Posts Tagged 'wipe effect'

PowerPoint Secrets – The Hard-edged Wipe

In 2014, I wrote a post about animating liquids (filling, pouring, etc.). In that post I provided an example using the Enter/Wipe animation effect – here’s the video from the post:

If I create a video from the same file using my current PowerPoint version (2013), this is what I get:

Observant readers will notice a difference between these two animations; the leading edge of the object is fuzzy or soft in the latest version. Here’s what happened: after PowerPoint 2007 (I think), Microsoft changed the animation effect from a “hard edge” to a “soft edge.” And, rather than make this an option, the geniuses simply eliminated the hard-edged wipe.

I believe this change was not limited to the Wipe effect but affected other animations and transitions but I don’t have the details.

If this change is acceptable or doesn’t affect your work, please browse my blog for dozens of other fascinating and useful posts. On the other hand, if you prefer the hard edge in some of your projects, read on for some ways to work around the change.

I want a hard edge in some of the projects I have detailed in this blog. I intend to add notes about this to earlier posts where needed but I may not get to all of them. Sorry.

I tried some effects that might work as a direct substitute for Wipe:

The Stretch/Collapse effects work as a hard-edged wipe but only for the shape with the uniform fill. The Peek effects appear to move the object in rather than expose it like the Wipe.

Of course, the distortion created by Stretch/Collapse is useful in some applications; see my post on opening a book.

The shape of the object is important, too:

As you can see, in the case of a non-rectangular shape, Stretch/Collapse is not the same as Wipe; Peek is a different effect.

Conclusion: Stretch is a direct substitute for Wipe only when the object is rectangular with a uniform fill.

But we can use an old PowerPoint trick to simulate Wipe:

Here I used the Collapse animation of a “mask” to reveal the arrow object; obviously this works for any shape or fill. The mask is a slide background filled (white) rectangle (outlined in red for clarity in the first example).

Here’s how this technique can be used to fill a non-rectangular vessel (the small sketch shows how the objects are “layered”):

Of course, the masking trick doesn’t always work – in particular, in cases where the slide background fill is not uniform:

Here the mask does not disappear against the background when it is animated; the slide background fill (a gradient) is static and does not track animations.

Here’s a way to “wipe” a uniformly filled object against a gradient background:

Create a rectangle with the same fill as the background; use Merge Shapes/Subtract to create an arrow-shaped hole. Put a gray rectangle between the hole and the background and apply a Stretch entry animation to the rectangle. This sketch shows the relationships:

In summary:

  • Stretch can substitute for Wipe for rectangular, non-rotated objects with uniform fill.
  • Using a background-filled “mask” and Collapse will mimic a Wipe for non-rectangular shapes with non-uniform fill. This won’t work with a non-uniform (e.g., gradient) background.
  • Using a background-filled “mask with a hole” will work for uniformly filled objects and a non-uniform background.

If you have more information about this topic, please share by commenting on this post. Thank you.


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.

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