PPT2GIFa Lite: Conversation with Jamie Garroch

Created: Wednesday, March 28, 2018, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:30 am



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Jamie Garroch
   
Jamie Garroch is the founder of YOUpresent, a PowerPoint add-in and presentation design agency. YOUpresent provides a suite of off-the-shelf add-ins plus a custom add-in design service for organizations wishing to extend the functionality of PowerPoint or other Office apps. That can be anything from adding a single button to apply a corporate style, to a fully loaded ribbon with custom tools tuned to the organization’s workflow. Known as “extensibility,” Jamie is a passionate evangelist of this relatively unknown productivity feature of Microsoft Office.

In this conversation, Jamie talks about his new PPT2GIFa Lite add-in for PowerPoint.

Geetesh: Creating animated GIFs from PowerPoint is something that many users want to do. How does your PPT2GIFa Lite help them?

Jamie: There are two reasons users have interest in creating animated GIF images using PowerPoint. The first is to export presentations in the same way the Export to Video feature works, including slide transitions and animated content. This is an unlikely use case because the GIF image would actually create a much larger file than an MP4 video. The second more useful need is to use PowerPoint as a tool to create animated GIF images using each slide as a single static frame in the GIF.

Animated GIFs, first conceived almost thirty years ago are making a comeback, partly due to the fact that the original patent has expired and also because they can convey short stories quickly. This is particularly visible in the world of social media where audiences are enticed (or not) in seconds. Sites such as Twitter even allow you to pause an animated GIF.

Creating these types of GIF 89a images (the 89 refers to the standard’s release in 1989) usually requires special software such as Adobe Photoshop to build the animation frame-by-frame before it’s exported to the GIF89a file. The application playing the animated GIF, such as a web browser or PowerPoint slideshow, simply plays back the frames at the specified rate, creating the illusion of a mini video.



Animated GIFs are usually a few hundred pixels wide and high, unlike video which at 1920 x 1080 for full HD. What we’ve done with PPT2GIFa is provide a way for designers to create a custom slide size to represent a smaller output image and then create their animation across multiple slides just as you would with a cartoon flip book. Slide transitions and animations are ignored so the animation is created as a sequence of static images of your slides, played back at a frame rate you choose.

The example of a bouncing ball below was created with the Lite version of the PPT2GIFa add-in.

PPT2GIFa Lite Bouncing Ball

Bouncing Balls in Slide Sorter View

Geetesh: Jamie, you named your add-in PPT2GIFa Lite. The Lite suffix seems to indicate that a more capable Pro or Full version may follow. Are there any plans you can share?

Jamie: The free Lite version provides users with a backstage Create an Animated GIF feature, found by clicking File followed by Export. This includes options to change the size of the output file, choose to use transparency, set the frame rate (or frame delay as it’s referred to in the GIF world), define whether to loop the GIF indefinitely or set a number of loops and choose to insert the GIF on the slide once created so it can be checked in slideshow mode.

We’re currently working on a Pro version which will add the ability to set different frame delays for each slide/frame in the presentation/GIF using the native PowerPoint slide transition timings. It will also add a per slide GIF dispose method which gives designers more flexibility on how previous frames are handled as new ones come into view.

Finally, creating certain types of content can be time-consuming and challenging in PowerPoint. Let’s say we wanted to make a digital counter animated GIF to illustrate the increase in value of something in your PowerPoint story. To do this using PPT2GIFa would require many slides, sometimes hundreds, to be created with the number changed on each slide but precisely aligned with the previous and next slides. Care also needs to be taken over how the font is used as proportional fonts require the number to be split into separate shapes for units, tens, hundreds etc. We’re building tools that will automate this slide sequence creation process, so you could, for example, specify a timer to start from 0 and count to 245 and set the animation to last for 2 seconds. PPT2GIFa will then automatically create all of the required slides so that all you have to do is export the file as an animated GIF and then import it back into your target presentation, a process known as round-tripping. We can see an example of such a counter below.

PPT2GIFa Counter

PPT2GIFa Automated Counter Creator

You can discover more about the PPT2GIFa add-in and download the free version from my site.

You May Also Like: Jamie Garroch on Indezine


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