Monday, March 05, 2012

PowerPoint Art: How To Create A 3-D Circle To Show A Cyclical Process

PowerPoint Art: How To Create A 3-D Circle To Show A Cyclical Process:

It’s relatively difficult to hold an audience’s attention when all you have to spout are figures and graphs. Your talk matters, how you talk matters more, and what you show on the PowerPoint slides could be the cherry on the cake.

With each improved edition of PowerPoint, presenters have got better tools to play around with. So much so, that you don’t need a full-blown graphics editor to work magic on your slides. You can do it within PowerPoint itself. The following tutorial serves as an example. The steps below show how to create a three dimensional circular diagram illustrating a four step process. After getting the hang of it, you can modify it to show more than four processes. It’s all very easy.

A Preview of the Final 3-D Circle Diagram

This is what we are aiming for:

Drawing the Basic Circular Shape

1. We start our project with a blank slide and the Auto Shapes tool. You can get the shapes from the Home menu (under the Drawing group) or from the Insert menu. Select the ‘Block Arc’ shape.

2. Hold down the Shift key and draw a block arc. The Shift key helps to draw a perfect semi-circular block arc. Next, you can choose to remove the line color on the shape (right-click – Format Shape – Line Color – No Line).

3. Now, to show our process we have to take this basic arc and replicate it according to the number of stages in the process. For instance, if we have four stages – press Shift and click on the inside yellow anchor and drag it to divide the semi-circular shape into a quarter.

4. Press CTRL and drag with your mouse to create a copy of the above shape. You will see a ‘+’ sign under the arrow cursor to indicate the copy. Go to Arrange – Position Objects – Rotate – Flip Horizontal to recreate the arc, but in two separate pieces.

5. Again, press CTRL to create a copy of the above arc and from the Arrange menu command, do a vertical flip before aligning the twin pieces together into a complete circular figure. This figure now has four different parts, one for each stage that we want to show in the cyclical process. Click on each part and color them differently (right-click – Format Shape – Fill – Solid Fill).

6. Select all the four quarters by pressing CTRL+A. Right click on the circle and choose Group – Group to join all four parts together.

Giving the Circle the 3-D Treatment

7. Right-click on the circle and select Format Object – 3D Rotation. Click on Presets – choose Perspective Relaxed from the dropdown.

8. This turns the flat 2-Dimensional image into a 3-Dimensional one. To make it more realistic, we go to Format – Object – 3-D Format – Bevel – Top – Cross Bevel. To embellish it further with more realistic depth, enter a suitable value for Depth and change the color if you want. As in the screenshot, the outer color of the circle has been changed to light grey.

Adding Shine and Sheen

9. You can add various effects to take the circle and give it a touch of gloss. The Format Shape dialog gives you a choice of various effects. You can pick any suitable one from the options under Surface.

10. In the same dialog, go to Shadow and choose Presets – Outer – Offset Diagonal Bottom Right. You can play around with the other values to give your 3-D circle a more natural feel.

All that remains is adding some text and data to complete your process cycle presentation slide.

This is just one of the ways to illustrate information creatively with the help of a 3-D diagram. PowerPoint gives a lot of scope for creativity. You can attempt this diagram in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010. Do you have any other handy PowerPoint tips to share? Let us know if you found this tutorial helpful for a future presentation you are planning.

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