Archive Page 2

Drawing in PowerPoint- Glass

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Glass is transparent. But, if it is perfectly transparent, it is invisible. Conventional drawing techniques add color, reflections and other features to create more or less visible renditions of glass.

In this post, I’ll show you how to use PowerPoint techniques to create some glass objects; you can judge the success of this effort for yourself. In particular, I will use transparent Fill colors, 3D Materials, and glass textures available on the web to approximate the properties of glass. I will also use 3D Depth and Rotations with these tools.

The simplest approach is to use a non-zero Transparency setting for a Fill color; here’s an example:

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This is a Rectangle with a blue Fill; conventionally,  blue, gray or green is used (unless you want “colored” glass). The second rectangle has Transparency set to 67%. The other examples have a 3D Depth and a Rotation.  The fourth example is a copy of the third with the Lighting Angle changed; this makes the top edge darker,

A more satisfying approach uses transparent Gradient fills to provide reflections/highlights. A diagonal gradient is often used as a generalized reflection:

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The third and fourth examples use a white gradient that is nearly opaque in the center; this seems to be a more convincing effect.

PowerPoint gradient tools seem clumsy to me; maybe it just takes practice. Here are the settings for the third and fourth examples:

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You can also use gradient fills in text:

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When you apply effects to a text box, you will have an option to affect the text or the shape.

You can also create reflections by drawing appropriate shapes; here is an example of a stylized beaker that I used in my post on animating liquids:

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This is a deliberately “cartoony” style signaled by the heavy outlines and flat rendering. Here’s how it’s made:

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I used standard shapes and Merge Shapes/Union and Subtract to make the parts of the beaker.  The diagram shows Unioned objects in red and Subtracted objects in green. The beaker and the highlights are semi-transparent.

Here are some more examples of this style:

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Another way to create “glass” objects is to use the 3D/Format Material property; in these examples I’ve used the Translucent/Clear option:

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You can see that curved surfaces are highlighted. The last example has a slightly curved surface created by applying a Top Bevel/Circle; this creates highlights/reflections.

You can use other 3D tools to create “glass” objects:

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This  is an Oval with Line but no Fill. The first example uses Transparent/Powder  material and the second is Transparent/Clear. Both are rotated with about 200 pt Depth.

I strongly suggest you read my post on the peculiarities of PowerPoint 3D, particularly the interaction among shapes, Fills, Lines and Bevels, before you experiment with 3D objects.

Here’s another glass object with some notes:

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This is another example of a unfilled Oval with a bottom Bevel; the red version shows how the Bevel affects only the Line.

This version looks like an unfilled Oval but it’s not:

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Here the Oval has a 99% transparent Fill; this forces the bottom Bevel to apply to the entire shape (blue version).

Here are a glass ball and a dome, made from an Oval:

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The ball has a Top Bevel/Circle; the width and height of the bevel are equal to the radius of the Oval in points (1 in = 72 pts). The dome adds Depth and is Rotated.

This example shows the construction of a wine glass; Transparent/Clear Material is used for all the parts:

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The base has an Angle Bevel and a small Depth.

If you are interested in these examples, you may also like my post on balls and spheres and the one on wires and pipes.

You can also use Material/Clear on text:

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You can find glass “textures” on the web; these are usually photographs of real glass. Here are some examples:

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To make a photo image transparent, create an appropriate shape, fill the shape with the photo, and set the Transparency as needed. Here’s the process:

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I usually Copy the picture and use Fill/Picture or Texture/from Clipboard to fill the shape with the texture. The last version above applies 3d Depth and Rotation as before. You can also use Fill/Picture, etc., with text:

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Here’s an application of a transparent texture; the “glass” is in front of an image of a menacing guy:

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This example is improved by using an Artistic Effect/Mosaic Bubbles on the guy image to simulate the refraction that would be caused by the water drops:

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I also adjusted the brightness and contrast of the guy image to eliminate a background created by the Bubble effect.

I have had issues with Artistic Effects since I first experimented with them – sometimes the options are unresponsive or grayed out. This may be a resource/performance problem with my $400 Chinese laptop. I have briefly researched this and found only a few reports of these problems (one of which speculated that it is a performance issue) and no resolution. I suspect that these features are rarely used or that potential users simply abandon them because of the issues. Try it for yourself and report problems to Microsoft.

Here’s another example using textured glass:

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Here I used the Glass Artistic Effect on the image. The texture was made transparent using the Picture Fill technique and reduced in size to more closely match the “grain” of the Artistic Effect.

One more example (no Artistic Effect this time):

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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 – glass

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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Building Your Story – Still More Construction Equipment

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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:

crane

Here’s the animation:

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

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  • 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:

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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:

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  • 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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

Building Your Story – More Construction Equipment

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The last post introduced the idea of using metaphorical construction equipment to build your PowerPoint story. The post before that showed you how to use animation to introduce list items. This post continues the theme with more construction equipment animations.

Here’s the first example; the folks over at Acme Services, Inc., use an electromagnetic crane to introduce their customer service principles:

The electromagnetic crane is an easy animation because the load simply drops when the magnet is turned off. Of course, its important that the audience recognizes this kind of equipment.

