PowerPoint Pizzazz

During a recent keynote address, I shared slides in a PowerPoint presentation which automatically “came alive” as they faded from gray to vibrant colours. To help readers visualize this process, I encourage you to click on this video link to view a similar 10 slide PowerPoint demonstration. Start the presentation and let it run automatically to see the power of the fade effect which is applied to each colourful slide.

I admit that I did not create this technique on my own. Rather, I deconstructed the process from a motivational PowerPoint slide show that a friend shared with me by email. If you are intrigued by the process, the resulting directions should help you incorporate this feature into your own, or your student’s, slide presentations. The technique described below applies to PowerPoint 2003 but it can easily be adapted to other versions. Although the steps might seem rather lengthy, I assure you that once you master the technique, it will take you very little time to apply this fade process to your colourful slides.

The key component to this process is that each slide is composed of two images – a grayscale image on the bottom layer (which is not animated) and its corresponding coloured version on the top with a 3 second “slow” fade in.

  1. For example, suppose one has a very intense colourful image called “sunset.jpg” which one would like to see fade in from its grayscale format to colour.
  2. Start PowerPoint and insert a blank new slide.
  3. Next insert the colourful “sunset.jpg” picture and drag the “handles” so that the image exactly fits the original slide boundaries.
  4. With the colourful “sunset.jpg” positioned properly, click on the slide to make it active (with the handle showing), and then select the “Edit -> Copy” menu items to place this colourful image into the computer’s memory.
  5. Next, make certain the “Picture” toolbar is displayed by clicking on “View -> Toolbars -> Picture” menu items.
  6. With the colourful “sunset.jpg” image active, click on the second “colour” icon (with two vertical bars) on the Picture toolbar and select the “Grayscale” option to reduce the colourful sunset to its corresponding shades of gray.
  7. Next, click on the “Edit -> Paste” menu items to paste the previously saved colourful sunset on top of the existing grayscale one. If necessary, reposition this colourful sunset, so that it fills the entire slide boundary.
  8. Click the “Slide Show -> Custom Animation” menu items.
  9. With the colourful sunset slide active, click the “Add Effect” button and select the “Entrance -> Fade” option.
  10. If one wishes to activate the fade in process automatically, change the “Start” activator from “On Click” to “With Previous”.
  11. Set the timing “Speed” to “Slow”, which will cause the fade in process (from grayscale to colour) to span a 3 second interval.
  12. Save your PowerPoint presentation and view the show from the current slide. Once this fade-in from black and white to colour process is operational, one can
  13. All that is left is to locate some very colourful images to which one can apply this technique. I suggest searching the Flickr image depository at: http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/
  14. Near the top of Flickr “Advanced Search” page, enter “color” and any appropriate tags in the “Search for” field.
  15. Near the bottom of this search page, check the “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” and click the blue “Search” button to find colourful images that one can legally utilize in PowerPoint presentations provided one gives attribution credit.

I hope this information helps you add a little “colour” to your presentations.

Take care & keep smiling 🙂

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