28 Replies Latest reply on Apr 29, 2017 4:22 PM by damienc13010156

    How to add audio to fixed layout epub

    SueCampbell54

      Hi,

       

      I'd like to know if adding audio to a fixed layout epub is possible or planned for InDesign? Specifically for read-aloud books—with highlighting each word. I know this can be done with a painfully manual process in the HTML. However it would be swell if it could be done in InDesign somewhat less excruciatingly slow?

       

      I've read Pariah Burke's book on adding read aloud audio, but now with the new Fixed Layout capability it's out of date. Anyone know of other sources of info on this?

       

      Sue Campbell

        • 1. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
          hooplife Level 1

          Yes I played around with audio and you can definitely get it to play.  Just

           

          File>Place  and put whatever the audio file is. 

          • 2. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
            SueCampbell54 Level 1

            To be more specific I meant read-aloud audio. That requires marking the words in the text to highlight when the audio track plays that word. It's more complicated than just placing an audio track in the file. So far, marking the audio cues in the text is a long manual process that to my knowledge can't be done through InDesign. (I'd love to be wrong about that.) It can be done in the epub after export, but the code coming out of the fixed layout epub is now a lot more complex with span tags for position between every word (or letter?) WHY?? (Isn't an X/Y plus size of the text frame enough?)

             

            So my question is still: has anyone done a read aloud with the new fixed layout epubs? If so, what resources are there to help us do this correctly? And, for Adobe are there any plans to add a way to do this mark up and generate the smil file from within InDesign?

            • 3. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
              hooplife Level 1

              Sue I came across this as I am now trying to figure out how to simply add audio and link it to an image button…thought maybe it is what you are looking for!

               

              KITABOO® - Automated Audio Sync (EPUB 3) - Hurix Systems - YouTube

              • 4. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                SueCampbell54 Level 1

                Thanks Hooplife!  It seems worth checking out. Though it says "upload a pdf". That's a non starter for me unfortunately. I will look at their offering though.**

                 

                @I have also checked out Aquafadas, but I don't really like that you have to use their system to publish (same as Adobe's DPS). I don't want to be locked in that way. Plus the resulting files seem HUGE!

                 

                I suspect Adobe may be working on a way to mark the words in audio so that it could be done in InDesign and it might export the SMIL file with everything else—that would be sweet. But I want it NOW!

                 

                **Just looked a little further. Kitaboo is a closed system with it's own reader app. Seems ideal for schools or companies that want to distributed ebooks to certain users on a time limited basis—but it is no way to reach book consumers. Gees! To sell books you must be in the bookseller's offerings.

                 

                That's why I do not like Adobe's DPS system either. I don't want my books sold in the app store. They are books. They need to be where my buyers are. (somebody stop me if I've got that wrong). With DPS it's awfully hard to understand the business advantage.

                • 5. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                  Douglas.Waterfall Adobe Employee

                  In the latest CC update InDesign now writes IDs on each word <span> with the long term goal being that ID moves the inline CSS used for text positioning into the CSS file itself.

                   

                  Though the team has not done that yet, the IDs are also imagined to be useful to enable a SMIL workflow.

                   

                  This requires some more developer skills since you'll need to be able to create the SMIL file on your own, edit the EPUB metadata, embed the SMIL and audio files in the EPUB package, etc, but this is an attempt to make at least part of that step easier.

                   

                  Douglas

                  • 6. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                    SueCampbell54 Level 1

                    Thanks Douglas.Waterfall, good to know this is in the works.

                    "This requires some more developer skills since you'll need to be able to create the SMIL file on your own, edit the EPUB metadata, embed the SMIL and audio files in the EPUB package, etc, but this is an attempt to make at least part of that step easier."

                     

                    I've done "some" work along these lines and I understand the concepts theoretically. But avoiding that heavy lifting would sure be a welcome addition. There's a ton of need for it!

                     

                    If I can be pest, how much longer? I'm willing to put off my client a little while longer if it's coming soon.

                     

                    Sue

                    • 7. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                      Douglas.Waterfall Adobe Employee

                      The IDs on <span>s are in the update just released yesterday.

                       

                      When I was leading the EPUB team, I would have said that supporting an SMIL workflow for InDesign was extremely unlikely.

