PowerPoint interactions #5: Clickable Graphic – Magnify

Here’s a slightly different kind of example. How do you get PowerPoint to do fancy things when you don’t have any keyframes, ‘tweening, variables or rollover states?

Here’s template #5 in the series. So far, I’ve been using PowerPoint’s built-in animations. This is a little different – more of a primitive visual trick or illusion than an animation technique. Instead of using computer functionality to create the illusion, it relies on something else to do it – your brain.

First, View the Presentation. Screenshot of the output

So what do you think is happening in terms of animation in PowerPoint?

The answer is – nothing.

You’re simply jumping between 10 slides that show a grid of 9 images. On each slide, the size and position of the 9 images is slightly different.

As you go from one slide to another, your own mind fills in the gaps and creates its own animation (once the slides are all loaded anyway!). The grid helps to reinforce it. You’re not seeing two separate images on each slide – you’re creating a transition between them for yourself.

The theory behind this is that your brain creates the “in between” state for itself, because it “doesn’t like” the jump. It’s the same principle that allows us to watch a film running at a rate as low as 5 or 6 frames per second and still make sense of it.

“Persistence of vision”, “Gestalt” or whatever you want to call it – something for a heavier blog post entirely. It’s the mysteries of the brain. Use them to your advantage!

Notice how the states of the “animation” are pretty free and not locked rigidly into place, and yet they are still acceptable to the eye. I like the way this gives an “organic” feel. Check out the PowerPoint if you want to play around with the illusion or swap out the images. I think this kind of “primitive” approach opens up quite a few interesting possibilities – so watch this space for more tricks.

Whatever you do with this – have fun! And if you need something like this done to order, please contact me.

COMING NEXT: Another variation on this…

PowerPoint interactions #4: Sliding Tabs

Here’s another example of dynamic Articulate Presenter output that doesn’t use Engage or Flash – just three images, and PowerPoint.

SLIDING TAB TEMPLATE IN POWERPOINT – WITH NO FLASH OR ENGAGE

Here’s template #4 in the series. The technique moves away from the linear logic used for the first three examples, allowing the learner to select arbitrarily from a set of three tabs. It’s not pixel-perfect and there are many free Flash versions of this kind of thing around on the web, but I wanted to show how it can be done using no programming.

First, View the Presentation. Screenshot of the output

I decided to move away from the “Big Five” content I used for the first three examples – so here’s something a bit more business-oriented.

HOW IT’S DONE

It works like this:

  • It’s a series of 6 hyperlinked PowerPoint slides.
  • The hyperlinks are in the PowerPoint, so this can be presented as a “single slide” in the Articulate output.
  • There are three images on each slide, which animate right or left in the six possible combinations of three. There are two hyperlinks on each slide to allow the learner to choose from the two slides available (given that they are already viewing one of them on any given slide).

If you want to jump in and see what’s going on for yourself, download the PPTX file. I’ll provide full instructions in a couple of days.

IMAGES

These are three stock images of 770×485 pixels, created for this purpose, with a feathered fill and a vertical title bar. There’s no particular reason for this size or ratio, it just worked for me.

Tab background image

The reason I haven’t used a set of PowerPoint elements for each Tab (text, graphic, gradient and so on) is because once the items are grouped to facilitate the animation, the group can’t be broken for editing without losing the painstaking animation work. Which is really no fun! You can of course export groups of elements as images from PowerPoint and then reimport them, I just prefer to use a graphics program like Photoshop.

ANIMATION AND HYPERLINKS

Motion Path animations are not the easiest thing to do in PowerPoint, so I used some time and dead-reckoning to get one tab shape to go left (on one slide), then the same shape to go right, back to its original position (on another slide). Then I copied the shapes to get clones – three sliding left (on one slide) and three sliding right (on another slide). These became the “animation library”, if you like. From these two slides, I could select the mix of tabs I wanted – which one (#1, #2 or #3), and with which animation it should appear (the “going left” version, the “going right”, or none at all). This is easier to see in the PowerPoint file than it is to explain ;-)

The next step was a bit of a headache – iterating through all the combinations. Luckily there are only six. The number of slides you need can be worked out using:

Slides needed = (number of tabs x number of tabs) – number of tabs

This is 6 slides, because (3×3)-3 = 6. (The “minus” number of tabs is because the user is already viewing one of the three Tabs on whatever slide they are on). This gave the following combination of animations:

Slide #     Transition (Tab X to Tab Y)       Ending state displays:

1                   3 to 1                                                              Tab 1
2                   1 to 2                                                              Tab 2
3                   1 to 3                                                              Tab 3
4                   2 to 1                                                              Tab 1
5                   2 to 3                                                              Tab 3
6                   3 to 2                                                              Tab 2

The hyperlinks were easy to work out from this table – if you’re on Slide 1 showing Tab 1, then there’s a hyperlink on Tab 2 leading to Slide 2 (transition 1 to 2), and a hyperlink on Tab 3 leading to Slide 3 (transition 1 to 3). And so on…

It was necessary to put in a yellow line at the left edge of the PowerPoint “stage” to achieve the illusion of the tab “accordioning” (squashing down) rather than disappearing off the edge. The display text (two instances – one for each of the two times the ending tab is showing) is simply faded in after the transition animation is done.

