Posts Tagged 'animated clipart'

Weighing Your Options – Balances

Scales and balances are useful presentation metaphors; they can show changes that result from adding (or deleting) objects or concepts. Balances compare two weights and can show comparative changes. Here’s an example:

The blue objects shift the indicator from red (danger) to green (safety) as they overcome the evil black stuff. Labeling the objects, using call-outs or synchronizing with text adds specific meanings, as in this version:

NOTE: I made an animated balance in an earlier post; I  did it again here because the animation is simpler (I hope).

Here’s how the balance is constructed:


  • The objects are made from standard PowerPoint shapes. The “beam” is made from two slightly different Braces combined using the Merge Shapes/Combine operation:
  • The balance is made up of 4 objects: the stationary “post” including the indicator background (blue outlined), the “beam” including the pointer (red), and the two pan assemblies (green). The right pan assembly includes the Cloud shaped load.
  • Each of the moving parts is grouped with a circle (dashed line) that determines the center of the part for animation purposes. In particular, the circle grouped with the pan assemblies sets the center at the point where the pan assembly attaches to the beam – this makes it easier to create the motion paths for the pan assemblies.
  • Four radial lines (black) are included that identify the rotated positions of the beam – 10 degree increments.
  • The parts are arranged and sized so that they don’t interfere during the animation.

Here’s the next step (animating the beam and the two pans):

  • The beam rotations are 10 degrees counterclockwise.
  • The first Line motion path added to the pan assembly will snap to its “center.”
  • The motion path is edited so that the end point of the motion path is located at the intersection of the dashed circle in the beam group and the appropriate radial line (black).
  • Subsequent motion paths also snap to the center of the pan assembly but are then moved to snap to the end point of the previous path. The end point is then positioned as before.

TIP: Motion paths in close proximity are difficult to edit since the endpoints tend to arbitrarily snap to the endpoints of a nearby path. You can overcome this annoyance by zooming in to do the editing and using the Alt key to override unwanted snap actions.

Next, the load elements (balls) are added and the first one is partially animated:

  • I added center lines to the balls to help with the animation.
  • Using the Animation Painter, I copied the movement of the left pan to the red ball. Then I reordered the effects in the Animation Pane so that the movement of the red ball is synchronized with the movement of the pan. Here’s the Pane:

Animating the second and third balls is a little tricky; they only move with the second and third motion of the beam. Applying the motion paths of the pan to the second ball using the animation painter copies all of the paths to the second ball – the path corresponding to the first motion of the pan is not needed. Just deleting the path does not do the job. Here’s an example showing how to successfully delete the first path:

turdBe careful; the Animation Painter copies all of the animations from the first object and replaces all the animations of the second object. This tool could have been designed with more flexibility but wasn’t.

  • Select the first motion path on the slide and hit the delete key; alternatively, select the path on the Animation Pane and select Remove on the pulldown.
  • At this stage, the object would jump to the starting point of the motion path before the motion path is executed. To fix this, the object needs to be moved to the starting point. However, moving the object will also move the motion path.
  • To avoid this, you need to Lock the motion path one of the motion path Effect Options. This fixes the position of the motion path on the slide. Now the object can be moved so that its center coincides with the starting point of the second motion path.

This is the first time I have ever used the Lock/Unlock option. I guess this is why it’s there.

  • Continuing the process with the third ball, adding the appearance effect to the balls (Float Down) and re-ordering the effects completes the animation; here’s the slide:

  • Here’s the animation pane:

Here’s another balance type; in this design the pans are constrained to move vertically:

Here’s the construction:

  • All the parts are constructed from standard PowerPoint shapes. The “post” is a Trapezoid with a smaller Trapezoid Subtracted (Merge Shapes) to provide the window.
  • The red-yellow-green indicator is formed from three Block Arcs.
  • The dashed circles and radial lines are used as before.
  • A black horizontal line is added to the pan assemblies to help locate the motion paths.
  • I used the same steps as before to animate the balance.

You can also  use spring and/or digital scales in your presentations; the next post will show you how.

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

Powerpointy blog – balances

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, use the contact form on the “about” page.


Animation in PowerPoint: Flow


Presentations often show processes, networks, organization charts and similar structures. These systems are sometimes explained by “flow:” data flow in computer networks, material flows in industrial processes, information or cash flows in business processes, etc.

Animation is very useful in these kinds of representations; you can actually show and explain the movement and effect of  data, messages, and other “flow” elements.

This what I call a rational use of animation – actually adding to the impact and effectiveness of a presentation as opposed to distracting or actually putting off your audience. If you want more on this subject see this rant.

