Building Your Story – Still More Construction Equipment


OK – so I’ve gone a little overboard making animated construction equipment (see here and here). At least, I think I’m learning how to do these animations a little more efficiently. Since I’m using the same techniques here as in these earlier posts, It may help to review them if I don’t provide enough detail here.

The first example in this post is a “straddle crane/carrier” – used in containerized shipping and large scale manufacturing:


Here’s the animation:

Here’s how I drew the crane using standard shapes:


  • The red circles around the “latches” establish the center of rotation for the “unlatch” animation (see below).
  • A Star is used to provide detail for the wheel.

Here’s the version with fill color:


The crane object consists of several parts: the “body” of the crane, four wheels, the “lifting frame” (gray) with its cable, two latches, and the load (blue). Each part will be animated separately.

Here’s the slide layout:


  • The red rectangles denote the intermediate and final positions of the load. These are the only “targets” needed to do the animation since I will use the Animation Painter as described in the previous posts.
  • The “ruler” (green) is used to position the crane (actually, its wheel) a convenient number of rotations to the left of its final position.

Here are the animation steps (the order of steps is intended to make the best use of the Animation Painter and avoid hand-drawing paths):

  • Apply a Line/Right motion path to the “load.” Adjust the end point to the center of the red rectangle marking the intermediate position. (Hold down the Shift key to keep the motion path level.)
  • Using the Animation Painter, copy the load animation to the crane body. Since the motion paths are identical, the two parts will keep their relative positions as they both move.
  • During this process, update the Animation Pane to set the timing and order of the effects (the Painter will put the copied effect at the end of the list).
  • Add a Line/Left motion to the body to return it to its original position. This requires moving the start point of the Left path to coincide with the end point of the first Right path and similarly adjusting the end point.

“Chaining” together motion paths is made easier since the motion path points will “snap” to nearby path points.

  • Apply a Down path to the load to move it to its final position.

Here’s a place where the “snap” of the motion path points may be a problem since a point may snap to any old unwanted nearby path and be difficult to move. You may be able to overcome this problem by zooming in and providing more space to move the point. Holding down Alt will override the snap but this means that it’s harder to position the endpoint.

This is another ill-designed PowerPoint feature.

  • Copy the load animation to the lifting frame using the Painter. Here’s how the animation looks now:
  • Add an Up and a Left path to the lifting frame to move it back to its original position; again, this requires moving the end points (and adjusting the Animation Pane).

If I could simply copy a single effect from an object and add it to another object, this would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, the PowerPoint designers didn’t design the Painter this way. Thanks, again.

  • Next, copy the frame animations to the right latch. Add a 90° counterclockwise Spin to the right latch. Now, copy the right latch animations to the left latch and change the Spin to clockwise.
  • As the lift frame moves down, a gap appears where the cable should be. To fix this, create a short section of cable and position it between the frame and the cross beam of the crane. Apply Stretch and Collapse and edit the Animation Frame (see below) to “fill in the gap.” (The previous post supplies some details on this step.)
  • Finish by animating the wheels: apply the body animation to the first wheel. Add clockwise and counterclockwise Spins corresponding to the distance traveled (see earlier posts). You will need to set the Smooth Start/End timing of the Spins to match the simultaneous motion paths. Copy the animation to the other wheels using the Painter.

Here’s the final (annotated) Animation Pane:


The final (!!) example is a fork-lift:

Here’s the drawing:

con26I Subtracted two Rounded Rectangles to make the wheel openings. There are four parts to the forklift (body, 2 wheels and the fork) that are animated separately.

The layout:


The red wheel and load determine the intermediate position; the green wheel and load determine the final position.

The animation steps (briefly; see above and earlier posts for details):

  • Apply motion paths to the front wheel to move to the intermediate position, the final position and back to the original position. Use the Painter to apply these paths to the body (throughout this process you will need to edit the Animation Pane to order the effects properly).
  • Apply motion paths to the load: to the intermediate position, up and to the final position.
  • Using the Animation Painter, copy the load effects to the fork. Add a motion path to return the fork to its original position.
  • Apply the appropriate Spins to the front wheel; copy the front wheel animations to the back wheel.

Here’s the final Animation Pane:


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

Powerpointy blog – more construction equipment

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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