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

There are a couple of potential traps:

  • Watch the hyperlinks when pasting. If you paste this set of slides into another presentation, you may need to redo the hyperlinks (because “Slide 2”, “Slide 4” etc. will no longer be in those positions in the new presentation, unlike the previous examples which used “Next slide” and “First slide”).
  • Don’t group things. You’ll lose all of your individual animations…
  • Watch the file size – you may need to play around with the Articulate image Quality settings a little.

EVALUATION

Advantages:

  • No need for Flash, other authoring tools, or programming skills.

Drawbacks:

  • Difficult to expand – the number of slides increases exponentially according to how many tabs you want to display. (E.g. 5 Tabs would be (5×5)-5 = 20 PowerPoint slides.
  • The animation isn’t a “pixel perfect” version of the PowerPoint slideshow – some tiny positioning differences do creep in when exporting it to Articulate output.
  • The animations struggle a little until all 6 slides are loaded – possibly something to do with the size of the images…

Again, whatever you do with this – have fun! And if you need something like this done to order, please contact me.

COMING NEXT: Hmm… I’ll think of something else!

PowerPoint interactions #3: Wave Carousel

You can create dynamic Articulate Presenter output without Engage or Flash – using just a few images, and PowerPoint.

WAVE CAROUSEL TEMPLATE IN POWERPOINT – WITH NO FLASH OR ENGAGE

Here’s template #3 in the series. It’s kind a logical progression from #1, the 3D Carousel, and #2, the Scrolling Filmstrip. The techniques are combined into something different, and some more content has been added to show just how rich your user experience can be – using only the standard PowerPoint features.

So first, View the Presentation. Screenshot of the output

This is a combination of what I used to create the 3D Carousel effect, and the horizontal layout of the Scrolling Filmstrip.

HOW IT’S DONE

So what’s happening here?

It works like this:

  • It’s a series of 5 hyperlinked PowerPoint slides, output as an Articulate presentation.
  • The hyperlinks are in the PowerPoint, so the Articulate navigation is bypassed – this is presented as a “single slide” in the Articulate presentation.
  • There are several images laid out and animated in sequence to give the illusion of a “Mexican wave” from left to right. When the series of slides reaches the end, the hyperlink returns it to the beginning.

If you want to jump in and see what’s going on for yourself, download the PPTX file. I won’t provide full instructions for this one – if you work through examples #1 and #2, you’ll have all the techniques you need. Use this template as you wish (but of course I would be interested to know how).

IMAGES

As with the other examples, these are images in a 16:9 format (I used the same ones as for example #2, adding an extra one). There are 6 “thumbnail” versions at 160×90 pixels, and 6 “full size” versions at 400×225. There are also 6 maps at 200×177, to add to the display area content.

The image effects are all standard PowerPoint – border, reflection effect etc.

ANIMATION

The Custom Animation paneCreating the “Mexican wave” effect across the bottom is achieved by using the “Glide” animation in a quick sequence. There are two images stacked on top of each other. One has an Entrance animation, and its pair has the same type, but as an Exit animation – and both take place at the same time (“With previous”). Then the next pair go off together (“After previous”), and so on down the line.

For more on how to do this, see the post and instructions for example #1: 3D Carousel (it’s exactly the same principle, but the image pairs are arranged in a line rather than in a “stack”).

The other animations add to the effect of movement, after the “wave” has finished. The main image is Entrance > “Glide”, the display text is Entrance > “Fade”, the distribution map and title are Entrance > “Fade” (together) and the link for more information is Entrance > “Rise Up”.

Controlling the animation and when it happens (“With previous” or “After previous”) is done using the  Custom Animation Pane ( it appears when you click Animation toolbar > Custom Animation).

One could just go on adding elements to the screen – but that would be bad design (perhaps!) ;-)

Interestingly, this set of animations actually works more smoothly as Articulate output than it does as a PowerPoint slideshow.

MAKING THE LOOP

As with the other two examples, to make this work, all the images have to be changed out, one by one, six times. There’s no way around it! It’s very satisfying when it’s done…

It’s a simple matter of duplicating a slide, and right-clicking on each image to change it by one slot in your sequence – replacing image 1 with image 2, then image 2 with image 3, and so on.

