How to use Shockwave/Flash animations with Power Point presentations
Some people asked me how I did those funky animations in my SIGGRAPH 2000 talk. Those animations are Shockwave/Flash movies. They are more powerful than the power point tools in terms of the kind of animations you can do, and are more controllable than simple movie files. In addition, those movies can be played directly over the web (if you install the flash plugin with your web browser). An example is shown on the bottom of this page.
Here is a short tutorial about how it could be done.
First, you need an authoring tool. I suggest Macromedia Flash, which can be downloaded from here. It is not easy to learn this tool, but once you get used to it, you can create pretty powerful animations. You will need to refer to the online documentations, as well as the tutorials associated with the software.
After you finish editing the movie, you need to export it to .swf format (Shockwave/Flash file). You can do this using the Flash authoring tool.
Add Shockwave/Flash animations to a Power Point file
After you have your .swf files, you need to add them to your power point presentation. Here are the basic steps:
In power point, go to view -> toolbars -> visual basic
Click on control toolbox button (hammer & wrench)
Click on more controls button (hammer & wrench)
Drag out place holder for "Shockwave Flash Object"
Right click to bring up properties of animation
Movie: enter full path of the movie file
Loop: set to false
Embedded movie: set to true. Otherwise you will have the endless nightmares of setting up the correct paths if you move the files to another machine (especially in situations like 5 minutes before the start of your SIGGRAPH session).
Height, width: set so that it occupies the majority of your slide (otherwise people in the back rows won't be able to see it).
There are several known problems when you use Shockwave/Flash movies with Power Point:
You need to have Flash player installed. Fortunately, they are free to download from www.Macromedia.com.
Power Point always plays those Flash movies on top layers, so there is no way you can add text over it.
Depends on the version of your Power Point (and the machine/OS you use), resizing the movies can cause strange things. I haven't seen problems on my Vaio, though.
I used several Flash movies in my presentation for SIGGRAPH 2000 (make sure you choose "Enable Macros" after power point pops up). To animate, move the cursor around to find clickable items. I usually put forward buttons on the right/bottom half of the movie, and backward buttons on the top/left half.
Here is a web version of a Shockwave/Flash movie. Click the right texture for advancing, and the left texture for back up.