Posts Tagged 'animations'

Let’s Make a Movie! – Creating Videos

bannner.jpg

You may want to make a video to advertise your wares or share your ideas on the internet. You can feature videos on your organization’s website, your blog, video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion or media like Facebook or LinkedIn. These sites far outreach any native PowerPoint sharing sites; PowerPoint is not an internet medium.

SlideShare, probably the largest presentation sharing site, actually converts PowerPoint to another form  (maybe Flash) and simply allows you to click through static “decks.”

Designing a Video

It’s easy to use PowerPoint to create a video; however, designing a video is considerably different from the usual conference room presentation.

  • The most obvious difference is that there is no presenter. In the usual circumstances, the presenter delivers the message interactively, supported by the slides. In a video, even with a narration, the crux of the message must be carried by text, images and animation.
  • Web videos are usually short and are have limited goals. For example, the video may be intended to make the viewer aware of a problem or an opportunity and to encourage the viewer to take a “next step” like visiting your website.
  • Animation and transitions are critical in capturing and managing the viewer’s attention. Movement makes your video much more engaging than a series of static “slides.” In fact, today’s viewer expects it.
  • The video may or may not have a narration but will usually employ audio; you will need to synchronize the audio and the visual effects.
  • Obviously, the “source” PowerPoint must be implemented to run autonomously without requiring clicks. The timing involved is an important aspect of the design.
  • To create a video from a PowerPoint file, select Export on the File tab and select Create a Video. I usually use Internet Quality; Low Quality also seems be adequate for internet videos and creates a smaller file. Since you have provided timing (duration) for each slide, the option Use Recorded Timings and Narrations should appear. If not, default timings will be supplied.

NOTE: Interactive “videos” allow the viewer to explore a subject on his own via on-screen navigation. It is straightforward to create this kind of experience in PowerPoint but a converter is required to transform the PowerPoint to an interactive web medium (HTML5 or Flash).  See the iSpring product, for example. I may attempt an interactive video using a converter in a later post.

A Video Project

The project for this post is a variation of a video that I created to promote a presentation design business. I had found that many prospects had not considered the idea of paying a PowerPoint guru even though some were aware that the quality of their presentations could be better. The video was designed to make the viewer aware of the possibilities (about 90 seconds with audio):

Here are a few design notes:

  • These are not traditional corporate slides, with titles, bullets and the usual background, shown in inexorable sequence. Rather, the video is organized as a series of scenes and transitions, leading to a specific conclusion.
  • In particular, the scenes lead the viewer through a series of questions (with implied answers) designed to suggest the shortcomings of operating without a presentation specialist:
    • How important are presentations (important enough not to be treated casually)?
    • Who designs your presentations (and are they appropriately skilled)?
    • Are your presentations overstuffed, wordy, etc. (and are you proud of them)?
    • Do you hire specialists in other communications areas (why not presentations)?
  • Transitions and (in one case) a change in background mark the scenes.
  • The overall tone is light – appropriate for questioning the prospect’s practices.
  • The music is light, but with an insistent rhythm. A light popping sound effect is used for punctuating the punctuation.
  • Movement is featured constantly.
  • Corporate look-and-feel including colors, logos, fonts, etc. can be utilized but, again, avoid the canned corporate template/theme.

Animations and Transitions

The animations and transitions are relatively simple. Most of the scenes are single slides with a sequence of Entrance effects.  I did use several slides to build the “bad design” series; this reduces the number of animated objects on a slide and makes managing the animation easier.

Timing the animations and transitions is critical. You want to maintain the pace consistent with the audio but you also want the content (mostly text in this project) to “register” with the viewer. Since you know the content, you may be inclined to use intervals that are too short for a viewer who is seeing the material for the first time. On the other hand, people can comprehend text or simple images in a remarkably short time. The best practice is to test your video with “outside” viewers to get the pacing right.

In the case of the “bad slides” sequence, I do not expect the viewer to study the example slides in any detail; I just want to give a quick impression. I want to give the impression that there are of a lot of bad slides out there, not focus on any particular form of evil.

