The ProShow Blog

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Deconstructing the Demo: Exploring Flip + Turn Effects & the Cube

One of my favorite tricks that I’ve picked up since using the introduction of the 3D tilt feature in ProShow 5 is using effects that turn or flip from one image to another as a device for visually emphasizing an important link between the images.

As you may have seen, the ProShow Producer 5 demo demonstrates one of the many possible renderings of this technique, per the ‘cube’ montage. Although this post focuses mainly on the mechanics of the cube effect, you should be able to adapt the same fundamental concept of flipping or turning images in a connected manner — to artfully underscore the relationship between any images you choose.

Before we launch into the how-to part of this technique, let’s start with the what, why and when. We learn from nature that most things that turn, tend to have multiple facets that make up a whole (like a cube, diamond, or golf ball). If you are able to see only one facet, it’s hard to get the big picture, but if you can watch the object turn to a new facet, you are able to envision the thing as a whole.

Similarly, something that flips often implies either a complementary or opposing duality (think coins, doors & playing cards).

Flip and turn effects have unique built-in value. Why? The viewers of your slideshow, presentation or commercial will have a much more satisfying experience if they are able to draw meaningful connections between the individual things you show them. Using a flip or turn effect in a slide (or transition) can naturally create a symbolic bond between images linked by the effect. The perceived relationship is a fairly subtle thing, but you can play up the sense that “these go together for a reason” by choosing your images carefully, and being consistent with the effects you use.

Flip and turn effects work especially well for the following situations:

  • Juxtaposing shots of individuals you want to show as a pair (romantic / rivals / partners, etc.)
  • Juxtaposing then & now (or before & after) or any other contrasting material (good/bad, light/dark…)
  • Displaying similar or related content in sets (use even numbers 2,4,6…)
  • Showing a series of images that demonstrate process or development
  • Denoting a new section (if more than 2) in a presentation. Use the same effect each time.

The Cube example (1:00 in demo)
Here, you can see the construction of the cube effect captured from the keyframe editor:

There are four layers involved for the basic version of this effect. To keep the focus of this example on the core components of the effect, the duplicate layers used for the shading and cascading outro were omitted. Of course, a cube actually has six sides, so if you want to extend the effect to include the additional two possible images, give it a shot.

Before you start, you’ll need two things. The images used need to be perfectly square (width = height). Either crop yours to size or dig up your favorite Instagram photos and use those. Finally, you’ll need ProShow Producer 5.

The recommended order of construction is as follows:

  1. Add the four square images to a blank slide.
  2. To simplify the instruction, I recommend placing your slide at the beginning of the show so there is no intro transition. Later when you’re done, you can move the slide to any point you want and the timing of the beginning will adjust gracefully.
  3. Set the Slide Time to 10.5 sec. For this example, the ending transition is 1.0 sec.
  4. Open Slide Options. Arrange the images in the order you want to display them, the first one going on the top.
  5. If it helps you keep track, rename each layer the same as in the example: SIDE1, SIDE2, SIDE3, SIDE4 (top to bottom).
  6. For SIDE 1,2,&3, add two keyframes so that each has a total of 4 keyframes.
  7. For SIDE4, just add one extra keyframe for a total of 3.
  8. Because this will get incredibly long and tedious if we use a screenshot of every step, I have provided a PDF containing all the keyframe times and settings values for each. Download it here!

Now, before you launch into the mind-numbing task of plugging in a bunch of numbers from the PDF, it’s helpful to get an overview of what exactly is going on in the effect so that you can make informed adjustments or variations if you want.

Here’s how the effect works— each layer starts out tilted by either +90 or -90 degrees, either horizontally or vertically. This means it is invisible at first because it is reduced to an infinitely skinny line. From there, over the course of 0.75 sec, the layer tilts into full view. Once it is fully visible, it stays put (i.e. no motion) for 2 sec, then it tilts out of view in 0.75 sec, just like it came in. In this example, the direction that the cube turns alternates between left > down > left. However, you can change this to suit your own preferences.

It’s critical to use the custom rotation center settings to anchor the tilt motion properly. Otherwise, the image would just tilt from its center and would not look cube-like at all.

And finally, it is important to make the images connect with one another. As one image is tilting out of view, a new one must fill its spot at the same pace, from the same origin as the previous image. This is why you’ll notice the keyframe timelines overlap. It is this connected motion that creates the satisfying sense of wholeness for the effect.

Hopefully you will have some fun creating this effect (save it as a style when you’re done!). If you’re up for it, I challenge you to add shading to enhance the effect even more. Hint: use a square gradient layer and a duplicate of the image you’re shading to serve as the mask for the gradient…

We’d love to see and hear about your own examples of ways you’ve been able to incorporate flip / turn effects into your slideshows!

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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.