  I don’t know.  But I wish tech support had weekend hours, but not as much as I wish Adobe would fix the problem here….

Enhanced by Zemanta

Adding Audio Widgets to iBooks Author Using Tumult’s Hype

At Claxton Creative, LLC in Dallas, we’re working hard each day to develop new technologies to include in iBooks, the new form of publications made possible through the advent of iBooks Author–a program that has changed the very meaning of the word “book” to be something that also includes video, 3-D animations, interactive maps, charts, and of course, text.  (We are nearly completed with Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya) But through the great work of Tumult’s Hype program, available for Macs, we have been able to push the envelope of capabilities even further. This  post is meant as a helpful addition to the great tutorial posted on the Tumult Hype support site on July 2, 2012 entitled: Adding Audio to an iBooks Author Widget.

(These directions are written out, but there also is a YouTube video at the bottom of this post!)

I spent nearly a day and a half, off and on, out of frustration trying to add audio widgets to iBooks Author using the directions on the Tumult Hype site.  But after receiving an email from them saying an initial post was flawed and to use this one, I was also able to download two Banana widgets they made available. When I tried to load them into my demo book project, they didn’t work, and that brought me back to the solution eventually–if one tries to load a 3-D widget into iBooks Author and doesn’t have texture files in the same folder, then you’ll wind up with just the frames of the object.

So here is what one must do in order to create a widget that has audio embedded in it and then be able to load it into iBooks Author and it works…..

Step 1:

Per the Tumult site, you’re to drag an .m4a into Hype but don’t place it on the the main scene area.

But before doing this, one needs to create an .m4a file and there are a number of ways to do this.  But I found the quickest one, as you will see in the video, is simply to open a .wav file, etc in Quicktime and then do an Export.  It automatically will default the file into the .m4a format.

Another important note here, I have found files that have no spaces in them seem to work better, e.g. (FileName1.wav converts to FileName1.m4a) (I’ve not had much luck with File Name 1.wav or File Name 1.m4a working)  Tighten it up and don’t even use the underscores_to-link_the_words_together.)

Step 2

Tumult says to drag the .m4a file into Hype and then drag it off the scene.  Once I got it into Hype, I found I couldn’t even move it again, so just save a step here and load it into Hype and drop it off the whitened area of the central scene. (See the video.)

2A One you have it in this state, now go down to the timeline are and change the name of the file to just plain old “video.”  Don’t ask me why. That’s the way it was done in the demo pieces from Hype and hey, it works.

2B Now go up to the Inspector and DELETE the name of the file from the Display Name box and just leave it blank.  You might see N/A pop up.  That’s fine.  It will wind up just being an empty white box.

2C Now go to the lower box and change the Unique Element ID to an arbitrary number. In the Hype demos they made it 11.  I stuck with it.  It apparently has no significance other than you’re going to have to plug that number in elsewhere, so remember what ever it is you use.

Step 3:

Now grab the image you want to make as the hotspot.  In my demo, I used a photo of my friend, Ally. When you load the photo onto the scene, also go up to the top left of the program and change the name of the scene from Untitled Scene to whatever you’re going to call the file.

3B Back to the Inspector tab–the one on the far right–Change the Unique Element ID to 12. (Again, no rhyme or reason known.)

3C Now go to the tab just to the left of the one on the far right–it looks like a gear–and is called the “Mouse Action Inspector.”

3D On the “On Mouse Click” tab, the second one from the top, you are going to need to make a few changes.

3E Pull down to NEW JAVA SCRIPT under Function and a new dialogue box is going to pop up with some code in it.

3F Change the Name of the File in the top line.  Then go down to the final forward slash / and before the bracket } and add the following code: var snd = document.getElementById("sound1"); snd.play();

3G But you’re going to have to make a change.  Change the SOUND1 to that 11 we talked about above.

This is where the Tumult Hype post stops, and I went to Export here under File and kicked out the widget and loaded it into iBooks Author, did a Preview, moved it over to my iPad, and the widget worked–you could tell it was trying to play the file.  Except what it wasn’t telling me is it didn’t know where it was…..

Step 4

Go to File and pull down to Export and then CREATE a new FOLDER.

Inside this folder will be FileName_Resources. In this folder you’ll see the .png, the .m4a file and a couple others.

Step 5

Go to File and pull down to Dashboard/iBooks Author Widget and then create a name for the widget you create.  When this file pops up, I presume on your desktop, it is critical to then take the .wdgt file and ADD it to the FileName_Resources file above.

Step 6

Then go into iBooks Author and add in an HTML widget into your document.  Once the dialogue box pops up, then, and ONLY then, should you pull the FileName.wdgt into iBooks Author.

Step 7

Preview the widget and make sure it’s working by loading the .iba file over to your iPad.

Other Options

If you don’t want the caption, headline or even a background around the .png for the widget, all those can be removed.  Just watch the end of the video posted.

Tumult has done a great job making this widget and all the thanks in the world go out to Daniel from Tumult for his email assistance.