NOTE: It is absurdly easy to find examples like this on the net. Finding a well-designed slide is infinitely harder. You may note that most of the examples are from government agencies or educational institutions. I hope this is because these groups are simply more likely to publish on the web rather than that these people are really bad with PowerPoint. What do you think?

Here’s the animation pane for the “who designs your presentations” scene; I have named the objects for clarity:

m1.png

Each text box appears using a Wipe or Stretch, followed by a Zoomed question mark with a pop sound effect. In three cases, an image enters with the phrase (the designer guy, Stella and the kid).

Reviewing animations, transitions (and sound effects) using Slide Show may not be satisfactory if you use a low-powered PC. Animations can be jerky and not reflect the actual timing. Using Preview Timings and Narrations under Create Video will produce smoother results but the timing may not be accurate (more on this below).

All slide transitions use the Advance Slide/After xx:xx option. Typically, the interval is set to cause the transition a short time after the last animation effect. When no delay is wanted, the transition occurs immediately after the last effect. The duration of the transition itself is one of the transition parameters for the next slide.

Sound Effects

I acquired the “pop” sound effect from Soundrangers and used Insert/Audio on my PC to add it to the slide. I set Audio Tools/Playback/Start automatically so that the effect appears on the animation pane (the gray events) and can be coordinated with the animations.

A speaker icon appears on the slide when the sound is inserted. This can be used by a presenter to play the audio manually; since I want to control the sound via the animation pane, I set Hide During Show. I copied the icon to the other slides where needed. For convenience, I positioned the icons near the question marks. Here’s the “who designs..” slide with the “pop” icons:

m2.png

Unfortunately, the sound effect appears on the animation pane as an event with no duration (the pop effect actually lasts for about 0.3 seconds). On the other hand; the Start After option does account for the actual duration (see the red lines on the Animation Pane above). Using audio in PowerPoint would be simpler if the duration of audio playback were actually shown in the animation pane, like an animation effect.

By the way, I used the methods outlined in my series of posts on PowerPoint characters to create the figures on this slide. This is an example of how characters can help tell stories.

Background Audio

The royalty-free music track was also acquired from Soundrangers; the original track is a little more than 60 seconds in length. Given the animation and transition timings, the video will be about 90 seconds long. Obviously, I need to repeat part of the audio track so that the audio will play until the end.

NOTE; You can acquire audio “loops” – music designed to be repeated seamlessly. Since PowerPoint provides a Loop playback option, a loop track can be played seamlessly for an arbitrary length of time. However, if the loop is short, the playback is noticeably repetitive. A track not designed for the purpose with the Loop option will be obviously repetitive.

For my project, the audio track has a definite ending and I want that ending to synchronize with the end of the video. So I Trimmed a copy of the track to the beginning 30 seconds (approximately) and followed it by the complete 60 second track. Here’s a picture:

m3.png

I made a spreadsheet of the slide timings (duration and transition) and adjusted the trimmed track length and the slide timings (in tenths of a second) to get the transition to occur at the beginning of a slide. I applied a Fade Out to the end of the trimmed piece so that the “cut” is less noticeable.

Fortunately, here’s a very nice video from Microsoft that will explain these details so I won’t have to.

ADVISORY: As I noted above, there is no guarantee that PowerPoint playback (Slide Show or Preview Timings) will actually run at the specified rate. Audio plays at the proper rate. As a result, if you use a low-powered PC, you may not be able to synchronize visual effects with the audio in PowerPoint; rather, you may have to create videos to check the timing.

If you want to experiment with a much more sophisticated audio editor, try Audacity® – a “free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing.”

Other Video Projects

To help you understand the potential and challenges of PowerPoint videos, here are a few other video projects I’ve worked on:

