Tag Archives: ProShow How To

Tools For ProShow (Update)

For the past few months I’ve been working on my Tools for ProShow on and off. As I was doing this, one change, improvement, or tweak led to another. All in all, the Tools for ProShow are an even more useful tool than they were previously for those wanting to take advantage of capabilities within ProShow that Photodex does not provide to its customers. For those of you who don’t know it, ProShow has considerable capability that Photodex hasn’t provided a framework that allows you to take advantage of it. Its cropping feature is weak. Its outline and shadow creation features are poor. Its Rotate Center feature has a very limited implementation of what it’s capable of doing. Right now, as long as you keep the Rotate Center values within the boundaries of the layer, you can make somewhat effective use of the feature. However, that does not mean you can specify your own rotation location on the screen … just within the layer’s boundaries. ProShow tells you little about a layer’s width and height. This is information that could be helpful in proper positioning of your layers on or off of the slide. ProShow does not document its modifiers or the functions that the modifiers use. While I don’t either, at least I provide the means to effectively use the Quadratic Curve and Linear Ramp functions. Captions or the Text on Text Layers use a different positioning method than layers use. Specific positioning of the text relative to a layer can prove confusing, if not daunting, if accuracy in positioning is important. ProShow provides no bridge between the two. ProShow provides you with timing information but provides no means to determine time between various points within the slideshow. This is all addressed in the Tools for ProShow … and then some.

Tools for ProShow is an Excel Worksheet that performs calculations that let you do things in ProShow once thought impossible, very difficult, or labor intensive. These tools started their life when I first discovered the relationships between Pan, Zoom, and Rotate Center in June 2011.

 Tools For ProShow Enhancements/Changes.

The Tools worksheet has been updated. It has a release version of 10.15e. Extensive revisions, enhancements, or tweaks of many of the tools has occurred since the last update.

The Equal Size Changes tool was renamed LAYER: Outlines/Frames. This tool was extensively revised. The tool is used to create the appearance of an outline or frame around another layer. One enhancement was the ability to specify the width of the outline on each layer’s side. This width is applied to each layer’s side. A second enhancement was that the layer’s aspect is now selected from a dropdown list of defined aspects as well the three original layers given in the Layer Information tool. A third enhancement was the ability to give the layer a Polaroid outline. That is, equal sized outline widths on three sides and a very wide outline width on the fourth side. A fourth enhancement was that the number of modifier-based zoom changes was changed from three to six. A fifth enhancement involved the Aspect, Effective section. A user defined Aspect, Effective End layer was included. This extends this tool’s usefulness to ProShow Gold. With the ability to use a layer with a size specified by the user, cropping or editing it in a graphical editor becomes even easier than previously possible.

Findings: Calculated Settings. The calculations for the layer zoom and width were extensively revised for improved speed and reduced resources. A few calculation errors related to the safe zone were also corrected.

Findings: Formulae. Removed. In its place were two new tools: Largest Width During Rotation and Cover Layer During Rotation.

The Largest Width During Rotation calculates the largest width of the layer during its rotation at the currently entered zoom setting.

The Cover Layer During Rotation gives the required zoom setting of the current layer to cover a layer of its given zoom setting during a rotation.

Layer Support Information. Removed. In its place are the new tools Width & Height and Modifier Zoom.

Numerous minor data arrangements within various tools were also made.


 The Tools for ProShow include the following:

1)  Cropping Tool. Obtain cropping dimensions for a layer for a specific aspect. A sophisticated too that far exceeds the limited capabilities of the ProShow cropping feature.. PSG/PSP.

2)  Distances. Move a layer along the line of an angle of rotation for a specified distance or along a line perpendicular to that angle of rotation for a specified distance. PSG/PSP.

3)  Find Halfway Point. Find the slide location point located halfway between two layers given their Starting and Ending locations (X-Axis and Y-Axis). PSG/PSP.

4)  Findings. Exploits the relationships between pan, zoom, and rotate center, layer width and height. PSG/PSP. Note that PSG zoom values are always the same for each axis.

  1. Align Here. Position a layer’s side, corner, or center to a specific screen location.
  2. Calculated Settings. Pan, Zoom, and Rotate Center functions are interrelated. So, when two function values are known, deriving the missing function’s value is possible. This section calculates the value of the unknown function.
  3. Cover Layer During Rotation. Sometimes you will want to rotate a layer over the top of another, completely obscuring it from view. This tool provides information to do just that It gives the minimum zoom values necessary to cover the layer and what its width is while it is doing that.
  4. Layer Width and Height. ProShow provides no layer width or height information directly. You must make some assumptions or a bit of math if you need that information. This section provides this information. (NEW)
  5. Largest Width During Rotation. Sometimes you need to know what the largest width of a layer is when rotated at a given zoom setting. This tool provides that information. (NEW)
  6. Locations. This gives the screen location of a layer, its side, or its corner. This information is provided for a given Rotation on some portion of the layer.
  7. ProShow Settings. Layer values from ProShow layer settings.

