What Is The Live Lessons Generator?
The Live Lessons Generator is a free stand alone app that allows educators to incorporate their lesson plans directly into Ableton Live via Ableton's Lessons format, which appear in the collapsible Help View panel along the right-hand edge of Live's user interface.
What Can The Live Lessons Generator Do?
Via the app any existing lesson plan material can be easily converted into the markup language used by the Live Lessons format and integrated directly into an Ableton Project. Your students can then open the Project you prepared for them and start learning!
Simply grab it from our shop here.
The Live Lessons Generator is a free stand alone app for Mac OS (Windows is coming!). In order to use the Live Lessons Generator a copy of Ableton Live 9 or above is needed.
How Does The Live Lessons Generator Work?
The Live Lessons Generator converts any of your lesson plan content into the markup language needed by Live to display your Lesson successfully in the Help View panel. Just follow the simple steps below.
Create A Folder For Your Lesson
Create a new folder within your project folder and name it the same as the Project name. Add the word Lessons to the end of the name of the folder.
Figure 1: Created a folder with the same name as your Live Project and add the word Lessons
In this examples our Project is entitled 'The Chamber of Understanding', so we have made a folder inside the Project called 'The Chamber of Understanding Lessons'
Drop All Image Resources Into The Folder
Place all graphic files you want to display inside the Lesson inside this folder. This could include screen grab images of devices in Live (such as Wavetable), or areas of the DAW that you want to highlight to students or even your own logo. Png files work best but be aware that the maximum width of the Help View panel can be no bigger than 570 pixels. However you can scroll the Help View pane horizontaly.
Important - you need to prep this first and manually drag the image files into the folder. There is no 'Collect All And Save' function inside the Live Lesson Generator (yet). If you do not do this there will be broken links in your lesson!
Figure 2: Add your graphic images Here we have all of the graphic images we wish to use in the Lesson, which will be displayed in Help View panel
Set Up Your Page And Target Names
You may have noticed the file in the image above called 'LessonsEN.txt'. This is the actual Lessons file which utilises a markup language to control how the Lesson is display inside the Help View panel. The Live Lessons Generator creates this file for you. If you are working in another language other than English, create the lesson content in the language of your choice and after you generate the file simply rename this file appropriately (i.e. Lessons.DE or Lessons.JP etc.). Multiple Lesson language files can exist in your Lesson folder (i.e. LessonsEN.txt, LessonsDE.txt) and the appropriate one will be used depending on the language configured in Live's preferences.
After installation the Live Lesson Generator app can be found inside your Applications folder. Launch the app. Lessons comprise of Pages. Each Page has a Page Name and you can link to any Page from any other Page via each Page's Target Name. Enter a suitable title for your Page Name and a suitable Target Name. It often makes sense to use similar names for each.
Figure 3: Add a Page Name and a Target Name In the above example we wish to make a Page about Mixing Techniques so we have labeled our Page Name 'Mixing Techniques'. We have also labeled our Target Name 'Mixing Techniques' so we can later add a Page Link to it from another Page in the lesson
Add Your Lesson Info Text
Now we can add our actual lesson content - the text you wish to display in this Page. Simply add your text into the Lesson Info section. The Info Section is scroll-able so you can add as much text as you like.
Figure 4: Add Your Lesson Info Text Here we have added our text for our lesson. We can copy and paste this from our original lesson plan document. What do you want to tell you students?
Set Text Selection To Bold
The Edit menu contains a set of useful tools to adapt your lessons contents. If you wish to convert any text to Bold to highlight an important point to students then simply selected that text in the Lesson Info section and choose 'Set Text Selection To Bold' from the Edit menu.
Figure 5: Set Text Selection To Bold
Here we have selected the words 'Mixing Techniques' in our Lesson Info section and will choose 'Set Text To Bold' in the Edit menu
The app will automatically add the appropriate markup to the selected text so it will appear in Bold inside the Help View panel in Live.
Figure 6: Set Text Selection To Bold
We can see now that the operation has positioned two * around over selected text. This is the markup language Live needs to identify which text should be Bold in the Help View panel
Add Divider Image At Selection
We can add a nice divider image inside our lesson to separate sections of our lesson text. Simply position your cursor where you want the divider image to be placed and select 'Add Divider Image At Selection' from the Edit menu.
Figure 7: Add Divider Image At Selection Here we have positioned our selection to where we wish to insert a divider image
The app will automatically add the appropriate markup to the selected position so a default divider image will be displayed inside the Help View panel in Live.
Figure 8: Add Divider Image At Selection We can see now that the operation has positioned the markup language Live needs to display a divider image in the Help View pane. This uses the file Divider.tiff which is part of the Live installation
Add Image File At Selection
We can perform a similar operation to add an image at any desired position. Simply place your selection cursor where you want the image to appear in the Lesson Info section and select 'Add Image File At Selection' from the Edit menu. The app will open a dialog window asking you to navigate to and select an image. Navigate to the folder you created earlier and select the image you want.