Here are notes on this example:

  • The hook assembly is pretty simple except for the hook itself:

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  • I used Merge Shapes to draw the hook: I applied Union to the circle and square (red) and Subtracted the green oval and then the tilted green square. The rest of the assembly is made from standard PowerPoint shapes. Here’s the hook and magnet drawing:

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  • The “load” is a Rectangle with text in an impressive font. The gradient fill for the rectangle suggests steel. I added a Bevel/Relaxed Inset to the rectangle and a Bevel/Soft Round and a darker fill color to the text:

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  • Each animation opens with the crane assembly with the load dropping and pausing above the final load position. Then the load drops to the final position and the crane assembly lifts upward. I started by drawing two target rectangles on the slide, one for the pause position of the load and another for the final position.
  • I placed the load and crane assembly in their initial relationship above the slide and added a Line/Down motion path to the load. I set the end point at the “pause” location and accepted the default Smooth Start/Stop for the motion path. Here’s what this looks like:

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  • Using the Animation Painter, I copied the load motion path to the crane assembly. Since the motion paths are identical, the crane assembly and the load will move down together (see the previous post for more on this).
  • I added a Down motion path to the load to get it to the final position; I selected the Bounce end option for realism.
  • The Up motion path was added to the crane assembly to complete the first phase. Here’s the animation pane:

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  • To create the two additional phases, I copied the slide and added the previous load in its final position. The I moved everything else on the slide,  including the red boxes, up, positioning the final position of the current load (red box) just above the previous load(s). The animation is preserved and works for the second and third phases!  The animation takes three slides; here’s the second slide.

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The next example is a tower crane; here the “carrier” moves the load on a horizontal boom:

Here are the notes:

  • Here’s how the boom is constructed:

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  • First, draw a Trapezoid (red) and rotate it to use as a guide. Draw a smaller Trapezoid and add diagonal lines (blue). Group the Trapezoid and lines and adjust the height only to form a section of the boom structure. Continue duplicating and adjusting to form the rest of the boom. Delete the guide and group the result. Add the stay cable (diagonal line).
  • Now, place the boom and other crane objects (carrier, hook assembly, “straps” and the load) in their initial position. The hook assembly is the same as the last example; the other objects are simple shapes. Add two “targets” (red rectangles) representing the intermediate and final position of the load:

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  • Add the Line Right motion path to move the load to the intermediate position. (For each of these steps, preview the animation to confirm the effect.)
  • Add the Line Down motion path (no Smooth Start or Stop) to the load to move it to the final position.
  • Using the Animation Painter, copy the load animations to the hook assembly and the two straps. You will have to re-order and adjust items in the Animation Pane as this process continues to get the correct relationships among the effects.
  • Add the Line Up motion path (no Smooth) to the load to move it back to the intermediate position.
  • Add the Line Left motion path to the hook and carrier to return them to the off-slide position. You will have to edit the default Line motion path, adjusting its start and end points to move the objects from their current positions to the off-slide position. Since motion paths “snap” together, this is relatively easy.
  • Here’s the animation at this point:
  • Something’s missing, right?  I’ll add the missing piece of cable and use Stretch and Collapse to fill the gap when the the hook is lowered.
  • The size and position of the added cable object is critical for a smooth animation; I used temporary copies of the carrier and hook along with Drawing Guides to get this right:

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  • Next, add the Stretch/From Top and Collapse/To Top effects and place them at the appropriate point in the Animation Pane.
  • Also, add Collapse/From Top to the “straps” holding the load before the hook rises. Here’s an annotated version of the final Animation Pane (the clicks are for convenience in testing the animations):

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As I have mentioned before, only a few effects have the Smooth Start/Stop options; in particular, the Stretch/Collapse effects don’t. So, I zeroed out the Smooth options in some of the motion paths so that the motion would synchronize with the Stretch/Collapse of the cable object.

The order of steps in the animation process is not arbitrary; it is meant to maximize the use of the Animation Painter and make the process a little easier.

I have a couple more machines in mind for these kinds of animations; I’ll show you those in the next post.

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.

If you want to contact me directly, there is a contact form on the About page.

Building Your Story – Using Construction Equipment

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In the last post, I showed you how to “build” elements of your presentation to help capture the audience’s attention and to increase comprehension.  A couple of the examples in that post used devices (a car and a UFO) to deliver an object to the slide. This post extends this idea by using construction equipment to “build” your story.

Here’s an example:

Here an earth mover pushes a substantial block labeled “integrity” into place, presumably to form the foundation of your company’s value proposition. Additional animations might introduce other layers or components.

As I have done before, I used standard PowerPoint shapes and a clipart image from the web to create the machine:

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I pasted the clip art image onto a slide and overlaid several standard shapes (Rectangles, Rounded Rectangles, Triangles, Ovals, etc.) to create a simplified version of the machine. I lightened the image for better contrast and used different line colors to help keep track of the component shapes.

I developed this technique to make original graphics easier for users who are not artists or who are not skilled with other drawing techniques. You’re welcome.