  • Video infographic  – the client wanted to raise awareness of wireless trends affecting healthcare. I created a web video using the basic techniques described here. A couple of “characters” and animated pie charts and graphs added appeal.
  • Trade show videos – the client used large video screens associated with his trade show booth to attract attention. The design called for a looped series of short vignettes with attention-grabbing text and images.
    • Native PowerPoint can be used in these situations but using video eliminated potential compatibility or performance problems associated with the operating environment at the show.
  • Recreating a web video – a client’s customer had created a video highlighting his operation, including applications of the client’s products. The client wanted a shorter version of the video concentrating only on the client’s contributions. Rather than try to edit the video directly, I extracted the audio using a free web app and recreated the visual scenes in PowerPoint (I had access to the images used in making the video) and exported the result as a new video.
    • This project was complicated by the fact that the client’s company name had changed since the original video was made. Since I recreated the slides, this was easy to fix visually. I did not attempt any sophisticated audio editing but was able to eliminate the old name from the audio track using the PowerPoint tools.
  • Video of live presentation – the client had a video of a sales presentation his company had made at a conference. The video had been made on a phone and did not show the actual slides clearly. I embedded a cropped version of the video featuring the presenter in a PowerPoint presentation and synchronized it with the original slides. The slides occupied the left two-thirds of the (wide) screen and the cropped video on the right third. I exported the result as a video. Voila!
  • I have made hundreds of short videos for this blog demonstrating animations.

So give it a try. You will find that you can make simple but engaging web videos for your organization or just for fun using a tool you already have.

PowerPoint Secrets – Using Transitions as Animations

escher

In my last post, I used a slide transition to simplify construction of a “photo carousel” effect. This post is about using transitions in other unusual ways.

But first, I beg your indulgence for a short rant about transitions. To wit: transitions are like animation in general; using transitions just because Microsoft says they are “exciting” is poisonous. They should be used only for a reason (see this post for a more complete essay on this subject). See this article for a similar view. Finally, see this source to see how bad this kind of thing can get.

The carousel post used a “dynamic content” transition; this essentially allows you to specify which objects on the slide are affected by the transition effect. Other objects (e.g., the slide title, background and your logo) remain fixed during the transition. So, the effect looks like an animation rather than a transition.

In the usual transitions, the entire slide is affected. Of course, in some cases, this not apparent. Here’s an example using a transition to a second slide to mimic an Entrance animation:

This is a Random Bars transition but, since the two slides are identical except for the “review” box, only the review box “appears.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t add much to our toolbox, since only 8 of the 45 available transitions (in my version of PowerPoint) work this way. And these don’t add much to our animation repertoire.

In some cases, a transition that affects the entire slide can be used effectively. Here’s an example:

This is a version of an effect I developed in my earlier breakthrough post. This one uses a Fracture transition and is much simpler to create.

Only a few dynamic content transitions (7 in my version) are available. Is there a way to use the other transitions as animations? The answer is, as you might expect, sort of.

The trick is to build the transition effect in a separate file, convert it to video, and then insert into your presentation where needed.

Whoa, you might say. Isn’t this overkill? Is it worth it to get involved in the complications of video?

Don’t be intimidated, dear reader. PowerPoint video conversions are easy and work quite well. How do you think I made all the demos you see in these posts? In fact I think I’ll look at some more video-related projects in upcoming posts.

Here is a project that uses a video for the “curtain” effect:

Here’s how:

  • The basic slide is created first, with the text.
  • In a separate presentation, create two slides. The first is the customer service agent, and the second is a rectangle with the text “PLEASE WAIT.” The rectangle is sized and positioned so that, after the transition to the second slide, the rectangle will cover the agent. The slides look like this:

cs1

  • On slide one, set the transition to None, and check the Advance Slide/After 00:00:00 box. This will make the transition to the nest slide occur automatically, immediately after the presentation starts. On slide 2, set the transition to Drape and set the Duration (2.75 sec in my case). Also, check the Advance Slide/On Click box; this prevents the presentation from ending with a black screen.
  • Run Slide Show to check the results. Edit the slides as needed.
  • Now convert to video: select File/Export/Create a Video.
  • Select Internet Quality; this is usually sufficient for presentations.
  • The Use Recorded Timings and Narrations box should appear; this means that the conversion will  use the transition timings you have set. If this box doesn’t appear automatically, go back and make sure that the slide transitions are timed rather than “on click.”
  • Click Create Video. I usually use the filename of the PowerPoint file (the default) for the video. Conversion may take a while; there is an indicator that the conversion is happening at the bottom of the PowerPoint window.
  • Here’s what the video looks like:
  • Next, insert the video in the original slide. Select Insert/Video/Video on My PC… and select the video created above. I used the same slide size for the video as the original so the inserted video placeholder will cover the whole slide.
  • In Video Tools/Playback, set Start to Automatically. This will put the video in the Animation Pane like an animation effect.
  • Click on the video placeholder and use Video Tools/Format/Crop and resize to get the video placeholder to the right shape, size and location. This is just like working with a Picture.
  • Open the Animation Pane. You will see the video as an event and as a “trigger” item. The trigger is not needed in this application; Remove it from the animation pane.
  • Animate the text and set the timing relative to the video as needed. Note that the duration of the video does not appear, unfortunately.  Here’s the slide and animation pane:

cs2

  • Run Slideshow to verify the effect: the second line of text and the “curtain” should appear on click.

Here are some additional notes on this technique:

  • In the example, the backgrounds of the presentation and the video are the same (white); that is, the background of the PowerPoint file used to create the video is the same as the background where the video will be used. You can get away with this for a uniformly colored background but a more complicated (e.g., gradient) background may cause problems.
  • Some transitions involve extra “background” elements. For example, Gallery moves the slide images against a black background that you may not want and there is no way to make this disappear.
  • Using a bigger crop of the video may increase (or not) the impact of the effect. You can set the aspect ratio (slide size) of the PowerPoint file used to create the video so that you can use the entire slide if you desire.

Wow. This is getting more complicated than I intended. So, I’ll show some more examples in a follow-up post. You can try experimenting with the technique in the meantime.

As usual, if you want a free copy of the PowerPoint files used in this post, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a “source” PowerPoint file:

Powerpointy blog – transitions as animations

Here is the source file for the video:

Powerpointy blog – sm cutain video source file

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.

Prezi Style PowerPoint

Prezi is an alternative to PowerPoint and has achieved some impact as a presentation tool. For some applications, zooming around a “map” of concepts, categories or ideas is an engaging method of presentation.

My brief experience with Prezi was disappointing: Prezi has no drawing tools and no animation beyond pan/zoom and fade in (see here for other shortcomings.)  Prezi seems to be a one-trick pony (see this post for more on this view).

Of course, you can make bad presentations in Prezi just as easily as you can in PowerPoint.

Can you incorporate Prezi style pan and zoom transitions in PowerPoint? The answer is yes but it’s a little tricky. You can read this post and decide for yourself whether it’s worth the effort.

Here’s the basic idea. Prezi manipulates the point of view of the audience, moving a “camera” around a “canvas” (a diagram or map), focusing on particular elements. In PowerPoint, the Prezi effect can be approximated by manipulating the canvas – moving, rotating and zooming the canvas within the visible frame formed by the slide outline.

Here’s a PowerPoint sequence that demonstrates the technique:

The canvas, containing three objects, is displayed in Scene 1 followed by transitions to three additional scenes. Each scene positions the canvas in the frame (slide outline) so that the desired result is achieved. Here’s a diagram (the “frame”or slide outline is a red-outlined rectangle the same size as a slide):

You can see that in Scene 2, for example, the canvas is enlarged and shifted so that the blue circle is centered in the slide outline.

Once the scenes have been built, you can create the three transitions between scenes. (This is a technique I use a lot for animations: make the starting picture and the ending picture and then devise the transition between the two.)

Here’s how you can create the scenes:

  • Create Scene 1. For the canvas, I used a gray gradient filled rectangle the same size as the slide and grouped it with three objects: a blue circle, a smaller red circle and a tilted green square.

  • If you have rotated objects like the green square on your canvas, make a note of the amount of rotation (+15 degrees in this case).
  • The red outline identifies the slide boundary and delineates the part of the canvas that will appear in Slide Show mode. This will help when positioning the canvas for the subsequent scenes (keep the red rectangle in Front).
  • To create Scene 2, duplicate Scene 1. Keeping the red rectangle fixed, move the duplicated canvas so that the blue circle is centered in the red slide outline. Re-size the canvas object by 199% (more about this later). Use Format Shape/Size to resize the canvas; set Lock Aspect Ratio and change the Scale Width to the appropriate percentage. Make a note of the percentage.
  • The red rectangle now outlines the part of the canvas that will actually show on the screen in Slide Show mode:

  •  Now create the remaining scenes using the same methods. For the remaining scenes, the canvas is not enlarged. Scene 4 features a rotation to “square up” the square – 15 degrees (remember?).