Figure 9: Add Image File At Selection Navigate to your Lessons folder and load the image you want
Figure 10: Add Image File At Selection Here we have added the markup to load the image GlueEQ8.png to a selected position inside our Lesson Info. This will show up as the image inside the Help View panel in Live.
Important - do not forget you need to prep this first and manually drag the image files into your lessons folder. There is no 'Collect All And Save' function inside the Live Lesson Generator (yet). If you do not do this there will be broken links in your lesson!
Add Bullet Point List To Text Selection
We can easily turn text into a bullet point list. Simply select each line of the text one at a time and choose 'Add Bullet Point List To Text Selection'.
Figure 11: Add Bullet Point List To Text Selection Here we have selected each line of text for our bullet point list one at a time and chosen 'Add Bullet Point List To Text Selection' from the Edit menu. We can see now that the operation has positioned the markup language Live needs to display a bullet point list for each piece of text in the Help View pane
Add Hyperlink To Selected Text
We can easily add an hyperlink to an external web site via adding a suitable https URL to our Lesson Info. Simply select the text you want to link from and choose 'Add Hyperlink To Selected Text' from the Edit menu. We can even do this to Bold text if we first add the markup via the 'Set Text Selection To Bold' function in the Edit menu.
Figure 12: Add Hyperlink To Selected Text Select the text in the Lesson Info that you wish to link to an URL. You can set the text to Bold first to make it easily recognizable as a hyperlink
This opens a dialog window. Simply paste a working URL into the box and press Confirm.
Figure 13: Add Hyperlink To Selected Text
Add your working URL into the dialog window and press confirm
This should now add the markup to the text where you placed the link. Note - the URL text will not be displayed in the Help View pane in Live but it will be embedded into the text you linked
Figure 14: Add Hyperlink To Selected Text
The URL is embedded into the text you linked via the markup language
The Live Lesson Generator can create up to eight Pages. Pages can be created via the Edit menus Add Page function.
Figure 15: Add Page
Add Pages to your Lesson via the Add Page function
This will add a new page. You can navigate to a Page via the Page tab at the top of the interface. Simply add the Lesson Info as before for your new page. If you want to delete a Page, make sure you have selected the Page you wish to delete and use 'Delete Selected Page' from the Edit menu. You can not delete Page 1. The selected Page is in a larger font size.
Figure 16: Add Page
Add your Page Name, Target Name and Lesson Info as before
Add Page Link To Selected Text
Live will automatically give us a direction buton to step sequentially through our pages. However, we can freely link between any Pages in our Lesson in any order via a Page link. Let's navigate back to Page 1 and add some text to link to Page 2. Again we can use the 'Set Text Selection To Bold' function to highlight page links. Select the text you wish to link from and choose 'Add Page Link To Selected Text' from the Edit menu.
Figure 17: Add Page Link To Selected Text
Select the text in the Lesson Info that you wish to link to another Page. You can set the text to Bold first to make it easily recognizable as a Page link
This opens a dialog window. Simply paste the Target Name of the Page you wish to link to into the box and press Confirm. Make sure you use a valid Target Name.
Figure 18: Add Page Link To Selected Text
Add the Target Name of the Page you want to link to into the dialog window and press confirm
This should now add the markup to the text where you placed the link. Note - the Page link text will not be displayed in the Help View pane in Live but it will be embedded into the text you linked.
Figure 19: Add Page Link To Selected Text
The Page link is embedded into the text you linked
Export Lesson As LessonsEN.txt File
When you are happy with your Lesson, simply choose 'Export LessonEN.txt' from the Edit menu. The app will save the LessonsEN.txt file to your desktop. Make sure you navigate to the lessons folder you created earlier and drop the file in there. You have to manage your file paths manually else you may not have a functioning lesson!
Figure 20: Export Lesson As LessonsEN.txt File
This function allows you to export your lesson with all the markup language you defined
You are now ready to open the Project in Live and explore your lesson via the Help View pane.
Got An Example Lesson?
Yes! You can grab the Chamber of Understanding project below. It is a fully completed track that features a lesson exploring Max For Live Instruments, Mixing Techniques and Max For live Audio FX.
Live Suite 10 or Live Standard 10 with the Max For Live Add-on and Wavetable
Max For Live Creative Essentials
Convolution Reverb Pro
Figure 22: The Chamber Of Understanding Example Lesson
This lesson has seven pages with multiple URL hyperlinks, images and Page links
How Can I Learn More?
You can open the LessonEN.txt file in any text editor to explore the markup language used. Or have a look at this (old) article from Sound On Sound magazine.
Figure 23: LessonsEN.txt
The LessonsEN.txt file open in Sublime Text
How Did You Make This?
Happy learning & teaching!