One very simple technique for showing a flow is a Wipe animation applied to a Dashed line; here are some examples:

The blue lines have a Round Dot Dash type and a Round Cap type. The green lines also have the Round Dot (oddly) but a Flat Cap type. The animation for all the lines is Wipe From Left; the lower lines have Repeat set to 4.

Here’s how the Wipe effect might be used in a diagram:

Here the flow is from left to right and the starting times are staggered.

There are a few other effects that work with some object outlines. Here’s an example:

Here I used the outline of an Oval shape and applied an Entrance animation effect called Wheel; the Repeat option is used. This effect has a parameter called Spokes; setting Spokes to 4 yields this result:

There are limitations to using Wipe and similar effects. A more flexible approach is to use motion paths; this example shows a continuous flow of separate objects:

Some notes on this effect:

  • Each of the four objects (circles) has a Line motion path with Smooth Start/End set to zero.
  • The Duration of each motion path is 2 sec.; each motion path is delayed by 0.5 sec. relative the the previous one.
  • Each motion path has Repeat = 3. The timing is set so that the flow is uniform. Here is the animation pane:


An attempt at 2-way flow, this version applies Auto-reverse and Repeat =3 to the motion paths for seven objects with the same timing as above:

As you can see, this is pretty confusing. It’s probably better to use separate sets of motion paths to demonstrate 2-way flow as in these two examples:

The second example uses a curved motion path.

For some applications, it is useful to animate discrete messages and use callouts to identify the messages. Here’s a whimsical demo showing interactions in a network:

My post on demonstrating a computer network includes a more elaborate example.

You can also show continuous flows (like a fluid); here’s a simple example:

This applies the Wipe animation to five separate objects in order. Since the options for Wipe (and Stretch) are From Left/Right/Top/Bottom, this technique works best for horizontal or vertical straight flows. (My post on liquids shows similar effects.)

Here’s another example:

This uses some of the techniques in my post on pipes and wires. Here are some details:

  • Basically,  the pipes are created as shapes with 3d effects applied and converted to png images. To get transparent pipes, apply transparency to the shapes before converting to images.
  • Rounded rectangles are used as the fluid – this makes the flow through the bend a little more convincing (this ain’t perfect but it took several tries to get this effect).

Showing a continuous fluid flow over a curved path is a little more complicated. Here’s a way to do it:

The first animation is essentially the same as the earlier examples but with a shorter interval between motion paths (0.1 sec). The second animation adds curved Lines to complete (I hope) the illusion.

If you use a different shape (not a circle), you may have to rotate it as it follows the path. My roller coaster post addresses this.

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

Powerpointy blog – flow

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.


Animated Icons: Tools

bannerThis post is one of a series on creating custom icons and adding impact with animation. Creating your own icons lets you match your brand/color scheme and get precisely the image you need. You can also edit and re-use your icons without special software.

Tool icons can represent software/apps, support or maintenance and sometimes act as a visual metaphor.


The hammer icon, like the other icons in this post, is created using standard PowerPoint shapes and Group/Merge operations. Here are the steps:

tools1The spool-shaped part of the hammer head is made by Subtracting two flattened Ovals from a Rectangle (see Drawing Tools/Merge Shapes). Subtracting a Rectangle from a Moon shape yields the claw part. The handle is made from a Chord shape, a Rectangle and a Rounded Rectangle. The parts are completed using the Union operation. The fill colors are selected from the template for this project; presumably, these would be consistent with the client’s branding.

Other examples of this technique are shown in my Slideshare post. This earlier blog series provides examples of cutting tools.

The layout for the hammer animation looks like this:

tools2Here are the steps:

  • To establish the pivot point for a Spin animation, add the circle as shown (temporarily red) and group it with the hammer object.
  • Duplicate the hammer/circle object and rotate it 90 degrees counterclockwise. This (shown in red outline) provides a reference for positioning the nail and block.
  • Position the block under the reference hammer head; add the nail as shown.
  • Delete the reference hammer object and set the circle to No Outline.

Here’s the animation pane:


The hammer stroke is a 90 degree counterclockwise Spin. Near the end of the stroke, a Down motion path moves the nail, followed by a rebound of the hammer (another Spin).

The duration of the nail motion is very short (0.05 seconds). Timing values less than 0.1 second cannot be set directly in the animation pane; you must use the Effect Options pane.