                       

                      External tools are needed to map the IDs to the audio clips (that's what the SMIL file does) and then it all needs to get packaged up.

                       

                      ID could do all the packaging of course, but it can't make the SMIL file and until ID does the export you don't know what the IDs are going to be.

                       

                      So I always suspected that this would always be a post processing step that would have to occur entirely after the export and thus nothing for InDesign to participate in.

                       

                      I found this book very useful in learning about the SMIL workflow - http://iampariah.com/books/creating-fixed-layout-ebooks - but of course the rest of it (published in 2013) is out of date since we're exporting the FXL from InDesign. There are obviously other sources to talk about how to do this.

                       

                      I hope that helps.

                       

                      Douglas

                      • 8. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                        hooplife Level 1

                        So Douglas can I play simple audio in CC 2014?  I just want to have an image and when I click it plays a given .mp4 file…I can't seem to get this to work properly when exporting to epub 3 fixed layout…

                         

                        previously no problems doing this when exporting in folio builder to an app but can't seem to figure it out in cc 2014 (and i just completed the update today...

                        • 9. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                          SueCampbell54 Level 1

                          Thanks Douglas.Waterfall I have Pariah Burke's book and have studied it. Was really hoping to avoid all that work. Sigh.

                          I'll get that update and have a look at the new span IDs.

                           

                          Please tell the "powers that be" these read-aloud books are not going away and if anything will be more in demand as print goes away!!!

                           

                          Thanks for your help.

                          Sue

                          • 10. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                            AnshulJain19 Adobe Employee

                            Hi hooplife,

                            You must be making that image a button and then adding an action of playing sound to it. In which reader you are viewing your epub file. It should work correctly on iOS8 on iPad, Readium in Chrome. There could be an issue while viewing it on iOS7 but latest released version iOS8 plays it correctly.

                            Thanks

                            -Anshul

                            • 11. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                              hooplife Level 1

                              Anshul-

                              Yes that works better.  Thank you.  It is still a bit quirky as the button can't be near the edges or the page swipes over the pressing of the button.  So we put the buttons in the center and it's a bit better.  (iPhone viewing and distribution)

                              • 12. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                daiden_o

                                Has there been any update since October? This is also a problem I'm strugging with.

                                Thanks

                                • 13. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                  bens54630514

                                  So what is the workflow, using adobe products, to create a read aloud epub?  I have learned one can use story and premiere to sync text to audio and then generate a stt.xml file.  Can this and the audio file be imported into InDesign (media overlay) to create text that is highlighted as the book is 'read'?

                                  • 14. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                    Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    There has been no change in the workflow since Douglas Waterfall wrote in October 2014. It must be done manually by post processing the EPUB file after InDesign creates it.

                                    • 15. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                      bens54630514 Level 1

                                      "It must be done manually by post processing the EPUB file after InDesign creates it"

                                       

                                      Can someone please go into detail about the SMIL workflow -  step by step if possible.

                                       

                                      Thanks

                                      • 16. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                        onapthanh

                                         

                                        Hi all. I was searching any way to include audio with text highlighting in an ebook I developed for iBooks which is an epub3 .

                                        I know I can do this but I am unable to find any example of how to implement this functionality in epub3 specifically for iBooks, I've searched alot but didnt find any solution yet.

                                        • 17. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                          ricksecc Level 1

                                          Looks like the only way to do the 'read along' with audio is by doing it manually.

                                          Here is the link from Douglass...http://iampariah.com/books/creating-fixed-layout-ebooks

                                          It uses SMIL which I've not played with yet.

                                          About to though and will report back if I have any luck or tips for you all.

                                           

                                          Rick

                                          • 18. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                            Pariah Burke Adobe Community Professional

                                            Alas, Adobe has not added read-aloud audio to InDesign. As Douglas, Rick, and others state, my book Creating Fixed-Layout eBooks http://iampariah.com/books/creating-fixed-layout-ebooks  covers the only reliable method at this time.

                                             

                                            P.S. I'm in the process of writing the 2016 edition of Creating Fixed-Layout eBooks, which will cover the latest advances in InDesign as well.

                                            • 19. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                              ricksecc Level 1

                                              Another person who has commented on this topic is Liz Castro.

