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.

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.

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)  
Tags: ,

How to Break a ProShow Slide Style

Slide style designers have good reason when they set up 2 or more layers where, if you select a new image to go into one of them, all the layers automatically switch to the same image. But what if you want different images, darn it all? The way around this is to break the style. Here’s how:

  1. Copy the styled slide.
  2. Paste the copy immediately before the styled slide.
  3. Select both the copy and the original slide.
  4. Right-click the copy.
  5. In the resulting menu, choose Slide Options.
  6. In Slide Options, you’ll see that you’re focused on the copied slide. Using the drag-and-drop method or the Select method, switch the image to the one you want in whichever layer you prefer a different image.
  7. Right-click on the changed layer.
  8. In the resulting menu, choose “Copy > Copy to Selected Slides.” (The styled slide was already selected in step 3.)
  9. Delete the copied slide.
  10. In the styled slide, move the layer you just copied directly above or below the original layer.
  11. Delete the original layer.

You might mess up on the first few attempts because layers can be downright confounding, but persevere, and before you know it, you’ll be breaking stuff like a champ.

Published in: on November 14, 2010 at 3:34 pm  Comments Off on How to Break a ProShow Slide Style  
Tags: , ,