Filmstrip Animation with Motion Paths in PowerPoint

– Hi everybody. Neil from Knack Training here, bringing another Everyday Office video. Today’s video is about how to create a consistently-cycling filmstrip animation, like the one you see on my screen right now. So, filmstrip animation is where a series of items goes past. What’s important here is that there needs to be a loop, so at any point in time, when, let’s say the Grand Canyon goes past, it should be able to come back around from the left, excuse me, going off to the left and coming back from the right again. So let’s take a look at the steps that I took to make this animation a reality. So item number one, as you can see up here, I’ve got a slide where I’ve created just the, sort of, the frame of a filmstrip for an animation. Now, the reason I did this in this way is because if I put pictures into each one of these different boxes, at some point we’re going to have to get back around to the beginning, back around to this left-most picture.

So this left-most picture will be aligned with the right side of this element right here. So this black frame on the left will become the new black frame on the right side here. So that’s why I leave that hole open. So that’s our first step, is to create a frame that has holes in it where I can place my pictures. Let’s take a look at how I would make that happen. As you can see here, I’ve got an empty slide. I’m going to Insert at the top of my screen, going into Shapes and making a long, thin rectangle, just like so. Now, it’s important when I build this rectangle out that the last element needs to go off the screen to the right, so that it can smoothly come onto the screen, and the picture on the left can go off the screen so it can come back around.

So it’s important that I have enough pictures to make it all the way to the end, and then a little bit off of the end, just for that purpose. So as you can see here, I’ve made a box. Maybe I want to fill that box with black and have no outline on that box. Now I’m going to cut holes in this. So I’ll go back up to the Insert tab, make myself another simple rectangle, and this time, just make a rectangle that fits inside the previous rectangle. It’s kind of, you know, the normal dimensions of a picture like this. To make it easier to see, I’ll go ahead and fill this with something relatively bright colored. No outline around it. I do want to make sure that it’s even spacing all the way around. So I’ll just go ahead and highlight both of these elements simultaneously. Go to the Align dropdown menu, and tell it to align the middle points. Let’s just make sure that there’s an even gap all the way around.

I think that looks like, should be a good set-up. Now I can click onto that picture, excuse me, that shape that’s going to be the hole in my filmstrip, and just use Control+D on my keyboard to duplicate it. Then just slide it over. You can see here that PowerPoint is informing me what the size of the gap was in the previous sample so that I can repeat it there. Control+D, Control+D, Control+D, Control+D. Once again, you want to make sure that at some point it hangs off of the side. That’s gonna be a critical part to this whole process. Go up to the top of the screen, click the Align dropdown menu, and make sure that their midpoints are all aligned with one another. Then make sure to highlight all the green boxes here without the black box.

Go to the Align dropdown menu, and distribute them horizontally, just so there’s even gaps between each one of those things. Lastly, let’s make sure that the black box goes all the way to the edge of that last green box, but no farther than that. Now, the whole purpose of the green boxes in this particular layout is to cut holes in the filmstrip for me. So just highlight all the elements here simultaneously by clicking and dragging across. On that Format tab, up at the top of my screen, under Merge Shapes, you’ll see there’s an option here for Subtract, which is just literally cut a hole in the background shape. So that’s great. That’s where we need to start off from.

Now, there are 1-2-3-4-5-6 pictures, so I’ll go to Insert, go to Pictures, and I’ll go find six nice pictures. Five and six. Let’s do this one. Okay. Now, I’m going to want to re-size these down, and also, I’ll want to go ahead and compress them once they are sized down so that the file size isn’t totally obnoxious. But let’s just go ahead and get these sort of lined up first, sized a little bit. Make sure that there’s nothing completely out of order here. One-two-three four five and six. Okay. Now let’s line these up with the boxes that these are going to go into. And crop them down as we see necessary. There we go. Alright, so I’ll use my Crop button up here.

Crop it down towards the filmstrip. Crop it in towards that frame right there. And turn off my crop. That’s lookin’ pretty good. Let’s put that next one in there. Okay. Crop it. In from the right, up from the bottom. That looks like I’ve got a little bit hanging off from this other one here. Let me just trim that up. As you can see, as I’m resizing this last one, I’m lining it up just perfectly with the end of the filmstrip over there. I don’t want it to hang off anything by accident. Again, click on the first picture, hold down Shift, click on the rest of them. Then just go up here and click on Compress Pictures. You want it to delete the cropped areas of the picture, apply to these pictures. You know, maybe trim it down to 220 pixels per inch to reduce the file size significantly. Finally, simply go to the Send Backward dropdown menu and tell it to send to the back, and now we have a beautiful little frame that holds on to all the different pictures.

I’m gonna zoom out just a bit so I can see this a little better. Highlight all the elements simultaneously, and use the keyboard shortcut Control+G, which groups them together. This makes it much harder to break things up and accidentally do something that messes up the flow. Now we can click onto the filmstrip, hit Control+D to duplicate it, and then slide it off to the side over here, and just sort of tap it on to the end. Lovely. Make sure that there’s no gap there. Make sure that there’s no weirdness in alignment or anything like that. Make sure to align their middles. Okay.

And once again, click on the group on the right, hold down Shift, click on the group on the left, and hit Control+G to group them together. That grouping process simplifies your life and makes it harder to mess things up, so definitely always remember to group all those elements together. What’s left now is to build the perfect animation, that not only cycles these from right to left, but also continually does it throughout the course of the slide. So we go up to the Animations tab at the top of the screen, and the thing we’re looking for is the Motion Path from right to left. I’ll go here to Motion Paths on this little dropdown menu.

Choose the option that says Left, right here. And then click Okay. Now, this, by default, is not nearly long enough. You can see there’s a green dot here, representing the beginning of the animation. Red dot, representing the end of the animation. Click and hold on that red dot and pull it to the side while holding down the Shift key to keep them locked in place. Just keep dragging until two pictures that are the same line up with one another, just like that. Now, you’ll wanna test this out to make sure it’s perfect, but that’s basically what you’re going for there. In this case, it’s really easy for me to line up the lightning storm with the lightning storm and make sure that they’re gonna end up in the same place. Now, up here at the top of the screen, I click on the dropdown menu that says On Click. Let’s just go ahead and have it start as the slide loads up With Previous.

This is a long strip, so it probably needs to take something like, I don’t know, 15 or 18 seconds. Something like that. But I need to go a little bit deeper. So I’m gonna click on the Animation Pane button at the top of the screen and open up the Effect Options. So right here under Effect Options, you can see here that when I have an 18 second animation, PowerPoint thinks it’s going to be helpful and have it start slowly, and speed up, and then slow back down over nine seconds both ways. I don’t want that to happen, because this filmstrip should look like it is never ending. It never slows down, it never speeds up. So the Smooth Start goes down to zero, the Smooth End goes down to zero.

And when I go to the Timing tab up here at the top, I definitely want to make sure that it repeats infinitely, until the slide is over. And click Okay. And let’s just go ahead and start the presentation and see what happens. So as you can see, there’s a little hiccup right when it loads up, just because of how much stuff is running on my laptop and things like that. But as it goes across, I want you to pay attention to the fact that, at some point or another, it must go back around to the beginning, showing that very first series of pictures again. And, really, you can’t see that, right? It’s just a never ending stream.

Now, if your processor’s a little slow, if you’ve got a lot of stuff running on your machine, if you happen to be recording a screen capture, maybe there’ll be little skips and stuff like that, but it’s really about the machine itself not being able to keep up with that smooth animation. As you can see there though, it is a beautiful, smooth, repetitive animation that we can then have lots of conversations around. (exciting hip hop beat) .

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