Decoding the alphabet soup of graphic formats

JPG, PNG, SVG, GIF, and EPS files are all commonly used in design, some for web pages, others for presentations, publications, and creative projects. But, what do they mean, and which should you pick? Find out in this 15-minute hands-on workshop. Quickly learn how to apply transparency effects in Photoshop that can bring your presentation skills to a new level while exploring different graphic export and optimization settings. Follow along with designer/developer Chris Converse to create a compelling animation in PowerPoint using customized graphics exported from Photoshop.

So with that, we’re ready to start working on our workshop. For the workshop, we have two files.
We have this one file here. This is actually an Illustrator file, but when you download a preview in Adobe Stock, you get a, basically, a JPEG inside of an Illustrator file. We’re going to be importing this and the JPEG file into PowerPoint and so for the JPEG file. Actually, we’re not going to import the JPEG. We’re going to import the Photoshop file. We’re going to turn this into a Photoshop file, and so this is the second image here. So I thought it’d be kind of fun if we took this image, made it transparent using some really cool tools inside of Photoshop, then brought this into PowerPoint and created a quick little animation so that we can actually demonstrate this to our clients, of a new design we’re working on, but just show them something that just looks much more engaging inside a PowerPoint. So to begin, let’s take that JPEG file, and let’s open this JPEG file up in Photoshop. So if you’ve never used Photoshop before, there’s a lot of great features inside of Photoshop that will get you up and running in practically no time, and so we’re actually going to use one of those cool tools here, and that is we’re going to use something called the quick selection tool, and what the quick selection tool does is it learns from you as you start to make a selection. So if you have this file open inside of Photoshop, we’re going to find our toolbar and on your toolbar, you’re going to look for your selection tools.
Now, depending on which tool’s selected, the other three are hidden. So you might see the magic wand tool on your toolbar or the quick selection tool or the object selection tool. Sorry, there’s three tools in total. So what these tools do is they figure out things inside of your image that you want to select automatically. We want to use the quick selection tool here. So it looks like a paint brush with a little dotted line around here. Now in your Layers panel, you’ll see the layer showing up here. So this is called Background. So what you want to do, with this tool selected, is you simply want to come over here, and you want to click and draw inside the white area of the phone. Now, you only have to draw a couple pixels. So click the mouse and move. Pretty quickly, Photoshop figures out you want to select all of these white areas, and it will make an entire selection, and there might be a couple pixels here that are missing, and this is mostly because the image has a watermark. You can see it says Adobe Stock here.
So if you were to license this original image, you would get the full high-resolution image, and your selection would be beautiful, but this is still pretty awesome.
So we have this selection now. Now what we need to do is tell Photoshop that we want to be able to see through the image at this particular point. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to come up to the Select menu, and I want to come down and choose Inverse, and I forgot where it was. Come down and choose Select, Inverse, and that’s going to select all of the outside pixels and now, the reason we’re doing this is we’re going to add a layer mask to this. So over here in the Layers panel, let’s come down to the bottom of the layers panel, and you’ll see this little icon here. Looks like a rectangle with a circle inside. If you click on this, that’s going to add a mask to your layer. It’s also going to take the Background layer and turn it into a regular floating layer or a regular transparent layer inside of Photoshop. So now you’ll see you’ve got this little icon here next to the main image. Now, what’s great about a layer mask is it is non-destructive. We haven’t changed anything about the pixels in the image. We’ve simply added an extra little shape here that we got from the quick select tool that tells Photoshop we want the image to be transparent in this spot. So from this point, let’s go to the File menu. Let’s choose Save or Save As.
You want to save this to your desktop, or you can save it next to the JPEG file, wherever you’d like to save it, and you want to make sure under Format, you have Photoshop selected.
At that point, you can click OK, and that will give you a brand new Photoshop file that’s got that transparency built into it, just like we looked at during the webinar with the gift card, where we had, the outer shape of that was fully transparent but at this point, let’s switch over to PowerPoint and from the PowerPoint File menu, let’s click New Presentation.
On this slide, let’s come in here, and let’s delete some of that text we got here by default. So let’s delete some of these, then let’s go to the Insert menu.
Let’s go to Picture and then choose Picture from file, and let’s locate that Photoshop file, and then simply click Insert. Now, PowerPoint has placed that image in here.
Now that we have the graphic placed, let’s go back to the Insert menu.
