I asserted that PowerPoint couldn’t do this... My conversational partner claimed I was wrong, this option was hidden in the settings and I just hadn’t looked hard enough! Quick - to the nearest PowerPoint equipped PC...
One trick I seem to be using an awful lot in PowerPoint recently is a hidden pivot. Yesterday my colleague shared a video he’d found of a set of pendulums carefully created to produce a really elegant and beautiful display when you set them all off together. Of course it didn’t take someone long to say “Now let’s do this in PowerPoint”, which I’m hoping was tongue in cheek!
However for some bizarre reason I felt like the best way to unwind after working on PowerPoint projects all day, was to make another animation in PowerPoint…
…and, this was the result:
Compared to the original:
Once I looked at the video, and the description that included the details of how they got the pendulums to work, I thought it would be fairly easy to create the effect in PowerPoint. But that was because I was banking on using hidden pivots, rather than going crazy with motion paths. When I tried to explain that I didn’t think the animation was particularly complicated, no one seemed convinced, so here’s an explanation of how it works.
Most of the cool animations in PowerPoint are anchored on the centre of the object you are animating. For some animations it doesn’t really matter where the animation is anchored, but for others, in particular the spin animation, the centre point is crucial. Spin always turns the object about the centre point, which is great for creating something like a turn wheel or cog. But this is less useful if you want to have something swinging, like a pendulum for example. However there is a trick you can use to move the centre point of an object.
What you do is create a large shape centred where you want the new centre point to be, that covers the entire object you want to move the centre point for. Next you group your original object with the new shape, creating a new group with a centre point correctly positioned for spinning the original object.
After this you select the large shape you created and format it so that the fill and line colours are 100% transparent, and voila! You have something that looks like the original object you wanted to apply a swinging motion to, but with a centre point that lets you swing it with the spin animation.
One word of warning, this can create large areas of transparent objects all over you slides, which can make it difficult selecting anything below it. I have two suggestions to help with editing and arranging your slides.
- Using the Selection Pane, rename your groups. I numbered mine so I knew exactly which group was which.
- Download our free add-in BrightSlide. BrightSlide allows you to show and hide objects without opening up the Selection Pane every time, meaning you can quickly make edits without messing up your layouts. perfect for complicated slides like this!
Now animate this group with the Spin animation. You’ll want to play around with the timings to get it just right. To edit the Spin animation, open the Animation Pane, right click the animation you want to edit then select Effect Options… from the drop down.
Unfortunately, I think PowerPoint can’t quite do timings precisely enough to make the animation look perfect, but I guess that is what physics is for in the real world.
You can download this PowerPoint file and take a look!Leave a comment
Principal consultantView Chris Arrington-Korek's profile
PowerPoint doesn't do 3D, but it would be cool if it could. For a long time I’ve really struggled to develop a method creates an illusion of three dimensions (and looks good) with just the tools PowerPoint provides. Here's two ways I've come up with to do it.
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