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3 a.m. Tips
Simply Flashing

Christopher B. Contois



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To the Point

Christopher B. Contois

Creating Transparent Images for PowerPoint
(requires Photoshop)

The orange ball and shadow in the PowerPoint file can be placed anywhere and the shadow will be see through!!!

(136k) (psd, tif, & ppt file) (2.2 megs)

I have never seen this technique mentioned anywhere, nor do you have to use it simply for PowerPoint creating perfect alphas can be used in many applications: PowerPoint, Flash, Director and others. This technique has saved me countless hours, especially where I have had the same 10 objects being repositioned on various slides in different layouts.

Lets Begin
Open Photoshop (make sure your file is either 72 or 96 dpi) and draw your object (you can also find an object and cut away the aspects you do not want). Once your object has been drawn link all of your layers excpet the background (click the window to the immediate right of the eye so you have a chain link in all except the selected layer and the background). Next click on the small circled arrow in the upper left corner of the Layers palette and select Merge Linked.

The next 4 steps (4-7 on the quick reference chart below), are merely to reduce file size. Select All (Ctrl+A), Copy (Ctrl+C), Create a new file (Ctrl+N), and Paste (Ctrl+V).

Once pasted into the new file you can quit out of your old one, you will no longet need it. Hold the Ctrl while you click on the thumbnail in your new file. Go to the main menu bar and choose Select-Modify-Contract and pick 1 pixel. In essence you are creating a little bleed to work with. Sometimes more is required, however I find 1 or 2 to be ideal.

Press the letter "D" on your keyboard (no Ctrl rquired) to default your colors to black and white.

Select the Channels area on the layers panel, and select the "Save selection as channel" icon at the bottom of your layers (see below). Alpha 1 will appear.

Finally save your file as a .tif and make sure you select Alpha Channels. Import into PowerPoint.

Sometimes your file make look odd in the edit mode of PowerPoint, however in slide show mode I have never seen a problem. Also the more sharp the edge (less blurry) they better this feature seems to work.

As always below is the quick reference chart. If you are uncertain about a step, have questions, would like to share your technique, or simply say hello- I would love to hear from you.

Quick Ref:

1. Draw your object
or Cut away the area you wish to be transparent
2. Link all of the layers except the background
3. Merge linked layers
4. Select All (Ctrl+A)
5. Copy (Ctrl+C)
6. New (Ctrl+N)
7. Paste (Ctrl+V)
8. Ctrl+Click on the layer's thumbnail
9. From the main menu bar click on select-modify-contract (1)

Hit the "D" to default your colors to b/w

11. Pull the Channels area up (located on the layers panel)
12. Save selection as channel
13. Save as .tif with alpha layer on
14. Insert image into PowerPoint

p.s. In the zip file I included the psd and the ppt template for this tutorial. Feel free to use it or any elements from it in your next presentation.


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