5) Layer Information. This provides the slideshow’s layer information. There are three layers provided in this section. The section provides each of the three ProsShow Layers with dimensions (to identify the layer’s aspect) and associated scale. This tool’s information is also used by other tools: Findings, Cropping, Width & Height, Distances, Proportional Sizing and Placement: Layer 4, Layer: Outlines and Frames, Slide Information. PSG/PSP.

6)  Layer: Outlines/Frames. This tool gives settings required of a layer to give another layer the appearance of an outline. An outline typically has an equal size on each side of the layer. It also gives settings for an outline that creates the look of a Polaroid Photo (a larger outline section either at the layer top or bottom than on the other two sides). The tool provides zoom and modifier settings for creating a size change via the zoom feature versus changing the layer’s zoom directly. There is also a section that gives settings that allow a layer size change via cropping, a graphic editor, or the ProShow create Layer (Solid/Gradient) feature: Frame Creation Helper (for Bitmap Editors). This feature allows the creation of an outline or frame layer within ProShow Gold.   Cropping of an existing layer or creating a graphic of a specific aspect for use in PSG may be required to achieve results that are otherwise only possible from within PSP. PSG/PSP.

7)  Modifier Rotation Calculation. Find the rotation value in terms of degrees, phase change, or modifier value. Modifiers make rotation changes in terms of a percent of a rotation. This tool makes choosing the appropriate rotation amount easy. PSP

8)  Modifier Zoom. This tool calculates the missing value when given two of three values: Starting Zoom, Ending Zoom, and Modifier. This tool works for either a layer’s single axis or both axes. PSP. (NEW)

9)  Position a Rotated Layer. Given a starting and final location, this tool gives the distance a layer has moved. When Desired Final Position is provided (for a layer that has been tilted — either vertical or horizontal) or rotated, the layer’s pan settings to position the layer at that desired location are provided. PSG/PSP.

10) Proportional Sizing and Placement: Layer 4. This tool is useful for creating a layer that is proportional in size and location to another layer. PSG/PSP.

11)  Quadratic/Linear Function. This section provides answers for the ProShow modifier functions of Quadratic Curve and Linear Ramp. The quadratic curve uses an equation that defines a parabola. The ProShow factors define a region of that curve to position a layer. When the Quadratic Curve’s first factor (the quadratic factor) is set to zero, the effective equation defines the Linear Ramp. A linear equation defines a sloped line (which can also be defined as “ramp”). PSP.

12)  Slide Information. This provides the slideshow’s Frame Aspect and the Safe Zone size. This information is used by other Tools For ProShow tools: Layer Information, Findings, Width & Height, Distances, Proportional Sizing and Placement: Layer 4, Layer: Outlines and Frames. PSG/PSP.

13)  Time: Show/Slide/Keyframe. Giving a Starting time (minutes and seconds) and a Final (or ending) time, a difference in time is calculated. Some modifier functions have the ability to start at the following three locations: Show, Slide, or Keyframe. As it can be important to know the actual start time at any given location because of the function used and it’s value at that time can be calculated. PSG/PSP. Usefulness within PSG is very limited.

14)  Text Layer Text Positioning. Captions use a different positioning system than Layers do. Text layers are layers on which captions have been placed. As such, they have the benefits and characteristics of both Layers and Captions. A text layer caption is positioned on the layer using caption positioning. The text layer is positioned as a layer is positioned. Therefore, the actual position of that text might need some calculation. This tool provides that information to give TEXT POSITION or SCREEN POSITION. To get text position, the Layer Pan value and the desired Screen location are needed. To get the screen position, the Layer Pan and the Text Position information is needed. PSP.

15)  USER Calculations. This section allows you to make calculations or use the contents of results found within the worksheet to create other calculations you can use for a variety of purposes. PSG/PSP.