                                              She is a genius and speaks above my pay grade but if you can follow her instructions you should be all set.

                                              You can find her here...

                                              http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com

                                               

                                              I'm also about ready to dive into this with my children's book. I hope I can follow along

                                               

                                              Rick

                                              • 20. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                                Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                Sadly, Liz Castro hasn't been publishing much for the past couple years. She didn't public on her blog for two years. Some of her published material is getting pretty out of date.

                                                • 21. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                                  ricksecc Level 1

                                                  I've noticed that as well. I mentioned her mainly because she explains the basic nuts and bolts of how to get 'read aloud' to work in a fxl epub.

                                                  I do wish there was more discussion on this topic openly and freely.

                                                   

                                                  Rick

                                                  • 22. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                                    Pickory Level 3

                                                    We have a plugin / script that allows you to assign a SMIL attribute to a selection of text. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a clean way to integrate this with the ePub export. If you embed the SMIL attributes into a HTML item they do appear in the ePub export. With very careful editing you can move the SMIL attributes over the appropriate bits of text.

                                                     

                                                    ePub Read Aloud - Kerntiff Publishing Systems

                                                    • 23. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                                      ricksecc Level 1

                                                      That looks pretty nice.

                                                      How can I get the beta script?

                                                       

                                                      Rick

                                                      • 24. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                                        Pickory Level 3

                                                        I have to stress that it does require quite a lot of fiddling to get it to work InDesign ePub export.

                                                         

                                                        We should be putting new Mac ( CS6 CC14015 ) demo plugins up in the next few days.

                                                         

                                                        P.

                                                        • 25. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                                          ricksecc Level 1

                                                          Excellent.

                                                          It may require some fiddling but it's probably better than editing the html afterwards.

                                                          I wish you luck with it

                                                          • 26. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                                            Pariah Burke Adobe Community Professional

                                                            I also helped Circular Software build a read-along audio system into the CircularFlo epublishing add-in for InDesign. The CircularFlo implementation isn't ideal, though. It's basically just the same SMIL chop-and-tag workflow, but done on the pasteboard inside InDesign. Using CircularFlo for that (or other features) requires purchasing a publishing license to output the ePUB.

                                                             

                                                            Other than possibly Kerntiff PS's scripts, manually doing the chop-and-tag is the only non-proprietary way to get read-along audio into FXLs at the present time.

                                                            • 27. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                                              ricksecc Level 1

                                                              After 8 hours of working on my smil file and xhtml file, I finally have the read-aloud working.

                                                              It is a lot of work to wrap your head around the process but once you see what's going on, it's not too bad.

                                                               

                                                              Pariah, I would love to see what you suggest in your book. I may still purchase that to see if I can learn some new ways of doing this type of thing.

                                                               

                                                              Rick

                                                              • 28. Re: How to add audio to fixed layout epub
                                                                damienc13010156

                                                                Hi,

                                                                Thanks to you all for the solutions you've put forward around this topic.

                                                                I have a similar challenge with audio that I am attempting to fix for my fixed layout e-pub.

                                                                 

                                                                I have written and illustrated a book and added animation. It's ready to publish ...but for one issue that I am yet to solve.

                                                                I hired a sound engineer to mix a recording of the words with music.

                                                                I have a single MP.3 file of the 20 pages read aloud.

                                                                 

                                                                I want to control the audio to sync with the specific pages of the book.

                                                                There seems to be no control over where the audio starts and stops for the pages, all the media and button options I have tried result in the audio resuming from the beginning of the recording for each new page.

                                                                Video media has a timeline control that can control the area that plays back on a single video, but audio does not appear to have this control !

                                                                 

                                                                The only options I can see for my e-book are:

                                                                1. Cut the single audio into 20 clips and place on each page (controlled by a button). This would be OK but it would break up the continual smooth sound that is within the MP.3.

                                                                2. Maybe I will try to convert the MP.3 to a video and set the designated areas to play back on each of the 20 pages .

                                                                 

                                                                I was hoping someone here might know of a way to get more control over a single audio file and control the playback in indesign; so that a single audio clip can be set to play at 1-2 minutes on page one, 2-3 minutes on page 2....etc etc until the end of the e-book.

                                                                 

                                                                Thanks :-)

                                                                 

                                                                Damien