Create a Crossword Title

Paging through a magazine, I saw a title that looked like a crossword puzzle, and I wondered how easy it would be to create the effect in Producer. Well, once I designed it 10 different ways, it wasn’t too difficult! The result is slide style that works as a template for building your own crossword title slide. You start out with this:


Then go to this:

Crossword Step 2

And end up with this:

Crossword Step 3

What you’re seeing in the images isn’t what you’ll get. Those words are only placeholders, and the positioning for the vertical and horizontal columns is your choice.

How it will look: The empty squares transition in, then the vertical word, and finally the horizontal one. Add a transition of your choice following the slide, and you’re done.

At first, I thought I could explain on the blog how to do it all on your own, but it involved way too much babbling, and so instead you have style and instructions to download.

ABSOLUTELY VITAL! Before you do anything, you must install the included font. It’s “Orator Std.otf,” a monospaced font with equal spacing around each letter. Without this, you can’t get the even spacing required for a crossword.

Here’s the download: Crossword Title

Categorizing and Backing Up Styles

You’re perfectly happy wandering all over the place in search of a style you know for a fact is there.
Your hard drive will never suffer a heart attack.
You’ll never need or want a new computer.
You’re in denial.


Now that you’ve admitted the problem, let’s look at categorizing your styles so you can stop the frantic searching and also be prepared. Here’s how to change or add categories:

1. Click the “fx – Effects” button ( or use “Tools > Manage Effects” or press Ctrl+E) to bring up the Effects screen.
2. Choose a category, and within that category, select the slide style(s) you want to recategorize.
3. At the bottom, click the Categorize button to bring up the editing window.
4. What you can do:

  • Add checkmarks to categories where you want to include the chosen styles.
  • Remove checkmarks for categories where you don’t want the style(s) included.
  • Click the “+add” button to create an entirely new category of your own making.

5. When finished editing, click “Apply” to save your changes.

Let’s say you do lots of wedding shows and have various styles suitable for weddings. In Photodex’s “Captions and Titles” category, there are 4 wedding styles. Wouldn’t it be easier if all your wedding styles plus those title styles were included in a category called “Wedding”? Indeed, it would:

1. Bring up the Effects screen.
2. Find the “Captions and Titles” category and select it.
3. Scroll to the bottom of the list where you’ll see the 4 wedding title styles.
4. Select all 4 styles by clicking on the first one, and while holding the Shift key, click on the last one.
5. Click the “categorize” button.
6. Click the “+add” button.
7. Type “Wedding” in the New Category Name box, and click “Ok”.
8. A new Wedding category will appear. It will be checkmarked and highlighted.
9. Click the “Apply” button.
10. Locate your other wedding styles, select them, and choose to add them to the Wedding category.

Here’s what creating a new category looks like:

Category Window

After you go through this process one or two times, you’ll see how quick and easy it is.


NOTE: Back up only those built-in styles for which you’ve modified the categories. Otherwise, if you reinstall ProShow and reload your styles, ProShow will question your sanity about every built-in style, asking if you want to overwrite it. For those built-ins you’ve actually changed, and to retain those changes, you must answer “Yes.” You do NOT want to go through this for every last one of the built-ins!

Here’s a comprehensive backup plan:

1. Create a folder on your hard drive called Styles.
2. Inside the Styles folder, create sub-folders, one for each category you’ve created or are part of purchased styles. Add one more folder called Built-ins.
3. Using the Effects screen, select each category, ignoring any built-in category containing styles you haven’t changed.
4. Selecting one category at a time, highlight all the styles inside it, click “export,” browse to the matching folder you created, and click “Save.”
5. Do this for all the categories you’ve created.
6. Whenever you change or add a style, export it to the appropriate folder. (Add Photodex’s styles to the Built-ins folder.)
7. Final step: Whenever you’ve made a number of changes, burn the Styles folder to a backup disk. Someday you’ll need it.