I also occasionally use Merge Shape tools to create new shapes. For example, the knobby tire outline is a 32-pt Star (red in the diagram above) with the points cut off by Subtracting a Donut shape (blue).

Here’s the earth mover with color added:

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The machine consists of four Groups: the body, the two wheels and the blade assembly. The blade assembly is in front of the wheel. Each of these is animated separately.

The foundation block (the “load”) is a Rectangle containing centered text in an impressive font:

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The Rectangle is filled (Picture or Texture Fill) with a marble texture. I added a 3D Format/Front Bevel/Cross for the edge treatment. An Angle bevel and gold fill completes the text. (If you need more help with bevels, etc., there are tutorials available on the web. indezine.com is a consistently good source for tutorials.)

Here’s the layout for the animation showing the starting and ending points for the animation steps (click on the picture to enlarge it):

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  • Like a mystery writer, I started at the end by placing the load at the center of the slide.
  • I placed the machine elements next to the load.
  • I created a ruler with units equal to one quarter of the circumference of the wheels. The circumference is about 3.14 times the diameter (remember?). I set the ruler at the front wheel’s center and extended it left to a point where the machine and load are off the slide to the left. This establishes the starting points for the elements.

A distance increment of 1/4 the circumference is equivalent to a 90 degree rotation of the wheel. Using this increment simply makes it easy to calculate the Spin animation for the wheels.

In creating the animation, I used the Animation Painter to minimize the number of times I had to create identical effects on different objects – the parts of the machine are separate but move together. This may become clearer below.

The Animation Painter is a tool that allows you to copy the animation effects of one object to a second object. However, the tool has a couple of properties that make it less than perfect:

  • The tool applies to objects rather than effects. That is, you can’t select individual effects and copy them.
  • The tool replaces all the animations of the second object rather than adds to them.

Here’s the first step in animating the earth mover and the load:

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This is a Motion path/Line/Right effect. I accepted the default Smooth Stop/Start settings for the motion path (more about this later). Next, I edited the default motion path to set the end point at the load “target” location (the red rectangle).

To edit a Line motion path, select the path and move the start and end points (red and green dots). To preserve the orientation of a Right/Left/Up/Down path, hold down Shift while moving the point.

Using the Animation Painter, I copied the motion path to the earth mover body. Here’s the result:

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Since the motion paths are identical, the two objects will move together and end up in the same relative position. This is much easier than drawing the path for the body by hand.

Next, I added the path that causes the body to return to its original position. This a Line/Left path with the end points edited. In particular, the starting point is moved to the end point of the first “entry” motion path and the end point to the start of the first path – here’s what this looks like:

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The begin/end points of motion paths will “snap” to other motion path points. In this case, this is convenient since I want the paths connected. In some cases, the “snap” is a nuisance.

The two motion paths are now copied to the blade and the wheels. Here’s the result:

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During these steps, you will have to re-order the effects in the Animation Pane to get the right result. Here’s the Animation Pane at this stage:

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The first group of effects move all the parts to their first positions and the second group moves the parts back to the left, except for the “load” which is left in the center of the slide. All these parts move together exactly since they have identical motion paths.

Notice that the objects have meaningful names rather than the arbitrary default names assigned by PowerPoint. You can rename objects in the Selection Pane. This is extremely helpful for animations like this (and for providing examples for blogs).

The next task is to apply rotations to the wheels. I applied 720 degrees (2 rotations) Clockwise Spin to the front wheel; this corresponds to the distance traveled as the machine moves into the slide. I also added 720º Counterclockwise Spin to the front wheel corresponding to the exit of the machine.

A couple of notes about the Spin animation: first, the Effects Option Pane has an Amount pulldown where you can set the amount and direction of the Spin. In my example, 720º (Tw0 Spins) happens to be one of the pre-set options:

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If you want to set a value that is not one of the pre-sets, you can enter it in the Custom field. You must hit Enter after the value in order for the amount to “take.” This is unusual behavior.

Second, the Spin options include Smooth Start/End like a motion path. However, the default Spin does not include these options. So, in my example, I synchronized the rotation and the wheel travel and by setting the Smooth options to match the motion path. If you use motion paths With other effects, the Smooth options will likely not be available.

The final step is to apply the Spins to the rear wheel (using the Animation Painter) and arrange the order in the Animation Pane:

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Notice that the order of steps in this process is not arbitrary – it is meant to allow you to use the Animation Painter to avoid having to enter each of the effects separately. In addition, using the Animation Painter to copy motion paths is useful when a group of objects must move together (that is, in a fixed relative position). Doing this “by hand” can be a little fiddly. So, the Animation Painter is not so bad after all.

I have gone into some detail in this post so I’ll have to include some more construction examples in my next post. As usual, if you would like a free PowerPoint file use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a “source” file containing these projects:

Powerpointy blog – 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.

Building Your Story – Animated Lists

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Your presentations are full of lists: agendas, products and features, customers, office locations, schedules and miscellaneous bullet points. Animating some of these lists is a good way to add impact and engage your audience; here’s why:

  • Presenting a load of information all at once is a deadly habit. Progressively disclosing items one at a time will allow you to keep  your audience’s attention focused where you want it.
  • Animation is a powerful attention grabber; it is nearly impossible to ignore. (The reasons are rooted in survival instincts – see here for more.)
  • Sometimes, the choice of animation effects can actually add to your message; I will show you some examples in this post.

