Posts Tagged '3D rotation'

PowerPoint People – 3D Robots

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This is another post on adding characters to your presentations to help tell and sell your story. There’s an earlier series on simple cartoons (basic figures, characters and expressions) and one on using Lego people.

Since robots are not confined to a human shape, you can create a variety of characters and “occupations.” And, if you think robots can’t have personalities, remember Hal, Bender and WALL-E.

Here’s an example of a humanoid robot figure created in PowerPoint:

RANT: My posts on PowerPoint “3d” are exercises in using tools in ways for which they were never intended.  In addition, PowerPoint 3d is poorly integrated with other PowerPoint drawing features (e.g., shadows) and poorly documented (e.g., 3d rotations and lighting). So, expect serious limitations and disappointments if you venture here without guidance.

I created this robot using techniques I have used before making 3d blocks, buildings, vehicles and other things. Basically, it involves assembling separate objects, each with a “Parallel” rotation, to achieve a “3d” construction.

As usual, I started with front and side views of the robot. Only standard PowerPoint shapes are used; no freehand drawing required:

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Here are some notes:

  • For clarity, I used different outline colors for the body/head, the legs and the arms.
  • I strongly recommend using Snap to Grid with a rather  coarse grid setting (I used 0.05 in.) to make it easier to draw and align the shapes.
  • Drawing Guides are used to align the parts in the two views. If these alignments are wrong, it will be obvious when you try to assemble the 3d construction.
  • The “chest” is a Union of two Rectangles; I’ll try to make it clear why I used Union rather than Group later.
  • The”hand” is a Chord shape and two Rectangles.

Next, I made a temporary copy of the front view and rotated it 90 degrees. Using the side view, the rotated front view and drawing guides I drew several “cross sections” of the robot that will help align the parts in the 3d construction. Here’s how I drew the cross section at the top of the “hip” section (outlined in yellow); it includes the outline of the disc that connects the hip with the chest section.

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It’s easier to draw these sections one at a time than to draw an entire top view.

Here are the sections and where they will fit in the 3d construction:

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The sections that will locate the arms and legs are simply copied from the side view.

Here’s the process for the construction of the body and head:

  • The parts and yellow “sections” are rotated (Parallel/Isometric/Left Down and Right Up) and moved into position to form the outline of the head, chest and hip parts.
  • The circles are rotated and filled to form the discs that connect the parts. 3d Depth is added (72 points per inch).
  • The other parts are filled; Depth is added using the yellow sections as guides.
  • Using the yellow sections as guides, the discs and body parts are moved into position. For example, the first “neck” section is aligned with the head. Then the neck disk is aligned with the circle in the neck section. The section representing the top of the chest is then aligned with the neck disc, allowing the chest to be aligned next. Imagine that you are stacking the parts.
  • Keep the sections “in front” during this step; this keeps them visible and allows easy removal later.

The next step is adding the limbs:

The arm and leg parts are Unioned to form the arm and leg (more about this later). Depth is added to the arm and leg. The rotated yellow sections are aligned with the side of the body allowing the arm and leg to be positioned. The other side is completed using copies of the leg, arm and sections. Even though the “disc” parts are invisible in this view, they establish the relationship between the body parts.

To finish, remove the yellow section objects and color the body parts, adding details as needed:

RANT: For various reasons, the Material, Lighting and Lighting Angle tools are useless for this project. After considerable experimentation, I recommend the method documented here rather than endless fiddling with combinations that are ultimately faulty.

For the robot coloring, I want front surfaces to be darker and visible side surfaces to be lighter, as if light were coming from the robot’s left. Here’s my method:

  • Since the “lighting” can’t be turned off, I have picked a combination of settings that seem to minimize its effects: Flat material, Contrasting lighting and zero Lighting Angle.
  • To control the color of each component, select Fill and Outline colors to create dark and light surfaces. In particular, use dark gray fill and light gray outline on components that “face the front” and the opposite for components that face the side; here are the chest and an arm:

  • This is the reason that the limbs are Unions, not Groups – if they were Grouped, extraneous outlines would appear when the Outline color is added.

By the way, here are some ideas to give the robot expressions (you can also survey various toon robots for inspiration):

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You can “pose” the robot; here’s a walking version:

Here’s how the walking robot is constructed:

The limbs are constructed and positioned as before. If the orientation is not as shown, the 3d rotation will be incorrect.

