Introduction: Creative Edge: Animations in Powerpoint
Not many people use Microsoft Powerpoint to fully exploit its potential, in a way in which the results can be quite startling. Mostly, after getting out of college and being a part of the corporate world, the kinds of presentations I have seen in meetings consist of some basic stereotypical slides, and all it has is text. They sort of resemble the slide in the second image below. Those kinds of Presentations ...make me ...(yawn)..kind o' Slee..zz..zz..ZZZZ
So, have at peek at what we are going to make - The file 'Animation in Powerpoint.ppt' below.
Step 1: What We Need
1. A 21st century toy called 'Computer' - possibly with a mouse, especially if its a laptop(For easier drawing).
2. MS Powerpoint installed on your machine. The one I am using is from Office 2003, but Office 2007 is 4 years younger and any previous version won't make much of a difference.
We are now going to make an animation with a vehicle travelling across the slide.
Step 2: Drawing Shapes
Anything that moves always fascinates me, and I'd love to make a Ferrari or a Hummer burn some (now costly) fuel on my screen, but trucks are simpler to make and ideal for beginning.
Okay, so now that we are all set, I'd like to encourage you to create your own images rather than using clipart. This is going to help you later on for making more stuff(say flowcharts, diagrams etc). We are going to do it using 'Autoshapes'. These are a set of some basic shapes , which when used cleverly can help you create almost anything that Da Vinci could dream ... not really, but they are still very cool, as you will see.
So, firstly click the 'Autoshapes' in the Drawing toolbar, which should by default be at the bottom left of the screen(I hope you have already opened Powerpoint, we are going to make this thing in 15-20 mins!)
Autoshapes > Basic Shapes > Rounded Rectangle
If you do not see the Drawing toolbar, the you could make it visible by checking in:
View > Toolbars > Drawing
Step 3: Fill in the Colours
1. By default, the autoshape will always have some fill colour. But we can obviosly change that by Right-clicking on the shape we drew in last step, and then selecting 'Format Autoshape' to bring up its pop-up menu.
2. Powerpoint gives a variety of options to select the kind of fill we want. We are going to use the 'Fill Effects' option.
3. In this particular case, we are going to choose the 'Gradient', and use a shade of gray for our truck's carriage. The controls you see should be quite self-explanatory. We are going to choose a horizontal shading style that lightens from bottom to top. If you'd like to make the carriage look cylinderical(like in case of a tanker), you could go for the variant that lightens in the middle -The one selected in screenshot.
Step 4: Repeat for More Shapes
Similiarly, you can create and custom fill more of these autoshapes. You can draw 2 more shapes like on the left of the carriage: The orange colour truck cabin and the black connector.
You can then click on these shapes and drag them to bring them close, and drop them so that they fit in together.
Step 5: Wheels!
Now for the most interesting part - the wheels.
1. We are going to use the Donut shape for the wheels.
2. After you draw a donut, we will be selecting an appropriate line pattern. The Dashed line is perfect for rugged and grooved truck wheels. You can make the dashes more pronounced by increasing the line width(The button just to the left of Line pattern selection button).
3. We can use a couple of moon autoshapes for shading. For symmetry, we can create one autoshape and copy-paste it. The new copy can be then selected, and if you click on the 'Draw' button, you can choose the shape to Flip Horizontaly, so that now it becomes the mirror image of the original autoshape.
Draw > Rotate or Flip > Flip Horizontaly
4. After fitting in the moon shaped shadings oppositely on the wheel, I added another autoshape - this time a circle and filled in a gradient radiating from centre. This is for the wheel's spokes. Now, to make it look like its fitted behind the wheel, one can right-click on it, and select 'Send to Back'. You can imagine the result to be similiar to what would be seen were these shapes made of paper-cuttings, arranged one over the other.
5. Now that all the components of the wheel are in place, you can select these together by dragging your mouse pointer to make a dotted selection rectangle, whose area covers these shapes. This is like how you would area-select multiple folders or icons in windows. Then, right-click on any of the selected shapes and to add up these parts to make one wheel, choose:
Grouping > Group
Make some copies of this wheel. Our wheels are now ready to roll!
Step 6: Assembling the Truck
1. You can now put these wheels together with the truck. You can resize any of the shapes(say if they are larger) like you would resize an image, to make sure the ratios look proper and realistic. Then, you can add a black rectangle as a front guard, and a couple of gray rectangles for side view of the headlamps and window shield. The basic truck is ready.
2. If you'd like to indulge in more autoshapes, you can add additional componenets like door, wheel's fit-ins or engine(I made that using a cylinder, a cube and a bevel). This will make your truck look a lot cooler. You could also put some brand-name on the truck's carriage using Word-art, or paste some image if you'd like(Graffiti? Write your name on it ...).
3. Now that the whole truck is ready to be assembled, again area-select all the parts, right-click on any of them and select
Grouping > Group
Like we did in case of the wheels.
Step 7: The Background
1. Lets drive our truck in the day(and without drinking). So to make your slide look somewhat like the one in the screenshot, we will be choosing an appropriate background colour.
2. To choose the backgroud for daylight, right click anywhere on the slide(but not on the poor truck), and select 'Background ...' so that its small pop-up menu opens. Now, just select an appropriate fill - just like we have been using gradients. You can use some of the presets in this case. There is already a preset for daylight.
3. We can put some grass or ground and build a road on it using autoshapes. I used some of the Patterns instead of gradients for grass's fill effect.
Step 8: Adding Animation!
1. Right-Click on the truck and select 'Custom Animation ...'. A tool bar will appear for the custom animation, and there you can Add an effect for animating the truck. Now, obviously as this is a truck and not a ghost, we won't be settling for the effects like Blinds or appear/dissapear. What an earthly truck can do is travel from the the right to the left of the screen. For this effect, we choose:
Entrance > Fly In
2. Choose the parameters. 'Start' is for the trigger the slide-show should look for to start this effect. I chose this as 'With Previous', so that would time my truck to drive in as soon as the slide-show starts. The direction in this Fly effect is going to be from the right side of the slide. We can adjust the speed of the truck too.
Step 9: Done.
Now, just place your truck on the left side, just outside of the slide. This would make it appear as though your truck drove by the motel. If you'd like to make it stop there, just drag the truck in front of the motel. Wherever you place your truck will be its end-position
Now just close your computer and go to sleep :P
Or you could click on the start slide-show icon, usually found in the bottom-left tray, or choose:
Slide Show > View Show
Okay, so I lied. For the first time, its going to take you a tad bit more than the 15 mins. But if you found this stuff engrossing enough, you wouldn't have time to look at the watch.
- If there is any difficulty understanding how some of the objects in the slide were made, you can download and save the presentation I created. Its on the Intro page. Once you open this on your machine, just right-click on any object and select:
Grouping > Ungroup
to see the basic shapes from which the object was made.
- You can place truck outside the slide on the left and notice that the farther it is from the slide, the faster it travels. This is to make your truck go super-fast, if you are not too pleased with the 'Very fast' speed in the Custom Animation settings.