Here’s an example that the folks over at Acme use to discuss their customer management services:

Acme presenters discuss each element of the “mantra” one at a time. The animation is eye-catching and adds to the idea that these principles are a solid foundation for customer service.

Here are some notes:

  • Each “brick” is a Rectangle containing text. 3D Bevels are applied to the Rectangle and the text to suggest solidity and importance.
  • Each animation is a Fly-in/From Top. This is much simpler than a motion path and works well as a “building” step.
  • The Fly-in has a Bounce end setting; again, this suggests weight.

A top-down build may be useful for other lists (an agenda, for example). This example uses Stretch animations to introduce each element:

Some more ideas about agendas are in this post.

These ideas can be applied to other structures – a pyramid, for example:

This sketch suggests the organizing a structure by selecting elements from a stockpile. Line motion paths are used. As I often do, I made a target structure (red outlines) to aid in setting the motion path endpoints; here’s what this looks like:

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You can apply animations to SmartArt diagrams, too. Here’s an example of a Radial Venn diagram with Fly in animations:

Animating SmartArt is a little different; here’s how this was done:

  • Select the diagram and apply the animation (Fly in). The default will apply the effect to the entire diagram.
  • Under Effect  Options (SmartArt animation), select One by one (other diagram types may have different nomenclature). This creates a list of effects in the animation pane that you can edit.
  • For this example, I Removed the effect for the central element and modified the direction, order and timing of the remaining elements.
  • If you struggle to get the result you want, try decomposing the SmartArt into individual ordinary objects and working with those (see “Not So SmartArt” for more on this).

Here’s a more elaborate example of “delivering” a list element:

Faithful readers will recognize techniques from my post on animating vehicles. You might want to review that post; here are a few helpful (?) notes:

  • I drew the car using standard PowerPoint shapes. This may be simpler for you if you are not comfortable with drawing Freeforms. Here’s the process:

bld2

  • The shapes (Ovals and Chords) are combined using Merge Shapes/Union and Subtract for the wheel openings. The wheels are combination of Ovals with a Star and a Donut.
  • The body and wheels are kept separate since they will be animated separately.
  • I applied a motion path to the car body, positioning the end point using a temporary target version of the car.
  • Using the Animation Painter, I applied the identical motion path to the other elements. This assures that the elements will move together.
  • I added Spins to the wheels. Each wheel rotates once each time the wheel travels a distance equal to the circumference of the wheel (that is, diameter times 3.14). See the animated vehicle post for details.
  • I used a second slide for the last part of the animation. After positioning the elements to match the outcome of the first slide, I added animation to drop the tow rope and drive off to the right.

I often spread an animation sequence over several slides. This simply makes it easier to manipulate the animations. Of course, the transition(s) must be automatic and the slide elements must be carefully positioned.

The next idea is a little whimsical:

The saucer’s delivery is a curved motion path combined with a Grow effect. On a second slide, the tractor beam disappears and the saucer exits with another motion path and a Shrink.

I drew the saucer and its cargo using standard shapes. The tractor beam has Soft Edges. The smaller version (that flies in from the left) is a PNG of the original, reduced in size. I couldn’t just shrink the original drawing since the Soft Edge effect is measured in points and doesn’t scale with the rest of the drawing. (There is no logic to this, it’s just how it works.)

The next post will demonstrate similar effects using animated construction equipment.

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

Powerpointy blog – animating lists

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.

Drawing in 3D – Cars

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This is another in a series of posts about creating “3D” (isometric) vehicles in PowerPoint. The previous posts are here and here; you may want to review them.

I have shown you how to draw some “boxy” vehicles. But, creating accurate versions of contemporary automobiles with their sculptural features and curved lines is simply not practical in PowerPoint. So, if the examples here don’t work for you, you may find acceptable clipart on the web. Or you use different graphics software.

Here’s a “crossover” vehicle that will give you an idea of  my approach:

car1

Here’s an exploded version:

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I made flat drawings of most of the surfaces using groups of standard shapes (Triangles, Rectangles, etc.). Then I applied 3D rotations and carefully positioned them to form the car. Surfaces that are not parallel to one of the three axes are drawn as Freeform shapes (outlined in yellow above). Some of the elements are used for alignment purposes and not part of the final drawing (red outlined elements). I used 3D Format/Depth to add, well, depth to the wheels, wheel wells, and the outer “style” element on the side.

One of the more challenging aspects of this technique is getting the colors right. For example, I would like the top surfaces to be lighter in color than the sides (as if the car were lit from the top) but not a different shade of blue.

Here’s why this is so complicated; there are four different factors that interact to determine the color of a rotated 3D object:

  • Fill (and outline) color – obviously, if your object is red, it should remain red when rotated. However, the precise shade of red will be different.
  • Lighting angle – The color will vary when you change this value; presumably this represents a the effect of a light source from different angles but I have not been able to deconstruct the algorithm here. I recommend trial and error.
  • Material – this choice affects the result of the light on the surface. Since you can’t turn the damned light off, you have to make a choice here. I recommend Matte (not the default); it seems to be the simplest.
  • Depth color – If  you use Depth, a default color will be applied; I usually change the color.

