PSP/PSG Layers as “Outline” Layers

Some years ago, I developed a tool in Excel to allow me to get around the limitations of the outline feature in ProShow. There is only one outline in Gold and it is narrow. However, it’s often either not narrow enough or not wide enough. Producer has five outline widths with 1 being the narrowest and 5 the widest. What I found was that the narrowest outline was often not narrow enough and the widest was not wide enough. ProShow outlines are centered on the layer’s outside edge. Changes to the outline’s width vary from that centerline. That means that half the outline is on top of the layer while the other half is on the layer’s outside edge. ProShow outline corners are also rounded. These outlines are not editable … and their appearance often leaves something to be desired. ProShow outlines remained unchanged since they were implemented.

If you want improved looking outlines you are on your own. What you must do is to create your own outlines. This is often done using another layer situated below the layer to which you want to give an outline. This other layer is then resized in some fashion to give the appearance of an outline or frame around the upper layer. What people quickly realize when they attempt this is that, unless the layer is square, a change in zoom results in a larger size increase in one axis versus the other. For instance, if your layer has an aspect of 1600:900, and you want to increase the size by 10%, you’ll find that 10% of 1600 is larger than 10% of 900. With locked axes, this results in a lopsided looking outline.

In Producer, you can unlock the X and Y axes and vary the zoom of each axis independently or use a modifier on each axis to effectively do the same thing. This option, however, is unavailable to Gold users since varying the zoom of each axis is unavailable. Further, Gold has no idea what a a modifier is. The only option left is one that requires adjusting the layer’s dimensions and applying an appropriate value of zoom. This approach, which works in both Gold and Producer, is not as easy as it sounds. As a valid option, it’s been prone to a labor and time intensive effort to get the dimensions and associated zoom correct. That is, until I completed some recent enhancements to my Equal Size Changes tool.

CREATE THE OUTLINE LAYER.

Define the Outline Layer. In the tool, you first identify the starting layer’s aspect (or dimensions), scale, and starting zoom.

Define the Amount of Size Change from the Reference Layer. Provide the desired amount of change to the layer’s size.

RESULTS. The tool then provides information that is useful in either ProShow Gold or Producer to create a layer you can use as an outline or frame for another layer. The result is either zoom values for each layer’s axes (or modifier values) or a layer’s dimension and associated zoom to be used when the graphic/solid color/gradient layer is imported into ProShow at the specified scale.

For Gold users, this provides an unprecedented capability for giving your image layer an outline or frame that looks like you want it to look. It is now possible to do things in Gold that are very similar to what Producer users are already capable of doing. While Gold users must use an appropriately created and sized graphic, Producer users (who can also use the graphic approach described) have the additional option to use either a solid color or gradient layer (when making simple outlines) when creating a layer being used for an outline.

The tool also provides information as to how much of the layer being created in a graphical editor would be seen as the “outline” around another layer. This means you can edit that region in any way you want and then delete everything else … actually creating a frame (a graphic with a transparent center).

This is a quick overview of the tool’s capabilities and how it can be used (in Gold and Producer):  FPVP TOOLS: Equal Size Changes Tool

Take a gander at the video overview … tell me what you think. Also, do not expect Photodex to provide this functionality to Producer or Gold any time soon.

160512-1855

FPVP Tools (Updated)

THEY’RE HERE! A few months back, I was asked if there was a way to reset the FPVP Layers values from the one’s entered. At the time, all settings changes depended on whatever values were entered. To set them all to a zero value was done manually. Also, a reset function would have required the use of a macro, a feature I hadn’t used for many years. But, I looked into it and one thing led to another. In the end, I made over 60 changes or tweaks to the existing program. I improved the functionality of the OpenOffice version which then were made compatible with LibreOffice (another freeware version of an alternative to Microsoft Excel). I enhanced the features of the Cropping Tool, Equal Size Changes, and Modifier Rotation Calculation.  I also added a tool that made it easier to figure out where a text layer’s text was on-screen. A text layer’s text is movable independent of the layer’s position. So, I created the tool to give me control I didn’t have previously. I let the tool tell me the screen pan values of the text given the text layer’s position and the position of the text on that layer. But it works both ways too. The position of the text on the text layer is given when you tell it where on the screen you want that text for a given position of the text layer.

