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Deconstructing the Demo Part 2: Using Text as Images in ProShow Producer

Let’s talk about text. It’s common to assume that the only function text serves in a slideshow is the same as in a book —just some words strung together in different ways to transmit a message. For many people, text is purely for saying what you need to say in written form, and the rest of its potential is completely ignored. But what a waste!

Text (or type, as the design world calls it) as a visual element can be used in so many creative ways. If you’ve watched the ProShow Producer 5 demo, you may have noticed it features several rather unconventional uses of text. Some of these instances involve the use of text as images. That’s what we’re going to focus on for today’s installment of the Deconstructing the Demo series. (see part 1 here >)

Any seasoned slideshow artist knows that text (if used at all), can work double-duty as a thematic style element throughout their shows. Characteristics such as font, size, and motion type are typically used with repetition to help define the visual concept for these shows. This practice can easily be applied with in-program captions in ProShow, or using an image editor like Photoshop to create text images.

In the case of the demo show, the tall, condensed version of the Univers typeface (Univers® LT Std 59 Condensed) was used throughout the show in two ways.

1) as regular-sized headers to denote different sections of the video (ex. create, fast, publish…)

2) as an oversized graphical element that reinforces the feature being promoted

Since the second application is a less conventional one, let’s take a closer look at it. It features text that was saved as an image, used to mask photos. The wow factor comes from the motion applied to the text mask. The example we’re going to focus on uses 3D horizontal tilt motion for the text mask.

(Tip: If you want a similar look without buying Univers, try the Impact font that comes with Windows).

3D Tilt Text Example (3:12 in demo)
To keep the focus of this example on the essential components of the effect, the extraneous duplicated background photo layers have been stripped out of the screenshots. You can see the general construction here:

There are 3 layers involved for the basic version of this effect. You can use any image of your own to re-create it. You’ll need to use ProShow Producer 5 for this, plus the following items:

  • A photo or video (bottom layer)
  • A duplicate of the previous item (middle layer)
  • A text image mask (top layer)

The recommended order of construction is as follows:

1. Add a photo/video layer to a slide. This will be called ‘Landscape Image’.

2. In Slide Options, apply any custom motion effects or slide style you want (optional). The demo uses ‘Tilt Revolution 3D Landscape 2.

3. Right-click on the main photo/video layer ‘Landscape Image’ and select ‘Duplicate Layer’.

4. Make sure the duplicate is positioned above the original ‘Landscape Image’ layer. (Tip: Rename the duplicate to ‘Text Masked Image’ if it helps you keep track of things better.)

5. Make sure the duplicate layer is still the active layer, then click on the Adjustments tab.

6. Change the White Point to 35% and Black Point to 15% (for the duplicate layer only)

(The purpose of this step is to create subtle, but noticeable contrast between the duplicate photo, which will show through the mask, and the main photo behind it).

7. Now add the transparent layer you plan to use as your text mask, and make sure it’s at the top of the Layers list. This will be called ‘Text Mask’.

(The 3D tilt text layer in the demo was created in Photoshop on a transparent background, saved as a PNG file)

8. With the ‘Text Mask’ layer still active, click on the Layer Settings tab. Click the checkbox to turn on masking and make sure it’s set to the Transparency mode. The layer called ‘Text Masked Image’ (the duplicate) should now be masked by ‘Text Mask’. (If you’re wondering why we’re using an image for this whole operation, in-program caption — it’s because masking is currently not compatible with in-program captions. Maybe someday…)

9. To create the cool tilt motion effect, simply add your own tilt settings to the ‘Text Mask’ layer, or use the Motion & Adjustments settings from the demo provided below:

(Don’t forget to set the slide timing the way you want it, first. The demo uses – Slide Duration: 4 sec / Transitions: 2 sec)

Keyframe 1 (2.0 sec)

Keyframe 2 (2.5 sec)

Keyframe 3 (4.5 sec)

Now play it back to see it in action! This effect is infinitely customizable and useful for a broad range of applications — basically, any time you want emphasis, and you have a decent-sized area for the mask to cover. The selection of photos used (along with font choice for the text mask) will cause the results to vary. Just experiment until you find the combination that works for you.

Stay tuned. This isn’t the last you’ll hear from us on the Deconstructing the Demo series for ProShow 5.

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As the head of the Creative team at Photodex, Leslie is involved in the design & production of ProShow demos, slideshows & special effects. She is a self-professed Crazy Cat Lady who is into horror movies, music, good food, and riding her bike around Austin.