Here’s how I started the crossover vehicle:

car3

This “3-view” (side, front, top) was inspired by a couple of photos on the web; one of the photos was a profile. You can also find complete 3-view drawings of automobiles.

Trace the elements of the profile using Rectangles,Triangles and other standard shapes. Don’t try to capture all the detail. Then, using Drawing Guides to align the parts, create the front and top views. I have used Merge Shapes operations (like Union) to eliminate some of the lines. I used different outline colors to distinguish the major parts.

The Merge Shapes operations are very unforgiving; you will often get unwanted bits of outlines in a Union, for example. This is not a big problem here since the outlines will be eliminated.  In other cases, you may have to resort to Edit Points to simplify the resulting shapes.

Here are the parts of the crossover with details and color added:

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The red rectangle and the green line on the body are used to align the mirrors in the assembled view.

Here’s how I started the assembly for the crossover vehicle:

car5

A part of the top view (“plan”) is used for alignment (I used the Parallel/Off-Axis 1 preset rotations for this example). The gray rectangles are rotated and aligned to form the back of the two visible wheel wells.

Here’s the next step:

car6

The rotated side view is aligned with the appropriate line (blue) and the wheel well outline (red) on the plan.  Next, I added Depth to the body and the wheels; the depth color for the body is gray, not the default blue:

car7

Notice that the depth for the body appears at the top as well as the wheel openings; fret not – this will be covered by other elements.

The next step adds the side detail (abbreviated fenders/wings) aligned with the outer line on the plan. I also added Depth to the side detail:

car8

Next, I added the front and top (with the cargo rails):

car9

I added a couple of rectangles to the top to help align the cargo rails.

Finally, I drew the missing surfaces as Freeforms (the two surfaces of the hood/bonnet and the gray surface under the grill). I also added, aligned and added a Bevel to the visible mirror:

car10I temporarily added a profile to the hidden side of the car to help provide reference points for the hand-drawn Freeforms. Here are some additional notes:

  • In actual vehicles, the sides of the top (where the side windows are) are slanted inwards. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I choose not to reproduce that feature since it makes it more difficult to add windows and other details in this area.
  • You can create a variety of acceptable wheels using Ovals, Donuts and various Stars; here’s how the wheels for the crossover are constructed:

car11

  • The cargo rails are made from two Rounded Rectangles using Merge Shape/Subtract functions; here’s the process:

car12

  • I did not detail the steps I used to adjust the colors in this example; see above for the considerations involved.
  • I usually have to go through the construction process a few times to get the alignments and layering right. It’s a good idea to do this before you add color and details.

The next example is a more traditional sedan; this one is inspired by a Cadillac:

car13

Here’s the exploded view:

car14

I used Isometric rotations for this example.

The wheel openings on this kind of vehicle are smaller than on the crossover; the back of the wheel well isn’t needed.

The Cadillac is constructed like the crossover except that the side includes three layers: the outer trim that surrounds the wheel openings, the side of the body, and the inner surface representing the top of the passenger compartment. The side of the body is in two parts so that two different Edges can be used; the lower part’s Edge is the wheel well surface and the upper part provides the lighter “shoulder.” Here’s a simplified picture with red Edges that may make this clearer:

car15

The final example is a “five door” automobile (inspired by a drawing of a Kia):

car16Here’s the explosion – basically the same as the Cadillac construction:

car17

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 – cars

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.

Drawing in 3D – More Vehicles

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This is another post in my series about using PowerPoint’s limited tools to construct “3D” objects. Here are some of the earlier posts that may be helpful:

In this post. I’ll try a few more complicated vehicles. The first is a tanker truck featuring more 3D detail than the earlier vehicle examples and using the 3D Depth option to create the tank component. Here is the “3-view” layout:

mve1

As usual, standard PowerPoint shapes are combined to create the views. Drawing Guides are used to align the parts in the views. I created the side and end views first; then I rotated a temporary copy of the end view 90 degrees to help complete the top view (see the basic house post).

As I suggested in the first post in the vehicle series, you can find 3-views for vehicles on the web for inspiration; this tank truck was inspired by commercial isometric clip art.

The method involves selecting parts of the views, applying the appropriate Format Shape/3D Rotation/Preset and assembling the results to complete the drawing. Here’s how this goes for the cab of the tank truck:

mve2

I used the Isometric preset rotations for the tank truck. The windshield (outlined in yellow) is a Freeform drawn over the isometric view; I have found this to be the simplest way to create surfaces that are not parallel to one of the three axes.

Here’s what the cab looks like with color fills and details. The details, like the grille and lights, are simple shapes grouped with the  surfaces before rotating:

mve3

I added a color outline to the windshield Freeform; this requires adjusting the Freeform (Edit Points) to refit the shape since the dimensions include the outline. The colors are adjusted (top surfaces are lighter) to emphasize the dimensionality. I also added Depth to the “tires.”

