PowerPoint Master Class with D.Wallace Peach

For those who don’t know, Diana Wallace Peach is an immensely talented writer in the scifi/fantasy genre, but today we’re not talking books. Today we’re talking book trailers, and the graphical wizardry that Diana achieves with PowerPoint.

I have to tell you that despite knowing how to use Power Point as a presentation tool in business, I never knew it could be used to create something like this:

Part of the upcoming trailer for D.Wallace Peach’s new novel ‘The Necromancer’s Daughter’.

I wish I could show you the whole trailer, but that won’t be available until Diana’s new book launches in mid August. In the meantime, I’m going to share with you what Diana told me when I asked her how on earth she achieved such amazing effects.

Take it away, Diana. 😀

Hi Andrea, my techie friend. Thanks so much for having me over and asking about trailers and how I make mine. I’ll try to give enough information to get someone started.

I’m pretty clueless when it comes to technology, so I rely on my old business days, and I make my trailers using PowerPoint. Yep, just old-fashioned PowerPoint.

I learned by trial and error and just playing around with the program. It’s fairly intuitive, or I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out. I encourage lots of experimentation, and no one should stress – the undo button is our friend.

Finally, don’t try this if you’re facing a deadline. It’s not hard at all, but it is very time-consuming.

Now, to get started, here are ten basic steps:

  • Start with a blank slide, and “insert” a black rectangle that covers the whole thing.
  • Choose an image (or 2 or 3) that will work as your background and cover the black rectangle. Use copyright-free images, and stretch them to fit if necessary. Pixabay and Unsplash are great resources for free images. Or use your own! (Example 1)
Example 1
  • Insert the images that you’re going to blend into your final picture. I chose 4 of them for this tutorial, but for some of my slides, I might have many more. Before I can use them, I might need to remove the background. Note that when you double click on an image, a little box appears in your menu bar that says “Remove Background.” (Example 2)
Example 2
  • One at a time I remove the background from the images by marking areas to keep or remove. (Example 3)
Example 3
  • Then I’m going to layer the images, rotate them, resize them, and position them until I like how they look. (Example 4).
Example 4
  • To make them blend a little better, I right-click on each image and click on “Format Picture.” Here, there are loads of options from softening edges to adding a glow, shadow, or special effects. You can lighten, change contrast, or crop. You can also manipulate color. I softened the edges of these flowers a little, but for most of my composite slides for trailers, I do a lot of manipulation to make them blend into one scene. Just experiment until the slide looks right to you. (Example 5)
Example 5
  • Insert text and format it! (Example 6)
Example 6
  • Transition: Transition determines how your slides are going to transition from one to the next. Play with the “how” of the transition (fade or wipe, for example) and how many seconds you want it to take. Your whole slide will transition with all its images.
  • Animation: Animation is how to delay the appearance of some images once the transition is underway. Again, you get to play with the “how” and “how fast.” You can have images fade into view or fly in (for example). I will typically create all my slides and then add transitions and animations at the end. You can preview what you’ve done under “Review” and make a hundred adjustments (like I do) until you’re satisfied. (Example 7 – video)
  • Audio: You can add copyright-free music or add your own recording. For me, this means more fiddling with transitions and animations to make the slides line up with the music. Once you’re done you can export the entire trailer to an MP4 video. Easy Peasy! And Have Fun!

Easy Peasy she says! -grin- I don’t know about you, but I still think there’s a bit of magic in there somewhere. I also think that Diana is much more of a techie than she gives herself credit for, so…. I’m making her an Honorary Geek, complete with this lovely engraved award to put on her mantle piece:

If you want to know more about Diana’s work, in both words and graphics, pop into her blog at: https://mythsofthemirror.com/ where you’ll find a welcoming community of authors and readers. I know because I did. Or you can visit her Amazon Author page at: https://www.amazon.com/D-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1 to see all the fantastic novels she’s published.

As for me, I’m so revved up I can hardly wait to start playing around with PowerPoint again.

Have fun,
Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

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