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

There are a couple of potential traps:

  • Don’t group the shapes to move them around. You’ll lose all of your individual animations…
  • Watch the file size – you may need to play around with the Articulate image Quality settings a little.

EVALUATION

Advantages:

  • No need for Flash or other authoring tools.
  • No need for programming skills.
  • Completely free choice as to what to display – no template limitations (except of course space and design considerations).

Drawbacks:

  • Some time is required to swap out the images.

Again, whatever you do with this – have fun! And if you need something like this done to order, please contact me.

CONCLUSION

That’s the last in this particular set of interactions. Hopefully these three examples show one way of thoughtfully sequencing and duplicating animated elements to create some rich, interactive content for Articulate – all with just a few images and PowerPoint.

COMING NEXT: More stuff!

PowerPoint interactions #2: Scrolling Filmstrip

Can you create dynamic Articulate Presenter output just by using PowerPoint? Yes indeed…

SCROLLING FILMSTRIP TEMPLATE IN POWERPOINT – WITH NO FLASH OR ENGAGE

Here’s template #2 in the series. If you’ve looked at #1, the 3D Carousel, you’ll be pleased to hear that this one is a lot less hassle when it comes to swapping out the images to propagate the different states of the template.

So first, View the Presentation. Screenshot of the output

You’ll probably have seen something like it before – but this is just PowerPoint, with no Flash, Engage, or programming required. You just need a basic familiarity with PowerPoint and Articulate Presenter.

HOW IT’S DONE

So what’s happening here?

It works like this:

  • Like with example #1, it’s a series of 5 hyperlinked PowerPoint slides, output as an Articulate Presenter presentation.
  • Because the hyperlinks are in the PowerPoint, Articulate navigation is bypassed. By using Articulate’s branching feature, this is presented as a “single slide” in the Articulate presentation.
  • There are several images laid out and simply animated in PowerPoint using Motion Paths to give the illusion of “scrolling” from left to right. When the series of slides reaches the end, the hyperlink returns it to the beginning.

OK? If you want to jump in and see what’s going on for yourself, download the PPTX file and the full instructions. Use this template as you wish (but of course I would be interested to know how).

IMAGES

As with example #1, I used my old pics of “the Big Five” in a 16:9 format. This time, I created 5 “thumbnail” versions at 160×90 pixels, and 5 “full size” versions at 400×225. I saved them off as PNG files, numbering them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 for easy reference.

I didn’t want to play around with the image transparency, so I imported the images directly, giving them a PowerPoint border, reflection effect etc. I wanted to get the images to “feather” to black at the edges, so I used a colour block created in PowerPoint, with a gradient fill of transparent to black – really great feature!

ANIMATION

Motion Paths in PowerPoint are a little difficult to work with accurately – try making the same one twice, and you’ll see what I mean. The trick here is to create one Motion Path animation on one image, then copy the image so it retains the exact same motion path. After this, it’s a matter of positioning the image using nudges with the arrow keys (the grid can also work), and then changing out the image – so you have a different image in a different location, but with the exact same movement.

It takes some playing around and previewing to make sure the image to the left ends up in exactly the original position of the image to the right at the end of the animation – but as they say, “no pain no gain”!

The other animations I added were just to add to the effect of movement – an emphasis effect for the central image when it comes to rest (“Flash Bulb”), an entrance effect for the main image after that (“Grow and Turn”), and a straightforward Fade entrance for the display text.

Custom Animation paneControlling the animation and when it happens (“With previous” or “After previous”) is done using the  Custom Animation Pane ( it appears when you click Animation toolbar > Custom Animation).

This is like a basic “timeline” feature in PowerPoint – there are no keyframes as such, but it does give you a certain amount of control. Note that you can select multiple animations using the Ctrl key, and change their type and their timing all at once.

So there I had it – an animation shifting the images across the screen, and displaying a larger version with display text.

MAKING THE LOOP

If you’ve seen example #1, this is where things get a lot easier – there’s just the one set of images to change out.

It’s a simple matter of duplicating a slide, and right-clicking on each image to change it by one slot in your sequence – replacing image 5 with image 1, then image 4 with image 3, image 3 with image 2, and so on. Note that there’s a duplicate on the left end – this is to allow for the “travel” of the row when the animation takes place.

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

There are a couple of potential traps:

  • Don’t group the shapes to move them around. You’ll lose all of your individual animations…
  • Watch the file size – you may need to play around with the Articulate image Quality settings a little.

EVALUATION

Advantages:

  • Easy to edit.
  • No need for Flash or other authoring tools.
  • No need for programming skills.

Drawbacks:

  • A bit of time is required to swap out the images.
  • The animation is a bit clunky.

