Cloudy with a Chance of Inspiration

Cloud ComputingI love TEDTalks and I especially enjoyed a talk from the TEDGlobal 2013 event in June.  Quoting the site: “You don’t need to plan an exotic trip to find creative inspiration. Just look up, says Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. As he shares charming photos of nature’s finest aerial architecture, Pretor-Pinney calls for us all to take a step off the digital treadmill, lie back and admire the beauty in the sky above.”  I highly encourage you to take a breath and enjoy Gavin’s talk for yourself.

As I was watching the video I was reminded of a presentation that I made for a friend a few years ago.  He was speaking on the topic of Cloud Computing at the Green Computing Conference. Using PowerPoint 2010, I created a presentation where his content tumbled and flew through the sky.  The result was a light and breezy presentation that was unique but professional.

I had the opportunity to show a presentation using this same technique at The Presentation Summit and I noticed admit the ooo’s and ah’s of the audience, it’s a format that makes people smile.

Inspired by Gavin’s talk on clouds, I decided to create and share a Cloudy PowerPoint template.  It’s a deceptively simple template but when used correctly really allows you to Wow! your audience.  The key is the fade background portion of the Dynamic Content Transitions available in PowerPoint 2010 and 2013.  By alternating the cloud background a subtle sense of movement is achieved without conscious awareness by the audience. Like the magician’s redirection trick discussed in a previous blog entry, the “front” portion of the Dynamic Content Transition provides the obvious dynamic movement of the content through the sky.  You can learn more about using PowerPoint’s transitions by viewing my tutorial, The Beauty of Transitions in PowerPoint.

The template is shown below, but alas Web Apps cannot display the Dynamic Content Transitions.  To view (and use) the template, you’ll need to click on the menu icon image (on the navigation bar below), download a copy and run the presentation using the full PowerPoint 2010 or 2013 application.  You can also download directly using this link.  Directions for using the template are included on the slides.

Enjoy the video, enjoy the template and enjoy watching the clouds.

A Little Steampunk for the Holidays

http://steampunkrevue.blogspot.com/2011/12/macys-steampunk-christmas-window.html

Macy’s isn’t the only one who can spread a little steampunk holiday cheer.  After becoming a fan of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, I knew I wanted to create a steampunk themed template for PowerPoint 2010. The opportunity (and challenge) of animating a bunch of Victorian-era whirly gigs was just too much to resist. And if Macy’s can share a steampunk theme for the holiday, so can I.

I’ve created a sample presentation using the template (shown below.)  Click on the image and then choose the menu option to Open in PowerPoint since the web apps cannot support video. You can download the template to use for yourself and create your own steampunk themed presentations. After the slide show opens, click File, Download a Copy.

Have a hankering to create your own steampunk animation to share for the holidays?  Download the template, add your layout and send me a link to the file. I’ll add it to the template and credit you on the layout.

SteamPunk