Horizontal Position of Articulate Characters in states moving randomly

Dec 12, 2019

I've been experimenting with adding states to the Articulate characters in Storyline 360 with a view to making them more animated by triggering state changes so it looks like they're talking...

This seemed simple enough in the beginning - but I've run into an issue which is a little frustrating - the attached video shows the issue.

The first part of the video shows that I started by adding one character, then added 3 'expression' states. What I was looking for was just the facial expression changes - which works perfectly. Then I duplicated the character and using the 'Replace pose - Content 360 library characters', changed the character - so it's actually the same pose, but different character. The states of this character all reflected the new character image and were all perfectly lined up. (This worked exactly the same if I used the 'Character Tools Design tab' and chose the character icon to 'Change the selected character'.

What I did then was I moved this duplicated character image to a new position on the slide - and as you will see from the video, the position of the states moved slightly. The second half of the video shows this in an exaggerated format, with the character on the left being my original character, and the other two characters showing the states moving away from the original position - from 0px horizontal, to 60px horizontal.

In the last part of the video I added all the expression states to the first character and they're all perfectly lined up. then I duplicated the character, and moved him around, and all is good. Then I changed the character to another one - all looks good with the position of the states. But then when I moved the character on the slide, some of the states showed the position on the slide as having moved, and some didn't. Bizarre, because it's only the expression of the character that is changing, not the pose.

There is a fix - but this fix needs to be applied every time I move the character on the slide. I was hoping to set up a template with characters and poses that I could use in projects - but obviously there would be a lot of moving around of the characters, so I would need to do this fix more than I would like.

So, the fix is to edit the states that are affected and using the 'size and position' option, re-set the 'position on slide' to 0px horizontal, which is where it would have been originally. 

This got me thinking that maybe the awesome Articulate technicians could apply a fix quite easily to tell all expression states of a character to stay to horizontal 0px, no matter what was being done to them...

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Or have you experienced a similar issue. At first I couldn't work out what was happening, and it does seem to be quite random - ie it's not always the same amount in pixels that the character states move by, but this explanation is as accurate as I can be as a first step in troubleshooting this.

I guess my question is, should we not be able to insert a character, manually edit and add the built-in expression states, then duplicate this character and change the character, retaining the expression states, then move the character on the slide without having to go back and edit the position on the slide of these character states, potentially every time we move or copy a character?


10 Replies
Vincent Scoma

Hi Diane, 

I appreciate the detailed write-up, as well as the video you provided! That is odd behavior you are experiencing with your characters. There currently aren't any open issues in regards to added movement with character states when copying/swapping out characters. You should be able to swap out characters without the erratic behavior you are seeing take place. 

I created a demo course to see if I could repeat the issue you are seeing. After following the same patterns in the video, I wasn't seeing the same movement take place when I swapped characters or moved them around the slide.

With that said, I wanted to run through a few next steps to see if we can pinpoint the issue: 

  • First, please be sure that courses are being worked on from your local hard drive (C: drive). Erratic behavior can occur when working from a network drive. 
  • If you are working locally, typically, a simple repair of Storyline will resolve the issue. 
  • Lastly, does this same behavior happen in a new course?

If you are still experiencing this issue, please let us know! We are happy to help! 

Dianne  Hope

Thanks Vincent - I've followed your instructions and the issues are still there.

I've attached my file - this was a new course created after I repaired Storyline and saved the file to my C: drive.

Also, I'm now noticing inconsistencies when adding the expression states to my character. Previously, the pose remained the same and just the expression changed. Now I'm noticing that the pose is changing when I add an expression state, so I had to do a 'duplicate' state to retain the same pose. This wasn't happening previously, so I'm a little confused as to what is supposed to happen.


Vincent Scoma

Hi Dianne,

Thank you for sharing your file! 

I reviewed the characters and did some further troubleshooting, and I can recreate this in a new file. The shifting of states seems to happen when you duplicate and replace that character. I am connecting with our team about this so we can dive into this further! 

In the meantime, the workaround you provided, adjusting the size and proportion, does resolve the issue. Additionally, using the Reset State button when editing a character state also removes the shift. This will reset that state completely, so any changes made on that state will be reverted to the Normal State: 

Once a bug is reported, here's how we tackle it. We're careful about testing new updates to make sure we don't put other features at risk. You're in the right place, and we'll be sure to provide updates as soon we have more information! 