TIP: The orientation of a Union is determined by the first object selected. In these examples, the red-outlined object is selected first:

For the first Union operation the top rectangle (red) is selected first, followed by the other (blue) rectangles. The result has a vertical orientation (note the “rotation handle”); the 3d rotation works as expected. For the second Union the red rectangle is selected first; note that it has been rotated. The result of the Union has a rotated orientation and the 3d rotation is different.

Of course, robots don’t have to be humanoid and use legs for locomotion:

I used the same techniques as before; here are the construction details:

The “hand” is made by subtracting a rounded rectangle from the arm/hand object.

Once you’ve made a few of these, you can position the parts and add depth “by eye” and avoid some of the tedious steps, at least for fairly simple robots. That’s how I made this example:

  • The positioning and depth were created by eye without using yellow “sections” as guides.
  • The right arm is a copy of the left arm, Flipped twice.
  • The eye shapes have a smaller depth than the head; here’s a close up:

r16.png

TIP: Selecting an object within a group can be tricky, especially in 3d; the image above shows that the head is selected and the eye is selected within the group (faint outline). Use the Selection Pane if you have trouble.

Here are the details on constructing a robot with another form of locomotion:

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  • The arms are Line Arcs. You could draw a freehand line using the Curve tool if you’re comfortable with that.
  • The hands are Pie shapes.
  • I used a section (yellow) to help position the legs; the other parts are positioned by eye.
  • The rocket plume is a Triangle with a Gradient Fill.

If you need a villain in your story, try this one:

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  • Two parts are made from the outline drawing: the head/chest/shoulder unit and the whole body. Each is Unioned.
  • The two parts are rotated and Depth is added.
  • Material, Fill, Line and lighting are set as before but with darker colors.
  • The two parts and a copy of the smaller part are “stacked” as shown to complete the figure.

Robots are also modeled from nature; here’s an insectoid version:

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The robot is made using the techniques discussed above except that an additional X-Rotation has been added to the front and back legs. Here’s  what the 3D Rotation looks like for a couple of the legs:

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The middle leg has the preset Isometric Left Down rotations; the back leg has the X-rotation reduced by 10 degrees. WARNING: Do not use the rotation icons (circled in red) for this; mysterious, undocumented things happen when these are used.

RANT: I haven’t been able to find adequate documentation on rotations, materials, lighting, etc. If you know some sources, please let me know by adding a comment.

You can exercise your imagination by adding body segments, antennas, stingers, wings, etc., and other coloring. Why not consider other beasts as models for your robots?

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 Robots

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, please like or follow this blog.

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.

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:

car2

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:

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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:

car4

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:

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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  • 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:

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Here’s the exploded view:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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I added color and details for this result:

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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.

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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 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:”

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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:

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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):

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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.

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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”):

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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.

 

Drawing in PowerPoint – 3D Buildings

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In this post, I will create a variety of simple “3d” buildings and demonstrate some useful techniques.

Faithful readers will know that I have used PowerPoint “3d” in the past; see the network demonstration, alphabet blocks and a “watchtower” icon. If you’ve seen some of these you will know that PowerPoint 3d is limited in capability and that you shouldn’t expect too much.

But why create your own images? You can find hundreds of 3d building stock images (clipart) on the web, some of which are free. Well, if you take a DIY approach you can control color and style elements to match your branding/theme. You can meet specific requirements: do you need a tall hospital or a tiny factory? You can edit the objects (in PowerPoint) to create variations and new versions. And, you will increase your PowerPoint skills.

The general idea is to use PowerPoint “3d” tools to create an isometric building image piece by piece. This diagram shows the process:

bld1

These are the steps:

  • Create 3 objects representing “views” of the building: front, side and top (labeled 1, 2 and 3 above).  In more complicated shapes (see next example), a view may have several parts.
  • Apply the indicated rotations to each “view.” These are selected from the Parallel/Isometric group of 3d rotations.
  • Notice that the Top Up rotation for the top view/roof (as it is drawn) doesn’t produce the desired result. You can fix this by using the Bottom Down rotation or by creating the top view in a different orientation. (Rotating the top view object before applying the 3d rotation doesn’t work; try it.)
  • Nudge the rotated views together to form the “building;” more about this later.
  • 3d Format/Lighting adds to the 3d effect. The  default angle is 0 degrees which produces a result that looks like it is lit from the upper right. You can change this by changing the lighting angle (using the same setting for all the pieces) or by changing the color(s) of  the appropriate view. The steps shown in the example above result in a more conventional top left light source.