Generally, some experimentation with timing and other factors is needed when designing this kind of animation. Here’s my result:


Here’s how the wrench is constructed:tools4

  • Union of an Arc and an Oval with a Rounded Rectangle Subtracted forms the wrench “head.”
  • The rest of the wrench is constructed with a Rectangle and a couple of Triangles. This is Unioned with the two heads, rotated.
  • The indentation in the handle is represented by a Rounded Rectangle; this is Grouped (not Unioned) with the rest of the wrench since it is a different color.
  • The nut and bolt are a concentric Oval and Hexagon. The standard Hexagon is not symmetric; you may have to fiddle with it to get to look like a standard bolt.
  • The nut/bolt is is rotated to match the jaw of the wrench.
  • Fills are added as shown.

Here is the animation set-up:


A circle (red) is grouped with the wrench group to establish its center of rotation (just inside the upper jaw. The animation consists of a a motion path to position the wrench followed by 60 degree rotations of the wrench and the nut/bolt. Here’s what it looks like:

Wire Cutter

Here’s how (half of) the wire cutter tool is constructed:tools6

The curved piece of the handle is a Wave shape; the blade is a Pie shape.

To complete the tool, add a circle to the half to establish the pivot point; group the result. Duplicate and Rotate/Flip Horizontal the copy to form the second half. Then align the two parts and Rotate each to open the tool.  Here’s the process:tools7

The animation will cut a piece of “wire;” it’s made of two concentric filled circles, with 3d depth and rotation added:


Here’s the animation set up:tools9

Two copies of the “wire” are used; one behind the cutter blade and one in front. The cutting action uses Spin to move the two parts of the cutter. A motion path and spin are applied to the front wire object after the cut. Here’s what it looks like:

Screw Driver

I plan to suggest the twisting motion of a screwdriver by quickly alternating between two views; here’s how the two views are constructed:tools10

I’ll need a screw; here’s how it is constructed:


The Union of a series of triangles is used to Subtract from the screw to suggest threads.

Next, I grouped each view of the screwdriver with the screw:tools12

The illusion of the screwdriver twisting is created by alternating quickly between these two (superimposed) images; here’s the effect:

Here’s the animation pane; one image Appears and the other Disappears every 0.2 seconds:tools13

If you would like to build these or similar animations, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a free “source” PowerPoint file:

Powerpointy blog – tool icons

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.

Animations for Cutting, Slashing and Trimming – Axes and Knives

ax banner

Adding an animation to phrases like “cut expenses” helps increase the impact of your message. Other posts have featured scissors and saws; this one uses axes and knives as the cutting tools.


A swinging ax can be pretty dramatic and there are a lot of ax types. Here’s an example of a tree-felling ax composed of standard PowerPoint shapes:


I try to use standard shapes to build these icons and images since this may be simpler for average users than to draw them directly. The process: find an image that fits your needs and approximate it by overlaying PowerPoint shapes (in red above), adjusting size. proportion and orientation to fit. Don’t obsess about detail here – you want an icon. not a photograph. You can color the result as needed.

The ax handle uses a Wave shape as its main part – you probably didn’t even know this thing was available.

If you’re feeling medieval, here’s another ax type:


This headsman’s (or war) ax uses several Moon shapes for its blade (another hidden oddity).

Here’s a fire ax (Jack Torrance’s choice) :


This is pretty complicated (30 shapes!) ; here’s an acceptable version of the fire ax that’s easier to create:


To establish the center for the Spin animation, I grouped the tree ax with a circle. The center I used is at about the middle of the handle; you may want to experiment with this:


I rotated the ax to a nearupright position and set the circle to No outline. I added a Spin/Clockwise 20 degrees for a backswing followed by a faster clockwise spin for the downstroke. Here’s the animation:


I used the ax to cut a stack of bills; here’s the animation:


I made the stack of bills using the process detailed in the animated saws post. Basically, a currency image is given a 3d rotation and converted to png. Using duplicate and crop, two parts of the bill are created and aligned together. The bill is duplicated to form the stack.

Next align the stack with the animated ax. Add a similar Curve motion path to each lower bill half. Each bill half has a Spin simultaneous with the motion path; the Spin values and direction vary. As the motion path and rotation end, the bill half Dissolves Out. Here’s the setup for a single bill:


You might want to use the Selection Pane and Drawing Guides to help construct this animation; see this “secrets” post for details.


There even more varieties of knives; here’s a hunting knife:


The Wave shape helps form the handle and a Moon forms the tip. Some accent lines are added to the completed version.

Here’s a chef’s knife:


Chord shapes are part of the blade; rivets are added to the handle of the finished version.