Now that the scenes are completed, build the transitions between the scenes.

  • Build the transitions using separate slides. Using a separate slide for each transition isolates the transition animations and simplifies adding other animations to each scene, if needed.
  • Now build the transition between scenes 1 and 2. First, duplicate scene 1; this will be the basis for the transition 1 slide.
  • A Grow animation and a simultaneous motion path will be added to the canvas on the transition slide. The Grow is straightforward, the motion path is a little tricky; the end point location (target) needs to be established.
  • To establish the “target” for the motion path, Copy the contents of Scene 2 and Paste on the Transition 1 slide. Group the pasted items and set to No Fill and black outlines. This is what the transition 1 slide should look like:

  • Now, draw lines connecting the midpoints of each side of the rectangle. With some care, the endpoints of the lines will snap to the midpoints (a green endpoint indicates this has happened). Here’s what the slide looks like now:

  • The intersection of the two lines is the target endpoint for the animation.

This is similar to using Drawing Guides to help locate an endpoint; however, sometimes you need Guides outside of the slide boundary and PowerPoint doesn’t support that

  • Now add a Line motion path to the canvas. Position the end point of the motion path carefully at the intersection of the two crossed lines in the target. This may require zooming in to get the endpoint properly positioned. Here’s the result with the motion path:

  • Note that the start point of the motion path is automatically positioned at the center of the canvas.
  • Add the zoom (Grow/Shrink 199%) effect to the canvas With the motion path. Here’s what the animation looks like:

To change the size for the Grow/Shrink effect, click on the effect in the Animation Pane and select Effect Options.  Click on the down arrow on the Size field and change the value in the Custom box. For reasons known only to the PowerPoint creators, you must hit Return in the Custom box for the new size to “take.”

  • Test the animation: in Slide Show mode, click through Scene 1, the transition slide and Scene 2. If there is a noticeable jump between the transition slide and Scene 2, you probably need to refine the endpoint of the motion path.
  • You can adjust the animation parameters (timing, etc.) of the two effects to your liking. I unchecked the Smooth End box for the motion path; you may want to adjust the overall or relative timing of the two effects to your taste.
  • Repeat the process for the remaining scenes. the transition to scene 3 is just a pan (motion path) and the transition to scene 4 includes a Spin/Counterclockwise 15 degrees.
  • You can experiment with the timing of the animations and the “shape” of the motion path to get the effects you want.
  • Strictly speaking, the separate transition slides are not necessary.  However, I think they keep the work organized. Also, when a Grow (zoom in)  animation is used, the poor rendering of the result is immediately replaced by the scene slide.

For early versions of PowerPoint, the size of the enlarged canvas is important: motion paths fail for “large” objects. In particular, objects that are twice the size of the slide or larger are truncated when moved.

To clean up a transition slide. remove the target object (black outline above) and make the slide Transition automatic. Specifically, on the Transitions ribbon, set the Advance Slide/After 00:00:00 check box. This will run the animation steps in sequence (regardless of any Start on Click settings) and advance to the next slide immediately after the animations.

Is all this worth it? Hard to say, but at least you can add Prezi-like effects to your presentations and still use other PowerPoint features like additional animation on the slides.

Another project using these techniques is documented in “More Prezi.”

If you want a free Powerpoint “source” file that will help with the details of this project, use the link below, click on the icon and select download.

Powerpointy blog – prezi style

If you have problems, complaints or thank-yous, add a comment below. You might “like” the post or follow this blog, too.

Creating Animated “Meters” in PowerPoint (Updated with Videos)

A meter (a thermometer or speedometer, for example) can be a metaphor for indicating change.  Meters in presentations can show a change resulting from an action.  For example, this slide shows how employee performance can change customer satisfaction:

One advantage of a meter is that it can indicate qualitative change in a definite way.  Of course, if you have the numbers, the meter can show that too.

This post will show you how to construct a meter and animate it. The slide above is the result we want; each time a bullet appears, we want the meter to swing towards positive (three steps).

