Posts Tagged 'textures'

Drawing in PowerPoint- Glass

banner

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:

gl1

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:

gl2

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:

gl3

You can also use gradient fills in text:

gl7

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:

gl4

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

gl5

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:

gl6

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

gl8

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:

g9

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:

g10

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:

g11

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:

g12

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:

g13

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:

g16

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

g14

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:

g15

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:

g18

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

g17

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:

g19

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:

g20

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):

g21

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.

Advertisements

Creating Workable Slide Backgrounds

banner

A few years ago, I wrote a post on slide backgrounds. I reviewed a sample of commercially available and corporate “templates” and concluded that they were basically exercises for graphic designers and that they seriously interfered with actual slide content. In fact, I suggested that the best slide background may be no background at all.

However, there are a few background approaches that might support your message rather than detract from it. I’ll show you some examples in this post and you can decide for yourself.

First, where does a slide background come from?

  • The slide Layout  – the background of the Layout (along with any other objects on the Layout) will appear as the default background of a slide. A Layout may inherit its background from the Master Slide in a Theme.
  • A Format Background operation. This treats the background like an object and provides the usual fill options (solid, gradient, picture, etc.) This operation will override the Layout background.
  • A photo or other objects “behind” all other objects on the slide. This is technically not a background but it has the same function.

If you are preparing a Theme, you will use Layouts to define slide backgrounds. You might use a Format Background  or an “object background” for a one-time application.  However, an “object background” can interfere with editing other objects on the slide.

By the way, there is no rule that says every content slide must have the same background. You could provide options by carefully creating a few variations as Layouts with, of course, consistent colors and your beloved corporate logo.

A “workable” slide background should contribute to your message and, at the same time. not interfere with the slide content. For example, it is difficult to create easily discernible content against backgrounds with large high contrast images. See the earlier post for some horrifying examples.

One approach is to use “textures.” You can find textures on the web; these are often photographs of natural or man-made materials like stone, wood grain, concrete, leather, etc. Here’s an example slide  from a presentation on PowerPoint “abusers” using a “grunge” texture as a backgound:

OFFENDER 1 static

The texture reinforces the premise that PowerPoint abuse is a disgusting criminal activity in the back alleys.

Here’s an “old paper” texture that I used for a fairy tale (!!) project:

bk2

This textured steel image might be used to evoke a sense of strength or security:

bk1

As it is, this stock texture might interfere with slide content. Adjusting Contrast and Brightness can make the detail more subtle and improve the clarity of the slide using this background:

bk3

Here’s an example using a stock (but recolored) circuit image as a background:

bk4Adding a gradient filled rectangle over the background reduces the interference, especially near the center of the slide:

bk5

Another source of “textures” is the Pattern fill option. Here’s a Large grid background fill (suggesting engineering or architecture) with a semi-transparent gradient overlay:

bk7

It’s worth pointing out here that the Pattern fill has some unusual properties. Here are some examples using a Pattern filled rectangle along with a png version of the rectangle:

bk8First, the spacing and orientation of the pattern is not changed by shrinking, rotating or stretching the shape. Oddly, the pattern does change appropriately under 3d rotation. The spacing changes when converted to a Picture (and also in slide show mode).  The spacing also changes if you Zoom in edit mode. Controlling or adjusting the coarseness or orientation of the pattern requires conversion to a picture.

Another approach involves “watermarks” – shapes created in subtle colors against a solid or gradient background. The shapes may suggest an aspect of the company or its products; I’ve seen corporate logos used this way. Often the watermark is placed so that interference with likely slide content is minimized.

Here are some samples I recently prepared for the folks over at Acme:

bk9

These backgrounds use arrays of shapes in colors that are low contrast relative to the overall slide color – transparency helps here. The first four slides use outlines; slide 4 introduces  a little color variation to the array. The last four slides use filled objects and transparency.

The shapes are not arbitrary but are meant to suggest an aspect of the client’s business. One client liked the hexagon array because it reinforced the modularity of his software products. The gear motif actually uses a part of the client’s logo.

So what have we learned here today? To create workable slide backgrounds:

  • Acquire stock textures.
  • Use background pattern fill.
  • Adapt these to a workable background by re-coloring and/or adjusting brightness and contrast.
  • Overlay semitransparent and/or gradients to reduce interference with content.
  • Create arrays of simple shapes in subtle colors for a “watermark” effect.

 


Follow powerpointy on WordPress.com