This update (v10.11d) contains many changes and tweaks to the originally released version. Below are the main changes to FPVP Tools.

Cropping Tool. The aspect to which you want to crop a layer is now either manually entered or selected from a dropdown list of defined aspects. Also, a Zoom% feature was added. This is useful for cases where you are cropping a defined region of a layer within ProShow and you want to define it as a percent of the full sized image. Alternatively, if you create a crop region within ProShow, this zoom setting can be changed until one of the axis reports a size similar to what you have in ProShow. This will then give you the proper crop values for each axis that give the desired Aspect. Likewise you could keep the zoom at 1000% and enter the ProShow crop region’s values to obtain the crop values for the desired aspect. What is provided now are additional options that, hopefully, make the task of cropping your ProShow layer easier and more informative.

Equal Size Changes. Previously, the X and Y axes were required to have the same zoom setting. Now, they may have different values of zoom. You can now select the exact amount of change you want on all sides (scaled to the layer’s aspect). This change may be as small or as large as you want. Previously, the amount of change was made by entering a percent of change from the layer’s existing zoom value or as a specific value of zoom. These changes work for any size of zoom on any axis or scale of the layer.  The effective aspect of the layer before and after any changes is now displayed. This could be useful information for some situations. More useful information is the layer’s width and height before and after any changes. Further, the amount of change on each side (normalized to the frame aspect) is displayed.  This shows how large the change is on each side of the layer. The actual change on each side is also displayed for reference purposes as is the total change in width and height.

Note that this tool was specifically created to address the limitations in ProShow’s layer’s outlining and shadowing features. Add to that the fact that a 10% change in zoom size of a layer that is NOT square can result in a visual change that is larger in one axis than another. Visually, this is can result in some glaring disparities.

Modifier Rotation Calculation. This tool was modified to allow finding a layer’s amount of rotation, change of phase, and/or amount of rotation. An cell was added to provide the “Master” layer’s rotation amount. Also, a checkbox was added to have the tool calculate the amount of rotation required for a layer to obtain the desired rotation angle. There’s also an option now to have the tool calculate the difference in rotation.

For instance, if the existing rotation (Layer) is set to 120, Rotation (Additional) is -360. The tool reports that the Change of Phase is -1.00, Value of Modifier is -100.00, and a Rotation (Final) is -240.  If a “Master” Layer (a layer that another layer will “follow” the rotation of) has an existing rotation of 45, with the Layer’s values as given, the layer’s final rotation will be a rotation value of 525 degrees (when the modifier of 100 is added to the Layer AND the layer is also following the rotation of the “Master” layer).

At the very least, this approach can show you what the final rotation value is given the Master layer’s rotation and the follower layer’s rotation value for a given offset rotation amount. The basis for each result is given to the right of each of the three different lines the user can use as rotation input information (in degrees, change of phase amount, or a modifier value).

Text Layer Text Positioning. (NEW!) This new tool compensates for the fact that a text layer is a caption layer contained in a normal layer. The caption is positioned in a different positioning method than a layer’s position is. A caption is positioned where the 0,0 location is the upper left corner of the screen and 100,100 is the lower right corner of the screen. Further, the center point of a caption is located according to the alignment setting for that caption (left or right). The top to bottom center point is still roughly the halfway point from the top of the first line of caption to the bottom of the last line of caption, adjusted by the amount of leading associated with the typeface of the caption. So, the position of the text of a text layer is determined by the text’s selected alignment type (left, right, center) and the top-to-bottom center point of the caption. This tool helps to simplify figuring out exactly what the normal screen coordinates are for that text when the caption text is NOT the default 50,50 position. Likewise,  if you desire to know how to place of layer’s caption at a specific place on the screen for a specific layer positioning, this tool can calculate that for you too.

