Friday, 22 January 2016


Adobe Flash is a program that creates animation (among other things). The animation is published to an SWF file. If you have created a Flash animation or just have access to one, you can insert it into PowerPoint. Unfortunately, the results are often problematic and depend on your version of Flash, PowerPoint, your operating system, and a feature called ActiveX. The plus side is that Flash can create awesome animation; it has  many more advanced animation features than PowerPoint.

Display the Developer tabpowerpoint-tips-insert-flash-swf-into-powerpiont-1

To access the tools for inserting the SWF file, you need to display the Developer tab. It isn’t displayed by default. Choose File (or the Office button)> (PowerPoint) Options. In PowerPoint 2007, in the Popular category, check the Show Developer Tab in the Ribbon check box. In PowerPoint 2010 and 2013, go instead to the Customize Ribbon category. On the right side of the dialog box, check the Developer check box and click OK.

Insert and configure the SWF file

Follow these steps to put a Flash movie in your PowerPoint presentation:
  1. Write down the location of the SWF file you want to use.
  2. Go to Developer tab, Controls group, More Controls.
  3. Choose Shockwave Flash Object from the list and click OK.
  4. Drag a box across the screen to get the desired size and location.
  5. Right click the box and choose Property Sheet. A window with a table of pr9operties opens.
  6. In the Properties window, click the Movie item. Type the full URL of the SWF file.
  7. Set the other parameters, if you wish, for example, Embed Movie: True;  Loop: False.
  8. Close the Properties window using its Close box.
  9. Go into Slide Show view to see the movie. If your movie didn’t appear in Normal view, it will appear when you return to Normal view after running the slide show.

Tips for best results

Here are a few tips and gottchas:
  • Match the movie background to the background of your PowerPoint template/presentation — or vice versa.
  • If the Flash movie doesn’t play, open the Properties window again and look at the Playing property. If it says False, click Playing, then the down arrow and change the Playing property to True. Read more about this below.
  • Files placed on master will play continuously from slide to slide to create an animated background (but that can get distracting).
  • PowerPoint can’t recognize any mouse clicks on top of a Flash object, so don’t make the Flash object the full size of the slide; you need to have some area to click to the next slide.
  • If the SWF animation starts to play but stalls, right-click it and choose Play.

The bug

There is a well-known bug that you may run into; it automatically changes the Playing property to False if the Flash movie is not set to loop. To test your situation, run through the presentation, close it, open it again and run through it again. Does the SWF animation play? Here are some solutions to this problem:

Use the right-click menu

In Slide Show view, right-click the SWF file and choose Play.

Save the presentation as a PowerPoint Show

Follow these steps:
  1. Reset the Playing property of the SWF file(s) to True. To do this, select the Shockwave Flash object, right click it and choose Property Sheet. On the Playing row, click so you see a drop-down arrow, then click the arrow and choose True.
  2. Save the presentation as a Show. First save your presentation, then choose File > Save As. From the Save as Type drop-down list, choose PowerPoint Show (*.ppsx). Keep the same file name and click Save.
From now on you can play the presentation by opening the .ppsx file and the Flash movie will always play. However, it may not play if you display the slide with the SWF file a second time while the file is open.

Create some Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code to control the Playing property

This method is more complex but lets you present from the original presentation file. Use this method if others will modify the PowerPoint presentation.
Follow the same steps to insert the Flash movie. In step 7, change the Loop seetting to False. Now follow these steps to create the VBA code:
  1. On the Developer tab,  click the View Code button. The Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window opens.
  2. Choose Insert > Module.
  3. In the main window, enter the following code, where the number in the 3rd line after the word “Slides” is the number of the slide containing the Flash movie.
  4. That’s it! Return to your presentation and play it through in slide show view to test it.
Sub OnSlideShowPageChange()
Dim obj As ShockwaveFlash
Set obj = _ ActivePresentation.Slides(2).Shapes(“ShockwaveFlash1”).OLEFormat.Object
obj.Playing = True
End Sub
As you can see, the code simply sets the Playing property to true, rewinds the movie, and plays it.
Note: if you want more than one Flash movie in a presentation, you need to give additional movies unique shape names in the 4th line of the code. The 2nd one could be “ShockwaveFlash2” for example. Then, in the Properties window, give the object the same name in the Name row.
Next, go to the slide containing the Flash movie. From the Drawing toolbar, insert a blank Action Button. In the Action Settings dialog box that opens, choose the Run Macro option, choose the macro from the drop-down list (“OnSlideShowPageChange” in the previous example), and click OK. With the action button still selected, type some text on the button, such as “Play Movie” to label the button. Now, whenever you need to play the movie in slide show view, you can simply click the button.
You can also use the button to replay the animation if your audience wants to see it a second time.
Your macro security settings may stop the VBA code from running. Make sure it isn’t set to high.  Go to File/Office buttons > (PowerPoint) Options > Trust Center> Trust Center Settings> Macro Security and choose a different setting. If you choose the setting to enable all macros, I recomment that you change the seting back to its original value when you’re done presenting. In addition, coding in the Flash file itself may stop the movie from playing.
When you save the file, you’ll be prompted to save it as a macro-enabled presentation, which is a PPTM file.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

