In Part 1, I talked about how easy it is to use Microsoft PowerPoint to make fantastic graphics and collages that look as good as Photoshopped images.
In case you missed it, I proved my point by taking two images from Pinterest, and recreating them with my only images in PowerPoint:
So in Part 1, I showed you how to:
- Directly edit images in PowerPoint (including cropping)
- Add shapes with text and editing shadows, transparency, etc.
- Group all elements to save your output as a picture
Today, I'm going to show you how to:
- Remove a background
- Incorporate free fonts and shapes
- Understand layering
- Use outside (free) tools with PowerPoint
1. Remove a background.
A really popular use of Photoshop is image collages of items - must-have baby items, neon trends, etc. But when you copy and paste an image from a website, it usually looks like this:
See that white box? It means that if I try to position this blazer over a pair of shorts, the shorts will be cut off by the white box - like this:
Not cute. So what you want to do is remove the white excess. This is something that would look very good if done in a professional tool like Photoshop, and also looks good in free tools like Gimp (an excellent and free alternative to Photoshop if you do want to learn the technical approach), but for how simple it is, PowerPoint does a dang good job.
- First, double-click your image.
- The "Format" tab appears.
- Click "Remove Background".
NOTE: I should have mentioned this sooner, but see how at the very top of the image is a green dot? If you click that one, you can tilt the image right or left, even upside down! It gives you some more flexibility with creative arrangements.
Anyway, you now see a new menu with some new options. In addition, the previously white area is purple, and there is an editable area-selection tool on your object.
First, click the small white dots to stretch them around your shape until everything is inside that box. See right now how the collar of the jacket and the ends of the sleeves have a purple-tint too? That means if we were to click "Keep Changes" right now, those would be removed. But we want them, so we need to expand our selection area.
Now, the jacket is almost perfectly outlined! Except, there is one little side area on the jacket that is also purple - likely, a white area from the jacket that blended into the background. So I want to save that part.
- Click "Mark Areas to Keep".
- Click on the little purple area.
- You'll now see a little circle with a plus-sign over it.
- Click "Keep Changes".
Now, your image is perfectly "cut out" with the background removed!
- If you have an extra white area inside that needs to be removed (like if you have a picture of a teacup - the inside of the handle) - use the "Mark Areas to Remove" button to add a mark in that space before clicking "Keep Changes" to make it transparent also.
2. Incorporate free fonts and shapes.
The one thing that will take your image from standard to impressive is free fonts. There are some great websites out there (I love dafont.com) and you can even search "free fonts" on Pinterest to see links to some that others use.
It is SO easy to download and install them. There are a dozen tutorials out there to complete this, but since everyone's operating system likely varies from mine, I'll save myself the space here - BUT, if you get stuck on installing fonts, feel free to email me.
Here are a few of my favorites. You can Google the name with "free font" to find them for download.
But - whats cooler than free fonts? Shapes!
Dafont has a "Shapes" section that provides Wingdings-like graphics when you press certain letters, once installed just like a font. Then, you have really neat, custom shapes to use!
So this graphic below, I used shape KG Flavor and Frames Part 2. I typed a capital O, and got that neat white shape with the brackets!
And the pennant banner was shape KG Flavor and Frames, with a lowercase t. Because my computer is reading it as a font, I was able to change the color and add a shadow as I would any other font.
There are dozens of really neat options online. Here are a few of my favorites:
(These are great for pointing to OOTD pictures to say where you got something!)
There are 18 pages of shapes on that website, so a lot of really neat options to create really custom add-ons!
3. Understand Layering.
Each time you add something to your PowerPoint slide - text, a shape, a picture - you need to think of it as if they were physical objects. So the last thing that you add or insert will be on top, just as if you placed it on a stack of items on a table.
Sometimes, you add something later that might look better on bottom. Or maybe back a layer. In that case, you can move the item forward or backwards.
So for this example, you've added your images. You've added text. You've removed the backgrounds. You've arranged them. But it looks - off. Wouldn't the tee look so much better behind the necklace and the chain of the bag? And shouldn't those shorts be behind the blazer?
- To arrange the items, right-click the image.
- Select "Send to Back".
- Select "Send Backward".
NOTE: It is VERY important to click "Send Backward" and not "Send to Back". If you click "Send to Back", it will go all the way back - behind your gray background! You want to only move back or forwards one layer at a time.
Once you move all of your images back or forward, you'll have a really well composed collage! You can now follow the steps in Part 1 to group all of the images and save them as a picture.
4. Use outside tools.
PowerPoint obviously isn't perfect, and sometimes you need a little help elsewhere to really fine tune your images.
Often, when you group your images and save as a picture, the outside border isn't ideal, and needs to be cropped. I like to use PicMonkey. Its a free site, and lets me upload my image and crop it. Bonus - I can resize my image to the exact width of my blog template. Blogger only has five size options for images - Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, and Original Size. Sometimes, X-Large isn't big enough to fill the post area. Sometimes, Original Size is too big. So its nice to know how big your area is, and you can resize to that exact amount.
For me, my area is 801 pixels wide. So I use PicMonkey to resize my images to that width (and it automatically makes the height proportionate) so that when I insert my image as Original Size, its a perfect fit.
You might also enjoy doing random YouTube video and Google searches for other tips and tricks. Through that, I've learned how to:
And so on.
Have fun! And if you come across anything cool, please come back and share with me!