Cartoon Story Maker Help

File Options
Frame Controls
Image library - people and backgrounds
Picture and text tools
Accent Key Panel
Using Chinese or Japanese characters or non-Roman scripts.
Text bubbles
Audio bubbles
Importing images
Making the background of an image 'transparent'
Saving a Cartoon Story
Printing a Cartoon Story
Viewing or copying a Cartoon Story
Opening and changing a Cartoon Story

Interface overview

File options

Frame controls

Cartoon Stories begin with one frame. Frames can be added, deleted, copied and pasted using the frame control buttons. Also use the control buttons to move to the next or previous frame. There is no limit to the number of frames a Cartoon Story can have.

Image library - people and backgrounds

The Cartoon Story Maker comes with a number of image libraries. Use the arrows below each item to view the various images. Drag and drop the item you want onto the frame. Use the 'Picture tools' (described below) to change the size and rotation of images.

The difference between 'foreground' and 'background' images

'Foreground' images (any of the images from the people libraries) behave differently than images from the background library.

Picture and text tools

Picture tools - enable you to manipulate library images, imported images, backgrounds and text bubbles placed in the frame. You must select an object to manipulate it. Do this by clicking on the image, or if it is a text bubble by clicking on the 'handle' (a blue line will appear around the selected item). Then click on one of the picture tool buttons.

Text tools - enable you to format the text in bubbles and information boxes. You must select the text bubble first. Do this by clicking on the 'handle' - (a blue line will appear around the selected item). The format of the selected text can now be changed by clicking on one of the text tools.

Accent Key Panel

    This button opens the Accent Key Panel (see below). To insert an accented letter into the text bubble place the cursor in the bubble and then click on the accented character you want. You can move the Accent Key Panel by by clicking and dragging on the blue bar along the top.

Changing the letters on the Accent Key Panel

You may wish to customise the accented letters which appear in this panel. The letters on the Accent Key Panel are drawn from a file called 'accent_key.txt'. By changing the letters in this file, you change the letters that appear on the Accent Key Panel. Any Unicode characters can be added to this panel.

This text file is stored in the Cartoon Story Maker program folder. With a typical installation this will be found in 'C:\Program Files\Cartoon Story Maker' (or do a search for 'accent_key.txt').

The Accent Key Panel can hold 57 letters, any additional letters will not appear. To change the letters:

The new letters will only appear after the Cartoon Story Maker has been restarted.

Using Chinese or Japanese characters or non-Roman scripts

A general rule is: use the same input method to type the script into the Cartoon Story Maker as you would in MS Word. This is done by changing the IME (or input method). This is done through the Regional Setting Control panel. Once a new 'input method' has been added to your system you can select with the 'language bar'.

NOTE: Some languages (for example Pin Yin and some Cyrillic languages) now use a font rather than an input method to type letters not found in the Roman alphabet. In this case a different font is selected to enter those letters. This will not work in the Cartoons Story maker as the font cannot be changed. Other languages, such as Vietnamese, use Third Party systems to enter certain characters. These systems will not work with the Cartoon Story Maker either.

Ask your IT support for help if you are unsure about setting up the correct input method for your LOTE.

Text bubbles

Text bubble libraries

Use the navigation arrows below each text bubble to view bubble styles and sizes. Once a bubble has been dragged and dropped to the frame you can:

A Text bubble after it has been dragged onto a frame

NOTE: Text formatting can only be applied to the whole bubble, not to individual words. The font cannot be changed.

Audio bubbles

You can add voice recordings to a frame. The recordings can be made on the spot using the built-in recorder or you can import pre-recorded (MP3) sound files.

Drag an audio bubble to the frame to insert a recording.

How to add an existing MP3 sound to a frame:

1. Drag an audio bubble onto the screen and click on 'Add Sound'.

NOTE: All other tools will now be disabled.
2. Click on the 'Existing sound' button.
3. Use the browse window to navigate to an MP3 sound file. Add the sound by double clicking on it or by selecting it and clicking the 'Save Sound' button.

NOTE: Only MP3 sounds can be added. To use sounds saved in other formats use an audio editing program or an online sound converter to change the sound to an MP3 file.
Click on the 'Play' button to hear the sound.

To change the sound click on the 'Edit Sound' button and repeat the process.

How to add a new voice recording to a frame:

Before you can add a voice recording you must plug a microphone into the computer, and make sure the record and play back settings on the computer are set to the appropriate levels. Use the computer's Control Panel to do this.