Also from the kitchen – here’s a cleaver:


I’ll use the hunting knife to slash costs; here’s the animation:


Here are some notes:

  • The dollar sign is a heavy weight font (Eras Bold ITC). The symbol is filled with a fragment of the bill image (Text Fill/Picture) and a 3d bevel is added. The result is converted to png and two pieces are made using duplicate and crop as before. Here’s the process:kn4
  • The knife is animated with a motion path (Freeform) providing the down and across “slash.”
  • The bottom half of the bill has a Exit/Collapse/To bottom animation; a horizontal line Appears at the end of the Collapse. Here’s the setup:


A chef’s knife is used in a particular way when chopping; the tip of the blade rests on the cutting board and the knife pivots repeatedly around this point. I grouped a circle centered at this point with the chef’s knife so that a Spin animation will mimic this motion:


I used a Spin 12 degrees Clockwise with Auto Reverse set for the chopping action. I used Repeat to continue the motion; I set Repeat to 2 for simplicity but you may want a larger number. Here’s the result:


To represent expenses, I created an inscribed “gold bar;” here’s the process:


To make the pieces that will result from the chop, convert the bar to a png.  For the first piece, duplicate and crop. For the second piece crop from the original bar again; this time, the piece lacks an “end.” Crop the “end” from the original bar, resize slightly, and group with the top of the piece. Repeat this process to add an “end” to the remnant. This diagram outlines the steps:


For the animation, position the pieces to form the bar and align the knife to the first cut. The knife swings down, the first piece falls off, the second piece and the remnant move “forward” (down) and the knife chops again. You could do this several more times, maybe with thinner slices if you have the patience. Here’s the result:


Here’s the setup with some notes:


  •  On the first stroke, the second piece us behind the knife; on the second stroke, the second piece is behind the knife. Since an object can’t be on two different “layers” at once, the second piece is replaced (by “2x slice”) immediately after the first stroke. See this post for another example of this issue.
  • An animation path is added to the second piece.

You can probably think of other devices to use in this kind of effect: swords? guillotine?

If you would like a free copy of a PowerPoint file demonstrating these animations, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a “source” PowerPoint file:

PowerPointy blog – cutting, etc – axes and knives

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.

Animations for “Cutting, Slashing and Trimming” – Saws

saw banner

Using an animation adds impact to phrases like “cut expenses” or “trim overhead.” This post uses saws as cutting tools for the animation; an earlier post uses scissors.


I try to use PowerPoint’s built-in shapes to create icons and images; this is generally simpler for average PowerPoint users than drawing “freeform” shapes. However, the handle on a traditional saw is difficult to create this way. So, I found some more modern saw images and used them for inspiration; here’s the result:


Here are some notes:

  • The handle is a pretty klunky group of built-in Shapes; you may be able to do better:


  • The blade consists of a Right Triangle, a Rectangle and a group of small triangles for the teeth:


  • The teeth can be created quickly using the “dupe and group” technique (see this post). Create the first triangle and then use the Duplicate tool to create the second triangle. Without clicking on anything else, move/Nudge the second triangle to the appropriate position. Now, use Duplicate several times to create a row of triangles. If necessary, use Align/Middle on the triangles to keep them aligned. Now, group the result, duplicate it, adjust as above, and continue duplicating. Finally group the groups. You will probably make adjustments to the teeth group when you assemble the saw blade.
  • Group the handle and blade and add fill color.

Usually, a handsaw cuts on the downstroke. So, the blade will make progress during the downstroke and the upstroke will move parallel to the blade with very little motion towards the sawyer. This picture shows the path of the saw:


This layout will help in drawing the motion path. Some notes:

  • Add lines (blue) to the saw object to locate its center of gravity.  Flip and rotate the saw to about a 45 degree angle.
  • Draw a line (red) from the center of the saw object down and to the right of the saw and then up, paralleling the saw blade to a point level with the starting point. This represents the first downstroke (that will move the saw to the right as well as down) and the upstroke.
  • Set up drawing guides at the extremes of the red line.
  • Duplicate the red line several times and align (blue lines).

Now, draw the motion path (freeform option) along the lines for this result (the smooth start/stop options are unchecked):

The object that will be cut by the saw represents money; I used a $100 bill image. Here are the steps:

  • Rotate the image, create a rectangle (shown in red) the same size as the image, and use Fill/Picture to fill the rectangle with the image.
  • Next, apply a 3d rotation (Perspective Relaxed) to the rectangle, add a few points of Depth and remove the outline. I also adjusted the Lighting. Here’s the process:


  • Why not just apply the 3d rotation directly to the image? Try it and see.
  • As a result of the sawing process, I want the currency image to fall into two pieces. I made the pieces by converting the bill image to a png (Copy/Paste Special) , and using duplicate and crop to create two pieces:


  • I added a line to the upper piece to mimic the depth.

