Talking Canvas Junior is a simple multimedia presentation application, provided free with the Sonor sound editor. It has been designed to allow the creation of simple pages which can be animated. Speech and other sounds can be placed on areas in the pages, and triggered when the mouse clicks on these areas.


Installing Talking Canvas Junior on a hard disc or network is very easy. Create a directory on your hard disc or network, and copy !TalkCJr from the floppy drive to the hard drive by dragging the icon between the two windows.

If you are using RISC OS 2, then you may also need to update your !System folder. This is the same procedure as for updating the !System folder detailed in the !Sonor manual.


Talking Canvas Junior (or TCJ) is the main editing application. This is the application that allows you to create Canvasses.

A Stand-Alone Canvas is an application that has been created by TCJ. It can be loaded into TCJ in order to edit it.

A Canvas is a ”page• which has been created by TCJ.

A Frame is a part of a Canvas which can have an image placed in it, and also a sound. It is possible to create frames which have only sound stored in them, and no image, or even just an image and no sound.

Loading Talking Canvas Junior

Just like any application, double-click on the !TalkCJr icon in a filer window. An icon will appear (after a brief pause) on the right-hand side of the icon bar. The one on this machine currently looks like:

The Talking Canvas Junior icon is the third from the right hand side. If you press MENU on this icon, the following menu will appear:

This is the Talking Canvas Junior ”icon menu•. You can find out the version number and quit the application from this menu.

Loading a canvas

On the disc with Talking Canvas Junior are some example Canvasses. These have been created using TCJ, and saved as stand-alone canvasses.

Here, we must draw a distinction between Loading and Playing a canvas.

Loading a canvas can be achieved by dragging a canvas onto the TCJ icon on the icon bar (or the TCJ canvas window).

By double-clicking on a stand-alone canvas, you will play it. It becomes a self-contained RISC OS application, and can interact with the desktop in the same way that other applications do.

To begin with, load the application called ”!AboutTCJ•. Drag the !AboutTCJ icon to the TCJ icon on the icon bar. After a brief pause, the canvas has been loaded.

Two windows will appear, the smaller one looking like:

This is the Talking Canvas Junior ”Toolbox window•. It displays the most useful tools as icons.

From left to right, these are:

The larger window looks like:

This is the Talking Canvas ”Canvas display window•. This window shows the current canvas, and all the frames, which are outlined in black.

Note that this canvas was an example canvas on the Acorn User cover CD-ROM No.1.

The first thing we're going to do with this canvas is to play it.

Playing Canvasses

If you click on the ”Play• icon on the TCJ toolbox, then the toolbox window and the canvas display window will disappear, and a new window will appear, which is the canvas. It will look exactly like the canvas display window if it was fully-opened.

If you click on the text ”About Talking Canvas Junior•, some speech will be heard, saying ”Click on the words and icons to reveal the answers.•

Other areas of the screen also have samples - try a few likely looking areas.

When you've finished, click on ”Quit•. Once again, more speech will be heard, saying ”Thank you for running this application•. When the speech has finished, the desktop will be restored to its state prior to playing the canvas.


Each separate piece of speech had a different frame associated with it. On the canvas display window, frames are displayed with black borders. To select a frame, simply click in its border. For example, click on the text ”How can I buy it?• The border will change colour, and also a secondary border with rectangles in each corner will appear. These rectangles are used to resize any selected frames. The secondary border encompasses all selected frames.

Selecting and moving frames is the same as in !Draw. To select multiple frames, click ADJUST on the frame you want to add. To remove a selected frame, click ADJUST on the frame you wish to deselect. To deselect all frames, click on the background in the area outside the secondary border, or press Ctrl-Z.

The only major difference between !Draw and TCJ is the resizing of frames. in !Draw, you can only resize from the bottom-right hand corner of the selected items. In TCJ, you can change the size from the four corners of the secondary rectangles. These are highlighted, and any dragging within these regions cause any selected frames to be resized. Any other dragging from inside the secondary border will cause the selected frames to move.

As an example, deselect all the frames, and then click SELECT on the screen-shot of a window at the bottom left hand corner of the sample. Then, drag SELECT from inside the top right hand corner of the secondary border. When SELECT is released, the frame will be resized to the the new size.

Similarly, drag SELECT from within the secondary border (but not inside one of the resize rectangles). When you release the mouse button, the frame has now moved to the new coordinates.

Try it with some of the other frames.

Frame information

You can get information on frames by clicking in the ”frame information icon• on the toolbox, or by double-click ADJUST on the frame you wish to get information on.

A window will appear, which looks like:

This window gives you information about the frame's name, the images on the frame, the animation type and information about the sample. You can also lock the frame from being changed.

A frame can only be animated if it has two images.

Loading images

TCJ can accept two types of images:

Note that !ArtWorks can export Draw files, but they are slightly incorrect. To correct these, load them into !Draw, select everything, group it, move it and then resave the Draw file.

There are two ways in which you can load the first image. Method one is to drag the Draw file (or Sprite file) into the frame on the canvas display window. The second method is to drag the frame onto the left hand of the two boxes in the frame information window.

If you want to load the second (animation) frame, then you can only do this by dragging the file onto the right hand of the two boxes.