MACROS. Macros were also added to this new version of FPVP Tools. These macros allow you to reset the Layer Aspect in the Layer Information and within the FINDINGS section: reset the ProShow Settings, Highlights in the Calculated Settings section, and the dropdown list selections in Locations and Align Here. Specific graphics provide the ability to reset all of them at once (The graphic associated with each layer under the Layer Information section) or separately (in the Findings section). Previously, when the language was changed, the dropdown list selection displayed remained displayed in the original language. You had to manually change each dropdown list selection. That no longer is the case. Select a different language and the dropdown list is refreshed to display the the default selection in the language selected.

OPEN OFFICE 4.1.1 and LIBRE OFFICE 5.3. The ODS worksheet works substantially the same as the EXCEL Version. The previous OpenOffice release version had some problems which have all been addressed. Libre Office did not properly import the ODS worksheet previously released and this has been fixed as well. OpenOffice and Libre Office are free spreadsheet programs that provide substantially the same capabilities as Microsoft Excel. If you don’t have Excel and don’t have the money to spring for it, OO and LO provide excellent alternatives that do NOT break the pocketbook.

SUMMARY. FPVP Tools provides the ProShow user a means to access ProShow’s power without becoming an expert on how ProShow performs its magic. It provides a means to do things that are otherwise impossible, extremely difficult, or very time consuming to do. If you have an inquiring and open mind as to ProShow’s capabilities, FPVP Tools is a way to save you time and effort to effectively display your images.

If you want to make effective use of ProShow’s rotate center feature, for instance, FPVP Tools is the only way to do it. FPVP Tools allows you to define a specific point around which to rotate or tilt a layer. Many layers may then use the same rotation point. At this time, ProShow does not provide the means to effectively use the Rotate Center function.

Effective placement of a layer, when precision is necessary is significantly enhanced using FPVP Tools. This is far superior to eyeballing placement of a layer and its support components, whether you use some form of “motion” or a static presentation (that is, when using the features of pan, rotation, zoom, or tilt).

FPVP TOOLS Update Coming

A revised release of the full version of FPVP Tools is coming in the near future. Time permitting, I hope to released in the next week or so. Those who’ve already purchased a copy of the FPVP Tools will receive the update automatically. I’ve had very little time

FPVP TOOLS OVERVIEW
For those of you unfamiliar with FPVP tools, it’s a set of tools I started developing right after I discovered how to effectively use the Rotate Center function back in 2010. Discovering how to use actually use the rotate center function for something other than rotating a layer on its side or corner opened up lots of possibilities. So, I kept notes. The tools I developed kept me from re-inventing things and helped reduce some calculations when creating effects within ProShow.

ProShow provides absolutely no way to effectively use the Rotate Center function for other than rotating a layer on its side, corner, or center. Beyond those limitations, you are on your own. With FPVP Tools, you can select the exact screen position around with to rotate or tilt a layer. Also, any layer can rotate on that same location. It doesn’t matter that the layers can all have different sizes, scales, aspects, or locations themselves. FPVP Tools tells you the appropriate rotate center value.

I now knew exactly what a layer’s height and width was no matter what scale or zoom setting. That helped with layer placement. Not all images I use have the same aspect. Sometimes I used those images together in the same slide. So, I created a copping tool to let me crop images to a specific aspect. That improved the look and feel of the images on the slide. While Proshow allows you to crop (and move that crop region around) a layer, it provides no feedback to let you know what aspect the layer is cropped to. It means you must perform the math to figure out the proper cropping amounts.

The rotation and tilt entry values are in degrees. But, when it comes to creating a rotation/tilt using a macro, you are entering a rotation amount in terms of a percent of a 360-deg rotation. So FPVP Tools has a tool to do the conversion calculation for you.

A new tool helps you determine the screen location of text on a text layer. The text on a text layer is simply a caption encapsulated on a normal layer. The text on that layer is positioned like any caption is: 0 to 100 from left to right and 0 to 100 from top to bottom. Then, the layer itself is positioned according to 50% of the layer being on each side of layer center. Sometimes you need to know specific information. For those times, I’ve created a tool that helps determine the actual location on the screen of that text. It can saves you time and effort.