Adding the currency images to the saw animation yields and adding some additional animation provides this result:

Here are some notes:

  • Place the currency pieces next to the saw blade; adjust the height and width of the saw motion path using the handles.
  • Add a Down motion path to the bottom half near the end of the saw animation and adjust the end point. Add a Spin With the motion path.
  • Add another motion path (Custom Path/Freeform) and Spin for the bounce. The path may snap to the center of the object when you complete it; just move/nudge it to the end of the first Down path.
  • You will probably need to experiment to get the locations and timing so that the animation is convincing.

Here’s the set-up for the handsaw animation:


 Power Saw

I looked at several images of a power/”skill” saw and drew a simplified version using standard PowerPoint shapes:


The blade is a 32-point Star with the depth of the points adjusted. A circle and a Hexagon provide the blade mounting hardware. The upper blade guard of the saw is a Block Arc with handles added. The upper handle is another Block Arc and a Rounded Rectangle; the front handle is an Oval and a Rectangle. The base plate is a Trapezoid.

The lower blade guard (green) is a Block Arc. It will be grouped with the blue circle to assure that it Spins properly.

Note: A Block Arc is one of the PowerPoint shapes that rotates (while editing) and Spins (animation) around different centers; here’s the difference:


The blue lines identify the center of the object when it is rotated while editing (e.g., using the green handle) and the red line identifies the center for a Spin animation. Several other shapes share this anomaly including Arc, Chord and Pie. Surprisingly, transformed text (e.g., Arch Up) rotates and Spins around the same center.

(The PowerPoint animation designers apparently came from a different planet and were not allowed to converse with other designers.)

Here’s the power saw with color added:


I grouped the saw elements into three parts that move independently: the blade assembly, the lower blade guard and the saw “body”:


Here’s how I did the animation:

  • Set up a “target” for the animation; this is a copy of the saw positioned at the desired location. This is a technique I use often for animations (see this post on animating vehicles for more).
  • Set up drawing guides to identify the centers of the three saw parts.
  • Add a Right motion path to each part and edit the motion paths so that the endpoint is at the appropriate center. As usual, Smooth Start/End for the motion paths are unchecked. Here’s what this looks like:


  • Add the Spin animation to the blade assemble so that occurs simultaneously With the motion path. For some Spin values,  the blade may appear to spin more slowly than expected, backwards or to stand still (maybe a strobe effect). Adjust the spin duration so that you are satisfied with the animation. I ended up with 1300 degrees Clockwise Spin in 1.3 seconds. The motion paths and the Spin should have the same duration.
  • The lower blade guard pivots up when it encounters the object being sawn and drops back when the saw passes over the object. I added a Clockwise spin of 115 degrees near the beginning of the action and the corresponding Counterclockwise spin near the end. Here’s the animation pane:


  • And here’s the animation:
  • I added a rectangle to represent the object being cut. Later, I’ll use a different object and adjust the blade guard timing accordingly.

You can use the power saw to “cut’ currency (like the handsaw above), or a dollar sign or bar graph like I demonstrated in the scissors post.  Here’s the power saw in another animation involving a graph:

Here are some notes:

  • The graph is created with a series of horizontal and vertical lines to form the grid, the label, and the arrow representing growth. The arrow is hand drawn (a Freeform) but you could use one of the built-in arrow shapes or a heavy line with an arrowhead.


  •  Duplicate the arrow shape and add Fill color to the two copies; make one copy a slightly darker shade.
  • Convert the arrow shapes to a pngs and make two halves using the technique used on the $100 bill above. The break should align with one of the horizontal grid lines on the graph. You only need the top half of the darker arrow. Invert the dark half and align the parts on the graph. Here’s the process:


  • Add the animated power saw (three parts). Position the saw along the horizontal grid line and adjust the blade guard timing so that the saw “cuts” between the two parts of the arrow:


  • The animation of the cut-off arrow uses Collapse and Stretch animations. There are three steps: first,  the upper part gets an Exit/Collapse to bottom animation. This is immediately followed by Entrance/Stretch/From top for the darker, inverted piece. Finally, there is a Down motion path overlapped with a quick Exit/Collapse to bottom of the darker piece. Here’s the final animation setup:


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

PowerPointy blog – cutting, etc – saws

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.

