The National University of Singapore have developed an add-on software called PowerPointLabs. If you are an ambitious PowerPoint user who doesn’t have time to fiddle around with learning all the tricks that experts such as the BrightCarbon staff have figured out, then you may find PowerPointLabs to be very helpful.
In PowerPoint, you can create pretty much anything you put your mind to, with just a few tricks up your sleeve and a bit of animation know-how. Maybe you’re sat at your desk, a blank slide open, and you think to yourself, “You know what the world needs more of? Animated PowerPoint bugs.” Good job you’re here – this is just the article for you.
Step 1: Make your bug. You can use the “Insert shape” and Boolean tools in PowerPoint to get creative. Here, we’ve drawn two circles for the head and body, then used the Union tool (Format > Merge shapes > Union) to combine the two circles into one shape. Add in the antennae and legs using the line tool. To shape the legs into something more bug-like than just straight lines, try grouping 2-3 lines together (you can do this using the shortcut Ctrl+G, or choosing Arrange > Group from the Home ribbon at the top). Make sure each leg is in its own group, and the antennae and body are also grouped together.
Step 2: In PowerPoint, if you want to make a non-symmetrical object spin about a specified point, you need to attach it to a symmetrical object (otherwise it will spin willy-nilly and look rather strange). Since the legs of the bug are going to spin slightly as it crawls, we are going to need to put invisible boxes around each leg. To do this, simply draw a box around each leg (hold down Ctrl + Shift as you click and drag to draw the box, and this will ensure it stays symmetrical and in perfect proportion). Send the boxes to the back (Arrange > Send to back) so that you can see the legs on top of each box, and position the end of each leg so that it sits in the centre of its box.
Step 3: Make the boxes invisible by getting rid of the fill colour (Format > Shape Fill > No fill) and outline (Format > Shape Outline > No outline). Group each leg with its corresponding invisible box.
Step 4: Line up each leg so that it fits onto the bug’s body.
Step 5: Bring the bug’s body to the front (Arrange > Bring to front). Looking good!
Step 6: Now to add in the animation. Click the body, navigate to the Animation ribbon, and add a motion path. You can play around with the duration of your animation (on the right hand side of the Animation ribbon) too, in case you want to make your bug scuttle more menacingly across the screen (or take it’s time, which somehow is equally gross).
Step 7: Buckle up – this is the slightly more complicated part. Copy the motion path onto each of the legs. You can use the incredibly handy Animation Painter to do this – the shortcut for which is Alt+Shift+C. Select the bug, use the shortcut, then click the legs to copy the animation over.
That’s not all, though. To make the legs more lifelike, we’re going to add a Spin animation to get them to rotate slightly, otherwise the bug will just look like he’s sliding across the screen. To do this, make sure you have the leg selected, navigate to the Animation ribbon, select “Add Animation”, and choose “Spin” from the Emphasis effects. The default for a spin animation is a 360° clockwise turn…which is not how bug legs behave. To change this, right click the animation in the Animation Pane, select “Effect Options”, and change the degree rotation in the custom box from the “Amount” drop down menu. We went for 9°, but it depends how noticeably you want the legs to rotate. Whilst you’re in the Effects dialog box, make sure you check the “Auto-reverse” option too – this makes sure the legs move backwards as well as forwards.
Now navigate to the Timings tab, in that same dialog box. We want the spin animation to repeat, so that the legs move back and forth a number of times whilst the body is moving. In the timings tab, select the number of times you wish the animation to repeat from the “Repeat” drop-down menu (we went for 10). You’ll also need to change the duration of the spin animation, since bug legs move quickly. We went for 0.4s, but you can modify at your leisure. You may need to play around with how many repeats you need on this animation, depending on how long you set the duration of the motion path (you want the legs to be moving the whole time that the body is moving).
Now that you’ve got those legs moving in a suitably bug-like manner, make sure that all the leg animations are set to “With Previous”, so that they move at the same time as the body.
Step 8: Phew! Difficult bit over. Now add a background scene to complete your slide. With a bit of imagination, the PowerPoint shape tool will be all you need to create a great bug habitat.
In learning how to make a PowerPoint creepy-crawly, you’ve inadvertently learnt a great deal about PowerPoint spin animations and combining animations. Now there’s no stopping you! Why don’t you try creating a car with turning wheels using the same motion path + spin combination? We’ve also written a bunch of other articles about using animation in PowerPoint, such as this useful hack for making things spin anti-clockwise.
If you’ve used combined animations to create something cool in PowerPoint, we’d love to hear about it (#PowerPointfans4ever). Send it over to us on Twitter (@BrightCarbon) and we’ll give it some love!Leave a comment
Principal consultantView Kieran Chadha's profile
Looking for some quick tips on how to create a more effective presentation? Know you want to make your PowerPoint slides more visual but not sure how?
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