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Tutorial for Forces 013, 029, 048, TO042 – Vertical Semitransparent Funnels with Cuts/Screens

Using the Transparent Funnels and Screens

FR048 is meant to be used as a semitransparency: it has both front and back segments of the funnels, which means you can move objects through the funnel and still be visible. Layering and alignments are important with this series.

It's difficult to show parallel processes in a funnel flow. Forces 013 and 029 contain funnel segments that have been cut in halves and thirds, providing a way for two and three processes to occur separately in the same segment.

Also notice in the series example that the middle segment is solid, not halved. These series works perfectly with the series Forces 048. You can use segments from any of the three series to build a completely tailored message. The sizing is the same for all series. See the tutorial for ways to work with and format these funnel variations.

There is another funnel series (FR001), that is not meant to be semitransparent. Be sure you choose the series that best suits your needs.

Adding text to the sections of the segments can be tricky. If you click on the section and start typing, you'll find that you will most likely have to do a lot of formatting to get the text to fall perfectly within the section. Contrary to best practices, it might be better for you to overlay a text field if there is a fair amount of text. Since the sides are slanted on the segments, overlaid text will be easier to control and position in the sections.

The screens come already placed in vertical funnels in the TO042 series, but they will also work with all vertical funnel series:  FR013, FR029, and FR048. The screens at the bottom of each funnel section imply something different than an arrow moving from top to bottom of the funnel. The arrow suggests passing through different phases of a funnel process. The screens imply that a process of elimination is taking place. This is an important visual distinction, and one that you should use when appropriate. The tutorial will teach you how to work with these funnels/screens, regardless of which vertical funnel series you use. When placing the screen on slides with the other series, remember to layer the funnel parts like this:  back of funnel at bottom layer, screen or arrow in the middle layer, and the front of the funnel on the top layer. 

Customizing the Funnels

Adjust size

If you want to change the size/shape of the funnels, be sure to group them and resize the group. Once resized, ungroup to proceed with other customizations.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the funnel will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Do not use a line color.

The funnels are set at 50% transparency so you can see the objects flow through the pipes. You can change the transparency percentages if you wish.

Each section of the segments in FR013 and 029 can be colored individually. Notice in the series example that the segment halves are the same basic color, only different hues. You can choose whatever colors you wish.

The screens are PNG pictures.  They are a dark gray with a transparent background.  You can change their color by clicking on the screen and clicking on the Color icon in the Adjust section of the Picture Tools/Format tab. 

3D variations

Do not use 3D effects on this framework. It is already drawn as a 3D object.


Do not use shadows with this framework. Don't use shadows on the screens.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

You can use a gradient with the funnels even though they are semitransparent – it adds the impression of a curve in the funnel. See how the gradients have been applied to the downloads. If you need apply new formatting (colors, gradient values), just be sure that you make the gradient colors the same percentage of transparency.

Don't use gradients or other added formatting to Forces 013 and 029 or the screens.


View the flash to see how you might animate these funnels and Download the animated example to see how it was set up.

The animated example also has the split arrow that you can use in your own documents - a little bonus.

Animations should be selected that will enhance the meaning of the message, not merely to add interest to the slide. The funnels in this series work well with animation because of the transparency – you can see the objects flowing through the funnel. Animate an object to flow through the pipeline by creating a applying a downward motion path or a Freeform custom animation path if you want your objects to move over the funnel before entering it. Creating this type of animation is almost the same as creating a line with the polygon tool – it's very easy.

You will need to test the animation path to be sure that the object stays within the funnel and that the funnel back and front pieces are layered correctly. Make adjustments to the custom animation path by right-clicking on the path and selecting "edit points." You will then be able to nudge the points so that the object stays perfectly within the funnel. You may also need to adjust the size of the object that flows through the funnel to keep it within the funnel.

Layering is important when using animation. The layering should be as follows:

  • The back of the funnel should be on the bottom layer
  • The object flowing through the funnel should be on the layer just above the back of the funnel
  • The top of the funnel should be over the object flowing through the funnel.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

FR013 – Force 013 – Vertical Funnel with 2 Cuts

Possible use example

FR029 – Force 029 – Vertical Funnel with 3 Cuts

Possible use example

FR048 – Force 048 – Semitransparent Funnels

Possible use example

TO042 – Tool 042 – Screens for Vertical Funnels

Possible use example

Links to instructions for getting the framework into your presentation

  1. Determine the best file type for your needs
  2. Download the file
  3. Import the framework into your presentation
    1. Importing a PPT file
    2. Importing a EMF or PNG
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