Just 3 Things: PowerPoint Animation

written by Curt Rode
10 · 07 · 18

Podcast Tutorial:

  • Planning:
    • Script
      • outline of main points
      • conversational tone
      • include tags for who is saying each line
      • transitions / transitional phrases
      • Make sure that everyone’s voice is equally heard throughout the podcast
    • Equipment:
      • Avoid using your computer microphone.
      •  Recording with the built-in mic on your headphones will improve audio quality.
      • Make sure your mic is below your mouth and a bit to the side.
      • Don’t speak directly into the mic.
      • Make sure you watch the audio levels as you record. You don’t want your levels to be too high (too loud) because the quality will sound bad and if they are too low, it will be too soft.
    • Environment:
      • Try to record in a quiet environment.
      • Check out the environment before you start recording and listen for any background noise such as fans, air conditioners, printers, washing machines.
      • Avoid recording in environments with hard surfaces since they can cause an echo.
      • If you can’t find a quiet place to record, you can always find a small space to record in with a blanket over your head. It sounds weird, but it works.

  • Recording:
    • Take a sample recording before you start your interview. This will allow you to check the volume, as well as make sure that everything is working/saving correctly.
    • Keep all of your files in one place and make sure that folder is backed up to something like Google Drive, TCU Box, etc.
    • Can record in-person or virtually
    • Make sure you check your files after you are done recording

Just 3 Things: PowerPoint Animation

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Preamble: Animation is a powerful tool, but it can be used poorly or for the wrong reasons.  Moving images draw the eye and have more “gravity” than static images which have more “gravity” than text. Similarly, colorful elements have more “gravity” than B&W elements. Put in practical terms, when used in a presentation, the viewer’s eye will always be drawn to colorful animation over the B&W text.  Animated elements should be an enhancement, but they can easily become a distraction from the most important information if not used thoughtfully.

Reference files: Feel free to play with these files all you like.  Copy elements, delete elements, add elements.  Have at it!

1) car_landscape,

2)  rocket

3) Sun_and_Storm

General Advice:

  • Sketch ideas with pencil and paper before worrying about the software.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Build by baby steps.
  • Remember that simple objects in simple sequences can be combined into longer sequences.
  • Save your work early and often!
  • Give yourself permission to experiment, play, and fail!


  1. Drawing
  • Selection Pane
  • Building familiar objects with 2D shapes
  • Arranging layers
  • Grouping & duplicating
  1. Moving
  • Animation Pane
  • Path Animation / Motion Paths
  • Timing / Duration
  • Sequencing
  1. Saving / Exporting 
  • Save Early and Save Often!
  • Options on a Mac
  • Options on a PC



  1. Create a blank PowerPoint presentation (File > New), and delete all the default text boxes.
  2. Create 2 or 3 empty slides, one for drawing and two that will serve as stages for your scene.
  3. On your drawing slide, combine 2D shapes into objects for your scene (for example, a sun, a tree, a car). Make sure your Selection Pane is open (find under Arrange button). Groups elements as needed.


  1. Go to your stage slide and zoom out to reveal gray area “off stage”
  2. Copy and paste an element you want to animate from your drawing slide onto your stage slide “off stage”
  3. Click on the Animation tab in the top row of menus, then open the Animation Pane from the available row of tools.
  4. For now, ignore the default animations that appear under the Animation tab.
  5. With your object selected off-stage, Mac users should click on the Path Animation option on the available row of tools.  PC users should click the Add Animation button and scroll down to Motion Paths.
  6. Draw a line from your object to the opposite side of the slide, also off-stage (if your object is off-stage-left, draw a line to off-stage-right.)
  7. In the Animation Pane, select the effect layer you just created, then open the Effect Options (at bottom of pane on Macs, from a drop down menu on a PC)
  8. Play with Timing and Duration.
  9. Follow steps 1 through 8 again to add a 2nd object and animation.
  10. Experiment with Start options to sequence your two animated elements (see explanation of Start terms below).
  11. Preview early and often!

Explanation of Start (Sequencing) terms:

On Click = Next animation will continue only after it’s initiated by the viewer

With Previous = The object will start to animate at the same time the previous elements starts to animate

After Previous = The object will start to animate after the previous element has completed its animation.

Saving and Exporting for Playback

Don’t wait until you’re finished to save your hard work! Each time you preview, save your work! Save early and often!

For Mac users, the only option you have to play back your animation is through the Slideshow feature of PowerPoint (unless you open the animation you developed on PC. See below).

For PC users (and Mac users who have opened their animations on a PC), you have the option to Save as a PPT (for playback as a Slideshow in PowerPoint) or as a video file (MP4). To save as an MP4 on a PC, go to File > Export > Create a Video and then hit the Create a Video button.


PowerPoint HELP!


If something’s not working right, try this:

  1. Calm yourself. Breathe.
  2. Check your layer in Selection Panel and/or Animation Panel. Are you interacting with the right element?
  3. Check your tool.
  4. Check your options for that tool.
  5. Ask your neighbor or CDEx staff.
  6. Google it.

Additional Resources:

Additional Audacity Tutorials from YouTube:

Andrew Mercer’s Audacity Tutorial Playlist



Garage Band Tutorial:

For those of you who might prefer working with Mac products, we’re happy to share this video tutorial thanks to our Spring 2017 Intern Aubrey Fineout,

How to Record Audio with Garage Band:

Additional Resources:

Royalty Free Music


Music Screen

Royalty Free Sound Effects

Sound Bible

Free Sound