3d Network Demo – Part 3: Animation


This post is the third in a series about demonstrating complex systems. The project involves a computer network and the addition of elements to improve the security of the network. Part 1 describes the construction of the network icons and part 2 involves the layout of the network.

This post will add animation. The idea is to introduce the basic network, add the security elements and demonstrate their operation.

Caveat: This is a simplified representation and I am not an expert in the subject matter. My objective is only to demonstrate PowerPoint techniques.

Complex systems can be more easily comprehended as parts and relationships introduced sequentially rather than as a monolithic whole. The process is called “chunking” and, in PowerPoint, is a good application for animation. (For more on “animation for a reason,” see this post.)

Here’s how I introduce the network:

The network appears in parts. starting with the central router icon. The links and the subnetworks are introduced with Wipe animations. This is a compromise that works for the links but is problematic with the network segments. A diagonal wipe animation would be better (showing the subnets “growing” along the isometric grid lines) but this isn’t available in PowerPoint. If this bothers you, you may want to use a different animation for the network elements; this example uses a Fade:

The next step is to add the security elements to the network:

I used a Fly-in animation to introduce the new elements; you may choose something less dramatic. Notice that the new elements have a contrasting color scheme to distinguish “my company’s” products.

It is useful to add descriptive call-outs when the elements are introduced. Here’s how this looks:

The call-outs identify the added security elements. It’s probably not a good idea to add a lot of detailed specification information at this point. The layout of the slide also works as a static slide for your handout.

Next, I want to add animation to represent traffic on a busy network:

  • The “traffic” is represented by blue circles, traveling to/from various network points. The animation paths are visible in this grayed-out version of the slide:


  • Each animation consists of Appear, followed by a motion path drawn along the network links. Auto Reverse is selected on each path as way to easily add activity. The last step is Disappear.
  • The sequence and timing is set up so that there is some overlap (again, to increase the level of activity) and the duration is roughly adjusted to reflect the length of the path. Here’s the animation pane:


  • I created the first animation and duplicated it and edited the motion path to create the others. In a real world situation, you might want to add more traffic; I ran out of patience.

Next, demonstrate the operation of the security system:

This shows the “capture nodes” reporting to the analysis/storage system; at the end, a red flag indicates that something suspicious has occurred. In the real world, of course, this could be much more elaborate.

If you want a free PowerPoint file containing these animations, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a “source” PowerPoint file:

Powerpointy blog – network demo – animation

See this page for more on downloading files.

If you have questions, praise or complaints, please add a comment below. If you appreciate my efforts, liking or following this blog might be a good idea.


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