1. Drag an audio bubble onto the screen and click on 'Add Sound'.

NOTE: All other tools will now be disabled.
2. Click on the 'New Recording' button. This opens a simple record panel.

Recording your voice:

  • Click on Record and speak into the microphone. (The Record button turns into the 'Stop' button).
  • Click on Stop when you have finished. The reorder takes a moment to convert the recording.
  • Click on 'Play' to listen to the recording. NOTE: If unhappy with the recording, click on Record and say the sentence again.
  • When satisfied with the recording click on 'Save'
Click on the 'Play' button to hear the sound.

To chnage the sound click on the 'Edit Sound' button and repeat the process.

Hint: Recording begins the instant the Record button is clicked, so make sure you have your sentence prepared, and begin speaking straight away For clear recordings hold the microphone just below your mouth and speak in clear a loud voice.

Importing images

You can import your own images into the Cartoon Story Maker. For example you can import digital photos, images from the internet or pictures you have created with another program into the Cartoon Story Maker and include them in your story.

To use an image from the internet you must first save it on computer. When you have found the image you want RIGHT click on the image and select 'Save picture as'.

Once placed on the frame imported images can be manipulated with the picture tools.

The same general rules apply to imported foreground and imported backgrounds as apply to images from the libraries (see above). The only difference betweeen imported foregrounds and imported backgrounds is that imported backgound images are resized to fit the frame area.

Only JPEGs, GIFs or PNG images can be imported. Other types of images can easily be converted to one of these formats using a simple image editing program such as Paint or one of the many online image converters (search for 'online image converter ').

1. Click on the 'Browse' button below the import image or import background viewers. This will open a browse window.
2. Use the browse window to navigate to the image you want, select and click 'Save' (or double click on the image) .
3. The image now appears in the library holder. It can now be dragged and dropped onto the frame.

Making the background of an image 'transparent'

The frame below shows a background image found on the web and imported into the Cartoon Story Maker. A digital photo of a student has been placed in the foreground, as though the student were really there. To achieve this effect, the background of the student's photo has been made 'transparent'.

1: Take the photo against a plain coloured, evenly lit background with significant contrast to the subject.

2: Use the 'Magic wand tool' in an image editing program to select and delete the background.

3. With the photo of the student having a 'transparent' background it appears that she is standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Most image editing programs have a 'Magic wand' feature (for example Photoshop, or '' which can be downloaded free from the internet).

NOTE: Images with transparent backgrounds can only be saved as PNGs or GIFs

Saving a Cartoon Story

When complete, your Cartoon Story is saved as an html page. You do not need the Cartoon Story Maker to open and view a finished Cartoon Story. It can be viewed using a web browser such as Internet Explorer.

1. Click on 'Save'. If saving for the first time the Save box will open.

2. Enter a name for your Cartoon Story, navigate to the location on your computer where you want to save the file.

Hint: If working with students it's a good idea for them to include their name or initials in the file name. This makes it easier to keep track of which story belongs to who.

3. Click on 'SAVE'. The Save box will close. Click on 'Preview' to view the saved story. You can continue to work on your story or if complete Quit the Cartoon Story Maker.

Printing a Cartoon Story

You can print a story that is currently open in the maker. The PRINT button will open your computer's standard printer dialogue box. This allows you to select which printer and set other printer options.

Stories are printed two frames to a page. This cannot be changed.

If you have a PDF printer installed you can print the story to a PDF file.

Viewing or copying a Cartoon Story

Once your Cartoon Story is completed you do not need the Maker to open and view your story. Cartoon Storys are saved in a new folder with the name entered when saving, and in the location specified. Inside the folder is a html page also with your stories name. To view the story open this html file. There is also a 'data' folder which contains all the images, sounds and text your story needs to play. If you alter or delete any files in this folder your story may no longer play.

1. To view a Cartoon story open the Cartoon Story folder. Double click on the webpage icon and your Cartoon Story will open.

2. To copy or move a Cartoon Story, you must select the whole folder, not just the html file. Copy and paste the folder like you would any other file or folder. You can also drag and drop the Cartoon Story folder to a new location.

Opening and changing a Cartoon Story

Cartoon Stories can be loaded back into the Cartoon Story Maker. This means you can save a partially completed Cartoon Story and then open it at a later time to complete. You can also correct mistakes or make any other changes.

1. Click on 'Open' from the file controls.

2. Navigate to and select the Cartoon Story folder you want.

Make sure you select the folder, and not the data folder inside.

The Cartoon Story will then load back into the Maker

Once you have made your additions or changes click click on 'Save'(to save the changes) OR ''Save as' to save the changes as a new file.