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Chart of the Month – January 2008 – Cookie Cutter Technique

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This fairly simple formatting exercise produces a very dramatic result – a visually rich animated graphic story. Other than the title, there is no text on the slide – the graphic does all of the work. This formatting tip can be applied to any number of "switch-out" concepts, so it is worth the effort to learn and practice the technique. Then you'll have it available in your bag of tricks when you need it.

This slide was developed in PowerPoint 2007, and here are the steps:

  1. Find a photograph for the background (the produce in this case)
  2. Find a photograph or graphic of your switch-out object (the bottle in this case)
  3. Outline the switch-out object in the photograph or graphic with the polygon tool – be as precise as possible. The pink line in the graphic below is the outline drawn with the polygon tool. The black squares are the anchor points created by clicking while drawing the outline polygon. Double click when you want to end the polygon. You can edit the anchor points by right clicking on the outline and selecting Edit Points. Then move/nudge points to fine tune the outline.
  4. Make a copy of the switch-out object outline (the bottle in this case) and set it aside. Fill the switch-out object outline that you just created with white, remove the line color, and apply an interior shadow. The interior shadow tool is in the Shape Effects menu. You have just created the negative-space bottle knockout.
  5. Knock out the background in the switch-out object photograph. If you need to use option 2 below to develop the free-standing object (bottle in this case), you can use the copy of the outline that you just created and set aside in step 4.


    There is a FAQ devoted to the process described in Option 2 above You can click here to review it if you wish.
  6. Apply a drop shadow to the background photograph (the produce in this case) and match the interior shadow in the negative-space bottle knockout (step 4) with the drop shadow for the background photograph. Right-click on the negative-space bottle knockout and select Format Shape, Shadow in the left-hand list. Then make adjustments to transparency, blur, angle, and distance so that the interior shadow matches the background photograph's drop shadow.
  7. Size the vitamin bottle you just created with the negative-space knockout (illustrated in step 4). Align and order the layering of these two objects and then apply animation. The animation scheme can vary depending on your message.

The illusion is then complete. There is no download for this Chart of the Month due to photograph copyright restrictions.

Thank you to Ute Simon, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, for the tip on interior shadows, which was used to create the bottle in this Chart of the Month switch-out concept.

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