Yesterday we created a background for comic strips and storyboards. Now let’s add some life to them, like characters and speech bubbles. Welcome to Day 36 of 365 Ideas for Office 365.
On the slide with your background, click on the Insert tab and choose Pictures, Online Pictures, or Icons. Icons have some very simple (but modifiable) shapes that can stand in for characters. For a review of modifying icons, see here.
Icons for People and Occupations
Just like when you chose a background, you would use Insert Pictures if you have already saved images for your characters on your device. Otherwise, insert Online pictures. You can then search for the kind of characters you want- basketball player, student, parent, teacher, child, boy, girl, man, woman, etc. You can also search for someone famous, but Creative Commons is checked by default. The difficulty comes with finding the same character in multiple poses, which is desirable for any character that will be in more than one slide. One way around this is to only insert people’s heads, which in turn means always placing them at the bottom of the screen (or occasionally behind another object.)
If you recall from yesterday’s post, I suggested you might want to wait to duplicate the background slide.
I have found the most efficient workflow for a comic strip is to add every character that you will use in the comic strip into the first slide. When they are all there, then duplicate the slide as many times as you need. If you need 4 cells in your comic strip, then duplicate it three times. Then, delete all the characters from the first slide that aren’t in that cell, delete any characters from the second slide that aren’t in that scene, and the same for slides three and four.
Now it’s time to add dialogue.
We do this by using Insert Shape. When you click on Insert Shape, you may have to scroll down to the bottom of the window that pops open to see “Callouts”. (We looked at these on Day 33.) Callouts are speech and thought bubbles. Choose one and insert it on your slide. You will probably want to then click on the speech bubble (select it) and then click on “Format” on the ribbon. (If you don’t see “Format on the ribbon, it is because you have not selected an item to format.)
You could then click on “Shape Fill” and choose white. DON’T choose “No Fill” That turns the shape into an empty hoop that you then can’t type in!) But there are already some suggested styles to the left of the “Shape Fill” and “Shape Outline” dropdowns. There is the current fill color, white on black and black on white. Click on the black letters on white background for a traditional speech bubble. PowerPoint treats all shapes like text boxes. (Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that PowerPoint treats text boxes like a specific shape.) Double-click on the speech bubble to begin typing. You can then click outside the shape (to get out of typing mode) and then click once on the shape to move it or resize or reshape it. Notice when you click on it that there are a number of white-filled circles, and for a speech or thought bubble, one orange-filled circle. (There is also a circular arrow to rotate the shape.)
Resizing and reshaping a shape
All the white ones resize the shape. The orange one allows you to move and stretch the “tail” of the speech bubble- the part that shows who the speaker (or thinker) is. You can drag the tail toward any character.
Finally, you can also format the speech bubble to make it partially transparent so you can still see what is behind it.
Right-click on the shape and choose “Format Shape”
Formatting a shape
The format shape window opens to your right. If you don’t see “Transparency” listed, then you need to click on the drop-down arrow next to the word “Fill”
You can use the slider, or the up/down arrows, or click on the “0%” and type in a number. I typically use 50%.
We still need to talk about how to make these look like an actual comic strip instead of a series of PowerPoint slides, but first, tomorrow we will look at Add-ins in general, because the next day we will look at an add-in that can make this whole process a lot easier.