Here’s the layout for the first example:

bld2

The upper stories of the building are “set back” and the windows are vertical ribbons with some variations. The detail at the bottom of one of the views represents the building entrance.

Here are some (familiar) tips for creating this kind of drawing in PowerPoint:

  • Set Snap objects to grid and select a Grid spacing that allows a palpable “snap” when creating or moving objects; I typically use 0.1 in or 0.05 in. This will help in aligning objects “by hand.”
  • Use Drawing guides to align and center objects.
  • Use Duplicate to create repeating patterns. Specifically, select an object (a window, for example) and Duplicate it. Without  un-selecting the duplicate, move it to the desired position (e.g., horizontally aligned with the original and spaced by a particular amount). Then, without un-selecting, Duplicate again. The third version will have the same spacing and alignment. Repeat to create a row. If needed, group the row and use the same process vertically to create an array of windows.
  • I find it easier to create the window layout first and then add the building outline.

Here’s the layout with fill color added:

bld3

The windows are blue, reflecting the sky. There are two tops, one for the lower part of the building and one for the upper part. I put a faint outline of the upper part of the building on the lower top to help with alignment.

Since I expect to use these objects at a relatively small size, I can avoid a lot of detail (contrast the watchtower example).

Here are the building “faces” with the rotations applied and roughly positioned:

bld4

Here’s the final assembly:

bld5

There is no shortcut for this last step. The Snap to grid setting and other alignment tools are of no use; hold down Ctrl to override the snap and use the nudge (arrow) keys to make small adjustments. It helps to use a large Zoom. You may want to temporarily add outlines to make the edges easier to see.

Here’s a similar example:

bld6

This building has individual windows and a simple street level treatment. The window color is the same as the previous example. Since all of the sides are the same, only one version of each part is needed.

The top of this building is a square with a Bevel applied to form the roof. The Bevel is the Angle type with Height and Width equal to half the side of the square. I find that I have to fiddle with the lighting angle to get the colors right when I use a Bevel.

You can experiment with other kinds of Bevels to create additional roof forms; here are some examples:

bld7

Here’s the layout for a more complicated building along with a preliminary isometric view:

bld8

I created the “barrel” roofs by adding Depth to the curved shape:

bld9

I suggest you adjust the depth of the roof(s) to match the other parts after the building is assembled. (Selecting a shape inside a rotated group is a little tricky – using the Selection Pane can help.)

Here’s the resulting building (after some lighting adjustments):

bld10

I’ll need other types of buildings; here’s a small factory:

bld11

Here are some notes:

  • The brick color and larger windows suggest an older factory.
  • I added a Frame shape with Depth to two of the roofs to suggest a low wall around the periphery. Here’s the process:

bld12

  • Similarly, the chimneys are Donut shapes with Depth added.

Here’s a building designed for housing (dormitory or apartments):

bld13

And here’s a hospital:

bld14

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 buildings

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.

Powerful Words

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Presentation experts suggest that you rely on “visuals” rather than words to engage your audience. I don’t disagree with this but the result is usually pretty predictable: sunsets, mountains, clouds, clipart and hackneyed royalty-free images featuring smiling people. Really impactful images are hard to find and may not precisely convey the concept you’re looking for.

Never fear, dear reader; there are ways to combine the precision of words with the appeal of images. However, I must post the warning that applies to many of the techniques documented in these pages:

  1. Use these techniques sparingly, lest they become boring or, what’s worse, distracting.
  2. Use these techniques for a reason; that is, use these techniques to support your message and not just because they’re “cool.”

By the way, another way to add impact to text is to animate it; see my post on “kinetic typography.”

The techniques for creating powerful key words and phrases rely on the fact that PowerPoint effects usually associated with Shapes also apply to Text objects; this includes Fills, Shadows and “3d” effects. Of course, there are useful effects (Transform, Font choices, spacing, etc.) that apply only to text.

Here’s a simple example of what I’m going on about:

wd1

This image is simply the letters TV filled with the typical “snow” pattern associated with over-the-air analog television. I used a font called Britannic Bold and picture-filled it with a “snow” image; I also applied a Square Transform to adjust the proportions of the text. (This is not necessary; I sometimes do this to make it easy to manipulate the size and proportion of these words. You can apply the techniques here directly to ordinary untransformed text.)