Dianne  Hope

Thanks Vincent.

Can I ask you to address my query on the character 'pose' changing when I add an 'expression' state?

As you point out, the reset state button resets the pose and expression of a state I add, but when I add a new 'expression' state, if I just want the expression to change, which I do, I need to do one more step and change the pose back, as the pose changes with the new 'expression' state.

The only workaround for this I've found is to duplicate a new state that I've worked with to change the pose back, or when I insert a new character, as I'm inserting this, alter the pose from the default pose for the expression. This seems to set the normal state to retain that pose - then when I start adding the new 'expression' states I don't need to keep altering the pose.

I guess what I'm trying to establish is how to break that link between the pose and expression defaults with the least amount of extra effort, and what is intended to be 'by design' for this application. Is it intended that the pose goes with the expression and anything other than this needs to be modified by the user - and if so, why are the 'expression' states for characters called 'expression' states if they alter the pose as well?

Dianne  Hope

Hi Leslie - I was working with adding states when I noticed the issues with the pose changing when I changed the expression, but this also happens if I just insert a new character into a new Storyline 360 file. Any time I choose to change the expression, the pose changes as well. It's not specific to any character or pose.

I've recorded this in the attached video. The first part is as described above, ie inserting a character using the default state, then changing the expression - you will note that, even though there are options to change just the 'expression style', the pose changes as well when I choose to just change the expression.

In the second part of the video, I insert a new character, then add a new state - choosing the 'alarmed' expression state. You'll see that the pose changes as well. I then add an 'angry' expression state and the pose changes as well. Then I go to change the expression, and the pose changes as well. 

I've also tried resetting the pose and changing the expressing, but I can't get this to work for me.

I've just tried to add a custom state called 'custom_alarmed' which is a new state where I tried to change the expression of the character, leaving the pose as it is - but the file has crashed.

What I'm trying to achieve is the pose staying the same and the expression changing, and capturing this in the different built-in 'expression' states.

I'm hoping this is enough for you to troubleshoot with for now.

I've just today updated to the latest versions of Articulate 360 and Storyline 360, which is something I do regularly.

Enough time spent not getting anywhere again...


Vincent Scoma

Hi Dianne,

Thank you for sharing a detailed description and for providing a Peek 360 recording! 

The behavior you see with character expressions, and their pose is intended behavior. If the character's expression or pose isn't explicitly selected upon insert, then the default poses will be used when changing their expression (happy, sad, angry, etc.). If you intentionally change the pose for a character, then any changes to the expression will maintain that pose. 

Dianne  Hope

Ahhh - thanks for this explanation Vincent.

This makes sense - I knew there would be some intended behaviour, I just couldn't work out what this was and how to work with it to achieve what I was trying to achieve with retaining the character's pose. Here's what my understanding is now:

In a new file, or an existing file that you've just opened, when you go to insert a character, the default pose and expression is automatically selected (which is the one hand on hip with a neutral expression). Using this, I've been able to recreate what you detail above, ie if I change the expression the pose changes also, and if I add a new expression state, the pose also changes.

If I intentionally change the pose of the character from the default before I insert the character, I'm able to retain the pose and change the expression.

Once I've done this and go to insert another character, the situation where I've changed the pose from the default is retained and I'm able to keep retaining the pose while changing the expression.

If I then want to revert back to the 'intended behaviour' which is that the pose changes with the change of expression for an inserted character, I need to change the pose and expression back to the default, which is one hand on hip with a neutral expression.

So now I understand that once you've added characters and possibly changed the default pose when you've added them, you need to be aware of this if you want to change back to the 'intended behaviour'. Once you close a file, this resets to the default, although you can choose to reset this by choosing the default pose and expression manually.

I think both of these behaviours are useful - particularly now I understand more fully how to work with them!

Leslie McKerchie

Hello everyone,

Popping in to share that we no longer see the issue with the existing states of a character shifting when duplicating or swapping the character when using the latest update of Storyline 360, Build 3.61.27106.0.

If you run into another issue using the latest update of Storyline 360, please reach out to our support team directly here.