If we can help you with this widget or other matters involving iBooks Author, please let us know.  We are excited about this new field of opportunity and would enjoy the opportunity to work with you on the production of your own iBooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

2012 Updates–The Wait Is Almost Over

 The Wait Is Almost Over….

We are nearing completion and release of Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya as a multi-touch, interactive book for the iPad.  This first-of-its-kind publication will be the most complete book on the 2012 Meme written by an actual Mayan scholar.  Dr. Van Stone is joined in the book by 12 other Mayan scholars, including Dr. Anthony Aveni, Dr. John Carlson, Dr. Susan Milbrath and more.  Each scholar is able to add an incredible level of knowledge and insight to this production.

The 3-D animations, built with AutoDesk‘s Maya, also ad an incredible dimension to the experience with 3-D animations of Mayan masks, Lord Pakal’s Sarcophagus Cover and the Aztec Calendar Stone, which is heavily confused across the Internet as the “Mayan Calendar.”

Dr. Mark Van Stone

Dr. Mark Van Stone, one of four Mayan scholars to publish materials that "are to be taken seriously," is the only scholar to have a multi-touch, interactive book for the iPad on the 2012 Meme, coming this summer!

Register To Receive Regular Updates

To receive updates on the release of the book, tour date information and new information throughout the rest of the 2012 year, please fill out the form below and join our mailing list.

To Book An Interview

For bloggers and members of the news media wishing to book Dr. Mark Van Stone for an interview, please send an email to 2012@ClaxtonCreative.com or call 972-863-8784 to schedule a time.

To Schedule An Appearance

Dr. Van Stone is setting up an extensive tour to promote his book throughout the summer and fall of 2012.  Please contact us today to inquire about arrangements for an appearance in your town or event.  You are encouraged to send an email to Info@ClaxtonCreative.com or call 972-863-8784 to begin this process before the schedule fills up completely.

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

How We Turn Lit. Aglow!–Our Process for Multi-Touch iBook Development

We are leading the charge in the development of the new multi-touch, interactive books for the iPad through the use of Apple’s iBooks Author software and have developed a sound process for turning literature aglow.  Already we have a major works nearing completion for publishing–Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya and we’re amassing a number of projects in the production cycle.

We designed this sample iBook to help explain what the process of development with this new technology is like, but also to demonstrate how cool these new books really are.

Within this linked publication we call, “Lit. Aglow,” one can test drive a 3-D animation, see how movies can be embedded, and how interactive photos or illustrations work, etc.

There are more bells and whistles coming in this rapidly advancing field of development.

But for now, we are proud for you to download this free copy of Lit. Aglow!  Just complete the registration information below and we’ll send a link right to you!

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

E-Book Nation Infographic on Readership–OnlineUniversities.com Pew Study

One of our colleagues came across this wonderful infographic from OnlineUniversities.com  on statistics of reading traditional printed books or those on a device that glow.

There certainly are some interesting findings here; for good or for bad.

Particularly surprising was the small number of people who are using their mobile devices to read books to children–81 percent still are using traditional books and only 9 percent are using a tablet device.

We hope as a producers of interactive, multi-touch books for the iPad that we can continue to change those numbers.  As clearly, the power of the video, animations and sound effects can make story time even more enriching for child AND parent.

According to this study, reading amounts increase when a person owns a mobile device.  We also were impressed with the numbers associated with reading surrounding research and keeping up with current events–in the 75 percent range, but were amazed the number dropped to 56 percent for reading for “work and education.”  YIKES!

This is great research on the part of OnlineUniversities.com.  And the good thing is these numbers will only continue to improve.
E-book Nation
Brought to you by: OnlineUniversities.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Multi-Touch iBooks, interactive books for the iPad, iBooks for iPad–What are we gonna call them?

It’s time to come up with a name for the multi-touch books for the iPad, the interactive books for the iPad sold in the iBooks store, iBooks 2, that have been made in iBooks Author that are vastly different from the Amazon Kindle books or the Barnes and Noble books for the Nook.  We wish Apple had branded them with a specific name–like Siri is to voice commands.

If you do a Google Keyword review of any of the terms used above to describe these books, something has to be done because the nomenclature isn’t working.  If fact, it’s down-right confusing.

What Makes A ‘Multi-Touch Book For the iPad’ Different?

We’re citing, “Multi-Touch books for the iPad” because that’s what Apple calls them on their site. Have you done a Google Keyword Search on that term lately?  There are 22 global searches for it monthly. In the “Local Monthly Searches” category, Google lists ”    –    “.  That’s not good.

These books are fundamentally different than any other book available on the market today, but the lack of a branded name that’s sticking, is making people who hear us describe them look at us like we’re talking another language, and apparently, we might as well be doing that.

Videos In Books

But when you show someone one of these “books” and they see the books have video in them, and 3-D animations, quizzes, photo galleries, and scrubable timelines, they go, “Wow!” We’ve even seen young 20 somethings jump back in amazement and church preachers raise an eyebrow in surprise.