Here are some general notes on the examples in this post:

  • I will often use “heavy” fonts and Bold style; they allow the fill image to be more recognizable than fonts with thin strokes.
  • You may be tempted to use an “unusual” font; this can lead to issues when sharing with users who may not have the font installed. Another font will be substituted on the target system which can lead to unwanted results. You can overcome this problem by “embedding” the desired font in your presentation but this may have some problems. See this article for a pretty complete discussion of the subject.
  • “Textures” work well as fill. I will use some other images but these require more care to make them “readable.” Search for “textures” and/or “backgrounds” for ideas.
  • You can use an image that you create in PowerPoint as fill; just convert it to png or jpg (Copy/Paste Special/Png).
  • I use the Square Transform to make it easy to adjust the size and proportions of the text.
  • In some cases, I reduce the Character Spacing to improve the readability of the image.
  • I occasionally use Shadow or 3d effects; for example, a stone or concrete texture along with 3d effects adds solidity.
  • These effects are found in the Format Text Effects pane, which is different than the Format Shape pane, even though the options in the panes are identical. Using the Format Shape options on a text object affects the text “box,” not the characters.

Here’s another example:

wd2

The text is in Gill Sans Ultra Bold font. To create the image, temporarily remove the text fill and select a text outline color that contrasts with the fill image. Apply the Square Transform and position the text on appropriate part of the fill image, looking “through” the empty text. Resize the text and resize and/or crop the fill image to get the effect you want. Then, Copy the fill image (this places it on the clipboard).  Select and right-click on the text and select Text Format Effects. In this pane, select Text Fill/Picture or texture fill. Select Clipboard as the source of the fill. Remove the text outline. Here’s the process:

wd3

The second step results in a fill image that is the same size as the text. The Picture Fill option does allow you to resize and position the fill image after filling using numeric Offsets, bu I find this method easier.

This example is in Caecilia LT Roman (not a common font) and is filled with a textured steel image. The character spacing is set to Tight and a solid black shadow is added (apologies to a certain Pittsburgh football team):

wd4

Here are two simple examples:

wd5

Both are in Arial Black with the Character Spacing set to Tight. The first uses circuit board detail for the fill; the second uses an image of an electrical arc. I used Picture Tools/Recolor on the original circuit board image.

Here’s an example using a flame image fill and Bodoni MT Black font; a black text outline has also been added:

wd6

3d effects can be used to add an interesting dimensionality.  This example is in Harlow Solid Italic with a shiny metallic fill, a shadow and a 3d Bevel/Circle:

wd7

Here are two more examples using 3d effects:

wd8

The first is in Franklin Gothic Heavy and is filled with a grungy concrete texture; the second is in Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed and uses a fill that looks like marble. Both use the Perspective Below rotation with depth.

This one uses a weathered wood fill, 3d rotation, depth and Bevel (too much?):

wd9

Here’s an example in Cooper Black with a watery fill and using a 3d Bevel; a Wave 1 transform has been applied:

wd10

You can use images rather than textures; here’s an example of what I mean:

wd11

This is Franklin Gothic Heavy filled with a world map image; this required some fiddling to make the map and the text recognizable; a very tight character spacing helps.

There may be some cognitive issues here. Do you see the text and the image as one or do you flip back and forth? Is this a bad or good thing? You decide.

These examples uses a skyline graphic as fill:

wd12

I like the deco-style font in the first example (Broadway) but the skyline image is clearer in the second (Gill Sans Ultra Bold). Here’s the result with a photographic fill:

wd13

This may be overkill – what do you think?

This example uses a simplified graphic as fill; does it work?

wd14

Finally, here’s an example with effects (fill and bevel) applied to the text “box” and a bevel effect to the text itself:

wd15

Added 12/2014: There is another quicker (maybe) way to “picture fill” text; here are the steps:

  • As above, create the text with no fill and an outline that contrasts with the picture. Place the text over the picture and adjust both to get the fill you want.
  • Select the picture and the text and use Drawing Tools/Merge/Intersect. This is like using the text as a cookie cutter.
  • The disadvantage of this technique is that the result is a picture, not text. This means that the text can’t be edited; however, effects like those demonstrated above can be applied.

