An associate professor of Egyptian archaeology at the University of California Los Angeles, Willeke Wendrich, recently sent me some PowerPoint slides to "spruce up." Professor Wendrich's slides were not overly verbose, and they illustrated her presentation well. But I thought she might appreciate a slide design that was unique to her subject.
Archaeology has been a life-long interest for me, and I found my inspiration for this presentation within my own photo collection. In Photoshop, I opened a photo of a camel I had taken and went to work.
I used a combination of Filters, Textures, Layers and Layer Styles to create a unique edging on the image. Then, using the Text tool, I created a new layer and typed the professor's name in GlyphBasic1, a hieroglyphic font across the bottom. To finish the image, I opened my Actions palette (which I often do when I need a little inspiration) and found an action called Sekhmets Actions (purchased from www.renderosity.com). It gave the entire image the look of a sheet of Egyptian papyrus. I resaved the image as a JPEG and opened PowerPoint.
In PowerPoint, I inserted my new background and chose both Merced and Chianti fonts for the text.
To show the location of Egypt's Berenike Harbor, I took the professor's original map and created an additional inset that focused on the harbor. I placed this new inset on a PowerPoint slide with the original map. A red arrow connects the maps to highlight geographic location. Using Custom Animation, I made the Inset Map "Fade In" on a mouse-click, and made the arrow "Wipe from Top with Previous."
The third slide required lots of images to illustrate the construction of the ruins. I imported five photos and gave each a transparent drop-shadow. I animated each image with a "Fade" onto the slide, "3 seconds after previous." When Professor Wendrich talks about the construction of these Early Greco Roman Period dwellings, the photos quietly fade onto the screen to emphasize her words.
Using the content from Professor Wendrich and a little graphic creativity, I was able to assist this professor in telling her story.
Software and system used: Adobe Photoshop CS, Microsoft PowerPoint 2003; Windows XP.
Opening slides set the tone of a presentation
Before: Although this slide is simple and explains the speaker's intention, it lacks personality and neglects to include the presenter's name and title.
After: The custom-made Egyptian backdrop sets the theme of the presentation immediately. The speaker's name and title fade in slowly.
Insets bring attention to small graphics
Before: Nice map, but the specific area of interest is too small for the audience to see.
After: The small inset has been blown up to show more detail, and fades onto the screen with an arrow that connects the exact area of the Harbor. The Egyptian-themed background lends style and consistency.
Photo montages tell their own story
Before: This graphic is supposed to show the layout of the excavation. But again there is no consistency in design and it doesn't depict the area large enough to make a difference to the audience.
After: The universal Egyptian theme continues to add style consistency. The five photos fade onto the screen slowly, three seconds apart. These photos tell a wonderful graphic story as the speaker fills in the details.
Patty Civalleri is an independent multimedia graphic designer and owner of 1-Take Multimedia in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Civalleri produces videos, CD-ROMs and Web sites. Reach her at 310.374.0934 or email@example.com or visit her Web site at www.1take.com.