Classic Photo Effects in ProShow Producer

Though we can simulate a number of classic photo effects in the Adjustments tab, if we add a mask, we double the chance of success because the mask allows us to multiply and alter any effects we’ve applied to the photo. Try this:

1. Add a photo to a blank slide.
2. Duplicate the photo.
3. Turn the top layer into a grayscale mask. (Photo turns dark, probably too dark.)
4. Change the mask to “Grayscale Inverted.” (Weird.)
5. Select layer 2 in the Adjustments tab, setting White and Black Points to 100%. (Film negative.)
6. Set the mask layer to regular “Grayscale.”
7. Select the mask in the Adjustments tab and set Sharpen to 100%, White Point to 100%, Black Point to -100%, and Contrast to 100%. (Oh my!)

Continue playing, doing anything you want to the layers. Notice how often the mask literally affects the effects.

ADVICE: If you like an effect but want to play some more, duplicate the slide, playing with the copy so you don’t lose the original.

Playing as described above, I created 5 classic photo effects:

Posterize: Simulates a soft wash of color with black ink giving definition.

Classic Posterize

Photocopy: Harks back to old photocopiers that turned photos into b&w graphics.

Classic Photocopy

Antique Photo: A soft sepia with sharp edges and an optional mask to create torn edges.

Classic Antique

Grain: There was no way around it–an extra layer was required for the grain.

Classic Grain

Soft Focus: This can’t be properly achieved by just blurring a photo. The result is a blurry photo. By masking the photo, sharpness can be added back in.

Classic Soft Focus

All 5 effects are available as a free set of styles called “Classic Photo Styles.” Go to The Frame Locker and click on “Free” at the bottom of the page.

Play with your own layers! Play with the styles you’ve been given! Have fun!


Published in: on June 18, 2016 at 2:19 pm  Comments Off on Classic Photo Effects in ProShow Producer  
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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.

ProShow 6 Caption Tips

This one bears repeating because it’s something we’re all likely to trip over periodically even if we know better. When converted, the text layer is automatically at 100% zoom, which is no different from any standard image. Make sure the font size you choose matches the largest size you’ll want when zooming. You can reduce the zoom beneath 100% but not above 100%.

This is what happens when you don’t use a font size to match your largest zoom. Notice those unattractively fuzzy edges:

Fuzzy Zoom

This is how the same caption appears at 100% zoom when the font size was matched to the greatest level of zoom:

Sharp Zoom


Other than choosing to center or justify left or right, don’t position the text until you’re working with the layer. Most important is to allow space on all four sides. If you do, you’re less likely to have readjust things if you change the amount of text. Here’s what can happen in the converted text layer if you haven’t allowed room, and then you extend it into a paragraph:

No breathing room


Glorious Texture Fill!
Finally, we can quickly edit the texture used to fill a caption without resorting to an image editor. Just create the caption, turn it into a layer, place an image beneath that layer, and then select the caption layer, choosing to use it as a mask. Now you can select the image layer and change it on a mere whim. Play in the Adjustments tab, or reposition the image to take advantage of specific areas in it. Flip it or even set it in motion.

Here’s a standard texture fill using an image of sand:

Standard texture fill

Here it’s set as a mask above the sand image. Games were played in the Adjustments tab (Hue and Black Point sliders) along with repositioning the image to take advantage of a dark streak:

Caption Mask


Great Shadows
The default text shadow has always been inflexible–specific size at a specific offset with a specific amount of blur. Now we can duplicate a caption layer,  turn the second caption black, blur it, reduce its opacity, and set it anywhere we want. Here are three examples showing how to create an illusiong of height. The first shows a caption just a bit above the surface, the second with the caption higher up, and the third with a caption all but soaring:

Just above surface

Farther above surface

Far above surface


Captions as layers? Best thing since sliced bread!


Published in: on January 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm  Comments (4)  
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Caption Masks 101 for Producer

(This article was written before version 6 in which we were given the ability to turn captions into real layers.)

Here are the things we can do with a Producer caption:

  • Mutate its color
  • Rotate it or its individual letters
  • Skew it
  • Alter its opacity
  • Pan it
  • Zoom it
  • Fill it with a gradient or image
  • Make it interactive (start, stop, pause, link to URL, etc.)
  • Use fly-in and fly-out effects

Amongst a number of things we can’t do, here are two:

  • Fill it with an image in motion.
  • Make it come out from beneath a layer

But we can do them if we turn the caption into a grayscale mask. If you haven’t gotten into masks yet, what follows is an easy introduction.