If you want to try to punch up the key words and phrases in your presentation with these techniques, use this form to request a free PowerPoint file that includes these examples:

3d Network Demo Part 2: Layout

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This series of posts is about demonstrating complex systems; in this case a computer network. The 3d (isometric) network icons were constructed in the first post. This post will develop the layout of this network:

layout

The challenge here is to place the icons and create the interconnecting links in a way that is consistent with the isometric/parallel view. I created a grid to aid in the isometric layout; here’re the steps:

  • Create a grid of equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines in a light color; you can use the “dupe and group” process that I outlined in the last post. I used a spacing of about 0.35 inches. The spacing value is not important but you want a fairly dense grid:

layout2

  • Group the lines and apply the Parallel/Isometric Top Up 3d rotation:

layout3

  • You can also draw the grid using lines rotated to 30 degrees from the horizontal.
  • You could use the grid directly on the slides but it is more convenient to create a Slide Layout containing the grid. Use that slide layout where needed; it will not interfere with your drawing since it is on a different “layer.”
  • To create the Layout, go to the Master Slide View, right click the Blank Layout and select Duplicate Layout. You can rename the new Layout to something like “grid.”
  • Paste and position the grid on the new Layout. You can now select the “grid” layout for a new slide or apply it to an existing slide.
  • If you want to create the network on some other existing Layout, select that one to duplicate rather than the Blank layout.

Now you can use the grid layout on slides where you want to create the network diagram. Once you are finished, select another layout and the grid will disappear.

The grid does not have snap properties. The lines in the grid are used to manually align icons and the connecting links are drawn (by hand) so that they are always parallel with the grid. Here icons are positioned to create one of the “user/client groups” in the network:

layout4

Notes:

  • The grid lines are used to align the two desktops and the laptop in the front row (the dashed red line is added to show this),
  • The icons are spaced so that a grid line intersects the icon at a convenient place for drawing the interconnecting links (I’ll show you this later).
  • The row of icons is grouped and duped to form the back row. The back row is shifted a little so that the links will not interfere with the front row. The green line shows where a link will be drawn.

Next I added the local switch and one link:

icons14

  • The link is a Freeform, manually drawn from the leftmost icon to the rightmost. The parts of the link are drawn parallel to the grid. Take some care with this, the eye will pick up on any inconsistencies.
  • I added some thickness to the line (4 pts). The 3D Format/Bevel/Top/Circle was applied to give the line a rounded appearance. The bevel has a width and height of 2 pts.
  • The Line Style/Cap type and Join type are Round. This provides a convincing appearance where the links touch the icons or another link. Here’s a close-up:

layout5

  •  Here’s the completed user group:

layout7

  • When a link attaches to the back face of the icon, it is aligned with the bottom center of the front face (see the dashed red line above).
  • Pay close attention to the Front/Back relationships of the icons and links so that the result is “realistic.”

The third user group includes a printer and a wireless router, along with a few wireless devices:layout9

  • Duplicate the previous user group and add the additional icons. Extend the “front” link to the wireless router (red arrow) and add the links to the laptop and printer (red dashed lines). Again, set the Front/Back relationships appropriately.
  • There are no links to the wireless devices. If you want to indicate wireless coverage, you might use a group of concentric Arcs, 3d rotated. It will take some experimentation to get this “right:”

layout10

Creation of the other parts of the network is pretty similar; some notes:

  • The internet icon is the standard PowerPoint Cloud shape with fill, outline and text. 3d rotation and a small depth is also applied.
  • FYI, “DMZ” (demilitarized zone) is a networking term for a “subnetwork that contains and exposes an organization’s external-facing services to a larger and untrusted network, usually the Internet” (Wikipedia). It is outside the firewall.
  • The corporate server group (lower center of the diagram) is connected via dual switches and has a more complicated connection (it is, in fact, simplified here). This is what it looks like close up:

layout11

  • Notice that the two links are aligned with two roughly symmetric points on the bottom of the face of the server (the red lines).

The various groups are assembled and links added to form the overall network diagram. You will probably have to adjust some of the groups so that they are spaced and aligned properly in the final drawing. If you need to re-size elements or groups, you may want to convert them to png form before resizing. This will preserve the proportions of the line widths and the 3d depths (see the first post in this series for a discussion of this).

The next post will add animation to the display of the network, addition of new elements and network traffic.

If you want a free copy of the source PowerPoint file for this post, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download the file:

Powerpointy blog – network demo -layout

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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