Loading samples

TCJ can accept the following sample formats:

If you wish to load other formats, then use !Sonor, and save the converted sample.

Loading samples can also be done in two ways. Method one is again to drag the file into the frame on the canvas display window. The second method is to drag the file anywhere on the frame information window. The sample information will be updated accordingly.

Removing images and samples

The two icons labelled ”Remove• underneath the images and also to the right of the sample information can be used to do these tasks.

Your first canvas

Press MENU on the canvas information window. The following menu will appear:

If you move to the right of Misc, then the following menu is displayed:

By clicking on New canvas, you will clear the current canvas, and create a totally blank canvas. You will be asked if you want to create a new canvas, just in case you haven't saved the old one. Click on Create to create it.

This new canvas has no images on it, except for ”Quit• and ”Start•. These two frames are special frames, and have special uses.

The Quit frame is the frame a user clicks on to quit the canvas.

The Start frame can be used to hold information telling the user what to do, or to reset the canvas back to the beginning.

The images stored in these frames are locked, but samples may be recorded on these.

Creating a frame

The first thing to do is to create a frame. Click on the Create Frame icon on the toolbox. If you move the pointer into the canvas display window, a pair of cross-hairs are displayed. These indicate the location of the first corner of the frame.

Click SELECT to set the first corner. Now, a box will appear, showing the frame as you move the mouse pointer around, as shown below:

Again, click SELECT to set the second corner. You have just created a frame.

If you want, you can load some Draw or Sprite files into this frame, and/or you can create some more frames.

Deleting a frame

This is very simple. Select the frame(s) you wish to delete, and click SELECT on the Delete Frame(s) icon on the toolbox. You will be asked if you want to delete these frames. Click on Delete to delete them, or Cancel to abort the deletion.

The background frame

Another special frame is the background frame. It cannot be selected, deleted, moved or animated, but it can have one image, and also a sample, for example ”Please click somewhere else•, if the user accidentally clicked outside any frames.

Saving a canvas

Click SELECT on the Save Canvas icon on the toolbox, and a RISC OS standard save window will appear:

Type in the name you wish to save the canvas as, and then drag the icon to a filer window. Note that the name will start with a ”!•, and if you don't include it, TCJ will do it for you. Also, use names to 9 characters or less long, even if you are using !LongFiles.

When you save, you are creating a stand-alone canvas, which can be freely distributed (with your permission).

Animating frames

If you have two images on a frame, you can animate between them. There are four options for this:

Recording samples

Frames can have samples recorded directly from your Printer Port or MIDI Sampler. To record a sample onto a frame, click SELECT on the Record icon on the toolbox. The following window is produced:

The window is split into several main parts, from top to bottom:


This is a new feature, currently only available in Talking Canvas Junior. It allows samples to be automatically adjusted to the right size, based on the ambient noise levels.

Basically, it has an automatic trigger at the start, as well as one at the end. TCJ will give you three seconds to start speaking before it starts the sample. Then, if you are quiet for one second, the sample will stop automatically.

This does depend on the ambient noise levels. If you find the sample won't stop, then turn the microphone, or other sound source off, and try on a higher level. If you still can't get the sample to stop, then find a quieter area in the room.

We have calibrated this system so that ”Quiet• is our office, but we can understand that in a classroom, it can be very noisy, so it's probably best to start at a higher level.

Copying frames

Frames can be copied by pressing Ctrl-C, or by selecting the Selection->Copy option on the canvas display menu.

Aligning frames

Frames can be aligned by pressing F4 to F9, or by selecting the

Selection->Align->... menu options.

Canvas options

There are several options available to allow you to tailor the canvas to your needs. The canvas option window is available by selecting the Misc->Options... menu option, and looks like:

The left-hand box is self-explanatory, and allows you to change the size of the canvas. If you do change the size, then the frames will become resized, so that they take the same relative position in the canvas.

The right hand box has information about when the canvas is run as a stand-alone canvas. There are four options, and these are detailed below:

Removing the Quit and Start frames

These frames can be removed by either deleting them, or by choosing the

Misc->Have ... menu options. These can also be used to recreate these, if you have accidentally deleted them.

Exporting data

You can export the images and samples from frames, buy pressing MENU on the frame information window. The following menu will appear:

You can decide what you want to save by clicking on the radio buttons underneath the filename.

Distributing TCJ applications

You are free to do so, as long as none of the files (except the !Sprites) file are edited. If it is a commercial release, then please contact VTi who will provide you with updates, and information regarding TCJ applications. There will be some conditions (such as copyright/acknowledgement messages).

The !RunImage inside the TCJ applications is © ARM Designs 1995, and uses their ROView WIMP library, and was compiled with C release 4, and ObjAsm release 2.00. It was compressed using ARM Designs' AppComp2 application.

The SonorSound module is © 7th ARM Systems for VTi 1995.

Locking canvasses

If you want to distribute TCJ applications, but don't want people exporting the data such as samples and image files, then you can lock the canvas. The canvas can still be edited, saved and so forth, but the images cannot be exported.

You will be prompted if you really want to lock it. If you proceed, the canvas will be locked.


Locked canvasses are also encrypted so the files cannot be retrieved from within the directory.


We hope we have covered all the main points of Talking Canvas Junior. If you come across something new, then give it a try!