Thursday, 27 January 2011

Clip art

Microsoft's PowerPoint is not only a mode of transforming a keen and attentative audience into a group of dazed idiots with a combined IQ of an ameba, it is a very powerful vector art programme. No. Really. It is.

It lacks any finesse but at a pinch, for example working in a role that, "doesn't require" its designers to produce art work it can produce JPEG and PNG graphics for buttons and other graphic user interface (GUI) components that near equal those created by Adobe's breed of graphic tools. I said, "near equal".

With a little thought to how images are built up in layers quite smooth effects can be created. The orange peel has had a texture applied - although in reality it's a pattern fill that looks like a texture in this instance.


With PowerPoint's vector advantages and a little thought, quite complex and realistic illustrations can be compiled.

The following are a couple from my working with HP network server equipment, which resulted from a quiet period doodling; being seen, and then directed to produce a suite of the things. They're the most expensive things I've every drawn - for my customer ;)

The grill on this UPS (above) was produced as a separate PNG file so can be removed.

This is a componenttaken from a larger device (the back of the UPS above). The power of vector graphics is being able to scale them without loosing detail.

The NAS system component was a joy to draw in trying to capture the shape and light of its contours where most of these are black. Using a lighter shade of grey than expected produced not only pleasing but clear results that now form a backbone of illustrations used in the current project. The DVD ROM was slightly rushed but each logo needed creating quickly to meet the schedule. I have time to revisit this later.

Other components

However, back to GUI. These gels aren't so bad, are they? They can be improved upon, but there's no need to removed them from PowerPoint to do so and what many people forget is that PowerPoint can save images to scale.

These gels are pretty basic but form a key part of the layering strategy used in the HP product illustrations above.


I'm known for some of my cartoons created in PowerPoint. Here's an example.

From: Sump by Pat Godfrey 2004 This was also one of my earliest web sites.

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