In Part I, I explained some of the elements of Web 2.0 design and showed you how to create reflections. In this part, I’ll show you how to create highlights.
A highlight is a reflection of light on a shiny surface. Here’s the slide that contains the highlights.
But you probably can’t see the highlights very clearly, so I’ll show you one of the shapes up close and then explain how to create that shape. I really like this look.
Now do you see the highlight at the upper-left? The highlight, gradient fill in the oval, and the reflection make the oval seem 3D and shiny. Here are the steps to create this shape:
- Insert an oval (you can use a circle, if you want).
- Right-click and choose Format Shape. Remove the outline by setting the line to No Line.
- Format the fill with a radial gradient. (I have general gradient instructions in my “Create multi-color gradients in PowerPoint” post.) The specific settings I used for PowerPoint 2007 & 2010 are: 2 stops; 1st stop, at 39%, is a light blue (225,232,245), 2nd stop, at 69%, is a medium blue (154,181,228); the direction is From Top-Left Corner. Here’s what the dialog box looks like with these settings:
For information on radial gradients, see “Create a radial gradient with a highlight effect.” PowerPoint 2003 doesn’t have radial gradients, but you can get a similar look with the Diagonal Up shading style and the lighter color at the upper-left corner.
- From the list of shapes, choose Freeform. Click from point to point to create a polygon at the upper-left section of the oval, in the shape of the highlight, something like the one you see here. I usually zoom in to 200% to 400% to do this. Format the line to No Line. As you can see, it doesn’t look very good yet!
- Right-click the freeform and choose Edit Points. (If you’ve never done this before, you might want to look at my tip, “Create Bézier Curves.” Your highlight will look like this:
- Right-click each point in turn and choose Smooth Point. If a point sticks out drag it into line with the curve. If you have a point that you don’t need, right-click it and choose Delete Point. Deselect the freeform to see the result and continue to work until you get a smooth highlight. When you click a pint, you often see “handles” on either side of the point, as shown here by the arrow. You can drag these to alter the direction of the curve and make it smoother.
When you’re done, you should have a smooth highlight, as you see here.
- Now, format the fill of the freeform as a gradient. You use a linear gradient and the secret is levels of transparency and subtle color differences. Here are my settings for PowerPoint 2007 & 2010: Angle: 45°; 3 gradient stops; 1st stop at 40%, white, 23% transparent; 2nd stop at 64%, light blue (225,232,245), 41% transparent; 3rd stop at 82%, the same light blue, 80% transparent. Feel free to adjust the settings until you get the look you want.
- Finally, add a reflection to the original oval. I explained reflections in Part I of this series. I used the “Tight, Touching” setting.
- Add text if you want to.
Here you see the stages I went through to create this highlight.