Making A ‘Book’ With iBooks Author

Aug 6, 2012 by

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.

 

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Adding Audio Widgets to iBooks Author Using Tumult’s Hype

Jul 8, 2012 by

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

May 16, 2012 by

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….

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Interactive Books for the iPad Way of the Future

Mar 29, 2012 by

Today via our special project, The Wonders Expedition, we have launched our first Kickstater.com campaign to raise $57,766 to fund an expedition to Peru in June/July with a small team of professional photographers and writers to capture the adventure and excitement that makes up Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and bring that information back so that we can create one of the most advanced and incredible Interactive Books for the iPad yet.

If you’ve not seen what an Interactive Book is all about, well, you’re missing out on an incredible high-def, hi-res edutainment product that is going to chance the way we learn.  It’s already doing that, but we are just at the beginning of where Interactive Books are headed.

Here’s the LINK TO THE WONDERS EXPEDITION’S KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

MACHU PICCHU

We chose to highlight Machu Picchu in Peru because it is a Wonder of the World, but also because it’s one of those places most people on the planet never are going to be able to visit.  Indeed, the Peruvian government already has limits of 2,500 people per day who can access the site because it simply cannot handle the massive foot traffic.  Not to mention it’s in a remote area of the Andes and travel costs there, well, we could go on….

But another interesting and exciting fact is that exactly 100 years ago this year, American Archeologist and explorer Hiram Bingham was doing the exact same thing as we are now–raising money to go back to Machu Picchu, which he had “re-discovered” in 1911, and do a proper exploration of the site.  He’d only done a one-day climb in the area in 1911.  The 1912 expedition was where things really got interesting.

And so, 100 years later, we are taking high-definition cameras, and cameras with as many mega-pixel sensors as there are stars, and going back to Machu Picchu to capture the details that Hiram Bingham may have observed, but based on 1912 technology, had no way to bring back and share with the rest of the world.

Interactive Books

Al Gore‘s Our Planet is a great  example of what we’re working on.  The video of the young man at a recent TED convention doing a presentation really was exhilarating.  But it’s just the beginning.

3-D animations, graphs, charts, all that is becoming standard in these new tools of learning.  With the team of experienced photographers, writers, graphic artists and marketers, we think we are on the right track toward the future with these great books.

We invite and encourage you to check out our Kickstarter.com campaign.  Please strongly consider contributing to the campaign and joining our team, just like Hiram Bingham accumulated the best he could gather 100 years ago.

Makes you wonder who will be writing about us this time in 2112, too, doesn’t it!?

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