You can create the illusion of growth and motion using the technique of frame animation. Frame animation duplicates the same object in slightly different positions or sizes and then quickly displays one after the other. This is how old-fashioned movie animation was done. Remember, though, that this process was very labor-intensive. Good animation is usually 15-30 frames per second, meaning that you need to create at least 15 images for each second of animation!
You can create a simpler version in PowerPoint fairly easily. You can use this process for anything that moves or grows and that you can draw in PowerPoint using AutoShapes. Here’s the basic process:
1. Create the first shape.
2. Duplicate the shape and move it to the side.
3. Make the desired changes. The examples I created were a tulip blossoming and a bird flying, so I moved the petals and the wings in those images, respectively.
4. Continue until you have one full set of animation. You can repeat the set later, creating a loop. I did this with the bird flying. The bottom-most bird is the same as the second one (both show the wings at mid-point) and the next step would return to the first position; thus I can repeat the 4 birds over and over.
5. Choose Slide Show>Custom Animation. (In PowerPoint 2007, choose Animations>Custom Animation.)
6. Select the first step of the animation. If you want it to appear, choose Add Effect> Entrance> Fade. Set the Start type, either On Click if you want to control the timing, or With Previous if you want it to start on its own. Set the Speed. For the tulip, I left the default Medium. For the birds, I started with Very Fast. If you want this object to be on the slide when you start, omit this step.
Tip: Very Fast, the fastest option in the Speed drop-down list, is .5 seconds, or 2 frames per second. This may work for you but is slow for a real animation effect. You can’t make it faster in the Speed text box in the Custom Animation task pane, but after you create the animation, you can make it faster. Select the animation item that appears in the task pane’s list, click the drop-down arrow, and choose Timing. In the Speed text box, type a new speed. You can set the speed to a precision of 2 decimal places. For example, .07 seconds would be approximately 1/15 of a second. Click OK.
7. With the object still selected, choose Add Effect> Exit> Fade. Set the Start to After Previous and set the speed that you want.
8. Select the next object in the process, choose Add Effect> Entrance> Fade. Set the Start to With Previous and set the same speed as before. The With Previous start is very important, because then the second object fades in at the same time as the first object is fading out.
9. With the second object still selected, choose Add Effect> Exit> Fade. Set the Start to After Previous and set the speed that you want.
10. Repeat Steps 8 & 9 for all of the objects.
11. Usually, you don’t want the last object to disappear, so don’t add an exit animation to the last object.
12. Move the objects to the desired position. While animating, it helps to have them far enough apart for easy selection, but afterwards you may want to move them closer, or even on top of each other. The tulip is an example of putting all of the objects on top of each other. However, I wanted the bird to move forward as well as flap its wings, so I staggered the birds.
13. If you want to create a loop, select all of the objects and duplicate them. The duplicates retain the animation!
14. Add a pretty background and you’re done!
15. Test your animation. You may find adjustments that you want to make, such as fading in fast but fading out more slowly.