16)  Width & Height.  This tool asks for the following information: frame aspect, layer aspect, and layer scale.  If the zoom is provided, the tool calculates the width and/or height. If the width and/or height is provided, the associated zoom value is provided. This can be helpful when dealing with v8’s text region that you want constrained to a specific size and/or aspect. PSG/PSP. (NEW)

PSG: ProShow Gold
PSP: ProShow Producer

161018-2130 DLF-FPVP

Intrepids Among the Experts …

Photodex has created one of the best commercially available video slideshow programs. Right out of the box, ProShow provides its users with considerable control over their resources. ProShow Gold, the consumer version, is limited in what it can do. However, it is still very capable and quickly mastered. The professional version, Producer, offers considerable capability beyond what Gold offers. This version takes more time to master its considerable feature set it. But Producer users are productive with it in nearly the same amount of time as Gold users. Because of its feature set, Producer has more capability than is immediately apparent. Taking advantage of that capability requires a considerable understanding of ProShow itself. Delving into ProShow’s finer details often has you asking others for help and guidance. You who do often find yourselves encountering some interesting personalities. Most are helpful. However, now and then you may find your are dealing with someone who is less than helpful. You may not know why they are like that. But, if you recognize what is happening, you could save yourself some anxiety and/or consternation.

ProShow offers a lot of power and control to even the novice user. Those who spend a lot of time with ProShow tend to learn how to take advantage of its various features. The power of some of those features is not recognized until the user has reached a certain level of expertise.

In general, ProShow users are a helpful group. There is usually someone who can provide an answer to any question you might ask.  New users can easily feel intimidated by all that expertise. They often wonder how they will ever learn ProShow’s ins and outs. ProShow usually has more than one way of doing something. That is not always obvious. Actually, learning all that the program has to offer does not happen very quickly. Often, the merely proficient ProShow user thinks of themself as a ProShow expert. They often do not know that there is more to ProShow than is immediately evident.

While learning ProShow’s ins and outs, you will probably come across a variety of ProShow user expertise. Most people are quite helpful, or try to be helpful. Even those do not know ProShow well. In the process, everyone learns. However, for whatever reason, some are less than helpful.

I started with ProShow Gold v2.6. Just over a week later, I upgraded to Producer. I’ve been pushing ProShow’s limits ever since. Eventually, I started delving deeper into ProShow’s secrets. Sometimes I succeeded. In the end, some of the things I learned were ProShow secrets few outside of Photodex know. All I was trying to do was to present my material the way I wanted it presented.

Using version 3’s new masking capabilities, I was the first to demonstrate a lensing effect. I created effects that rolled an image onto and off of the screen. I created the first in-slide page curl. When version 4 was released, I quickly adopted modifiers. They allow you to do things that were previously impossible, very difficult to accomplish, or extremely time consuming to create. One type of modifier allows a layer to follow another layer’s function changes. That type of modifier does not work when following another layer’s zoom changes. But, I discovered a way to exactly follow another layer’s zoom settings. A year later, I found another way to do it. I also found a way to follow the zoom of another layer while keeping the same distance between each layer as they changed size . . . something previously considered impossible.

Those of us who try to expand our understanding of ProShow’s features may run into resistance, for a variety of reasons, from others. They do not appreciate or understand what you are trying to do or what you have learned. They are a naysayer. That is, someone who tries to impede your learning. I’ve run into at least three different naysayer types: the Purist, the Self-Proclaimed Expert, and the Legend-in-Their-Own-Mind.

The Purist types think you should only use ProShow’s features as provided. They say that if ProShow programmers wanted you to have the functionality or information you want, they would have provided its framework.

The Self-Proclaimed Expert is usually an expert only by virtue of the time and effort they investment in learning ProShow’s capabilities. An example of such is claiming to have invented or discovered functionality that was actually common knowledge and/or in common use long before their claim. It is akin to Al Gore’s claim that he invented the internet. Not true but, it is one way to self-promote. They like being recognized as an expert. They would prefer no demonstration of expertise that diverts attention away from them.

Finally, there is the Legend-In-Their-Own-Mind type. They are God’s gift to the ProShow user. They have an overly inflated opinion of their expertise: capabilities, skills, and/or knowledge. They feel compelled to give you the benefit of their expertise, whether or not you want or need it. They have difficulty admitting that they may be wrong; misguided; don’t understand or comprehend what you are doing, want to do, or have done; or that their way of doing things is not the best. They also tend to find it difficult to figure out how to take advantage of what you’re trying to do or have already done. This naysayer is the most insidious type. Once they have wormed their way into your confidence, they have no problem making decisions for you. They will tell you to stop what you are doing. They will tell you that you are wasting your time or effort. They will tell you that what you are trying to do will never amount to anything. Their overly inflated opinion of themselves often interferes with the ability to exercise foresight. This especially true when they do not know how to take advantage of a ProShow feature, capability, or discovery. They may appear as being dense.
When the Legend-In-Their-Own-Mind types think you have exposed their unrealistic self-assessment, beware. They will do whatever is necessary to prevent being reminded that they are not as expert as they hold themselves out as.

