Go to http://www.flipz.tv and download a copy of Flipz. While you’re there, register so that you can get the free additional characters as the initial package only has a couple of characters in it. Both packages are in the form of executable files. Once downloaded you just double click to launch the installation which is straightforward and only takes a couple of minutes.
Now we’re going to produce our animated character. Flipz makes this easy to do by displaying the buttons that correspond to the 5 required steps at the bottom of the window. Start by choosing a character from the ones displayed in the Character Selection pane on the left of the window. Then you can either record your message directly in Flipz or import an audio file (.wav format). It’s recommended that in addition to the audio the script text is entered. This is to improve the accuracy of the automated Flipz lip synching. But I’ve found it to be a bit of a pain because it must exactly match the audio file. I suggest you experiment a bit with this to see if the improvement is worth the effort of carefully transcribing the audio to text. Especially if you intend to change the message often. My hunch is that it’s better to aim for the best audio quality possible.
Once you’ve finished recording your audio message, click on the Generate and preview button in the flipz voice recorder window. Here you will be prompted to choose between using the text displayed in the script window or not. Choose the option appropriate for your project. Flipz will now process and convert the audio. On completion clicking on the press to continue button will open up your web browser and your character will start yakking away. At this point if you’re not happy with the result you can go back and make corrections to the script, re-record the audio or change the character. Otherwise you’re ready to go to the final stage; Bind and Publish. To this you simply click on button number 5. A message informing you that the files have been published will be displayed. Click on the Open published file Directory button to see what’s been produced.
You should have 2 files. One named flipz.swf, the other flipzoutput.html.
A word of warning here, whenever you produce a character Flipz produces these 2 files. So if you are going to be creating different characters you will need to rename these files in order to avoid overwriting them.
Flipz.swf is the file containing our character in Flash format. We don’t need to do anything with this for the moment.
flipzoutput.html contains the mark-up code for displaying our character. Right-click on this file and open it with Note Pad. The part of the mark-up we’re interested in is the following:
<OBJECT classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase=http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,0,0
WIDTH="150" HEIGHT="160" id="FlipzM20Preview" ALIGN="">
<PARAM NAME=movie VALUE="Flipz.swf">
<PARAM NAME=menu VALUE=false>
<PARAM NAME=quality VALUE=best>
<PARAM NAME=wmode VALUE=transparent>
<PARAM NAME=bgcolor VALUE=#FFFFFF>
<EMBED src="Flipz.swf" menu=false quality=best wmode=transparent bgcolor=#FFFFFF WIDTH="150" HEIGHT="160" NAME="Flipz Preview" ALIGN="" TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"></EMBED>
This is the code that we will be inserting somewhere on a blog or a web site. But first of all we will need to make some changes to it. The first one, if we’re concerned with standards compliancy, will be to change all the upper case PARAM NAME and the like to lower case. But our main concern is:
<PARAM NAME=movie VALUE="Flipz.swf">
As these indicate where the file is to be found, and while these values work fine on your computer they won’t on a blog or website. We need to change Flipz.swf to the full path of its location.
If your site or blog is hosted on a service that provides you with ftp access then this simply a matter of loading the .swf file on to your server and changing Flipz.swf to http://www.mysite.com/foldercontainingflashfile/Flipz.swf. If this is the case then you can go straight to step 4.
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