Do you associate PowerPoint with bullet point slides?
And do you associate Photoshop with mind-blowing designs?
If yes, you are not the only one. This long association has been created by decades of under-utilization or complete lack of awareness about PowerPoint’s capabilities on one hand and the maximum utilization and awareness of Photoshop capabilities on the other.
It’s time the PowerPoint bias ends! It’s time PowerPoint gets its due for not just being the most user-friendly software but also a powerful design-friendly software that any designer, from beginner to advanced, can use to create wow designs.
If you do not believe us, let us show you 15 amazing designs that you would think were just not possible in PowerPoint. But all of them have been created in the same software and that too with just a few clicks in mere minutes. And the buck does not stop with these 15. As we keep exploring PowerPoint and open our imagination to think creatively, there is no limit to the level of advanced designs you can churn out with good old PowerPoint.
So, let’s broaden our minds and explore PowerPoint’s powerful stock of features and tools in this masterclass!
#1- Fragmented Images
Our natural tendency to notice things that disrupt the normal state of affairs must be exploited in design to increase its retention power. Because of this natural behavior, fragmented images draw immediate attention of the viewer. We see each fragmented portion individually while our brain pieces them together. That’s the reason splitting images is not about performing crazy stunts with your slides, it serves a valuable function. The increased attention paid to such visuals makes your design stand out and remembered for a long period.
Want to learn how to create this effect in PowerPoint? We have a complete PowerPoint tutorial covering this design hack – How to Split Image into Multiple Pieces to Create the Most Breathtaking Effect in PowerPoint
If you have the option to animate your slide, then you can apply the Float In / Fly In / Motion Path animation to each piece individually so that all appear one by one or simultaneously to form the complete picture. This will create an amazing video effect and keep the audience riveted to their seats!
#2- Double Exposure
Double exposure effects, the output of advanced software like Photoshop and Illustrator, can be created in PowerPoint too. Who knew that!
If you want to achieve a surreal effect like the one below, it will take a little effort and the right choice of images.
Here’s how you create this effect:
- Insert a visual into the slide. Preferably choose an image like the one shown with the subject set against a blank background
- Choose the Freeform shape from the Insert tab > Shapes menu (see the screenshot below)
- Click around the subject’s face to form a rough shape
- Right click on the shape and click Format Shape. Add the second visual in the shape & give it a transparency of around 50% so that both the visuals can be seen
- Go to Picture Tools > Picture Effects > Soft Edges > 25 points
It will take a few trials to get comfortable with the Freeform tool. You can also choose images that are easy to manipulate. Take the double exposure example below: Only a circle has been added over the bulb and the beach picture inserted in the same. Transparency was given to the beach image to complete the double exposure effect.
The simplest double exposure effect, however, that even a beginner can do is one by combining Silhouette and an Image. One only needs to download a silhouette shape (search silhouette on SlideTeam & download the one you like), right click on the shape and click Format Shape and fill the same with a picture of your choice. Don’t worry if you got confused. Follow the 1-Minute Tutorial to Create the Double Exposure Trick in PowerPoint.
#3- Paint Brush Effect
Lend an artistic touch to your slides with another creative design hack called Paint Brush Effect. Nobody can say the design below was created in PowerPoint, not Photoshop.
PowerPoint gives you the ability to create unique shapes and effects thanks to the five powerful options under Merge Shapes – Union, Combine, Fragment, Intersect & Subtract. Also, the option to download free commercial fonts from the web gives you the option to create interesting typography in slides. But we are not learning about typography here but how to create a paint brush effect.
You can create the above effect on your own in less than 5 minutes using just PowerPoint. Follow our Step-by-Step Tutorial on Paint Brush Effect.
#4- Blur Effect
Add motion to your static images and dynamism to your presentations. Create an illusion that you have captured multiple moments in a sequence and brought them together in one frame. This can be achieved with the blur effect in PowerPoint. No Photoshop!
Take the example below – don’t the dance movements look even more spectacular with the blur effect!
Bet you want to try this one on your own! Insert a particular visual twice in the presentation. If the image has a background that would look better without it for this effect, then we have covered background removal feature in-built in PowerPoint in the next effect.
Select the duplicate visual, go to Format Picture Tools, locate the Artistic Effects button and choose the Blur option. PowerPoint will blur the image a little. But that will not be sufficient for this effect.
Open the Artistic Effects again and select the Artistic Effects Options… to further customize the effect. Increase the Radius of blur by 70+ points to achieve the perfect look.
#5- Background Removal
Image manipulation is not limited to Photoshop or Illustrator. PowerPoint has its own in-built image manipulation tool called Remove Background. If there is an image whose background is an eyesore, you can remove the same with just a few clicks. Take the example below – with background removed, you can easily add text around the image without worrying about legibility or readability.
Here’s how background removal works in PowerPoint:
- Select the image and locate the Remove Background feature under Format (Picture Tools)
- The background that will be removed is rendered in color purple. Drag the focus areas to ensure that the main object is not removed.
- Retain the areas that you want to keep using “Mark Areas to Keep” tool
- Remove the unwanted areas with “Mark Areas to Remove” tool
Explore this feature in detail by reading our complete tutorial on Removing Background in PowerPoint.
#6- Text Behind an Object/Image
When you add text over an image, you look for white space or the best position to make it appear part of the image. No matter how and where you place the text, it looks forced upon the image. Magazine front cover designers do a great job at merging the brand name and the model’s image. The brand name gets covered a tad bit by the model’s face but one can clearly make out the name.
That very same effect can be replicated on PowerPoint. A very clever trick and thanks to PowerPoint’s awesome Remove Background feature, you can place the text behind an object or image to make it look as the object/image was actually standing in front of the text. The result is a realistic capture of a moment that looks straight out of a magazine cover page or a movie poster.