6 Things You Need in Your Animation Survival Kit

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Blue Sky Senior Animator and Animation Basics Mentor, Ray Ross has his very own 6 tips to keep you on your journey in becoming an animator. Hear it from Ray on how you can stay motivated, inspired, and how it’s the struggle to get you to the TOP! Read, believe, and go animate!

    Have you decided to pursue a career in animation? Here is a list of things that will help you during your animation journey.

  1. Motivation
  2. So you’ve made the decision to either start your education in animation or to refine the concepts that you’ve learned in the past. That’s just the first step in a life long process of an animator. Motivation is going to be key in keeping you moving forward and pushing through any difficult times that might arise.
    Ira Glass said it best “It takes awhile. It’s gonna take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that.”
    blog animation survival kit motivation 02 6 Things You Need in Your Animation Survival Kit
    Think of motivation like a bank. You scour the internet for inspiring work, watch movies that get you jazzed and talk to friends that pump you up about animating a shot. Your motivation bank is full and you are inspired to do tons of work. As you begin to put in many sleepless nights animating, you find that maybe your work isn’t where you want it to be. Your motivation bank may start to deplete and you might find it hard to stay inspired. You must remember that this is something that EVERY animator goes through. This just means you are learning!
    Knowing that something isn’t working is a big part of the this process. The only way to get better work is to do a lot of it. I like to think of animation as a roller coaster ride of emotions. You will experience days where you are understanding the concepts and things are going smoothly. Your motivation level is high and you will be excited to plan your next test. The next day, you try to animate a shot and you find that you can’t get it to look right.
    You must keep yourself motivated! Ask others for help and be proactive in finding a solution. Find things that inspire you and fill that motivation bank. Putting in countless hours studying can become tiring. Everyone needs a break so go outside, observe life and recharge those batteries.

  3. Fundamental Understanding of Maya
  4. Many of the big studios will either use Autodesk®’s Maya or something very similar to it. It’s important that if you don’t know Maya that you take a course to get familiar with the basics. You can take an introduction to Maac Animation that will get you on right track on becoming a 3D animator. Animation is something that isn’t software specific, once you understand the principles, you can transfer those skills to any software that a studio is using.
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  5. Richard Williams “Animator’s Survival Kit”
  6. If you haven’t done so already, you should pick up a copy of Richard Williams “Animator’s Survival Kit.” This book will cover everything you will need to know about animation. Every animator that I know has read this book many times and pairing this book with your education at AM will help reinforce the concepts you will learn each week. Purchase a sketchbook and use it to take notes and plan out your work. Write down the concepts you learn and reference back to it if you get stuck.
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  7. Patience
  8. Animation is hard. It takes time to understand the principles and most importantly, you need to have patience. As we mentioned in motivation, you have have to stay inspired and understand that not everyone will grasp the concepts right away. You must stay patient in your journey and realize that learning animation isn’t a race to some finish line. Take it one step at a time, keep things simple and the concepts will start to make sense.

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  9. Time
  10. Time is a huge part in becoming an animator. You must put in the time to grasp the concepts and push your work to the next level. I can’t tell you how many hours I put in as a student but what I can say is that it was a lot! Every free moment I had, I would dedicate it to understanding how animation works. A few hours a week just isn’t enough and you need to put in the effort to learn it. This applies to any discipline you study. If you want to get better at it, you have to put in the time. Do a lot of work, it’s the only way you will make mistakes and learn from them. Manage your time wisely and write down a schedule you can realistically dedicate towards practicing animation and try to stick to it.

  11. Be Part of a Community
  12. Animation Mentor has the best online animation community in the world! Make friends and help each other out. I find that having friends and mentors to help you with your animation is the fastest way to understand the concepts. Bounce problems off one another and give each other feedback. You are all in it together and having a strong, supportive community makes your journey an easier ride.

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