A year after ProShow introduced version 4, I wanted to know a layer’s width and height. Placing multiple images on the slide resulted in varying screen positions depending on the layer’s size, aspect, and scale. I wanted to know specifics instead of placing layers through trial and error. In general, unless the layer has the same aspect as the frame, you only know the layer’s width or height, not both. I thought I could save time and effort if I knew both values simultaneously. I began with a geometrical approach. A straight forward mathematical method would have been simpler. However, at the time I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I wanted to know what some of that was.

I told an acquaintance what I was doing and why. This person used the program as often as I did. They had been using the program longer than me too. I thought this was person who would appreciate what I was trying to do. I was wrong. Their first response was that I immediately stop what I was doing. I was wasting my time. I was also told that what I was trying to do would amount to nothing. I was not amused. How does someone who barely knows me know that I am wasting my time? How could they know that nothing would come of my efforts? When you are learning how to use software, you try different things so you can learn how to accomplish some goal. Success is never guaranteed. But even if unsuccessful, you might learn something about the program that is often more valuable than the desired result. It is defeatism to quit before beginning simply because you might not succeed. However, that’s exactly what this naysayer wanted me to do.

I did not stop. My research was a success. I made an unexpected discovery that also gave me a layer’s width and height. The discovery was something only the Photodex programmers knew: Pan, Zoom, and Rotate Center are interrelated. I became the first person to make effective use of ProShow’s Rotate Center function.

Previous to ProShow version 4, a layer could rotate only around its center. The Rotate Center feature lets you rotate (or tilt) a layer around a point other than layer center. When the Rotate Center function’s values are not larger than ±50, a layer can reliably rotate (or tilt) around any location within a layer’s boundary. A rotation point beyond the layer boundary, however, puts you on your own. Suppose you want to rotate a layer around a specific onscreen point that corresponds to a point on the layer. Suppose too that you change the layer’s position, aspect and/or size, or change the frame’s aspect. You may need to expend considerable time and effort to find that same onscreen rotation point again.

My discovery let me select any point around which to rotate (or tilt) any number of layers; each layer possibly having a different scale, location, size, and/or aspect. Discovered in June 2011, I worked out all of the relationships and then publically released that information around October 2011. In September 2011 I published a video demonstrating my discovery.

I began using Version 4’s layer names, layer notes, and slide notes in effects I was creating. People tend to ignore documentation that comes with products. I thought it more convenient to provide help within the effect itself. That makes it easier to make changes to the effect rather than looking for PDF documentation. I told an acquaintance what I was doing and why. I was promptly told to stop immediately. I was told that nobody paid attention to layer notes, slide notes, or layer names. Therefore, I was wasting my time. Within a year, however, this same acquaintance was following my example.

The legend-in-their-own mind type’s may have an approach that is at odds with yours. I will give you an example. CB uses only static presentations of their material. DD includes motion. CB uses pan, zoom, tilt, and rotate center in extremely limited ways. DD uses those functions dynamically.

Static presentation represents a two dimension (2D) show. Adding motion is like adding a third dimension (3D) to the show. 2D people tend to find motion confusing and complicated. Their advice on issues related to 3D is often off the mark. Nobody can comment intelligently on something about which they know nothing. It doesn’t stop some however.

Had I listened to the naysaying I experienced, I wouldn’t have learned as much as I have about ProShow. Aside from the various unique effects I’ve created, I wrote a book of tips and hints for ProShow called “Beyond the Manual.” I created an Excel spreadsheet (“Tools for ProShow”) that people can use to take advantage of ProShow’s capabilities that available but not readily apparent. I’ve also been able to create many “How-To” tutorials to help people learn ProShow and take advantage of its capabilities.

You may decide to stop looking into how to achieve a desired result after an interaction with a naysayer. But, if you do, make sure you stop for reasons of your own, not theirs. That way, you’ll have no regrets. This is a video slideshow program. It is not rocket science. In the scheme of things, nothing you do with this program is likely to have much of an impact on the world. Still, discoveries you make concerning ProShow capabilities are self-satisfying. Share those discoveries if you can. Help others take advantage of what ProShow is capable of doing. Help them create great shows. Do not throw cold water on their efforts. Do not let your ego get in the way of thing – it’s not worth it. Most of all, have fun with what you are doing. Help others to have fun too.