Modifying characters

Aug 17, 2012

Hello Heros!

I have a client that wants to use an illustrated character in our storyline module to represent her.  The only problem is that she is white with long black hair.  There is no character like this in the character pack.   Can I somehow access the source files for the characters?  I could do a quick skin tone change to get what we need.


62 Replies
Matthew Graham

Gosh--wouldn't it be a killer feature if they included a character creation where you could customize all colors, features and clothing to create your own avatars?

I don't think it's possible to change the source files, though.  I tried tinkering around with this with no luck.  Plus, it would make it difficult to sell character packs if you could customize the existing ones.

Paul Figueiredo

I created an application which allows you to install custom characters into Storyline's Illustrated character menu.

I'm currently developing custom characters in Illustrator as vector's and soon going to make them available to everyone through my website where you can pick and choose the features such as hair color, clothes, skin color, etc... you want to add to the characters and then have the ability to upload them to the Illustrator Character Menu in Storyline.


Meryem M

Arturo Hernandez said:

Yes I need to change the characters clothes color, let me know asap


Someone (possibly Dave?) did a tutorial on this a few months back.

You can change the appearance of a character with just a little bit of work if you have powerpoint.  I'm using PPT 2010 for this.

  1. First insert the character you want to change on a Storyline slide.  Then right click and "save as picture." Save it as an EMF file.
  2. Now, open powerpoint and insert the .emf file.
  3. Select it and ungroup it.  When Ppt asks, YES you want to ungroup it.
  4. Now, select it again and ungroup it again.  
  5. After the 2nd ungroup, look at your selection pane.  There is one group with over a hundred shapes, and then two other images that are not grouped. Those two are little strips across the neck, one colored and one white.  Get rid of them.  They'll just cause you trouble.
  6. Now, ungroup a third time. 
  7. Finally you get to do the painstaking work of clicking on the hundred little pieces and recoloring them.

I've attached a file in which I recolored one character to have black hair and light skin.  Also her clothes are now a new color. 

Arturo Hernandez


Many thx for your suggestion, however, after the several ungroupings and successfully changing the color of the coat (which is my objective), I then grouped again and pasted to my Storyline project at which time I saw jagged edges on my character and a white rectangle surrounding it. Thinking I had made a mistake somewhere, I copied the samples you had made and pasted them in SL at which time I also saw ragged edges and a white rectangle around your  modified character

Is there a means of:

       a) Improving the quality as it degraded a bit

       b) Getting rid of the jagged edges

       c) Eliminating the white rectangle

Also, is there a way to import the modified character into the SL character inventory so I can use it from there?

Tons of thanks . . . . again


Judith Blackbourn

The characters sometimes seem too "uptown" for my application, so I modified one to remove some of the makeup, give her a few more pounds, double-chin, etc.  In other words, make her look more like me!

Found making modifications easier when I enlarged my view to 200% so I could see the individual pieces. Somehow lost the shadow behind her, though.

Heidi Green

Meryam, this is a great technique!  Thanks so much for sharing it.  You are right that it is painstaking, but it works!

I am a big supporting of adding this feature to the SL  toolkit.  It would make the avatars much more appealing to my clients.  I do a lot of diversity work with my instructional design efforts, so being able to change avatars around is really valuable.


Meryem M

Arturo Hernandez said:

Meryam, dumb question, where do you make the changes? do you copy and paste the characters in powerpoint, or photoshop or what?, and then can you import them into the Storyline database?

Where do I make the changes?  Do you mean after the steps listed above? 

You cannot import the changes back into the Storyline database.  But once I have edited the character in powerpoint, I group all the shapes again, and then right click and copy it.  Then paste into Storyline onto a slide.  Or right-click and "save as image."  Then import into SL.

I haven't done this yet but I think it would be possible to use the color schemes in powerpoint to change the character's colors, and then switch out to new colors by simply changing the color scheme.  Once the initial work has been done one  ought to be able to leverage that work to simpler changes in the future. 

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro


Just thought I'd affirm what MeryemM said above re:

'I haven't done this yet but I think it would be possible to use the color schemes in powerpoint to change the character's colors, and then switch out to new colors by simply changing the color scheme."

I've been using this ungrouping and swapping colors out approach in PowerPoint for many years, and yes, changing the color scheme does change the colors after you've swapped the colors out once.

Gina Heumann

OK, I followed the instructions above and figured out how to modify a character, but would I need to modify for every pose and for every expression? I'm hoping to make my trainer look more like me and want to use her over and over. Are there additional illustrated characters I can buy? I also want to represent the typical students at my school and they need high tops and hoodies, not polo shirts!

Brenda Heilman

Hi Gina--

Just an idea...perhaps you could use the steps above, but add another step:  search for clip art in powerpoint...a lot of clipart is also 'ungroupable'.  Maybe you could find a clipart character with a hoodie and hightops that you could 'steal' (read:  ungroup), resize, and place over the shirt/shoes of your character before you save it as a .emf or png?  Here's my 20 minute go at it--not perfect, but you get the idea:

Trond Kristiansen

This is good advise. Very easy to create new props such as access cards, masks, sterile clothing articles etc in powerpoint and then save them as .emf to import back in SL. I had to change all the blue workwear to green so we could use the characters in our hospital. In future upgrades of SL how great wouldn't it be to have a character editor for illustrated characters, just like the player editor.

My only issue is that all my characters have a line across their neck when I save them as images. Anyone have the same issue?