To build the rear part of the truck, I started with a top view and added wheels and the visible surfaces of the undercarriage parts:

mve4

Next, I added the edges of the platform and the tank end and rectangles to help align the tank:

mve5

I added the platform top and color and added Depth to the oval to form the tank. The black rectangle helps determine the extent of the tank. I also added Depth to the tires as before:

mve6

To join the two parts of the tank truck, I temporarily added parts of the front view (red) to the back of the cab. Then the two parts are aligned and the object used for alignment deleted:

mve7

The next example is a school bus; I used Depth to make the rounded part of the roof and the wheel wells. Here are the views:

mve8

The outer circles around the wheels will define the wheel openings. The front view shows the rounded parts of the roof (a Pie).

I combined the two rectangles at the bottom of the side view using Merge Shapes/Union. I then Subtracted the larger circles to create the wheel openings.

Here’s a trial assembly (Off Axis 2 presets) showing how the Depth is applied to the roof and the wheel openings.

mve9

I added color and details for this result:

mve10

I experimented with color, Material and Lighting Angle to get the color of the rounded part of the top; as you can see, it is not perfect. That’s one of the tradeoffs in using Depth.

The close-ups below show the appearance of the wheel area without and with the Depth. The front-to-back order of the elements is important in hiding the Depth in areas other than the wheel wells.

mve11

Here are two views of a pickup truck derived from an image I found on the web:

mve12

The truck features large wheel openings; I created these in my model using Trapezoids and Subtract as before. Notice that I ignored the the slanting sides of the cab; this is a helpful simplification that I will also use in my upcoming post on 3D cars.

Here’s a view of the rotated parts:

mve13

The Trapezoids aligned with the top view are used as the back wall of the wheel well. The green line on the side view is used to align the mirrors.

Here’s the assembled model showing how the Depth is used to complete the wheel wells:

mve14

Here’s the finished model; the truck bed is a Rectangle,  rotated with a Top Bevel (Slope) applied (see this post for details on Bevels). I fiddled with the Bevel Width and Depth to get the appearance I wanted:

mve15

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 vehicles

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.

Drawing in 3D – Simple Vehicles

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This is another in a series of posts about drawing  “3D” objects using  the limited tools available in PowerPoint. The recent posts are: 3D buildings3D house basics, and 3D houses. There are a couple of earlier posts about 3D: a tower icon and network demo – icons.  In this post, I’ll create some simple vehicles.

You should review some of these posts if you have trouble with the technique; here are some brief notes about my approach:

  • I use the “parallel” (not perspective) 3D options; this is simpler and is acceptable in many situations.
  • 3-view drawings are used to create object surfaces that are then rotated  in 3D (using rotation Presets) and assembled to form the object.
  • Surfaces that are neither vertical or horizontal (“oblique”) are created by drawing the outline directly (a Freeform). There are a couple of other ways to do this but I use this method for simplicity.

Accurately drawing vehicles with their complex sculptural shapes is not practical with the available PowerPoint tools. I’ll start in this post with some “boxy” vehicles and attempt more complicated drawings in later posts.  In any case, these kinds of drawings may not meet your needs.

The first example is simple and “boxy:”

veh1

The 3-view shows the side, front and top of the vehicle (see the simple house post for details on creating the 3-view); I used Drawing Guides to align the parts of the vehicle. The views are created using standard PowerPoint shapes (Rectangles, Ovals and Trapezoids).

Briefly, here’s how to create the top view: make a copy of the front view and rotate it 90 degrees. Use the rotated view and the side view to create the top view. Here’s a schematic:

veh7

The 3D view of the vehicle shows how the rotated elements are assembled. I used the Isometric 3D rotation presets.

The windshield is an example of an oblique surface that is created as a Freeform (yellow).

Briefly, here’s how to draw the windshield: assemble enough parts to define the corners of the desired shape. Select the Freeform tool and click on the four corners, double clicking the last one. If you want to adjust the shape, right click on the shape and select Edit Points. Use the cursor to select and move the points. If PowerPoint decides to curve one of the line segments, right click on the segment and select Straight Segment. Reference to other tutorials and practice will help.

Here’s the vehicle with color fills:

veh2

Color differences help with the dimensional look. Top surfaces are lighter; vertical surfaces are darker. In this example, the light is supposed to come from the top right. Use fill colors and 3D Format/Lighting Angle. By the way, this would be easier if I could turn the Lighting off.

I added 3D Format/Depth to the “tire” (black filled outer circle of the wheel only) to complete the drawing. Selecting the circle may be a little difficult; using the Selection pane may help.

Here’s a more complicated “boxy” example:

veh3

Again, the windshield is a Freeform (yellow). Here’s the truck with color and signage:

veh4

In the post on drawing houses, I suggested that you find 3-views/elevations of houses on the web to use as guides for drawing. You can also find 3-views of vehicles; I used one to create these views of a city bus:

veh6

The bus image has been faded so that the outlines show up better. Again, standard Shapes have been used to “trace” the image. If you are confident with Freeforms, you can use them for some of the outline parts. The top view is created from the side and front view as explained above.

