Personal Portfolio

4 Years From Now I Can Use The Same Post!

Wow, it’s February 29th – a day that only occurs 1x every 4 years!!

PS: ‘February 29’ text created in PPT2007.

– Troy @ TLC

PowerPoint Tutorial

You Need to Find The Selection Pane!

So sometimes the greatest feature is only great if you know it exists. Recently I showed a very talented designer the Selection Pane in PPT 2007 and she could not believe she did not know of it. So you are in the know, here is what the Selection Pane is and how to open it.

1. Here is my sample slide. Note there are 6 elements (visible) on the slide

2. From the HOME tab, choose the SELECT all the way down on the right

3. In the SELECT drop down choose SELECTION PANE

4. The incredible SELECTION AND VISIBILITY pane will open (next to the animation pane)

This powerful tool will let you turn on or off layers (like photoshop) and let you select a buried element! On this sample note that there are (2) visible items, which are seen in the above sample. But there are also (3) not visible items on this slide.

– Troy @ TLC

Resource/Misc Tutorial

VectorMagic Vector Points

As a quick followup to the last post (which was getting fairly long), here is the final image, saved as .svg and opened in Adobe Illustrator. You can see the number of vector points created:

And if we look up close we see that there are no extraneous vector points on the text (this is good):

I converted it to a .wmf – in Illustrator go to FILE >> EXPORT >> select .WMF from the drop-down menu. The file works create in PowerPoint and can be resized as large as needed without any loss of quality!

You can download the .wmf to test in PowerPoint by clicking here.

Vector is the site.

– Troy @ TLC

Resource/Misc Tutorial

Vector Magic website

So I recently discovered a truly amazing online tool – Vector Magic! This web 2.0 app will convert virtually any image to a true vector graphic. It is the result of research by a team at Stanford and I have been really impressed with it!

1. Go to

2. If it is your first time, watch the quick tutorial video

3. Click the BROWSE button and find a image on your computer you want to convert to vector format

4. With the image selected click UPLOAD

5. VectorMagic analyzes the image and makes a recommended setting about the type of image selected. You can change the selection now or later (after seeing render results)

6. Next is the quality setting, which defaults to MEDIUM. Here you can change the setting now or later after seeing the render results.

7. The fewer colors the smaller the image and VectorMagic wants to make small images, so the default is to use a color palette of 12 colors.

8. The image is then analyzed for colors (this is part of the incredible programming!)

9. Based on it analysis you have color options from 1 to 12 colors – select the one that looks to work with your original artwork. Because the TLC Creative logo has lots of subtle colors I selected the full 12 color palette.

10. VectorMagic then renders your image and displays a Before and After image.

11. Again, another great feature (especially for a web-based application) are the 3 preview options. When in single image it shows the vector version and when you click it shows the raster version. There is also a Google Earth style zoom tool on the left.

12. Here is the resulting vector image of the TLC Creative logo. I would say this is on par with some very expensive plug-ins I run for Illustrator.

13. On the right side are TROUBLE SHOOTING options which allow you to change any of the earlier selections.

For my image, the results are impressive but not really usable. So I changed the color palette to use MANY COLORS, which means not be limited to 12.

14. VectorMagic rendered my image again and this time the results are really incredible!

15. I went to the Trouble Shooting section one more time and rendered the TLC Creative logo on HIGH QUALITY vs. the medium setting – WOW!

16. When you have the image you want, there are 3 save options: .eps, .svg, .png

.EPS and .SVG can be converted in a vector application such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw to a .wmf (windows meta file), which is a vector format that PowerPoint recognizes. And .png is not a vector format, but is a format that PowerPoint recognizes.

– Troy @ TLC

Resource/Misc Tutorial

What is “Vector”?

There are two types of graphics:
1. Raster, such as .jpg, .bmp, .png
2. Vector, such as .eps, .ai, .emf

Raster images are created in applications such as:
Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Paint Shop Pro and Painter

Vector images are created in applications such as:
Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDRAW, Microsoft Expression, and Flash

The Big Difference: the ability to resize without loss of quality. As example, if an image is going to cover the entire slide it needs to be a fairly large file size (eg. up to 3MB for the 1 image) to have enough resolution if a raster image (.jpg or .png). But a very small vector image (eg. only 20k) can be resized to fill the entire slide and still look perfect.

Here is a raster graphic (.png) resized to be larger

Here is a similiar graphic (.wmf) resized to be larger

There are times when a vector graphic makes sense, can save file size and be of value. But vector graphics are not photos, so they lack shading, semi-transparency and many other visual traits.

– Troy @ TLC

PowerPoint Software/Add-Ins

I Don’t Want Black Letterbox Bars!

So the display monitor for your presentation is not a “standard” resolution and you want don’t want to have black letterbox bars while your presentation is shown. The best option is to adjust the page size of the presentation to a height and width that matches the display size. But what do you adjust the page size too?

If you want to avoid the higher math needed, you can use a free little application created by Austin Myers over at Plays For Certain. The “Calculate PowerPoint Slide Size” does exactly what it says. Input the pixel size of the display, click the calculate button, and it does all the math for you, providing 3 page setup options that guarantee the presentation will fill every one of those pixels.

Just click here to download (11K .zip).

– Troy @ TLC

PowerPoint Resource/Misc Tutorial

PPT2007 Reflections

In a few weeks I am doing a webcast on PPT2007 Visual Effects put on by Eli Research’s AudioSolutionz. Basically I covering the whole range of new graphic tools and options in the 1 hour webcast – so I will be talking fast! Here is a quick screencast of just one topic that I have been making extensive use of lately – reflections:

Click the image to open the screencast (and forgive the poor audio quality). You can check out details about the webinar at this page on the AudioSolutionz website here.

– Troy @ TLC

PowerPoint Resource/Misc Tutorial

Make a “Fake” Website

One of the common requests is to show a website on a slide, or create a mock-up of a website. With this request I first open one of my favorite applications SnagIt.

Then open a blank broswer and use snagit to create a .jpg which can be inserted into the slide. Here is one I like, which I added a drop shadow to for some extra pizzazz.

Then I can capture the needed website or add images to mockup. Here is my slide, note there are 2 images; the browser image and then website image (which I positioned and cropped to fit inside the browser). I can also add the URL with a PPT text box, which makes this clear and easy to read:

– Troy @ TLC


Discount Code for iStockPhoto

So the more I utilize iStockPhoto (my latest was purchasing some fantastic vector art to integrate into a template) the more I am putting my budget toward it vs. maintaining subscriptions to other services.

Of course things get even better when I discover a discount! Here are the details:
a. 20% off any $50+ purchase
b. Offer code: XARACOM
c. Note: only can be used 1x per account

– Troy @ TLC

PowerPoint Software/Add-Ins

Perspector 4.0 Released

Perspector is a unique PowerPoint add-in that allows you to either new 3D images, text and diagrams or modify existing 2D PPT autoshapes into 3D.

The folks at Perspector have recently released version 4.0 and added some great features. Here are a few examples:

Click here to go to the Perspector website.

– Troy @ TLC