Again, whatever you do with this – have fun! And if you need something like this done to order, please contact me.
Sasha

COMING NEXT: Free template #3: Wave Carousel

PowerPoint interactions #1: 3D Slide Carousel

Can you really create dynamic Articulate Presenter output just by using PowerPoint? Yes, you can…

CAROUSEL TEMPLATE IN POWERPOINT – WITH NO FLASH OR ENGAGE

This is the first in a series of templates I’m sharing. You might just want to see what’s possible without using Flash or Engage. Or maybe test the limits of PowerPoint and see how it translates into Articulate output. Or you might just want a PowerPoint exercise to get your teeth into.

So first, View the Presentation.

If you’re a designer or developer working in e-learning or the web, you’ll probably have seen something like it. But with just PowerPoint?

HOW IT’S DONE

So what’s happening here to fool the eye into thinking the images are shuffling forward as you click the button?

It works like this:

  • It’s a series of 5 hyperlinked PowerPoint slides, output as an Articulate Presenter presentation.
  • Because the hyperlinks are within the PowerPoint presentation, we’re bypassing the Articulate navigation and controlling it from within the slide area.
  • Using Articulate’s branching feature, this means we can present these 5 PowerPoint slides as a “single slide” in the Articulate Presenter presentation.
  • There are several images stacked and animated in PowerPoint in such a way as to give the illusion of “shuffling” through the stack. When the series of slides reaches the end, the hyperlink takes it back to the beginning.

All clear? Read on. If you want to jump in and see what’s going on for yourself, download the PPT file and the full instructions. Use as you wish (but of course I’d be interested to see how).

IMAGES

I wanted to use a neutral subject for this demo, so I racked my brain. What comes in fives? Having spent a lot of time in Africa, I thought “OK: the Big Five”. I rooted through my photos and came up with some pics I took some time ago. I saved them off in 16:9 format (320×180) as PNG files, numbering them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 for easy reference.

The next step was to try to create the “3D” illusion. PowerPoint  provides the reflection and border effects, so this was no problem. But I also wanted to get the images to “fade out” into the background – not possible with directly imported images. So, I used shapes with an image fill, and progressively set them more and more transparent as they got smaller.

So far so good – but how do you make it move?

ANIMATION

Having set up a layout, I turned my mind to how to get things moving. If I had been using something like Flash, my logic would have been something like:

  • ‘Tween those shapes using keyframes – so the first one slides off to the left, the others grow and move forward, and finally the front one slots back in at the bottom of the stack.

Easy enough – but I wanted to see if it could be done without using Flash. Because I’m like that…

First I tried to emulate Flash ‘tweening, using the Motion Path and Grow/Shrink animations, but this was slightly lost in translation on its way to Articulate Presenter output (the combination of animations ended up giving slightly different positioning). TOP TIP: always preview your stuff!

So I tried some other approaches, finally settling on the Glide animation, in a quick series. The front image glides out, while another image behind it (and directly below it in the layer stacking order) glides in at the same time. No Motion Paths are used at all, it’s just the presets available in PowerPoint. I found this actually worked better as Articulate Presenter output than in PowerPoint (something that’s actually “added in translation” rather than lost).

The vital element of the PowerPoint interface for dealing with stacked layers is the Selection Pane (Home toolbar > Arrange > Selection Pane).

Powerpoint Selection PaneThis allows you to select any layer, make it invisible (so you can then see and select what’s behind it!), and most importantly give it a name.

So there I had it – an animation that “shuffled” through the five images – once.

MAKING THE CAROUSEL

Then came the slightly tedious part – creating the five slides that make up the carousel.

As there’s no possibility in PowerPoint to dynamically swap out images “on the fly”, it has to be done by hand – 10 times for each slide. This isn’t so bad really. You simply duplicate a slide, then use the Selection Pane to go through the stack of images, changing the fill image – “upping” it by one slot in your sequence – replacing image 1 with image 2, then image 2 with image 3, image 5 with image 1, and so on. You need to act and think like a computer for a little while, but it goes pretty quickly once you get the hang of it.

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

There are a couple of potential traps:

  • Don’t group the shapes to move them around. You’ll lose all of your individual animations…
  • Watch the file size – you may need to play around with the Articulate image Quality settings a little. I got an output of 24MB which went down to 2MB after a little push of the slider.
  • Don’t change the order of the layers or the animations (unless you really want to!). These are inextricably tied together and it can be frustrating to get them back to the correct sequence.

EVALUATION

Advantages:

  • Total freedom – there’s no limit (except space) on what you can display on each slide to accompany the image.
  • No need for Flash or other authoring tools.
  • No need for programming skills.

Drawbacks:

  • Time required to swap out the images.
  • The animation isn’t as smooth as it could be.

Whatever you do with this – have fun! And if you need something like this done to order, please contact me.
Sasha

COMING NEXT: Scrolling filmstrip template