Bouncing Balls – Part 3


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


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

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

bounce3 1

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

bounce3 2

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

Here’s what the resulting set up looks like:

bounce3 3

Here’s the animation:


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

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

bounce3 4

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

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


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

bounce3 7

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

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

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

bounce3 5

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

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

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

bounce3 6

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

Perspective Bounce and Drop

Here are a couple of variations:

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

bounce3 8

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

bounce3 9


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

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

If you want 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 – bouncing ball 3

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.


Bouncing Ball – Part 1


The bouncing ball is a traditional animator’s exercise and, in a presentation, a way to add visual impact. This post is the first in a series about animating a bouncing ball in PowerPoint.

The simplest way to create a bouncing ball is to apply the built-in effect Motion Path/Bounce Right/Left to the “ball” (see this post on creating spheres and balls). Here’s what this looks like:

You may may think that the motion of the ball is not quite realistic. We will try to address that in a later post.

You can add an illusion of depth by combining the bounce with zoom effects; here’a a few:

Here are some notes on this series:

  • Each of the examples includes a Zoom In/Out or Grow/Shrink with the bounce effect. The animation for the first one:


  • The zoom-in example stretches the motion path to the right so that the oncoming ball bounces off the slide. To change the size and/or proportions of a path, select it and use the handles.
  • The third example uses the Emphasis/Grow effect. As I’ve noted before, the rendering of the Grow effect sucks; this is improved a little by Disappearing the original ball near the end of the animation and replacing it. Here’s the setup:


  • In the last example, the path is compressed horizontally so that the bounce is vertical.

You can also add a Spin; here I added text and 360 degrees Spin with the Enter/Zoom In and the motion path:

Purists among you will note that this spin is not realistic; the highlights shouldn’t spin since the light source doesn’t move. To fix this, create two objects, the ball and a circle of the same size (with no fill or outline) containing the text. After aligning the two objects to a common center, apply the motion path to both objects and the spin only to the text. Be careful that the motion paths are identical. Here’s the setup:


Here’s the result:

Here’s how you can use a bouncing ball as an attention-grabbing way to introduce your brand or your product benefits:

The next post will show you how to draw your own bounce path and add some additional effects.

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

Powerpointy blog – bouncing ball 1

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.

Wheels of Fortune – Part 3

wheel part 3

In this installment of my series on “wheels,” I will build a wheel of fortune like the one in the popular TV series.  If you want to create another kind of wheel,  search for “carnival wheel” or “prize wheel” for inspiration.

(The first post in the series is here and the second here.)

PLEASE NOTE: Several readers have asked about a version of this wheel that produces random results so it could be used in a game or other audience participation. Originally, I said I knew of no way to make this happen in PowerPoint since the amount of spin is determined by a fixed number. Since then, I located a way to produce a “random” spin; see this post for the technique.

I want to use this wheel to show a prospective customer the possible personal outcomes of his current project: He may get a raise, get fired, promoted, demoted, get a bonus or be ignored. I will follow up by showing him how he can improve his chances for success by using my product.

The wheel will have twelve sectors; each of the six outcomes will appear twice. I also want my layout to include a center line for each sector to help align the text. The layout is created using two Twelve Point Stars as templates, one rotated 15 degrees. Here’s the process:


(The first post in this series describes several ways to create this kind of layout.)

Add two circles and center everything to complete the layout; I used the red lines to help align the text:


For the sector labels (outcomes), I used the Cooper Black font and Stacked text; here’s what the process looks like:


Some notes:

  • The text is center aligned horizontally.
  • The Text direction/Stacked option is a little peculiar. First, it has no effect unless the Wrap text in shape option is unchecked.
  • Then, the spacing is way too much. I will not bore you with the PowerPoint esoterica behind this; just fix it.

Next, fit the label to the sector:


  • Rotate the text 15 degrees and align it with the red center line.
  • Apply the Text Effect/Transform/Fade Right.
  • Adjust the size and degree of taper to your liking. Too much taper will affect the legibility.

Add the other five labels to the right side of the wheel. Rotate and apply and adjust the Fade Right effect as above. Leave some space and don’t taper too much. You may need to readjust other labels as you go. Here’s my result:


To add color to the sectors use Block Arcs; see the earlier posts in this series for details. Use bright flat colors like the TV show. Next duplicate the sectors (text and arc) place in different positions on the left side. Finally, fill the center circle and delete the layout. Here’s my result:


The wheel has a series of pegs around the rim between each sector. The rim is two circles, the inner one is the size of the wheel graphic. Using methods from my “clocks” post, I put two circles at opposite positions, grouped them, and duplicated. centered and rotated the groups to complete the rim of the wheel:


There is a “flipper” at the top of the wheel that interacts with the pegs as the wheel spins; the flipper assures that the result of a spin is unambiguous.