Want to rotate a layer and then move a specific distance along the angle of rotation or along a line perpendicular to that rotation value? There’s a tool for that too. To do that manually in ProShow is a kind of hunt and peck method. When you need precision, the tool in FPVP Tools is the only way to go. It saves time, effort, and frustration.

And there’s more …

FPVP TOOLS REVISIONS OVERVIEW
A while back, I received a request for reseting layer settings. So, I took a look. This capability required macros, a feature I’ve had little use for over the years. After looking into it a bit, I included a variety of macros that achieve the desired effect. I also looked into other areas in which improvements could be made to the FPVP tools. I subsequently made 52 tweaks, fixes, and changes to the them since the last release. Some of the more visible changes:

The Cropping Tool was expanded to include a set of defined target cropping aspects. Instead of manually entering the aspect to which you wanted a layer cropped, you could simply select the desired aspect from a drop down list.

The Modifier Rotation Calculation was expanded to include the calculation of a difference between layer’s rotation values. It includes a Master layer entry to make it easier to calculate a modifier to follow the rotation of another layer by a specific amount. This might be easy to calculate manually, but this takes some of the guesswork, time, and effort out of it.

Resets. There are now 4 different resets provided. One resets a layer’s aspect, all of its settings, and the highlighters. Another resets only the layer’s settings. Another resets only the layer’s highlighters. The final one resets the dropdown box selections when the worksheet’s language was changed. Previously, a change in language required manually changing each dropdown choice to get the correctly displayed language.

Equal Size Changes.
1) Layer Zoom. Earlier versions did not correctly calculate the layer size change for each axis when the layer’s initial zoom settings were not the same. The previous release locked the Y-Axis to the X-Axis value, keeping the initial layer aspect unchanged. The upcoming release now allows different values of zoom for the X and Y axes. When the desired change in size is selected, the tool now correctly calculates both axes settings (zoom and modifiers), for any scale selected.

2) Exact Size Change. It is now possible to select the exact amount of change to each side of the layer’s center. Select a size of 0.01 or 5 or 20 … and the tool will correctly calculate the necessary values for the new X and Y axis zoom settings. When using a layer to create an outline for another layer, it is now much easier to select the exact width of that outline.

3) Width, Height, Aspect. This tool now displays the layer’s width, height and effective aspect both before and after the selected amount of change is displayed. This is important for those wanting more precise control over how their layers appear in ProShow. Controlling a layer’s width and height can be very important to the look and feel of a slide’s content from one slide to another.

Text Layer Text Position. As discussed earlier, this new tool allows you to determine where the text of a text layer is in the layer coordinate system. Or, it will tell you the text layer position for display at a specific screen location. Of course, this tool only works with a layer that has no applied tilt or rotation.

A number of changes were also on some look and feel, bug fixes, or minor corrective actions. This is particularly true of the OpenOffice version of the worksheet. That worksheet now also works within LibreOffice. Both of which are freeware alternatives to Excel. The look and feel or the OpenOffice version has been made to be as close to the Excel version as possible.

VIEWERS, ProShow Producer 5+ Styles

This has been a very busy year for me. Too, I took some time off to visit family in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Needless to say, I haven’t spent a lot of time working or had a lot of time to work with ProShow this year. Still, every now and then, some inspiration keeps showing up and that results in the creation of an effect for ProShow. Along with that comes the requisite testing to find out what works as well what the final effect will look like. The result, Viewers, includes 6 effects for a total of 14 styles.

The TOURNIE effects (supplied for 3:2 and 4:3 image aspects; Vertical and Horizontal) were inspired by Tennis Tournament score keeping graphics used on TV. There are two different effects here, In one, the frame rotates horizontally and the other rotates vertically around the displayed image. As the frame sweeps across the image, it sweeps it away and leaves the next image in its place. This effect uses 2 images of the same aspect.

The NOTE-A-TALL effect (supplied for 2:3 and 3:4 image aspects) was inspired by previous effects I created. The portrait image is displayed at screen left with a caption located to the screen right. This effect uses the tilt function to move two framed panels (that are sections of the original image) across the screen. The two panels move along different paths. The caption moves INTO the panel as it moves to the right. It exits the panel as a different caption as the panel move left. The two image section panels recombine at the right to form the next image where the previous image had been. This effect uses 2 images of the same aspect.

