Illustrated or Photographic Characters

Hi Articulate Community,

I am on the fence with characters.  I really like how the illustrated characters look, but the feedback I get from the photographic ones is that they look more professional.  Does anyone have a rule of thumb or thoughts on when to use either type?  Do you ever mix them in the same project?  Would really like to hear any thoughts....

Thank you,

Doug

10 Replies
Denise Cook

Depends on the subject and the audience.  I've used illustrated characters for a corporate soft skills course and it really fit in well with the them of the course (Listening Skills).  Some other courses are far more serious and you might not want to go with illustrated characters.  I could see an instance of using both but you have to really be careful with the treatment and plan your theme properly so they flow together and not just look as if you couldn't decide.  For instance, I've seen where the illustrated characters were used as "popups" to deliver instructions on the screen, although the screen contained photographic images.

Doug Rose

Denise Cook said:

Depends on the subject and the audience.  I've used illustrated characters for a corporate soft skills course and it really fit in well with the them of the course (Listening Skills).  Some other courses are far more serious and you might not want to go with illustrated characters.  I could see an instance of using both but you have to really be careful with the treatment and plan your theme properly so they flow together and not just look as if you couldn't decide.  For instance, I've seen where the illustrated characters were used as "popups" to deliver instructions on the screen, although the screen contained photographic images.


Hi Denise,

Yes, I use them as pop-ups as well.  I agree with Rich.  I think it generally doesn't look good to mix them.

Thank you,

Doug

Bob S

To Kristin's point, here is how we view the difference....

Photographed Charaters:

  • Lends more "impact" to what's being said; be it authority or empathy
  • Can look more polished
  • Can be harder to find all expressions/poses
  • Can be harder to match to other images in terms of color/style

Illustrated Characters:

  • Allows users to place themselves in the scenario/topic
  • Can look less intimidating/stuffy
  • Easier to create and edit as needed
  • Can be easier to match with other images in terms of color/style

And no, we try not to mix them as a rule.

Hope this helps,

Bob

Marty King

My manager has a 'corny' factor he uses when reveiwing course design. He is not a fan of clipart and is not a fan of the illustated characters in Storyline because they don't look profesional to him. However, context is everything. If the image is relevant and is used with good course design he rarely has concern when I use illustrated characters and or clip art.

Well said Bob. I may provide your clarification of the two image type to my team.

As to mixing the two, on the surface I can agree that it may not look good. However, design is critical as is relevance. For instance, if you are doing a course for childern you could use illustated  images of children and photogragh images of adults to emphasize the difference.

You can also use something like photoshop to create illustrated characters from photographed characters and achieve a professional illustrated image. I've done this in a course before and it looks good.

Just remember, context and relevance are everything in the design of your course.

Christie Pollick

Hi, Sara -- Thanks for reaching out with your question and reviving this older thread! I know there are some members of the community such as Jerson Campos and others who can create characters to suit your needs, but there are a few other options if you'd like to do it yourself. Please see the following info. or you'd also be welcome to reach out in our design-related forum, Building Better Courses:

7 Ways to Create Characters for Your Online Training Courses

A Three-Step Process to Create Hand Drawn Custom Characters

Create Your Own Custom Characters for Online Training

Hope that helps, and you are welcome to share your finished product if you'd like to aid others who may be in search of a similar type of characters! :)