Animating a Wrecking Ball in PowerPoint

While working on the previous few posts (which seem to focus on destruction), I remembered an animation I did several years ago for a sales presentation; the client wanted a “breaking down walls” slide. Here’s what it looks like:


The wrecking ball itself is a circle and the attachment ring is an Oval. The chain segment consists of a Rounded Rectangle and a Line:


To complete the wrecking ball:

  • Add a dark fill to the circle and eliminate the outline.
  • Apply 3-D Format/Bevel/Top/Circle to the circle. The Width and Height of the Bevel should be equal to the radius of the circle in points (see this post for more on drawing “spherical” objects).
  • Add a dark line color and increase the width of the outline for the attachment ring and the chain segment (I used 4 points).
  • For the Line that forms part of chain segment, select Line Style/Cap type/Round.
  • Apply a Circle/Bevel to the ring and chain segment with Width and Height equal to half the line width (2 points).
  • Group the Line and Rounded Rectangle and duplicate as needed to complete the chain. Here’s the result:


The wall consists of roughly rectangular FreeForms:


I used Picture or Texture fill with the built-in Granite texture and a slight Bevel with the Warm Matte material to complete the wall:



To make the animation acceptably realistic, I thought about the “physics” of the action and, at the same time, keeping the animation relatively simple. Here’s what I decided:

  • The ball should swing back and then swing forward, striking the wall. It should actually pass slightly through the vertical, rebound, and then settle at the vertical position.
  • The stone in the wall that is actually struck should move further than the others.
  • The top stone should fall vertically without horizontal motion.
  • The bottom stone shouldn’t move at all.
  • All the moving stones should rotate and bounce convincingly.

I grouped an invisible (no line color) circle with the wrecking ball/chain to set the pivot point; the pivot point is actually above the slide boundary. I added a series of  Spins to the wrecking ball group to get the desired action.

I created a motion path for each stone (see the next post for tips on creating motion paths) following my guidelines. Here’s what the paths look like:


The animation pane looks like this:


Notice that most of the effects use With Previous initiation. I think it’s easier to manually set timing relationships than rely on After Previous which sometimes causes unwanted changes, Note that the Spin to settle the ball is last in the list – this is just an artifact of the way I did the animation but demonstrates that the order of effects in the pane is independent of the animation order when using With Previous.

If you would like a free copy of a PowerPoint file containing the material in this post, use this form:

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