Animating a “Breakthrough” in PowerPoint – Part 1

A “breakthrough” effect is a dramatic way to present your brand, “punch line” or a big announcement. Here’s an example:

The animation has three parts: the cracks, the breakout fragments, and the “hole” with the message. The cracks appear first, then the fragments fly apart, revealing the message. Here’s how to do it:

  • Create the cracks; each consists of a series of separate Freeforms. Begin each series at a common point near the center of the slide:


  • On a duplicated slide, using the cracks as a guide, construct the fragments – polygons created as Freeform shapes. Don’t cover the ends of the cracks. Draw the fragments carefully so that they touch but don’t overlap; the fragments are temporarily outlined in red for clarity:


  • Fill each fragment with the background color, remove the line color and add a shadow. The shadow is Outer, Offset Bottom Right with zero transparency and blur.
  • Again, using the pieces as a pattern, create the “hole”  (another Freeform, shown in green) on another slide:


  • Fill the hole with a contrasting color, add an interior shadow and the message (the text “BREAKTHROUGH!” in this example):


  • Each element (cracks, fragments and hole) should be on a separate slide. This makes the animation a little more manageable; I’ll combine them later.
  • For the cracks, add appropriate Wipe animations to each segment; the idea is that the cracks propagate from the center.
  • The fragments Appear all at once and then, then fly outward (a motion path). Use a Left or Right motion path, edited so that the fragment ends up off the slide:


  • Apply an Appear animation to the hole (the shape grouped with the message (text)).
  • On a new slide, copy the cracks, then the hole, then the fragments. All of the fragments should be In Front of the hole and the hole should be In Front of the cracks.
  • Reorder the hole animation so that it is With the fragments.  That is, the hole should appear at the same time as the fragments but it will be Behind the fragments. Here’s the animation pane:


Here are a few things you may want to experiment with:

  • Sound effects.
  • Timing adjustments; for example, slow down the first part (cracks) for more drama.
  • Modifying the motion paths (curves, for example).
  • Adding additional effects (Spin, zoom, etc.) to the motion paths. Here’s a similar animation with curved motion paths and Spin effects:

Note: Conversion to video and uploading sometimes makes these videos run less smoothly than the original PowerPoint. Sorry.

  • Add an explosion/flash.
  • Add texture to the background and fragments.

If you want a free copy of a PowerPoint file demonstrating these techniques, use the form below:

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