I'll do your props — PowerPoint templates & content
Planning on telling your buddies all the cool stuff you’ve done this summer? Spend a few hours converting your best photos to a comic book. The Summer of Twenty Thirteen. Get creative, writing all about your best adventures. A previous post gave you a good idea on how to get started on Creating your Comic Book in PowerPoint – Part 1. Now, for a few more good tips and tricks. The screen grabs below are from PowerPoint 2010, which seems to be the most common version used out there. Not much different for the shoulder versions of 2007 and 2013.
You must decide how you will be showing this amazing digital creation of yours. On a laptop? On a PC? On the tablet? On your cellphone? Or going all out and getting it printed and bound! Will it be horizontal or vertical pages. If you don’t know your device’s resolution, google “mobile device resolutions” and check the lists – width x height in pixels is what you will get. Then it would be a matter of converting these pixels to PowerPoint’s inches or millimetres*.
The above screen grab shows the new standard, 16:9 widescreen as well as the custom option. The portrait and landscape radio button for the top slides section can also be used to quickly change your layouts. For purposes of this article, I will choose to use 16:9, widescreen format. Amazing to view it full screen on the computer.
PowerPoint has a slew of ready-made speech bubbles. Stretch them using the square handles, or scale them using the circle handles. That other yellow square is to stretch the poniter to the speaker of the words.
These standard speech bubbles sometimes need customizing to accommodate text properly, for text returns, line spacing, and textbox elbow room. For the line spacing, select the speech bubble, the go to the Home tab, and the Paragraph section, click on the line spacing icon, see below.
Choose a Multiple of the automatic line spacing offered for your font size. Anywhere from .95 down to .70 Probably no lower than that as your letters will start to touch; the closer the letters the harder it is to read the paragraph. Do some testing to find out how far you can push it, if need be.
Another way to customize the speech bubbles is to adjust the internal margins, preset buffers that can be a bit annoying sometimes. If you right-click on the bubble shape, select Format Shape, then almost last in the list select Text Box.
In this menu, you can adjust your vertical and horizontal alignment preferences, as well as that Internal Margin buffer. I usually bring it down to zero. I then insert soft returns where I think it most appropriate in the text. That would be SHIFT-enter, rather than ENTER. A soft return keeps the internal paragraph spacing the same. A hard (or regular) return uses the in-between paragraph spacing, which is usually a quite larger space.
A little bit higher in that list of options on the right, you have the Fill Colour, Line Colour, Line Style and Width.
If you have a look at that last standard speech bubble in the second screen grab above, notice that it’s a combination of two shapes. The circle placed in front of the lightning bolt. That symbol is pretty much standard for someone speaking over a device of some kind, telephone, cellphone, ear bud, speaker… But if you look closely, the circle keeps its outline, even over the lightning bolt. Not really professional. Here’s the trick to make that bit of line disappear.
First thing to do is to activate some commands in PowerPoint. These are not visible by default, anywhere in the menus. Trust me, I looked.
Back to the task at hand, now that we have the proper tools. Select both shapes, the oval and the lightning bolt. Click on your new icon, Shape Union.
Presto-zappo-magic, the shapes are welded together. Much more professional! In this case, you will have to use a separate text box, with no fill and no outline, placed directly above your new shape, in order to insert your text.
If you want all 4 commands under the same icon, there is a Combine Shapes icon also available. That’s what I have used in the above screen grab. Below is a custom thought bubble; one huge oval, surrounded by many small ovals, to create clod arcs, and the puffs going down to the dreamer/thinker.
Below, a sampling of custom speech bubbles you can make with the Shape Union command..
For those of you who have invested in PowerPoint 2013, there is a cool new transition that has been added. It is most pertinent for this project. PAGE CURL!
The third post in this series has a link to download a free PowerPoint Comic Book template.
* If you need to change your measurement settings from inches to milimeters or vise versa, it’s all in your operating system’s control panel. Click on the region and language icon, the measurement settings page can be hiding under the advanced button. They’ll never make it easy for you!