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Chart of the Month – September 2007 – Picture Collage/Highlighting Technique

When you have a brief message, how do you fill up a slide? Always a good option is to add a photograph or collage of photographs. Let's look at how to spruce up these photographs so that the visual impact is maximized.

The chart to the left is a good example of a collage that conveys information about the subject product and is visually interesting. The effects were created in PowerPoint, and they are not difficult to produce.

This collage is comprised of four photographs. Each of the four photographs has two versions: a black-and-white version and a color version. To get a black-and-white version of the color photograph, simply format as gray scale in the Format Picture menu. This can be done in both PowerPoint 2007 and pre-PowerPoint 2007 versions. The next step is to overlay the color photograph onto the black-and-white version of the same photograph. The last step is to crop the color photograph so that the desired part of the photograph is "highlighted" in color. Simple.

In PowerPoint 2007, however, you can tint the black-and-white photograph, which looks really good in some instances (see below). You can still achieve this look in pre-PowerPoint 2007 versions, but it requires that a colored, semitransparent box be placed over the black-and-white photograph – an extra step, but still pretty simple.

Look at the effects below. They are quite stunning and would complement a brief message on a slide.

  • Example 1a can be accomplished in both PowerPoint 2007 and pre-PowerPoint 2003 versions. Click one of the links below to learn how to create grayscale/tinted photographs with color overlays.
  • Example 1b has a line color applied to the cropped color photograph, which looks nice.
  • The two Example 2 graphics are pretty enough to be on a title page.
  • Example 2b uses three photographs, each having a different tint color.
  • Example 3 can be used as a tracker in your presentation, coloring each of the light bulbs as you track through the slides.
  • Example 4 actually illustrates a couple (or more) good concepts: standing out from the crowd, attracting attention, etc.

These effects take very little time to format, but the results are professional looking and eye catching. Try it out when you have a few minutes so that the next time you have a sparsely populated slide, you'll remember this idea and the techniques to create something special.

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