If you want to see how the satisfaction meter is constructed and animated along with some other examples of meters, see the end of this post and download a “source file.”

Here are the parts of the meter: a rounded rectangle for the “case,” a block arc for the window, and two circles for the range markers.

Use guidelines to align the meter parts.  Also, the block arc should be circular (equal height and width).  Use the shift key while creating or adjusting the block arc to keep it proportioned correctly.  Use the Format/Size pane to adjust the height and width if needed.

Now for the moving part – the needle.  Here we use a trick to set the center point for a rotating object: group the object with an invisible circle whose center point is the desired point of rotation.

The green circle and triangle below form the “needle group.” Again, use the guidelines to position the needle group at the center of the block arc.

I intentionally positioned the needle in the center position to make the next step easier: measuring the desired “swing” of the needle.  To do this, select the green handle and rotate the needle group (eyeball it) to the rightmost position.  Look at the Size and Position pane to determine the size of the rotation; in this case it requires a rotation of 54° to swing the needle group from the center position to the rightmost position.  So, the total swing is 2×54=108° (click on the picture for a larger version).

What’s the point of measuring the swing? Since we want the swing to happen in three steps, we now know that each step is 108/3=36°.

Here’s how to animate the meter: using the Size and Position panel, rotate the needle group by -54° – this is the starting position. Now apply animation to the group:  Spin Clockwise, 36°, On Click, Very Fast.  Use SlideShow mode to check the result.

Now, add two more steps (each animation will rotate the needle group from its last position so each Spin is 36°):

Now that you’ve got the mechanism working, make the meter more presentable. First, make the circle in the needle group invisible by setting Line Color to No line. Then, fill the needle (red) and the case (gray gradient)

Fill the window with white. Create text boxes for the minus and plus and group with the corresponding circle (the minus is 40 pts, the plus is 32 pts):

If you want, add 3D effects to give the meter more dimensionality:

For this effect, apply the Cross 3D bevel to the case,  the Soft Curve 3D bevel to the window and the Angle 3D bevel to the needle.

Now build the slide and sequence the animation (click on the picture for a larger version):

Each bullet starts On Click and the meter animation (Spin) Follows Previous (occurs immediately after the bullet).

Here are some other meter types:

Notes on these meters:

  • You can use red, yellow and green to indicate improvement.
  • Recalculate the swing to add more steps like the 4-step meter shown.
  • Use text on the meter face (percentages, etc.) to indicate the steps.
  • The slider types use a Motion Path for animation; you can use a three-color linear gradient for a multi-step slider .
  • The big dial versions provide more space to label the meter.
  • The thermometer uses several segments of color and Wipe from Bottom animation.
  • Use a semitransparent gray overlay (circles) to dim the bulbs in the light bar – Fade in or out to light and dim the bulbs.
  • You may want to use a “cable” to connect your meter to a text box or other object.

If you want to see how the  meters  are  constructed and animated or if you want to adapt them to your presentation,use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a free “source” PowerPoint file containing these objects:

Powerpointy blog – animated meters

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.

Creating an Animated “Meter” Metaphor in PowerPoint

A meter (a thermometer or speedometer, for example) can be a metaphor for indicating change.  Meters in presentations can show a change resulting from an action.  For example, the performance of employees can change customer satisfaction.

One advantage of a meter is that it can indicate qualitative change in a definite way.  Of course, if you have the numbers, the meter can show that too.

This post will show you how to construct a meter and animate it. The slide above is the result we want; each time a bullet appears, we want the meter to swing towards positive (three steps).

An updated version of this post with videos showing the animations is here.

Here are the parts of the meter: a rounded rectangle for the “case,” a block arc for the window, and two circles for the range markers.

Use guidelines to align the meter parts.  Also, the block arc should be circular (equal height and width).  Use the shift key while creating or adjusting the block arc to keep it proportioned correctly.  Use the Format/Size pane to adjust the height and width if needed.

Now for the moving part – the needle.  Here we use a trick to set the center point for a rotating object: group the object with an invisible circle whose center point is the desired point of rotation.

The green circle and triangle below form the “needle group.” Again, use the guidelines to position the needle group at the center of the block arc.

