Tag Archives: overview

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


#FFXIV – The Vault

I’ve always believed that the definition of true courage is not a lack of fear but the exact opposite – lots of fear but the courage to push ahead anyway. Sadly, I’ve been less than courageous the last six [?] months, putting off doing The Vault dungeon until I’d literally run out of anything more interesting to do. 😦

Well, my Summoner, Meeka Thara, has finally done The Vault. Twas not glorious. I died at the three quarter mark of the third boss, but luckily the rest of the party finished him off while I lay ignobly dead at their feet. -sigh- I did learn a few things that may help others though. What follows is for newbies, and is only a kind of overview and tips type thing. You should still watch videos of the fight and read up on it for the complete mechanics.

So, to the overview and tips:

  1. Unless you’re incredibly overpowered, the trash mobs are actually quite hard. Not Limit Break type hard, but hard, and they aggro from quite a distance. Party members who run ahead of the tank are stupid, plain and simple.
  2. The first two bosses [Ser Adelphel and Ser Grinnaux] start out almost easy, but when you get them down to about 20% HP they morph into much harder creatures, so don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
  3. As per usual, the 2nd boss [Ser Grinnaux] is harder than the first and uses some mechanics that can trap the unwary. One of them is the aetherial tear [or void gate]. The Boss throws these void gates around the outer edge of the circular arena. Standing near a void gate will cause boss 2 void gatesome damage and stacks of vulnerability. Unfortunately, it’s not just a case of avoiding these gates. Every so often, the boss does an aoe knockback that sends everyone to the wall. If you get knocked back into a void gate it’s not good. As much as possible, try to position yourself so your back always faces an undamaged section of wall. I did read one forum post that advocated stacking the void gates all in one place to make it easier to avoid them but…I don’t know how you’re supposed to do that.
  4. The third and most powerful Boss [Ser Charibert] is hard right from the beginning. His mechanics include:
    1. Heavens Flames – these are circular fire aoes that target each, individual player – i.e. you will always have to be on the lookout for them,
    2. Chains – this mechanic chains two players together and keeps doing damage until the chain is snapped. If the two players are standing fairly close together when they are chained, they just have to run a short distance away from each other to snap it. If, however, the players are a long way apart when they are chained, they may not be able to put enough distance between each other to snap the chain.
    3. Knights – look like huge chess pieces and march in a row from the north of the arena to the south. Contact with one of theseboss 3 knights Knights causes damage AND a powerful Attack Speed Slow. This is not the kind of debuff you want when fighting a boss. The good thing, however, is that the Knights can be avoided, at least in the early part of the fight because they’re fairly slow and always keep to a straight line [think of them as moving line aoes].
  5. One strategy I read which worked really well during the early part of the fight is illustrated in the follow graphic: boss 3 schematicThe idea of stacking on the tank is that you automatically avoid the lines of Knights. You also have heaps more room to move if you get chained. It does work so long as you keep track of where the boss and tank are. 🙂
  6. At about 60% health, the boss disappears and returns with 2 adds – both Knights, but these ones can do line aoes. He also casts Holy Flames. There are about 6 [?] of these positioned around the outer perimeter and DPS have to kill them asap. Holy Flames are boss 3 at 60 percent holy flames followed by a room wide aoe called Pure of Heart. Now I’ve read that Pure of Heart can be followed by Sacred Flame, which is another room wide aoe. Apparently Sacred Flame depends upon whether the Holy Flames were all extinguished prior to Pure of Heart going off. We got all the Flames so I didn’t actually see this for myself. I assume it would have been bad though.
  7. In all the videos and guides, they say that after the Holy Flames/Pure of Heart sequence, everything else is ‘just’ more of the same but ‘a bit faster’ until the boss dies. Hmm….
  8. The reality is that phase 2 of the fight is when the boss throws everything at you at top speed, again and again and again. Knights charge down, chains happen along with fire aoes, and it’s all happening at once and OVERLAPS. Dodging the Knights was easy in the beginning but now with everything hitting you at once, moving and fighting at the same time becomes problematic, at least it did for me. boss 3 phase 2As you can see, a new line of Knights is forming in the top of the screen before the first lot have even passed. It’s rather chaotic and unless you’ve got your camera pulled out as far as it will go, seeing what’s happening [so you can avoid it] is difficult. This is around about where I died, probably because I was just too slow.

Given my lightning fast reflexes – chokes laughing – I should have just focused on my feet and forgotten about everything else. After all, the rest of the party managed just fine without me. Instead I tried to dodge while casting like the healer – awesome healer, by the way – and I failed.

So there you have it. Another dungeon, and a morning wasted on gated content that I hate, and no writing done, but at least I now have something more to do until the next trial in the game [Bismarck]. At this point, all I want to do is get past the gated content and reach the Dravinian Hinterlands for the crafting. After that, who knows.

cheers

Meeks

p.s. if you click on the screenshots, you should be taken to the Youtube video from which they were taken.


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