Here’s a note that may help when sizing or positioning shapes with acute angles. Here are two identical triangles:

veh8

The top triangle has the Line property Join Type set to Miter (the default); the bottom triangle has the property set to Bevel (the line is heavy to clarify the difference). As you can see the Miter triangle looks larger than it actually is due to the treatment of the acute angle. The Bevel property makes it easier to align triangles. Of course, there is no difference in the triangles when the outline is removed.

Here are the three view of the bus with color and details added:

veh9

The red rectangle in the front view is used to align the rear-view mirror in the 3D construction. I started by copying, rotating and aligning the side, top and part of the front (the grill/bumper assembly). I used the Off Axis 1 rotation presents for the bus.

Then I copied, grouped and rotated the red rectangle and left mirror. I aligned the rectangle in the mirror group with the front edge of the side view and added some depth to the mirror; here’s a picture:

veh10

To eliminate the red rectangle, click on it an set the Line Color to No Line; deleting it will throw the mirror out of place.

I temporarily added a version of the side view to provide reference points for drawing the two parts of the windshield (yellow):

veh11

Here’s the final result. I added an outline to the windshield; this necessitates resizing the freeforms slightly (using Edit Points) since the outline adds to the dimensions of the object. I also added depth to the tires.

veh12

In the next post, I will try a few more complicated vehicles. I will attempt automobiles in the third post in this series .

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 – 3d vehicles

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.

Drawing in PowerPoint – 3D Houses

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The previous post in this series showed how to draw a simple house using PowerPoint “3D” and how to overcome some common problems. This post will present two more detailed examples.

Making these examples was tedious.  The level of detail I used (steps, porch railings, etc.) takes a lot of work. You might want to make less detailed versions, especially since the houses are likely to be used at a small size (e.g., in a cityscape or village).

My general approach is this:

  • Find an example. I have used actual house plans or architectural renderings. An example with both front and side elevations is useful but not necessary – you can create a simple side view given a front elevation. Flat drawings are easiest; a perspective drawing or photo may be harder to use.

Using architectural drawings as a starting point will help assure that the proportions of your house are realistic as well as provide inspiration.

  • Using the example, create a simplified front elevation. I do this by “tracing” over the parts of the example drawing using rectangles and other standard Shapes.
  • Next, create a simple slide elevation using Drawing Guides to align the parts with the front elevation. Use a side elevation from your example as a guide (if available).
  • Using the method outlined in the first post, create the top (or “plan”) elevation.
  • Create a trial 3D construction assuring that the parts are consistent (again, see the first post for an example).
  • Add details (windows, doors, trim, etc.) along with colors.
  • Create the final 3D construction.

Here’s how I “traced” the first example (I think this is a “bungalow”):

hos1

You can see the red shapes over the gray original drawing; the house outline, porch posts and the porch roof have been simplified.

Here are the front and side views:

hos2

I used Drawing Guides, Snap to Grid and 0.05″ grid spacing to make it easier to draw and align the parts. The blue rectangles are used to assure a consistent roof overhang.

Here are all three views:

hos3

Next, I used these views to create a trial 3D rendering. I used the Off-Axis 2 preset rotations; in earlier posts, I used the Isometric presets. Here’s my trial version of the main part of the house:

hos13

You can review the first post to see the details of this process. After building the base and the walls, the top view including the overhang (blue) is aligned with the top of the walls. The fascia pieces are added, aligned with the overhang outline. The hip roof is constructed by centering a front view of the roof (green) on the roof top view. This establishes the peak and corners of the roof allowing me to draw the front face of the roof as a Freeform (yellow).

Next, create the intersection of the chimney and the roof; here’s a picture:

hos5

I made 2 copies of the front view of the roof with the chimney (green). I aligned these with the front and back of the chimney outline in the base bottom view. This locates the intersection of the chimney with the roof and allows me to draw the front and side views (black) of the part of the chimney above the roof.

Next, I added details and color to the elevations of the main part of the house and completed the roof and the chimney:

hos7

I tried two ways to construct the porch, after adding color. The first involves selecting and rotating the various “faces” of the porch parts and carefully assembling them to form the porch. This diagram shows the process:

hos8

The front to back order is important here as well as the alignment.

The second approach also involves selecting and rotating faces of the porch parts but uses 3D Depth to add, well, depth. Here’s the process:

hos9

As you can see the depth process is simpler but it is more difficult to get consistent colors. You must pay attention to the (mysterious) 3D Lighting Angle as well as the fill color. You can decide which is better for your project.

I completed the porch roof by adding the trim pieces around the top of the columns, aligning the top view of the porch (including the overhang), and adding the fascia pieces. Then, using a front view of the porch roof as guide I drew the roof surfaces:

hos11

Here’s the final assembled bungalow:

hos12

The second example is a cottage; here are the source drawings and my “tracings:”

hos14

Here are the three views constructed from the “tracing:”

hos15

I used a Parallelogram for the fascia pieces on the ends of the two roofs and the outline of the porch step railing.  However, I manually rotated the shape and PowerPoint 3D has a problem with rotated shapes; the 3D rotations are created relative to the original orientation. This is hard to explain – try it and see. I overcame this in two ways: I grouped the shapes (end of the main roof) and I redrew the shapes as (black) Freeforms (the end of the porch roof and the outline of the step railing).