The Al Gore Our Choice  book (Classified as an “Interactive App” on the iTunes store)  has nearly an hour’s worth of video in it.  Nothing on Kindle nor Nook even comes close.

Vook.com

This screen shot of the Vook.com comparison page really is an eye-opener:

Vook.com offers services to create eBooks that also can be published on the iPad and a multitude of other devices.  And because it can embed video, does that make it an interactive book?  Does that also make it a multi-touch book for the iPad?

Charts and Graphs

There are charts and graphs in these books created in iBooks Author, the software released by Apple in January.  And yet, they’re also different than say, the Al Gore book, which while it can be classified as an interactive book for the iPad, it was built in the iOS API and not in iBooks Author.  (In Gore’s book the charts and graphs are interactive.  In iBooks Author, at least for now, they’re static and can’t even be enlarged on the page.)

But it’s not like an e-Pub book either that was simply converted in Adobe’s InDesign program and exported out.  That kind of book can also be loaded up to iTunes and sold.  But it’s not going to be “multi-touch” capable.

Classification Needed Now

As someone who is about to release a major publication into this arena, it’s frustrating that there’s no clear-cut way to describe what we do.

But on the other hand, we always say in a campaign that it’s better to define yourself than have someone else do it for you.

It’s so early in the development of this field of publishing.  iBooks Author wasn’t even released until January 2012.  But it’s undeniable, to cut through the confusion of what this specific category is, Apple should have given it a specifically branded name and not left it as a descriptive, non-descriptive entity.  Maybe the thought was that all iBooks will eventually include video, 3-D animations, etc. but for now, they don’t.  So when someone tells you they know what an iBook is and then proceed to describe a publication exported from InDesign, it takes about five more questions to get to the fact you’re talking about two different things….

[ws_table id=”1″]

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Day One of Adobe Creative Cloud Review–Still Feeling Like Christmas Morning!

We’ve had a great 24 hours of creative development using the newly released Adobe Creative Cloud CS6 tools uploaded for public use and consumption on May 11, 2012.  At the end of Day One, it still feels like Christmas Morning.

Last week we began a major HTML 5 overhaul of our site and refocused our company’s mission on the niche industry of interactive books for the iPad.  We still do PR and we still do web design, startups and photography and video work.  But going forward, our primary focus is on “making things glow.”

And so today we’ve posted a new video bumper you will begin seeing in all Claxton Creative, LLC produced videos.  This 12-second video is the result of multiple hours of testing, designing, editing, experimenting, reformatting and at times, near frustration.  But alas.  We have something designed we are quite proud to show.

The tools used to make this piece included Photoshop Extended CS6, Illustrator CS6, Premier Pro CS6 and Media Encoder CS6 from Adobe.  The audio tracks were built using Garage Band and they were all put together using a 17″ 2.4 Ghz Intel  Core i7 with 8 GB 1333 MHz RAM.

Yesterday we upgraded the RAM from the standard 4 GB that the machine came with to 8 GB through a purchase from Crucial.

The only issue we have had yet was when we tried to do a lot of sound editing in Premier Pro yesterday and it kept crashing.  But it appears that we should really have been using Audition CS6 instead, so maybe that’s the rub. We’ll see.

But all in all, we could not be happier with the release of all of these incredible tools, and for us, because we already owned Photoshop CS4, are only costing us $29.99 per month for one year.  Hopefully, we’ll be selling interactive books for the iPad at the rate of a bazillion a day by next May and we won’t really worry about it going to $49.99 a month…

Enhanced by Zemanta

Interactive Books for the iPad Key Resources & Authors

I’m beginning this post with the idea that it’s not ever going to be done–this is a first listing of resources available to build and design Interactive Books for the iPad.

There are dozens of people I’m finding by the hour from around the world who are leading the way in the development of the .IAB formatted book.

Authors

Karen Robertson, Sydney, AustraliaDigitalKidsAuthor.com–A video is just around the corner of some great tips and ideas from Karen.  If you’ve not seen on of her books on the iPad, you’ve missed out.  Please, stop reading and jump over to iTunes right now and download one.  This is really good stuff.

Software Products

Tumult Hype–This is a great program I’ve begun using to help create widgets for the iPad interactive book.  It produces animations in HTML 5, too, so they can be added to either a website or to an iBook for the iPad.

Google SketchUp–This is a good tool to use for simple 3-D animations that can be added to the .iab format.

Trade Secrets

Classwidgets.com–Timeline Scrubber–This is one of the coolest tools yet–and like Google SketchUp, it’s free.  But if you have a series of maps you want to merge into one document for an interactive book for the iPad, this is the gem.  You simply go to the site, upload your images into the order you want them, export the information and it creates a downloadable widget.  You then just drop it into your .iab and you’re done.  Free.  Amazing.

David Barranca posts this helpful piece about loading images into iBooks Author.  Good stuff.

 

What Tools Do You Know About?

This post will be updated with more and more information as time goes along.

Who are some other leaders in this field who should be included under authors?  Who are some leading developers worthy of recognition?

What are some horror stories you’re learning as you go along?

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
1 5 6 7