PowerPoint People – Characters

In the previous post, I showed how simple figures can be surprisingly expressive, adding impact to our marketing and sales stories.  In this post, I’ll begin to create individual characters from these basic figures using clothing and a few other embellishments.

Here’s the first character (Mike) – he’s an office worker, a middle manager and is based on the basic male figure developed in the last post:


Mike is built by modifying the body parts of the basic figure and adding a couple of additional shapes. Here’s how Mike is constructed:


Note: I had originally planned to add clothing to the basic figures (like paper dolls) but I found that modifying the shapes in the basic figure worked for me. You may want to use the paper doll approach but remember to group all the elements of a body part including the “centering circles” when you have completed the part.

Here are some notes on Mike’s construction:

  • Each “hair piece” is a Freeform object and is grouped with the original heads. (You can build a library of hair shapes to help you create a variety of characters.)
  • The front view chest shape has been modified (square shoulders). This involves converting the shape to a Freeform and editing the points. The profile chest is not modified (except for color).
  • The tie is a Freeform and is grouped with the chest, both front view and profile.
  • The lower arm has been shortened and a square added to form the cuff.
  • The front view and profile hip sections (Freeforms) have been “opened” to eliminate the outline between the hip and the legs. “Open Path” is an option when editing points.
  • The legs (front view and profile) have been widened.
  • Editing of the original body parts has been done without ungrouping; additional shapes (like the hair) are grouped with the body part.
  • If you add a shape that partially falls outside the centering circle for the part, enlarge the circle to contain the new shape. This assures that the modified part will rotate properly.

Here’s Mike in a few poses:


The last pose is pretty expressive; Mike’s pet project is probably in trouble.

Here’s Mike’s female counterpart (Millie):


Millie’s construction is similar to Mike’s but there are some variations:


  • The chest is an open shape like Mike’s.
  • The bottom of the coat forms the hip section.
  • The upper legs are replaced by the appropriate half of the skirt. Some overlap is provided so that the legs can be spread (in a ladylike manner, of course).

Here are some notes on the construction of Millie’s profile:


  • The hip section is open to avoid the line at the waist.
  • The upper leg is replaced by the skirt, which is rounded at the top to allow Millie to sit.

Here are a few poses:


Clothing has a lot to do with indicating the role of the character. Here’s Mike on the weekend:


Ethnicity can be signaled by hair and skin color:


Some occupations are associated with a “uniform” and accessories. Here’s Nelly the nurse (who seems to have had a very good day):


Here are a couple of similar examples – a police officer:


And a construction worker:


Check out clip art and other images on the internet to get ideas for representing particular occupations.

In this post, I have tried to show you can start with the basic figures and, with simple modifications, develop specific characters for your story. In the next post, I’ll add a little more expressiveness.

If you want a free copy of a PowerPoint file with these examples, use this form:

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