The flipper is an Isosceles Triangle; the animation is a series of 90 degree Spins; here’s how it looks:

  • The basic action is a 90 degree Counterclockwise Spin with a duration of 0.15 seconds. Smooth Start and Smooth End are unchecked (the default).
  • Auto-reverse is checked; this returns the flipper to its neutral position; this also makes the duration 0.3 seconds. (This is the first time I’ve ever used this option.)
  • The Timing/Repeat option is set to 6. Thus the total duration is 6x.03 = 1.8 seconds.

To make the wheel interact with the flipper:

  • Position the flipper at the top of the wheel.
  • Rotate the wheel so that the flipper is halfway between pegs (15 degrees)
  • Apply a Spin effect to the wheel with the duration equal to the total flipper duration (1.8 sec)
  • Delay the flipper action by half a sector time (0.15 sec). Actually, I used 0.1 sec since PowerPoint will not accept 0.15 sec as a Delay.

Here’s what the setup looks like:


And the animation:

To make the wheel slow down and stop, I added two more Spin animations at slower rates, along with the corresponding flipper action, delayed by half the sector time. Here’s the annotated animation pane:


Finally, I filled the inner circle with the wheel image. Here’s the animation:

The asterisk on the slide marks the “winner” for this set up; to change the winner, manually rotate the wheel so that the desired winner is next to the asterisk. You may want to experiment with the timing, also.

If you want to take a spin with your own wheel, request the free PowerPoint file for this post using the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a “source” PowerPoint file containing these objects:

Powerpointy blog – wheels part 3

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.


Wheels of Fortune, Part 1


A “wheel” (a circle divided into labeled sectors) is a good way to show the parts of a unified whole: product applications, sales markets, etc. A wheel can also represent a set of  outcomes or choices like the traditional “wheel of fortune.”

This series of posts will present a few examples with tips on how to construct and animate these objects. The first example displays the components of a web marketing strategy; the shapes emphasize the idea that each component is important to the overall strategy:


These wheel designs use Arcs, Block Arcs and transformed text. To create and adjust these shapes accurately, it’s a good idea to start with a layout. (My gear and clock posts also demonstrate this technique.) Here’s the layout for the web marketing wheel:


Here’s how to create the layout. First, set up horizontal and vertical drawing guides to help center and align the wheel components. Add and center the two circles. Use narrow outlines and a color that will contrast with the final object.

There are a few different ways to complete the layout:

  • Do the math.  Determine the angles needed (divide 360 degrees by the number of sectors) and, using the Size and Position pane, set the Rotation of a number of Lines. If you have an odd number of sectors, center the first sector at the top of the circle. After you have created a few lines, Arrange/Flip and Rotate duplicates of the lines to fill in the rest. This is the technique used in the clock and gear posts.
  • Use a pre-defined shape as a guide for the radial lines; lines (connectors) will “stick” to specific points on the shape to automatically establish the angles. Luckily, a circle (Oval with equal height and width) has eight such (red) points so that creating the layout for the web marketing wheel is easy:


Take care when using a pre-defined shape; here’s a 5-Point Star with the height and width equal, compared with one that has been manually “fitted” to the circle:


The differences in the radial lines are small but the first set will cause problems later in the construction of a wheel. Avoid the Hexagon – it’s difficult to make it equilateral; use an adjusted 6-Point Star.

  • Use a “SmartArt” diagram as a basis for the wheel. For example, create a Basic Pie, ungroup it and work with the resulting components. Here’s how that might work:


This works if you have 7 or fewer segments. However, since the segments are not Arcs, they can be difficult to edit if needed later in the construction.

Ungrouped SmartArt shapes are not what they appear to be; rather than circles, Arcs, Rectangles, etc., they are Freeforms.

  • Use SmartArt to create the layout. Here’s how this might work for a 13 segment wheel using a Basic Radial diagram:


Use whatever method is easiest for you and your project.

To complete the web marketing strategy wheel, start with the layout, create a Block Arc and center it on the layout. Hold down Shift when creating the arc so that the circle which contains the arc has equal width and height. Adjust the diameter and use the handles to fit the shape to the layout:


Adjust the fit carefully and make sure the arc remains centered and that the height and width of the arc are equal.

To make the segment labels, create a text box and apply Text Effects/Transform/Follow Path/Arch Up.  Using the Size and Position pane, set the width and height equal and check Lock Aspect Ratio. Center, rotate and size the transformed text to fit within the segment:


Again, take care that the transformed text is centered an has equal height and width. You may want to add a circle to the layout to help consistently position the text.

