Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
Date Created: August 1st 2006
Last Updated: February 27th 2009
With the number of readymade templates and wizards that PowerPoint contains, you can literally create a presentation at the drop of a hat -- but those presentations would not be great presentations -- nor would they evoke interest in the audience or look any different than your everyday assembly-line PowerPoint presentation -- the type you see so often. It goes without saying that some time and effort has to be spent on creating better presentations -- in particular, two areas need to be addressed:
- The content of the presentation
- The look of the presentation
In this review, we are looking at something that can help you improve the look -- it's necessary to add here that a presentation with great looks and little or no content will get you nowhere. Having said that, now let me tell you more about Presenter's Toolkit, a compendium of high-class graphics from Digital Juice that is specifically targeted to PowerPoint users.
Presenter's ToolKit is from Digital Juice, a company based in Ocala, Florida. Digital Juice is among the leading vendors of clip media content including animations, stock footage, music, layered graphics, clip art, and templates.
Presenter's Toolkit contains a huge collection of:
- Graphic backgrounds,
- Photos and photo objects,
- Video clips and animations
- Royalty-free music, and
- Powertoonz, a clip-art package.
You can learn more about Presenter's Toolkit and other Digital Juice products on their site...
My contact at Digital Juice for this review was Eric Franks, thank you Eric.
To start working with Presenter's toolkit, you first need to install the Juicer processing software from the Juicer CD included with the Presenter's Toolkit collection. Installing Juicer enables the user to browse and preview the content, apply basic effects, and finally render the graphic files into any format.
The setup routine will create a Windows Start Menu group called PTK Juicer,
as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: The PTK Juicer Start Menu group
Once you launch Juicer, you can install all the previews for the clip media in the Presenter's Toolkit collection:
- Place the first disc in your drive, and then launch Juicer. This
will bring up the Juicer interface that you can see in Figure
Figure 2: The Juicer interface
- Choose File | Install Previews -- this will open the dialog box shown
in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Preview installation window
Select the previews from the list given under the Preview from CD list, and click the Add button to copy the previews to your hard drive. If you want, go ahead and install all the previews as I did -- you can also selectively install only the previews that you need depending upon the space available on your hard disk.
- Launch Juicer by choosing Start Menu | Programs | PTKJuicer
| PTK Juicer. This will open the Juicer interface with the previews,
as shown in Figure 4
Figure 4: PTK Juicer Interface
- The Juicer interface has four windows for browsing, previewing, and
exporting content. They are explained below:
Product Browser (see Figure 5)allows you to find content in two ways -- either by browsing or searching.
Select the previews in the view area as required, and then click
the Add to Batch List button to add the selected file
into the Batch Window for rendering.
- To browse, select the content type, and then the sub-content
type within the Sort dropdown box -- this will preview
the entire sub-catalog in the view area.
- To search, type in a keyword in the search box, and
click the Find button -- Juicer will then find all the
files in its collection that match the search term(s).
- To browse, select the content type, and then the sub-content type within the Sort dropdown box -- this will preview the entire sub-catalog in the view area.
- Set the resolution and dimension for the still images,
- Add effects like colorize, flip and rotate.
- Choose Render All to export all the batch-list graphics at once. Presenter's Toolkit might prompt you to insert one of the CDs/DVDs in the collection to source a graphic for output.
Figure 5: Product Browser
Preview Window (see Figure 6) is related to the Product Browser. As you select a file in the Product Browser, a larger preview shows in the Preview Window. This works well for graphics -- but the music previews don't play at all, and the videos play mute as well.
Figure 6: Preview Window
Keyword List (see Figure 7) provides a list of keywords for advanced searches, as you select a keyword, it is placed in the Product Browser search text box -- you'll still have to click the Find button to see the results.
Figure 7: Keyword List
Batch Window (see Figure 8) is where you'll find all the items you have selected. You can add multiple files and formats like video, audio, photos, animation etc,. Once added, the files can be removed and duplicated any time with the options in the batch window.
Figure 8: Batch Window
The Batch Window provides Render Settings -- these can be tweaked for one or all files in the batch window. You can:
Figure 9: Export Settings
Presenter's Toolkit is normally priced at $499, but Digital Juice often provides special pricing -- sometimes even as low as $99 -- you can order the product from the Digital Juice site itself.
Support is through email and phone -- Digital Juice also has online forums, FAQs and updates on their site.
It depends on many factors if Presenter's Toolkit is going to be a worthy investment or not. To its credit, it has an amazing amount of choices and customization built right inside the Juicer application -- so you can always tweak something to create an effect that you need. At a low price of $99, it's certainly a steal.