How to Create Curtain Animation in PowerPoint: Gradient Fill and Animation Effects

How to Create Curtain Animation in PowerPoint: Gradient Fill and Animation Effects
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Closing a talk can be challenging. A strong visual metaphor can be helpful. In this article I describe the creation of a slide using the visual metaphor of closing red velvet curtains, which I freely acknowledge is an homage to Baz Luhrman’s movie, Moulin Rouge, which in turn evokes the classic era of the moving picture houses.

How to do it

Start with a blank slide, and follow these steps:

1. Set the slide background to black.

2. Create a rectangle at the left hand side of the slide, with a height equivalent to the entire height of the slide and a width about one tenth of the width of the whole slide.

3. Format this rectangle by setting the outline to no outline, and the fill to a gradient fill in red, with a vertical pattern so it is lighter in the middle and darker at the edges.

4. Set the entrance animation effect for this shape to Fly In, Set Start to After Previous, Property to from left, and speed to medium.

5. Copy this shape.

6. Paste, and move the resulting shape to the right extreme of the slide to form a symmetrical matching shape on the other side of the slide.

7. Edit the animation properties of this second shape so that the Property is From Right, and the start is With Previous.

8. Repeat the Paste, and place the pasted shape next to the first one on the left hand side. Retain the existing animation settings.

9. Repeat this process alternating adding shapes to the left and right hand sides in turn (the order is critical) ensuring that all the left hand shapes have Start parameters of After Previous, and Property settings of From Left and those on the right of With Previous and From Right, until you have filled the screen.

10. Finally you may like to add a message such as “That’s all folks!” (another homage to classic cinema). This should have animation settings of Appear and After Previous.


A variation

If you use the same shapes but set exit transitions instead of entrance transitions and use fly left and right respectively, you can open the curtains to unveil an image and emphasize it in that way. You could for example use this at the start to liven up an opening slide, which are generally very dull.

A word of warning

This works fine in PowerPoint 2003, and should work equally with OpenOffice or Kingstar office. PowerPoint 2007 is a different proposition. I find its ribbon-based interface as impenetrable as Word 2007. Worse, I was unable to find the fill effect which is readily available in 2003. I actually imported it from a 2003 presentation in the end. And when I finally completed my slide, it caused PowerPoint 2007 to crash on my PC.

Here’s one I prepared earlier

Intermediate stage

End result

This post is part of the series: Get Creative with PowerPoint

Learn how to use PowerPoint to create awesome presentations.

  1. Get creative with Powerpoint part 1: go minimal
  2. Get Creative With PowerPoint: Less is More
  3. Get Creative With PowerPoint: Fluffy Clouds
  4. Getting Creative With PowerPoint: The Build Transition
  5. Getting Creative With PowerPoint: Using Images for Reinforcement
  6. Getting Creative With PowerPoint: Using All the Elements of a Talk
  7. Use PowerPoint Presentation Slides as Milestones or Signposts
  8. Getting Creative with PowerPoint: Bringing Down the Curtain