Slide Styles vs. Templates

Slide styles have come close to obliterating templates, but is this logical? A style creates a single slide; a template creates an entire show. Why would you want the latter? Here’s why:

Say a friend of a friend asks you to create a birthday show for her 8-year-old. She supplies 25 digital photos, which you add in chronological order to a new show, one by one changing the duration of each slide and applying a style. You create the beginning and ending slides from scratch. Captions must be typed in, positioned, and in Producer, keyframed. Then you sync slides and soundtrack. Because you’re doing it slide by slide, even a short show of about 3 minutes will likely take a number of hours to complete. Granted, in the good old days when styles didn’t exist, a 3-minute show could easily take days to finish.

What if, instead of using styles, you use a template created from another birthday show you built last year? (Remember, this is for the friend of a friend, not your mother.) In this case, you start a new show using the template, add the photos, remove any extra slides you don’t need or duplicate some if you need extras. You change captions and sync the soundtrack. If you’ve neither deleted nor added slides, you don’t even have to do the syncing if you use the music included in the template. That 3-minute show has likely taken little more than an hour to complete and possibly less.

If you build shows for clients, or if you’re asked rather consistently to do “favors,” templates are the only way to go. Wedding photographers and people who build memorial shows already know this, so take a hint from them. Whenever you create a show that could potentially be used again, save it as template.

Published in: on November 25, 2013 at 9:58 am  Comments Off on Slide Styles vs. Templates  
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Create Photo Drawings in ProShow Producer

Drawing in Brown

Kind of cool, isn’t it? Would you like to do this too? Here’s how:

1. Add a photo to a slide.
2. Duplicate the photo twice so there’s a total of 3 layers.
3. Set all 3 layers to Fit to Safe Zone.
4. Rename layer 1 to “Adjustment,” layer 2 to “Photo,” and layer 3 to “Frame.”
5. In Layer Settings, put a checkmark in Adjustment and choose Transparency Inverted
6. Go to the Adjustments tab and make these changes:

Adjustment layer:
Sharpen 100%
Opacity 0%
Contrast 100%

Photo layer:
Sharpen 100%
White Point 37%
Contrast 34%
Colorize 140, 125, 96
Outline turned on – black

Frame layer:
Black Point 100%

  • If the image is too “crunchy,” you can reduce this by moving the Photo layer’s Sharpen slider toward the left until the image smoothes out just a bit.
  • If the image is too dark, move the Photo layer’s White Point slider toward the right until you like what you see.
  • You can change the color of the sketch by choosing a different hue in Colorize.
  • The Outline color doesn’t have to be black. Choose another color, making sure it’s dark enough to show up.

Here’s one done in blue ink:

Blue Drawing
Now that you’ve seen how to do it, the Photo Drawing slide style is free at The Frame Locker. 🙂

Want to learn something just a bit more advanced? Try Control Producer’s Adjustment Layers

More on this technique at Photodex’s Slideshow Blog

Slide Styles – Applying to Blank Slides

APPLY TO BLANK SLIDE, REASON #1: There’s a small bug in Producer (currently v.4.51.3003) that will likely be fixed soon, but until then, you may be better off in certain cases applying slide styles to blank slides and only after that filling in the empty placeholders. The bug pops up in slide styles where a layer is duplicated and at least one of those duplicated layers sits inside a mask. This setup turns off the automatic behavior of duplicates, forcing you to seek out every duplicate so you can change it manually if you decide to switch the image to another one. But if you apply such a style to a blank slide, then fill in the placeholders, the bug goes away, and as many times as you change your mind about which photo to use, all duplicates will change too.

APPLY TO BLANK SLIDE, REASON #2: When a style involves a series of photos or specific positions for photos, if you want to control who goes where and when, applying the style to a blank slide makes photo timing and positioning a snap. Just select the photos you want in each photo layer. It beats juggling photos.

In most cases, it doesn’t matter which way you do it–add photos and then the style or add the style to a blank–but if you see things aren’t changing automatically as you’d rightfully expect, delete the slide, apply the style to a blank slide, fill the placeholders, and all will be well. As for a multi-photo style, you have complete control when applying it to a blank slide.

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 8:52 am  Comments (4)  
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