Anime running animation: Concept and Demonstration

If you happen to watch anime frequently, during your childhood, or at least chanced upon a few anime series, you would have seen those familiar running scenes (See Anime Run Around on youtube for a rough idea), where anime characters run around very quickly. In this article, we will talk about the concept on how you can create/ mimic the running animation using PowerPoint. To start off, think of anime as a flipbook, where every movement is a new frame (in this case, slide) by itself. Thus, instead of using animation effects available on PowerPoint, you link the movements together through tons of slides (Advanced PowerPointers may use Flash Once effect as a substitute for easier addition of other animations occurring in the background, though it has much more complex implementation for starters). Sounds difficult? Yes, but it’s really easy once you have a grasp of the concept (Note: The slide by slide animation, has also been achieved by several PowerPoint animators (notably Blastoons on PowerPoint Heaven)). However, what we are going to cover is the running animation concept, rather than slide by slide animation as a whole.


The basic running animation is extremely easy and can be achieved in as little as two slides, while the advanced version requires roughly 6-10 slides depending on the details of your animated character. To achieve the basic running animation, all you will need to do is to link the leg movements. First, we will start off by drawing a simple character similar to the popular Newground’s madness series. Now, instead of having two circular legs, we create four with equal spacing apart. Duplicate the slide so that we have two similar slides. On the second slide, reposition the legs so that they are now ‘in between’ the ones from the previous slide. Next, select the Transition tab. Under Timing section, put a checkmark on the After option. Leave it as 00:00.00. Click Apply to All slides. This will allow it to advance to the next slide automatically. Then, go to Slide Show tab and select Set Up Slide Show. Put a checkmark on Loop Continuously until ‘Esc’ so that the two slides will loop infinitely. Run the slide show and we are done!  


Download Running Demonstration at: http://pptheaven.mvps.org/experimental.html



 


The basic running animation concept above can be used in scenes where a character is being chased after or running in panic. If you are going for the more advanced running animation, you will also need the hand movements. It will not be as simple as the previous ones, though the same concept applies. We will need roughly eight slides this time round, with the two slides duplicated another three times. When done correctly, you should see alternate leg movements throughout. Next, will be the hand movements. What we need to do here is to create a swinging illusion. Start off by using three slides to adjust the lower hand down to the back evenly. Then, using the next three slides to adjust the upper hand down to the back, while the lower hand now goes back to its original position. Take note that for the upper hand, you will need to do a right click then select Send to Back so as to show that the upper hand is on the other side of the body. For the remaining two slides, bring the upper hand back to somewhere close to the initial position, but not quite as it will be looped back to the first slide, which is has the initial position. Now, run the slide show and we are done!


Download Running Demonstration Advance at: http://pptheaven.mvps.org/experimental.html


Mask with PowerPoint: 2007 and 2010

If you have done masking effect in PowerPoint 2003, or have seen the blog post on Mask with PowerPoint (See Figure 1 and 3), then you should take a look at the blur effects offered by PowerPoint 2007 and 2010. The introduction of blur effects allow you to insert a shape of your preference (e.g. circle or donut), then add the blur effect making the masking more realistic and stylistic. To add the blur effect, simply double click the added shape, then click on the Insert tab > Shape Effects > Soft Edges > (Extent of the blur effect. Preferably 10 to 25 points).



Above is a screenshot of how the masking in combination with the blur effect (or soft edge) will look like in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010. The blur effects offered by both versions are equally great. That being said, PowerPoint 2010 is a still great improvement over its predecessor. And what makes it stand out more is the amount of flexibility. In PowerPoint 2010, you are given complete control over the blur effects setting. To do so, right click on the shape, select Format Shape > Glow and Soft Edges. Under Soft Edges section, you are given a slider bar to set the soft edge of your preference from size range 0 to 100, as compared to 2007, which restricts you to only 6 increment options in the range of 1 to 50.

Presenter for your Android phone

I have been trying out with some Android Apps recently as I have just got my hands on HTC Desire Z, running on Android 2.2, Froyo (a happy consumer indeed). Some applications that I have tried out include presenters for android, which come handy for those who are unwilling to buy a presenter which can be costly depending on the brand you are looking at. With the right keywords, you should be able to find many presenter applications out on the Android Market. Several are not free and may be tagged with a price not exceeding $10. However, we are going for free apps and I will be recommending you one great presenter for your android phone – Gmote 2.0. 


So what is Gmote? Gmote is basically an application that allows you to turn your android phone into a remote control for your computer. It is simple to setup and serve as a reliable tool for your presentation. To get Gmote 2.0 working, you will first need to enter the Android market from your phone and search for Gmote. Install the Gmote client application and once you are done, head over to your computer or laptop. Go to Gmote’s official site and download Gmote Server installer (works for Windows 7 even though it is not listed there). Install the server application on your computer or laptop, and then set the password of your preference.


Now, to link your Android to your computer or laptop, you will need to have both of these device connected to the same (wireless) network. This is also how most of the presenter applications work. Thus if you are not in a wireless workspace, using your Android phone may not be possible. To do so, launch Gmote from your Android and bring up the menu options. Go to Find Server and select your computer or laptop. Once you get them connected, go to the menu options again. This time, bring up Gmote Touch by selecting Touchpad. Moving around the empty space on your screen will allow you to your cursor while tapping will serve as a left click command. 


To use it as a presenter, simply open up your presentation and start the slide show. As mentioned earlier, the basic advance key would be to tap on your Android screen. If you are looking for more functions, bring up the virtual keyboard by selecting the keyboard icon on the top left of Gmote Touch. You can then tap on the backspace key to go back to your previous slide, or enter a number followed by enter key to proceed to a specific slide. In short, all the PowerPoint slide show navigation shortcuts should work as they are supposed to.


The only downside is the lack of timer if you are interested to keep track of your time. Understand though, that this is a multipurpose remote control rather than a designated presenter for Android which in fact, works a lot better (and of course, free) than many of the presenters for Android on the market. If you are interested, do give Gmote a try. Happy tapping!