Continue the process by duplicating and editing these elements.  For the text, I suggest you rotate each copy of the text to its upright, unrotated position to assure that it is centered and then rotate it to the target position. It’s a little difficult to tell if the text is centered when it is rotated. You can fill (color) the arc and the text as you go along. It is also helpful to group each arc with its text as you complete each sector.

For the text in the bottom half of the wheel, use the Arch Down option for the transform.

There’s a lot of stuff in this graphic, all overlapped, so that it is difficult to manually select the object you want. In these kinds of situations, use the Selection and Visibility pane to help, applying meaningful names to the parts if needed (see this post for details).

The icons are constructed in PowerPoint using the techniques demonstrated in several other posts; this one, for example.

Once the sectors are completed, double check at high zoom to make sure there aren’t any gaps or mis-positioned sectors. Use the Size and Position pane to check that the height and width are equal for the text and arcs and the drawing guides to assure that the elements are centered.

The 3d effect is achieved by grouping all the parts of the wheel, applying a 3d Depth (70 pts) and using the Perspective Right rotation.

Here’s an animated version of the (2d) wheel:

The animation uses the Wedge effect. The way this effect works makes the timing a little tricky, the details of which I will not detail so as to not further bore you .

To get a free copy of a PowerPoint file containing the elements of this post, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a “source” PowerPoint file:

Powerpointy blog – wheels part 1

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.

Animated Icons in PowerPoint – Part 4

This is another in a series on animated icons – creating simple images and using animation to add impact.


In another post on meters, I suggested that meters (speedometers, thermometers, etc.) are useful symbols for change – improvement, increase, etc. Here are a few more examples:

Note: the meters in the earlier post operate with clicks; these appear and execute their animation automatically. Of course, you can change this.

The first meter is a simple audio (spectrum) analyzer. Each bar consists of two rectangles; the upper rectangle exits with a Wipe From Top, then enters with a Wipe From Bottom.  Each animation repeats several times:


The analyzer is made of built-in  shapes and consists of several “bars,” with the size of the rectangles varied,  and a case:


An easy way to create the analyzer is to create one pair of rectangles, with 6 animations, and duplicate 10 times. Then adjust the heights of the rectangles. The varying overlap creates variable delays in the visual effect. Here’s what the animation looks like:


A way to repeat groups of animations would make this simpler.

The next meter is a level meter showing a measured quantity rising to the “red” zone. Here’s the construction:


This meter consists of two parts: the dial and case, and the needle. A Block Arc (green outline) forms the red zone on the dial. A circle (blue) is grouped with the line to position the pivot point for the needle.

The animation is a series of Clockwise and Counterclockwise Spins applied to the needle group:


The “margin meter” also consists of two groups: the case, dial and label, and the needle group:


The animation also consists of a series of Spins.

The “thermometer” consists of a number of lines and Rounded Rectangles. The animation is a single Wipe From Bottom.


Cannons with a firing animation can be used to indicate a salute or a conflict:

Like other icons in this series, the traditional cannon is made from built-in PowerPoint shapes.  The wheel is made from a Donut, a circle and elongated Hexagons for spokes:


With our “corporate colors” for fill, this is the result:


This, like the other icons in this series is relatively “flat” in appearance; this is acceptable for smaller versions of the icon but you might want to add more interest to a larger version.  You might think this would require more details.  However, using standard PowerPoint shapes as highlights and or shadows adds depth without a lot of effort.

The idea is to imagine the light coming from above so that highlights would appear near the top of objects (especially surfaces that may be shiny). Similarly, shadows would appear at the bottom.  Here’s a version of the cannon with highlights and shadows added:


The version on the left shows the added shapes outlined in red and the one on the right shows the results without the outlines. Again, these are standard PowerPoint shapes and don’t require any hand drawing.

The animation consists of the cannon firing and then rolling backward due to the recoil. The muzzle flash is a Pie shape with a gradient fill (red outlines added for clarity):


The flash Wipes From Right quickly (0.3 sec) and Disappears, followed by the wheels and cannon/carriage moving to the right while the wheel Spins (25 degrees).  See my earlier post for details of rolling vehicle animation. Here’s the animation pane:


The construction of the more modern artillery piece is shown below; the lower image shows the added shadows:


The muzzle flash is animated as before. Since this gun has a recoil mechanism, the barrel slides back and then returns more slowly to firing position. Here’s the animation pane:


As usual, if you want a free copy of the PowerPoint file showing the construction and animation of these icons, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a “source” PowerPoint file:

PowerPointy blog – animated icons 4

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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