It looks tough but is actually very simple. Follow the steps outlined in our complete PowerPoint tutorial to create this effect yourself - How to Place Text Behind an Image in PowerPoint: Step-by-Step Tutorial
#7- Photo Mosaic
Creating a portrait with hundreds of tiny images joining together to reveal the big picture creates a wow effect. The mosaic looks larger than life and lifts the charisma and power of the main visual.
In the example below, the treatment looks befitting considering Mother Teresa was a people’s person. Creating a photo mosaic takes a little effort but once completed, it gives the designer the satisfaction of giving his audience something different and more engaging than run-of-the-mill slides.
Follow these 5 simple steps to create a Photo Mosaic in PowerPoint.
#8- Interactive Images
The only limit to what you can do in PowerPoint is your imagination. You can make objects fly or fall out of the picture frame, make images 3D, text 3D, and combine images to create an out-of-the-box effect.
3D or interactive images break the habit of seeing the usual 2D images and spice up your presentation. In the example, the drone literally comes out of the image frame and with animations, it can fly around within the slide to create a wonderful effect.
You won’t believe how easy it was to create this effect. We cropped the image till the portion where the drone is present, cutting half of the drone in the process. Next, we inserted the same visual again and with Remove Background tool, we removed everything from the visual except the drone. Now, with drone separated, we placed it over the original, cropped image and completed the 3D illusion in seconds!
#9- Fluid Shapes
Rectangles and circles have been seen too many times in PowerPoint presentations. However, we often see creative organic shapes that appear to be hand drawn in advanced graphics. Those are definitely the work of a graphic designer in Photoshop. But the same can also be created in PowerPoint with a little practice.
Take a look at the design below – A rectangle has been transformed into a fluid shape using PowerPoint’s creative tool called Edit Points.
To try such an effect on your own, simply insert a shape, say a basic rectangle. Go to Format Drawing Tools > Edit Shape > Edit Points. Click at any point around the edges of the rectangle to add a point. Drag those points up and down to create free-flowing shapes.
#10- Fragmented Text
For the very same reason, fragmented text captures the eyeballs of the audience.
Studies have also proved that regular text is often sidelined by the audience while the visual content is given preference in presentations. That’s understandable too as a PowerPoint presentation is a visual medium and should be treated as such.
To bring back the power of text in your presentations, give it a visual treatment too. Fragment the text to break the established reading pattern of viewers. Make the text pop out and visually engaging.
To create this effect, follow the steps as shown in the slide below:
#11- Text Effects
One can do umpteen things with text in PowerPoint. From shadows, reflection, 3D to a host of other things, you can create magic with your words. We have already learnt about text fragmentation. Here it is about bringing the words to life. Putting the word fire on fire for instance and submerging the word water under water.
Take the example below- what we have done is simply is add the text “water”, right click on the text box and click Format Shape. In the Format Shape window, open Text Effects and choose the Picture or texture fill radio button. Insert a visual of a water body to give a realistic effect.
Give the text a reflection to make the effect even more realistic.
#12- Transforming Text
Did you know you could make text flow around an object? Yes, you can make the text follow the contours of a curved object. The same only seemed possible only in an advanced software till now.
This feature comes quite handy while making business logos or highlighting the central message of the slide. In the slide below, the phrase “Let’s Preserve Our Environment” gets highlighted with the curved text wrapping the central image.
To create this effect, select the text box and go to Format Drawing Tools tab. Open the Text Effects options > Transform > Arch Down option. Drag the edges of text box to perfect the flow of text around the shape.
#13- Vintage Effect
A vintage look takes one down the memory lane. It gives a historical, nostalgic and timeless look to the composition. So, you will see the vintage effect used a lot in movie posters, music songs, photography filters, and photo editing apps.
You can create the same with just one click in PowerPoint! The software is an amazing photo editing app that very few know about. Let’s take an example.
With PowerPoint Filter:
Like we told you, it’s a one-step process. Select the image and head over to Format Picture Tools. Locate the Color drop down and choose the rustic color filter – Orange Accent color 2 dark. Explore the different color filters that can be applied with just a click!
#14- Artistic Paint Effect
The Paint Brush Effect we shared in the beginning of this article helped you create an artistic canvas.
PowerPoint even lets you turn visuals into pieces of art such as watercolor sponge, texture, film grain, chalk sketch and paint strokes among others. Depending on the effect you wish to elicit in the audience through your presentation, you can try multiple in-built artistic effects provided by PowerPoint.
In the slide below, we applied the Plastic Wrap option under Artistic Effects and enhanced the color temperature to make the colors in the visual further pop out.
One should, however, apply such artistic effects only where they enhance the value of the content.
#15- Color Enhancements
Multiply the impact of your visuals by adding beautiful color overlays that make your presentation look contemporary and worth sharing on social media. Photoshop lets you manipulate images and their colors to create eye-grabbing compositions. Instagrammers are crazy about these effects.
You can create some of these manipulations in PowerPoint itself by adding stunning color overlays using Gradient Fill.
This is Original Image:
This is Enhanced Image with Gradient Overlay:
All we did was adding a shape over the complete image and giving it a Gradient Fill. PowerPoint lets you choose the gradient type –Radial, Linear, Rectangular and Path, direction, transparency and other customizations to create different effects. The colors you choose create a world of difference in the compositions you produce.
That’s all in today’s PowerPoint masterclass. These are not the end of the list. Your imagination coupled with basic knowledge of PowerPoint tools will help you create breathtaking designs.
Make your PowerPoint presentations a blockbuster success with creative design treatments. These 15 design tricks are just the starting point.
Which design hack you liked the most? Tell us in the comments below.