Let’s go to Pictures, Picture from file, and now we want to bring in that Illustrator file. Now, by default, PowerPoint’s going to gray out the Illustrator file for us. If this is happening on your computer as well, Mac or Windows, you want to hit the Options button in your file Explorer, or in the Finder here. I’m on a Mac, and then you want to change the Show to All Files.
That’s going to allow you to select that Illustrator file and then click Insert.
So now we have both files imported here. So the first thing I want to do is let’s crop down so that we can only see one of the initial screens here. What I want to do is create an animation that’s going to show this first education screen and have it sort of swipe over to the second screen.
So what I’m going to do first is, with the Picture Format tab selected in PowerPoint, let’s come over here to the cropping tool. I’m going to click on Crop. That’s going to bring up all of the crop handles, and let’s crop this down to the very first item here.
So I’ll grab the top left and move it over. I’ll grab the bottom right and move it over. So this is a great way that I can use a larger image, crop it down so that it behaves like a much smaller image. If you are familiar with InDesign, this is just like changing the graphic bounding box and not changing the contents inside. It’s the same idea.
Now I can select this as its own little graphic. Let’s grab the rotation tool, and the scaling tool, and let’s scale this up so that the rotation and the scaling kind of matches what we have in the phone here.
It’s not going to be perfect, but we can get it kind of close. There’s some other tools inside of PowerPoint that will let you sort of skew the layout too, if you want to play with more advanced sort of layout tools. As you can imagine, you can have a lot of fun with this. So for today’s demo, we’ll just do it this quick way here just to give you a sense of how this works.
So once that kind of looks good, I’m going to hold the Option key on the Mac, or you can hold Alt in Windows and drag out a copy of that slide. I’m sorry, of that graphic, then on the copy, we’re going to select this, go to our cropping tool, and we want to move the inside just so we can see the second screen in the second shape here and then click away.
So again, you want to Option-drag a copy, or Alt-drag, and on your copy, go back to the cropping tool, click and hold inside, and then you can move the contents around, and we just want to move this so we can see the second frame here, then what I’m going to do is I’m going to get the first screen so that it looks like it’s right over top of the white area of the phone, then, as you may have guessed, for the second screen, let’s move this over. You can use your arrow keys to get this exact, and you want to follow the angle here. So I’m going to put the orange one just up a little bit from the purple one, so they sort of match on this angle here. I don’t align them vertically here. I align them optically.
Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to come over here, and we’re going to duplicate this slide, you know, Option-drag or Alt-drag in Windows and on the second copy, we’re going to grab both of these, and let’s just move these over so that the second one would show behind the phone.
For slide one, we can see the first screen. Slide two, we can see the second screen, then on the first slide, let’s select the picture of the gentleman holding the phone.
You can right-click and go to Order. You can bring to front. You can do that also under the Arrange menu as well. You can choose Arrange, Bring to Front, or you can hit Command + Shift + F or Control + Shift + F. So that brings this picture to the front. Let’s go to slide two.
Let’s bring that to the front, and then the last thing we need to do is let’s select the slide. Select slide two, go up to your transitions and use the Morph setting here.
So with the Morph setting selected on the slide, you can click on the little star icon here, and you can get a beautiful animation going from one to the other.
So it’s super cool. So we were able to take the quick selection tool in Photoshop, be able to create a hole. I’m using air quotes, cut a hole in that shape using a mask, bring these into PowerPoint as native files, then create an animation by cropping a larger image into two individual pieces, put them behind the main image that we created inside of Photoshop, put a hole in it and create this beautiful animation here. So this is just the tip of the iceberg of the really cool things you can do when you really have a strong grasp of how the different file formats work, the different features of each one and then how we can put these all together to tell more elaborate stories, make more complex graphics and just be able to make your design work look much more sophisticated as you let your graphics sort of intermingle with each other.
Okay, so with that, thank you so much, everybody, for joining us. Thank you so much for hanging in here for a couple extra questions.
With that, I thank you so much for joining us. I hope you got a lot out of this today. My goal was to make sure that you could understand how all these different formats work, why there’s so many different formats and how to use them with each other, like what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they work across different types of projects. So with that, I wish you a good rest of your day wherever you are in the world, and I hope to see you all on the next clip. -

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