Here’s the trial 3D rendering for the cottage:

hos16

Here’s the cottage with added detail:

hos17

I used Lines in the porch railings; this will work at this scale but remember that, if you enlarge the house, the Line width (like all points-measured dimensions) will not enlarge. Since I plan to convert (Copy/Paste Special) the house drawings to pngs, this will not be a problem.

After adding color, I first built the foundation on its outline:

hos18

Next. I added  the house walls and the porch floor structure; the house outline overhangs the foundation:

hos19

Next, I added the porch railings, the roof gables and the fascia pieces. I used the Depth technique for the porch railings since there are so many parts. The lighting/color for the railings is not quite correct but at least it’s consistent.

hos20

Here’s the complete cottage:

hos21

If you would like to build some houses, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a free “source” PowerPoint file containing these projects:

Powerpointy blog – 3d houses

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.

Drawing in PowerPoint – 3D House Basics

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In a previous post, I developed some ideas for creating city buildings using PowerPoint’s limited “3D” capabilities. In this post I will apply the same ideas to individual houses.

These are US suburban examples; you can apply these techniques to other housing styles.

This approach to PowerPoint 3D was first presented in my post on alphabet blocks; basically, I apply 3D rotations to individual “faces” of objects and assemble them to create the result.

Here are the front and side “elevations” of a simple house:

hse1

The views (elevations) are created using simple shapes; I set the grid to 0.1 inches to make it easier to draw and position the shapes. The roof (blue) is a Freeform carefully drawn to match the triangle and including the overhang (eaves).

I used Drawing Guides to assure that the vertical dimensions of the two views match; this is essential to assuring that the 3D shapes line up in the result.

To make the top (plan) view, make a temporary copy of the side view, group and Rotate Left 90 degrees. Use this and the front view to make the top view – extend the dimensions horizontally and vertically with Drawing Guides to complete the layout of the top view:

hse2

The top view of the roof is shown in blue.

Realistically,  you will often make corrections and iteratively redraw the views to build your house,  depending on where you start from (a photo, part of a plan, your own fevered brain, etc.).

I started the 3D version from the bottom; copy the “floor” (the red part of the top view), group and apply the rotation. As in the “buldings” post, I’m using the Parallel/Isometric rotations – the Top Up version for the floor.  I added the end view (except for the roof) and one of the front walls, each with the appropriate rotation:

hse3

Continue with the other visible walls, positioning them carefully to align with the floor and other elements; hold down Ctrl while using the nudge (arrow) keys to override the Grid settings. If you’ve made mistakes in the dimensions, they will show up here. Here’s the result so far:

hse4

The bottom edge of the roof is below the top edge of the walls. The front view shows this overlap dimension so I used a temporary copy of the front view (green) to help align the top view of the roof.

I hope this diagram makes this clearer. The red outline of the house (in the top view) is aligned with the bottom of the roof in the temporary (green) front view):

hse5

Constructing the roofs seems to be the most challenging part of these house drawings; more about this later.

Once the top view is aligned, the roof side view (blue) can be added, aligned with the roof top view (blue):

hse6

You can apply a 3D Depth to the roof to extend it to the other end; I used this technique in the “buildings” post:hse7

You may have to adjust the Lighting angle to get the color you want. Another way to complete the roof is to add the other end of the roof side view and draw (using a simple Freeform) the planes of the roof (yellow):

hse8

This option makes it easier to control the color and is a more general solution (see the following) than the Depth technique.

Here’s the house with unnecessary elements removed and color fills added:

hse9

You may want to color the flat (unrotated) elements of the house before assembly (maybe after a trial assembly). It’s a little tricky to select elements of a rotated group; using the Selection pane may help.

You will not get far in drawing these kinds of houses without dealing with complicated intersecting roof volumes; this is an important part of the appearance of these houses. So, I’ll provide a few examples to show you the techniques.

The first example is a kind of “dormer;” here are the 3 views and a partial 3D version:

hse10

I added the second front view of the dormer (green), aligned with the top view, to provide a reference point (the peak) for drawing the visible part of the dormer roof (a Freeform), shown here in yellow:

hse11

 Here’s a dormer higher on the roof:

hse12

The rotated side view is positioned to align with the edge of the dormer in the top view. A copy (green) of the front view is aligned with the peak of the dormer to provide a reference point for drawing the visible roof surface of the dormer (yellow):

hse13

Here’s an example of intersecting roofs; a copy of the side view (green) is used to help draw the roof surface (yellow). The other roof planes can also be drawn with Freeforms:

hse14

“Hip” roofs are also common; you can create hip roofs using a Bevel/Angle
as shown here:

hse15

Notice that the non-square version using a Bevel will have a ridge; to get a non-square hip roof without a ridge, use the approach shown here:

hse16

Unlike the simple house example, none of these roof examples have accounted for eaves/overhangs.

This post has presented some basic techniques for constructing 3D houses in PowerPoint; the next post will apply these techniques to building a typical house.

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 objects:

Powerpointy blog – 3d house basics

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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