ROUNDER and SQUARER are full screen effects. A circular section of the next image is swept into view over the initial image in Rounder. In Squarer, small squares come into view from a large square’s corners. When the small squares meet, they form the large square that shows a portion of the next image. In both cases, the next image portion is located at screen center.  Then the remaining section of the initial image folds into the screen, from a vertical line located at screen center, to reveal the full extent of the next image. This effect uses 2 images of any aspect.

2By2-TO-TALL (supplied in 3:2 and 4:3) comes in 3 versions. Each version uses 4 wide images of the same aspect. In each version, the image that will display at full-size is shown in a 2×2 grid, framed at screen center. These images move out of the way to reveal the full-sized image within the framed region. The 2×2 grid then moves back over the displayed image and the next image is prepared for view. The next image that will display is shown in full color while the remaining images are shown in grayscale. In Version 1, the images pan off-screen the same way they panned on-screen. In Version 2, they pan off-screen the opposite of how they panned on-screen. In Version 3, the images move on-screen the same way they moved off-screen (using the tilt function). Versions 1 and 2 have more than 8 additional built-in variations of how the 2×2 grid images enter/leave the screen. Version 3 has more than 21 additional built-in variations. That’s over 40 possible variations for the 2By2-To-1 effect! Experiment and Have Fun!!!


Link to FPVP VIEWERS

New Producer Styles: Flip Images, Pairs, Quadrature, and Twins

After months of working on a number of different effects, I finally finished them. Once tax season here began, I found myself with a very little time with which to dedicate resources. Hence, the release of them was considerably later than I had hoped. This was a very unusual year and free time was at a premium. However, many tweaks made to the initial effects made for a final effect that I believe was worth. These effects display images in a simple and compelling fashion. In the end, I had the following effects: Flip Images, Pairs, Quadrature, and Twins. In all there are 44 styles.

Each effect is designed for Widescreen (16:9 aspect) shows. Each works in ProShow Producer v5 and later. The effects are designed for use with images that have been cropped to an aspect of 2:3, 3:2, 3:4, and/or 4:3 (these being the most common digital image formats these days). Many SLR cameras take photos with an aspect that is close to 2:3 or 3:2. You may still want to crop these images to be exactly 2:3 or 3:2 aspect (instructions are included in the style itself). Many of the camera’s known as the “point and shoot” type, take images with a 4:3 or 3:4 aspect.

The TWINS effect was derived from an effect I initially created in September 2011 to demonstrate the effective use of the rotate center function. This revamped effect allows their use as a stand-alone effect or to match effects seamlessly to transition from one image aspect to another.

The other 3 sets of effects were created, in part, to help demonstrate use of my FPVP tools. One thing led to another and the Pairs, Quadrature, and Flip Images effects resulted. I found that some of these effects were better released as effects to use in an actual show.

Flip Images. The images flip and turn over to reveal the image on their backside. What’s different here is how the images do their flip maneuver. 12 styles, Image aspects supported: 2:3, 3:2, 3:4, 4:3

Pairs. Images break into slices which rotate and merge to become different images. The term “Pairs” refers to these slices rather than the images themselves. 8 styles, Image aspects supported: 2:3, 3:2, 3:4, 4:3

Quadrature. 4 Images are rotated around a central point. Those images are either 2:3, 3:4, 3:2, and 4:3 image aspects. Each Quadrature image has the same aspect. 8 styles, Image aspects supported: 2:3, 3:2, 3:4, 4:3

Twins (Slide, Swap, Split 1, Split 2) Pairs of Images Transition to another Pair of Images. The initial pair of images may have a different aspect than the next pair of images. Transitioning between aspects of 2:3 and 3:4 is a breeze! 16 styles, Image aspects supported: 2:3, 3:4

150502-2000

FPVP Tools for ProShow – UPDATE

FULL VERSION, Freebie Version

Ok, as promised, the latest version of the FPVP Tools has been released v10.9f. It is provided in XLS (Excel 97-2003), XLSX (Excel 2007 through 2013), and ODS (OpenOffice Calc 4.1.1). The addition of the OpenOffice format is new. OpenOffice is an Office Suite that offers an alternative to Microsoft Office but is somewhat compatible with it. It’s also FREE.

