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


Create a Ransom Note Title in ProShow

We make a lot of very unserious shows, and each of those shows needs a suitable title slide. Here’s how to create a title reminiscent of a ransom note where each letter is cut from a magazine and glued down.

For this tutorial, I chose the word “FAMILY” as if I were doing a show about my family. For learning purposes, pretend that this is what you’re doing, too. You can go back later, changing, adding, or deleting letters to create your own title.

You’ll need a selection of patterns, but if you have none, feel free to take advantage of a Ransom Package that includes 10 fill patterns plus an example slide style.

Step #1: Choose a fat font like Arial Black and turn on caps lock.
Step #2: Set the font color to white so it’s easy to see.
Step #3: Type an ‘F’ with the size set to 96.
Step #4: Turn on “Outline,” setting it to white.
Step #5: Move the ‘F’ to the left on the screen
Step #6: Type ‘AMILY’, each letter as a separate caption, moving each up and toward the left so the entire word appears on one line:

Plain Text

Step #7: Doing it one letter at a time, turn on “Use Texture on Caption” and select “Image,” browsing for your own patterns or those you downloaded. Here’s an example of the result:

Finished Lettering

Step #8: Resize the letters, making some larger and some smaller.
Step #9:  For a few or even all the letters, use “Character Rotate” to give them the look of being pasted crooked.
Step #10: Nudge the letters closer or farther apart until you like how it looks. Here’s mine:

Finished Title

When doing your own title from scratch, use just one or two short words so the title is easy to read.

Ideas: You can bring in the title one letter at a time, having each letter pop onto screen. You can also pan the letters in from different parts of the screen. If you enjoy playing with modifiers, you can make a letter wiggle and jiggle, which is what you’ll find in the style in the downloadable package. (Instructions are given for removing the modifier.)

Go ahead! Hold your audience for ransom!

Basic ProShow Producer Transition and a Little 3-D

A ProShow transition is a specialized slide style, which means that if you can build a style, you can build a transition. The following instructions begin with a simple transition setup, and then add a little magic. If you’ve never created a transition, following the instructions will get you started.

Preliminary setup:
1. Create a blank slide of 2 to 4 seconds with no transitions before and after it.
2. Add 2 Solid Colors of different colors and set them to “Fill frame.”
3. Rename layer 1 to “Source” and layer 2 to “Destination.”
4. Select the Source layer’s keyframe 2, setting its vertical position to -100.
5. Select the Destination layer’s keyframe 1, setting its vertical position to 100.

Layer Setup Layer Setup

Play the slide to see what you’ve created.

Beginning of 3-D:
6. Set the Source layer’s Rotate Center to 0,50 for both keyframes. This centers the pivot point on the bottom edge.
7. Set keyframe 2 of the Source layer’s vertical tilt to -90, causing its top edge to tilt away from you.

Begin 3-D

Play the slide to see how, as the Destination layer rises, the Source layer also rises, appearing to fold back.

Completing the 3-D effect:
8. Select the Destination layer and set its Rotate Center to 0,-50 for both keyframes.
9. Select keyframe 1 of the Destination layer, setting its vertical tilt to 90, causing its bottom edge tilt away from you.

Finish 3D

Play the slide. It looks like the front and top of a rotating box, doesn’t it?

Turn the slide into a transition:
10. Right-click the Source layer & choose Use as Transition Layer > Source Slide.
11. Right-click the Destination layer & choose Use as Transition Layer > Destination Slide.
12. At top left of screen, click on “Slide Settings” & then “Create Transition.”
13. You’ll see all kinds of information to add, but for now, just name your transition “3-D Fold” with “My Own Transitions” as its category.

Add a photo to each of two slides, set both photos to “Fit to frame,” and crop them into perfect squares. Set the transition between the two slides to around 3 seconds, and apply your 3-D Fold transition. Play the two slides. Nice, right?
Here’s a screenshot of mine:

3-D Fold Example

You don’t have to crop the photos if you set them to “Fill frame” or if they have exactly the same ratio such as 3:2 or 4:3.

Some notes:

  • You don’t have to use color solids for the source and destination slides. You can use a photo, which can be preferable when you need to see a good representation of what the transition will do.
  • Why set those layers to Fill Frame? It’s to ensure that the entire area of the first and second slides is used.

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.

Framing 101 for ProShow Producer

The quick-and-dirty way to frame a photo is to add an outline. It’s nothing to write home about.

A less quick-and-dirty way is to duplicate the photo, zoom the underneath photo a little larger, set its contrast at 0%, and Colorize it. There’s more versatility in size and position with this method.

The least quick way is more elegant and uses masks to create a frame with interior shading for a realistic sense of depth. The magic is in Transparency Inverted masks.

A step-by-step example:

The Photo

Original Photo

Creating the Frame

1. Add the photo to a slide and set as “Fit to safe zone” to allow space for the frame around it.

2. Duplicate the photo 4 times for a total of 5 layers.

3. Set layer 1 to a Transparency Inverted mask.

4. Select layer 2, set Zoom to 103%.

5. In the Adjustments tab, set layer 2’s Contrast to 0% and Colorize it.

Showing only layers 1 and 2, here’s the result…

Frame Bare

6. Select layer 3 and Zoom it to 101%.

7. Turn layer 3 into a Transparency Inverted mask.

8. In the Adjustments tab, add a Vignette with a size of 7 to layer 3.

9. Select layer 4, and in the Adjustments tab, set the White Point to 0%, turning it black.

10. Set layer 4’s opacity to about 55%, turning it into a shadow.

Showing layers 1 through 4…


And with layer 5, the photo layer, included…

Frame & Photo

If you follow the instructions, you can gain an understanding of how inverted masks operate. However, if it’s just too much fussing around and you prefer getting on with life, download the free Framing 101 slide style from The Frame Locker to keep handy for whenever you need a nicely framed photo.