Bouncing Balls – Part 3



The first post in this series uses the built-in Bounce effect to create bouncing ball animations. The second post bored you to death with the construction of hand-drawn, multiple segment “bounce paths.” This time, I’ll create some more animations.


To add some dimensionality to a bouncing ball, you can add a shadow that moves with the ball. By the way,  PowerPoint shadow effects are no help here.

Using the path and grid developed in the last post, use a temporary copy of the ball at the first bounce point to position a shadow (a soft-edged oval). Use the shadow to set an additional horizontal drawing guide to help in drawing the path of the shadow:

bounce3 1

The animation should move the shadow horizontally under the ball.  Apply the Right motion path to the shadow and adjust it so that the path ends at the first bounce point. Order the animation sequence so that the shadow movement is With the ball movement. Adjust the timing so that it matches the ball; you can do this directly by moving the ends of the timing bars in the Advanced (!?) Timeline view so that the bars match. (Zooming in on the timeline makes this easier). Uncheck the Smooth Start/End options. Here’s what this looks like:

bounce3 2

Continue this process, matching the timing of the shadow with each segment of the bouncing animation. As I noted in the previous post, PowerPoint will insist on moving the motion path back to the shadow after you complete each segment. You will have to move it to the end of the previous path each time. Sorry.

Here’s what the resulting set up looks like:

bounce3 3

Here’s the animation:


Cartoonists like to add a “squish” effect to the bouncing ball. Usually, PowerPoint is not good for shape transforming effects but, surprisingly, you can add a squish to the PowerPoint bouncing ball. Ellen Finklestein has also provided a tutorial on this effect. Here’s my version:

This is created using the basic bounce animation as before but adding the Emphasis/Grow Shrink effect. For the first bounce. a Grow/Shrink Vertical 75% is added at the point of impact and a Grow/Shrink Vertical 133% is added with the beginning of the next bounce. Here’s the animation pane for the first bounce with some notes:

bounce3 4

I added the 75% squish to the second impact and (to) 90% on the third and fourth impact to complete the animation.

Exercise for the student: Combine the shadow and squish effects.


To create a perspective version of the bounce layout, make a screenshot of the layout (with drawing guides shown) and apply 3d rotation:

bounce3 7

Getting the screenshot varies depending on your computer; in my case there’s a “print screen” function available from the keyboard. This copies the current screen to the clipboard. You can then paste the image into your PowerPoint file and use Picture Tools/Crop to crop the image.

To rotate the layout, I started with the Perspective Right pre-set and then fiddled the rotation parameters to get a fairly extreme distortion. I ended up with an X-rotation of 325 degrees (other axes set to 0) and a Perspective of 90 degrees.

Next, I added the ball and edited the bounce path used earlier to correspond with points on the rotated layout:

bounce3 5

You could start from scratch but editing the existing path preserves the timing.

By measuring the perspective layout, I estimated that an overall shrink of about 54% would correspond to the layout. I added that shrink and removed the layout for this result:

The animation steps have been set to With Previous and the segment timing adjusted so that a single Shrink can be used. Here’s what I mean:

bounce3 6

Another exercise for the student: You guessed it – add shadow and squish to the perspective bounce.

Perspective Bounce and Drop

Here are a couple of variations:

In the first animation, the ball is in front of the surface (the blue rectangle) as it bounces but drops behind the surface after the last bounce. Since an object cannot be in front of another object and also be behind it, the ball must be replaced just before it drops (see this post for another example like this). So the ball Disappears and a second ball (which is behind the surface) Appears. Here’s the setup:

bounce3 8

The second example is similar but adds a second part to the surface that is behind the dropping ball; cutouts and a black rectangle are added to simulate the hole (the 2 parts of the surface are outlined in red):

bounce3 9


In case all this labored construction puts you off, here’s a freehand example:

The box is constructed of standard shapes with gradient fill on the sides. The motion path (a Curve) is drawn freehand as a single path and then point edited to shape the “hops.” A Shrink is added during the first half second of the animation.

If you want a free copy of the PowerPoint file for this post, use the form below:

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