As stated in the previous post, Microsoft doesn’t support a number of key features I was using in my Worksheet. OpenOffice did a decent job of importing the Excel 2013 worksheet but, it did not translate everything perfectly … and a number of tweaks were required. I believe I got most of them.

With this release of the tools, I made quite a few changes. Each tool can help in creating effects in ProShow. They can minimize the amount of and intensity of planning that would normally be required. I also found a way to determine exactly where a rotated layer (rotated using the rotate function) was located on the screen. Rotate the layer on a rotate center and its actual screen location is determinable. This is useful for when you want to stop at a specific rotation value, then move the layer along the rotated angle or perpendicular to it without having to rely on a modifier. This is also important from the perspective that if you change the rotate center of a layer that is rotated on a rotate center tends to “move” or adjust its position if you change its rotate center. Knowing exactly where the layer is lets you swap out the current layer for a repositioned layer … and then do things that would be otherwise impossible to do. The effect would be extremely difficult to achieve in any other fashion … and not intuitively obvious as to how you actually achieved that effect (for those trying to duplicate what you did).

Another tool lets you find the physical location of a layer that’s been rotated/tilted (in increments of 90 degrees). ProShow includes the modifier functions of Linear Ramp and Quadratic Curve. This release includes tools to take advantage of those features. The Linear Ramp is actually a sub-function of the Quadratic Curve. The Quadratic curve feature is actually quite a bit more complicated than it looks. It defines a parabola … but the tools that ProShow provides gives you no insight into where on that curve you are for the values you use. The FPVP Tools of Quadratic / Linear Function graphs the values you provide and lets you actually see where you are on the curve or what the linear ramp looks like for the given values. It helps to design from a knowledge of exactly what is happening in ProShow.

These are the biggest changes but, a number of usability changes were made too. If you like to tinker with things, this is a tool that can help you ferret out the features of ProShow … features that ProShow has but which it doesn’t provide direct access to.

FULL VERSION, Freebie Version

FPVP TOOLS – Info Update

I know it’s been quite awhile since anyone’s heard a peep from me but, I have been busy. The “day” job has been pretty good at taking up most of my free time. However, in my free time I have worked on some effects that I created while working on demonstrations to support how to use my FPVP Tools. The development of those new effects are now mostly done complete. However, I’m in the testing and demo developing phase and that can take some time (due to the limited free time, doggone it). At present there are 4 basic effects that are comprised of some 44 styles. So, hopefully I’ll finish the fine tuning and tweaks soon. Then, i can start releasing them. I think you’ll like what you see when you finally see them.

I’ve also been hard at work improving and tweaking the Full version of my FPVP Tools. A substantial number of changes were made to the tool set last released. Importantly too, switching languages does not impact column widths as much as what occurred previously. As of now though, I believe that testing is mostly complete. I hope to have and an update in the near future.

Recently, someone asked me whether my Excel worksheet (in which the FPVP Tools were developed) would work in OpenOffice. I’d forgotten completely about that choice. A quick check revealed that every time I imported the Excel worksheet into OpenOffice, it acted a little differently. Seems the translation is not perfect. Further, Microsoft does not support a number of features that I used in the worksheet … effectively crippling the utility of any export to an OpenOffice format from within Excel (at least, for now).

All is not lost however. OpenOffice 4.1.1 imported most of the worksheet intact. I just had to figure out what it was not translating or was not translating correctly. Once I figured that out, it turned out the fix wasn’t anywhere nearly as bad as it initially appeared to be.

The FREEBIE version of FPVP TOOLS – Basic now includes an OpenOffice compatible worksheet.

The full version of the FPVP Tools still requires some tweaking to deal with some formatting issues and such. But, the main issues appear to have been resolved. I hope to have an OpenOffice compatible version of the FPVP Tools – Full available with next release. Hopefully I can do that in the not too distant future.

Keep tuned!