Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
Date Created: December 1st 2006
Last Updated: February 21st 2009
It's quite easy to insert media elements like sounds, videos, and graphics in PowerPoint presentations -- yet these can only complement the text in a presentation. By far, the only way to make text stand out is by using color and animation. And even animation is not uncomplicated -- presentation designers often have to tweak PowerPoint's animation timings and the timeline to create out of the ordinary animation effects. All this can easily wipe out hours and days off your time -- time that could have been spent doing something else.
PowerPlugs Animator from CrystalGraphics tries to provide a solution -- it includes a library of animation styles that enhance PowerPoint's built in effects -- these can also be imparted to text with a few clicks.
PowerPlugs Animator is from CrystalGraphics, a company based in Santa Clara, California, USA that creates add-ins for programs like PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, etc. You can learn more about PowerPlugs Animator and other products at their site...
PowerPlugs Animator is a PowerPoint add-in that provides quick animation schemes that includes several high-quality text animations like Roll Down, Spiral Background, Threaded Bars and many more. Sound effects can be applied to the entire presentation as well.
My contact at CrystalGraphics for this review was Nicole Ha - thank you, Nicole.
As of now, there's no trial version available. You need to buy the product -- and then either download it or order it shipped on CD.
Thereafter, run the setup routine and follow the instructions. When installed, the program creates an Animator toolbar within PowerPoint as shown in Figure 1 -- if you don't find it there, choose View | Toolbars | Animator.
Figure 1: The Animator toolbar
Follow these steps to get started with PowerPlugs Animator:
- Open any presentation and select the slide which has some bulleted
text in PowerPoint or download the Indezine sample
presentation. Now click the Add Animation option within the Animator
toolbar (refer to Figure 1).
This will open the Animator interface, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Animator Interface
- The interface is divided into three areas:
- Select Effect: Select the Animator Volume Number (you can expect to find newer Animator volumes from CrystalGraphics), and choose an animation from the Style area.make sure that you check the Show Effect Preview option -- this enables you to preview the animation as you click on it.
- Effect Settings enables you to fine-tune the animation, sound and text:
- Animated Shape Options (See Figure 3) are container shapes that appear behind the text to add emphasis -- each animated shape disappears when the next text appears. Animated shapes are shown by default, and can be turned off. You can also set the color of the animated shape.
Figure 3: Animated Shape Options
- Sound Options (See Figure 4) has a list of sounds which you can apply to an animation.
Figure 4: Sound Options
- Text Options (See Figure 5)allows you to fade in the slide title, and to fade text to gray after animation.
Figure 5: Text Options
- Assistance opens the online help
- Click Slide Show Preview to preview the animation, Apply
Effects has two options:
Apply to Selected Slides
Apply To All
Choose as required. If you want to remove the effect from the selected slide, click the Remove Effect button.
- Once the effect is applied, you will get back to your slide. Choose View
Show with Effects from the Animator toolbar (as shown in Figure
1 above) to play the slideshow with the Animator effects
- Once you are done, you can convert all the effects to native PowerPoint animations by selecting Pack with Effects from the Animator's toolbar (as shown in Figure 1 above).
Do remember that the bullets in a text box are all converted to individual text boxes -- so these will no longer be part of the presentation's outline. Make sure you choose the Pack with Effects option only after you have finished all other edits within the presentation.
Even without using the Pack with Effects option, you can view all PowerPlugs Animator effects as long as a copy of the add-in is installed on the presentation delivery machine.
Animator coasts $49 .00 -- it is also part of the Ultimate Combo set of add-ins from CrystalGraphics.
Support is through email, online FAQ and Phone.
I like the fact that the animations added through PowerPlugs Animator can be rendered so that any PowerPoint user can see them without having PowerPlugs Animator installed.
Also, the price is right -- and I do wish they had more animation sets available.