I have nothing against great eLearning tools. But . . . budgets make us aggressively seek out viable alternatives. We have gone down the road of using “talking heads” that output to Flash and were easy to incorporate into our eLearning.
Before that we had used the Microsoft animated characters which work quite well. Petey the parrot would fly in and out of the page and offer narration to help drive key points home and engage learners.
And then we looked at Blender 3D, the price was right (open source) but the development time followed by the incredibly long rendering time and subsequently huge files made it impractical to use.
At about that same time, Second Life was getting a lot of press coverage. So we looked into that. I made a test video (still the same one I point to since it showed decent results for the very first video I made) and it was certainly to the quality required.
We looked at out of the box solutions, like CodeBaby, but the cost was too high for our budgets. It’s a great product and easy to use and has some distinct advantages when it comes to lip syncing and localisation.
So at the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn a few weeks back, I had the honor to participate in their DemoFest, facilitate a BreakFast Bytes session, and hold a session on the use of Second Life as a virtual film studio.
Because of the requests I had during DemoFest about whether Second Life could produce something close to avatar programs, I created this sample in my hotel room on a laptop.