Custom Skin- artpkg in 13

Oct 25, 2013


I have a custom skin that I need to upload to a course.  In 09, it was very easy to do, but I cannot seem to do it in '13.  Do you have any suggestions as to how to upload artpkg skins to Presenter 13?

21 Replies
Paul Cameron

I cannot understand how any corporate user of Studio 09 with corporate skin designs can use Studio 13 until this issue is rectified. I really look forward to a solution to this, maybe a conversion utility for .artpkg skin design files, or an import addition for Studio 13. Please let us all know when this is sorted. Then I can start using Studio 13.

Anna Kalsi

I'd agree with all these points made about the .artppkg files. They were so easy to use with Articulate '09 and it is disappointing to find that not only do they not work with Articulate '13 but there is no way of replicating the look of them or the features that they supported (e.g. previous/next buttons in different places other that the bottom bar and pop up menu etc).

I've submitted a feature request but it would be great if this could be looked at soon.



Paul Cameron

I am glad to see the SDK has been released, and I will take a look at it soon. However I suspect it is not going to solve this problem. We have had corporate skins designed at some cost by a design company. We use Studio to simply author elearning and publish it through the skin design. It looks like we are going to have to go back to the design company and ask them to design the same skin in Studio13 using the new SDK at more cost. We have budget for the Studio13 update, but not for this extra design process. Kinda' one step forward and one step back. I just wish Articulate had put together a simple conversion utility to allow Studio09 artpkg files to be used in Studio13 elearning, and made the upgrade a little more seamless. If anyone has a converter, or anything that will help, please me (and others here) know. Thanks.

Scott Johnson

That's a shame - I think we can near enough write off upgrading until this is sorted out.

It does baffle me why this wasn't thought of at the start though - shouldn't need to be an afterthought feature as we don't all want our players skins to look pretty much the same as everyone else's. It's not as if it should be a surprise that many '09 users were using customised skins, and that their clients may want to continue that look and feel.

Steve Flowers

Hi Scott - 

The last version of Presenter uses an older version of the Flash virtual machine that employs AS2. The newer player employs AS3. Unfortunately, these are incompatible engines. It's not a design issue, it's a technology evolution issue. Older versions of the Flash player were tuned for AS2, AS3 offered an improvement in capability, construction, and performance. Unfortunately, the newer player architecture can't accommodate the older players. It's akin to gasoline vs. diesel. 

However, part of the player work is the establishment of the visuals. The visual elements within the older players should be adaptable to the newer player architecture. While it's not a direct path, upgrading to the new player (AS2 to AS3 with new methods) should be cheaper than building from scratch.

Tammy Sellers

I am sorry to not understand Steve's explanation.... I don't work with this enough to understand AS2 from 3, etc. :0  Can someone please tell me if we are now able to use the custom skins we had in 09 or not-- especially with the April additional updates? I am quickly regretting blindly upgrading... I always thought upgrades were helping me, but in this case converting my 09 to 13 projects has become my worst nightmare... very few of the things I spent countless hours building in 09 are converting; instead, I find myself racking my brains for a work around, or worse, starting over.. please advise if the skin is usable or not.  Disappointed, but grateful for any answers :- / 

Paul Cameron

I thought I would return to this discussion group a year on from the original questions and requests, more as a warning to those considering Articulate 13 Presenter as a quick simple e-learning creator in a corporate environment.

As this previous discussion shows only too clearly, there is a void between the craft and creative world that simply want to create lots of e-learning courses quickly without lots of retraining, and the coding world who understand the details of Flash, HTML5, SDKs ect.

There was some excellent work done by Dave Mozealous and Kevin Thorn back in 2010 that helped to bridge the gap between coding and craft, and provide a relatively simple guide to creating custom skins for Articulate Presenter 09 for those with less coding skills and more creative skills. This helped to open the world of quick elearning creation to the masses using ubiquitous applications like PowerPoint and relatively little extra training.

However there is nothing like this for Articulate Presenter 13. The SDK mentioned previously is available. But it is a minefield of complexity for the craft elearning creator, and offers no simple way of using older .artpkg files on Articulate Presenter 13. Steve's explanation about the difference between AS2 and AS3 is all well and good but this IS a design issue, a coding design issue. Someone in the coding world needs to create something akin to the work done in 2010 for Articulate Presenter 13 and AS3.

However, as time passes the discussion is now becoming much bigger. All of this discussion is centred on creating elearning using Flash. But, the elearning community is now looking to develop elearning using HTML5, largely driven by the inability of mobile devices, in particular iPhone and iPad to run Flash. Looking at it from a craft point of view creating elearning from Flash is relatively simple. Flash is proprietary, locked down and well defined. This is exactly what is needed for the craft world. HTML5 is open and still in development, and cannot do the kind of things Flash can do without other bits and pieces added to it, none of which are well defined.

I personally upgraded to Articulate Presenter 13 as soon as it came out, and started looking at the new features it had to offer, like the ability to create elearning for HTML5 and mobile devices. I soon came across the problem of custom skins and quickly advised the corporate I am working for not to upgrade until there was a solution that suited the team of craft creators we have who simply want to create small elearning sessions with their existing knowledge of applications like PowerPoint and without complex coding skills.

A year has passed by and we really have no simple solution. We have looked at other solutions like iSpring Presenter and Kineo's Adapt framework, but none present a quick simple method of building elearning with a custom corporate look, using ubiquitous applications like PowerPoint and without lots of coding skills or extra training on new applications like Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate, for both static and mobile learners (Flash and HTML5).

(The team is developing a series of relatively short elearning sessions on the company's range of professional AV media products, largely for the broadcast and cinematography community from our Knowledge Portal.)

We continue to use the few licences we already have for Articulate Presenter 09, as we cannot now get any more. This creates a bottleneck in the design workflow with a larger and larger team developing elearning courses on PowerPoint having to process through a relatively small number of Articulate Presenter 09 computers.

The other problem we have is that all new computers are using PowerPoint 2013, but Articulate Presenter 09 will only work with PowerPoint 2010. This is placing time pressure on the use of Articulate Presenter 09.

While Articulate Presenter 13 is a good product with a number of very useful improvements over Articulate Presenter 09 it can only be used easily within the relatively restricted player customisation the interface will allow and certainly no corporate skins, and no use of .artpkg files.

This is my, and our, situation at the moment. If I find a solution I will post it to this discussion.

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