I intentionally positioned the needle in the center position to make the next step easier: measuring the desired “swing” of the needle.  To do this, select the green handle and rotate the needle group (eyeball it) to the rightmost position.  Look at the Size and Position pane to determine the size of the rotation; in this case it requires a rotation of 54° to swing the needle group from the center position to the rightmost position.  So, the total swing is 2×54=108°.

What’s the point of measuring the swing? Since we want the swing to happen in three steps, we now know that each step is 108/3=36°.

Here’s how to animate the meter: using the Size and Position panel, rotate the needle group by -54° – this is the starting position. Now apply animation to the group:  Spin Clockwise, 36°, On Click, Very Fast.  Use SlideShow mode to check the result.

Now, add two more steps (each animation will rotate the needle group from its last position so each Spin is 36°):

Now that you’ve got the mechanism working, make the meter more presentable. First, make the circle in the needle group invisible by setting Line Color to No line. Then, fill the needle (red) and the case (gray gradient)

Fill the window with white. Create text boxes for the minus and plus and group with the corresponding circle (the minus is 40 pts, the plus is 32 pts):

If you want, add 3D effects to give the meter more dimensionality:

For this effect, apply the Cross 3D bevel to the case,  the Soft Curve 3D bevel to the window and the Angle 3D bevel to the needle.

Now build the slide and sequence the animation:

Each bullet starts On Click and the meter animation (Spin) Follows Previous (occurs immediately after the bullet).  If you want to see the animation, ask me for a copy of the PowerPoint file (see below).

Here are some other meter types:

Notes on these meters:

  • You can use red, yellow and green to indicate improvement.
  • Recalculate the swing to add more steps like the 4-step meter shown.
  • Use text on the meter face (percentages, etc.) to indicate the steps.
  • The slider types use a Motion Path for animation; you can use a three-color linear gradient for a multi-step slider .
  • The big dial versions provide more space to label the meter.
  • The thermometer uses several segments of color and Wipe from Bottom animation.
  • Use a semitransparent gray overlay (circles) to dim the bulbs in the light bar – Fade in or out to light and dim the bulbs.

Finally, you may want to use a “cable” to connect your meter to another object:

If you want to see more detail on how these meters are constructed and animated, use the link below and click on the PowerPoint icon to download a free “source” PowerPoint file containing these objects:

Powerpointy blog – animated meters

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.

 

Animation for a Reason- Caveats

By now, you’ve read my last post (which extolled the manifold virtues of rational animation) and you are convinced of value of animation for a reason. Now for some bad  news:  your carefully wrought effects will disappear in some situations. Sorry.

Here are some examples:

  • On-line meetings – a geographically dispersed group views a presentation and interacts; realtime video of the participants may be provided.
  • Slide sharing sites – your PowerPoint files are uploaded to a site designed to allow visitors to search, browse and view the collection.
  • PowerPoint conversions – for ease of distribution or use on the web, PowerPoint files are converted to Flash or other video forms.

These technologies are very useful and serve to give your work a wider audience. However, they almost always involve conversion of your .ppt file to something else, usually ignoring your carefully designed animations.

Before you or someone important use one of these services, make sure that your presentation behaves as it should. This will require a trial even though some of these conversions advertise support of effects, but they may miss some. In addition, some won’t support some graphical elements (e.g., WordArt).

If animation is not supported, you need to redesign the presentation. You will, of course, remove the effects and probably rearrange objects on the screen that don’t work in the static view. You may be able to simulate some effects (e.g., appearances) by using several slides  (NB: slide transition effects may not be supported). You may be able to take advantage of the fact that these presentations are viewed by individuals on computer screens where smaller elements are more legible. Do not overdo this and overstuff your slides.

There is another case worth mentioning: you may be invited to present at a conference where the organizers want “a copy of your presentation” to publish for attendees and others. Since you understand some of the principles I have preached here (see The Trouble with PowerPoint 1), you know this is a mistake. The conference organizers think that your presentation is a document that can be understood (and believed) without the presenter. (It’s not. Right??)

The answer here, of course, is to prepare a carefully written and designed document (in .ppt format) which will allow the reader to get your message.

In summary: recognize that your animations will probably not work in these situations; test to make sure; and then rework the presentation.


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