How to turn a caption into a mask

  1. Enter a caption using Tahoma set to a size of 36, making it white on a black background. (The font and size were chosen simply so you’ll be able to see things clearly.)
  2. With the caption showing on the large preview screen, right-click the screen and choose “Capture Frame(s)” in the menu that pops up.
  3. In the next screen, just click “OK”.
  4. You’ll now see a standard “Save to Image” dialogue. Browse to the folder where you want to save the image, and name the image something more descriptive than the default frame.jpg. If, for instance, the caption says “Rover, the dog,” name it Rover.jpg.
  5. Click “Save,” and you’re done. You’ve created a caption mask.

Basic mask setup

Hey! What are you waiting for? Without closing this screen, bring up Producer so you can follow the steps given above.

Once you’ve created and saved the caption mask…

  1. Drag it into a new slide.
  2. Click the “+” sign to add a new layer. Choose a gradient just to get your feet wet.
  3. Move the gradient down one layer to beneath the mask and click the right-pointing arrow to place it inside the mask. (Producer knows a grayscale mask when it sees one and will set it as such.)

You could have done the same thing by filling a regular caption with a gradient, but keep going…

A little less basic

  1. Change the gradient you currently have, choosing “Spectrums,” “Angular,” and then the 3rd one in from the left on the bottom row.
  2. Change its size to 720 x 720 (or anything that’s square.)
  3. Set it to “Fill frame.”
  4. Set the gradient’s rotation for keyframe 1 to -360 degrees and to +360 degrees for keyframe 2.
  5. Run the slide. (Yes, it’s ugly.)
  6. In Layers > Editing, set the Blur for the gradient to 100%.
  7. Run the slide. (Gives an interesting flashing effect, doesn’t it?)
  8. Add a color solid of any color you like, placing it in the Layer 1 position.
  9. In Layers > Settings, give the color solid a pan value of -80,0
  10. Select the mask layer, and in Effects > Motion, set its pan value in keyframe 1 to -80,0.
  11. Run the slide. (You just made a caption do what Producer captions can’t do: come out from beneath something.)

This is only an introduction to caption mask possibilities. The tricks you can perform are limited only by your imagination and derring-do.

Create a ProShow Producer Mask for an Oval Frame

Some of the older Frame Locker products that include oval frames have no matching oval masks for easy fitting of photos. Here are the instructions I always give customers and that you might find handy for any oval frame, whether it comes from The Locker or anywhere else. The instructions are long, but the process takes no time at all. Do it just once, and you’ll never have to use these instructions again.

1. Add the frame to a blank slide.

2. In Effects > Motion Effects, press the plus sign and choose “Add Gradient.”

3. On the next screen and in Presets, choose Masks.

4. In Type, choose Radial.

6. Move the center black marker to the left so it covers the white marker:

Gradient Marker

7. Click OK, and then move the newly created gradient down to Layer 2.

8. In the Zoom controls and on the left side of the screen, unlock the x-y axis:

X-Y Axis

9. Reduce or increase the y-axis until the top and bottom of the white circle are just barely hidden beneath the frame:

Resize Y-Axis

10. Reduce the x-axis until the sides are just barely hidden beneath the frame.

11. Press the Copy icon and choose “Copy Start to End” to get this result:

Reduce X-Axis

12. Delete the frame (Layer 1), and click OK to close the Options screen.

13. Right-click the preview screen, choose “Capture Frame(s),” and on the next screen, choose a name for your new mask. Save it to the same folder where you have your frame.

14. To test your new mask, set it up so that Layer 1 is the frame, Layer 2 is the grayscale mask, and Layer 3 is your photo:

Mask Setup

Here’s my result:

Mask Result

NOTE: If you won’t be using the mask again anywhere else in the show, and you don’t expect to ever use the frame again, there’s no need to save the mask. Saving it simply gives you instant access to the mask for consistent results.

Published in: on May 6, 2011 at 11:13 am  Comments Off on Create a ProShow Producer Mask for an Oval Frame  
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