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Animation is a great way of bringing stories to life and guiding your audience through a presentation. Despite this, animated slides are often thought of as tacky: too much exposure to the Boomerang effect has done a lot of damage!
If animation is used at all in a presentation it’s often an afterthought, chucked in at the end of the creation process to jazz up the slide. But incorporating animation into your slides from the start can help to keep your audience’s attention, enable them to understand your message, and make your presentation much more fun to present.
The power of animation can be explained with findings from the study of humans’ perceptual psychology. Humans can focus their visual attention in three ways: engaging, shifting, and disengaging. When we see something we engage with it and try to figure out what it is. If it moves or changes in any way then we shift our attention to maintain focus on the object. Finally, when something moves out of our sight we disengage: if something is out of sight, then it’s out of mind.
With clever use of animation you can use them manipulate your audience’s attention using the principles of engaging, shifting and disengaging. Even basic animations add an element of structure that helps to guide your audience through your slides. Visme has three entrance/exit effects – fly, fade, and pop – you can use all three of these to bring your slides to life.
One really easy way to bring animation into your presentations is to incorporate it into your graphs and tables. Now, usually when you have a graph on the screen it all builds in at once, giving your audience all the information straight away.
The problem with this is that if your audience can read the whole graph off the slide, they think they no longer need to listen to how you explain the data. Without guidance an audience can come to the wrong conclusion about the data, or fail to understand how it relates to the story you’re trying to tell.
Bringing in elements of the graph gradually allows you to control the audience’s focus and pace your visuals along with your delivery. The first thing to build in is the axes and their labels. This tells the audience ‘A graph is coming!’ but doesn’t show them the data quite yet. Then, animate in the data points in the order you want to talk to them.
A great way of animating in bars on a bar chart is to use the fly in from bottom effect. The trick is to place the bars on layers that are behind a rectangle of the same colour as your background. Place this hidden rectangle just below your horizontal axis and it will look like the bars are growing from the baseline.
(4/5/2016 Update: All charts are now automatically animated in Visme, meaning you do not have to manually create them as shown below.)
With just simple animations you’ve already started to bring more of a story to your slides!
At BrightCarbon, we are all about creating compelling visual stories in presentations and animation is key to this process. To show you how to use Visme’s icon library and animations to build a story, let’s use this slide as an example:
We can do so much better than a slide full of bullets! Let’s split the story up into three parts, based on the attentional abilities above, and use animations to guide an audience through the story.
The first thing to do is set the scene. Using rectangle shapes we can create two mock slides. These can fly in from the left and right respectively. Use the ‘Animate this object’ button to see how we can animate these in: I chose fly in effects. One slide flies in from the left and one flies in from the right. Now we bring in the content of the slides.
On the slide to the left we can put a text box with lots of text in it. This can fade in at 1.5 seconds, after the fly in effects have completed.
Next, using simple circles we can create a more visual slide on the right. I used three different coloured circles with 50% opacity to give the impression of a Venn diagram. These all pop out after 2 seconds, to give a nice smooth entrance effect.
Now that we have set the scene and the audience is engaged with the two slides, we want to show that the slide with all the text is not effective. We can do this by shifting the audience’s attention using a change of colour. Using a few animations and the alignment grid, you can create a colour change using the fade in effect.
First we have to duplicate the first slide and remove all the entrance effects from the shapes. Then, we can copy the text-filled slide and change the colours to grey. Desaturating the objects gives the impression that the text-filled slide is dull, which is exactly the story we are trying to tell here.
Now we align these shapes over the top of the existing slide and apply a fade in effect to all of them. This will make it look like the slide is changing colour!
The final part of the story focuses on how visual slides are engaging. So it’s time to get that text-filled slide out of the audience’s minds so that we can focus on visuals.
Again, we duplicate the slide we have been working on and get rid of entrance effects. To get rid of the text-filled slide altogether we can add a pop away effect to the text box and a simple fade out to the rectangle shape so that they exit smoothly.
Let’s have a look at the final product!
With a bit of creative thinking it is easy to transform boring bullets into brilliant animated slides! Always remember to pace the information on the slide and use your audience’s attentional abilities to your advantage. For more on how to use animation in Visme check out this post on creating animated infographics.