Photo & Caption Moving in Sync

Scenario: You want to pan in a photo with a caption, and you want them to maintain the same distance from each other throughout.

To do this, we’ll use a text layer because raw captions use confusingly different numbers for positioning. A text layer uses the same positioning as an image.

Here’s how to do it:

1. In Slide Options, right-click the preview, select Define Grid, and set both boxes to 2. This divides the screen in half horizontally and vertically…


2. Type a caption, and choose “Flush Left.” If it’s long enough that it goes off the screen, use the Enter key to break it up into shorter lines.

3. With the grid lines as a guide, move the caption so it’s centered vertically and horizontally, using the dots on the caption’s bounding lines to center it. The green arrows in the illustration below point out the dots.

Caption Setup

4. Convert the caption to a text layer.

5. Add a portrait photo. In Layer Settings, move it to the left of the vertical line, positioning it at -20,0.

6. In Layer Settings, move the text layer to 20,0. The illustration below shows how it might look…

Photo-Text Position

7. Turn off the grid. You no longer need it.

8. In the Effects tab, move keyframe 1 of both the text layer and the photo layer to 2 seconds.

9. Add a keyframe at the zero point in both the text layer and the photo layer…

Add Keyframes

10. In the Effects tab, select keyframe 1 of the text layer and set its position to -70,0. (We’ve moved it left 20 places to the zero point, and then an additional 70 places offscreen. In total, that’s 90 places.)

11. Still in the Effects tab, select the keyframe 1 of the photo layer and move it exactly 90 places to the left from its original position of -20. Since -20 plus -90 equals -110, the setting will be -110,0.

Run the slide, noting how the text and photo move into position without ever getting out of step with each other.

The Rule: For two layers to move in unison, they must travel the same distance in the same amount of time. In the example, we used a distance of 90 and a time of 2 seconds, but when doing this for yourself, your initial positions and timing may be different, but the rule still applies. Same distance, same amount of time.

You can see the technique being used right at the very beginning of The Frame Locker’s video for Changeable Plaid.

By the way, I used Flush Left for the caption because changing the words wouldn’t alter the starting position. If the photo had been on the right, the caption would have to be Flush Right. To see why, bring back the grid created in step 1, add a short caption, and choose Flush Left. Next, choose Flush Right. Flush Left is immediately to the right of the center line, and Flush Right is immediately to the left of the center line. Yeah, I know, it can take some getting used to.

Basics for Great ProShow Text Layers

Think of text layers as the quasi-images they really are. It helps to create the initial caption with center alignment and nothing else before converting to a layer so the text shows up fully centered like a photo.

Alignment: If you change a caption’s alignment to left or right, the position will be retained when converted. If the alignment is centered, and if you pan horizontally, it will look just as you expect it to; left-aligned text may surprise you. It’s probably better to not be surprised.

Converted Size: When a caption is converted to a text layer, its boundaries are flush with all 4 sides of the slide whether Fit to Frame or Fill Frame is used. Fit to Safe Zone is, of course, smaller, but frankly, there’s little cause to use it.

The Missing Adjustments: Nearly half the Adjustments tab is missing, only Flip and Colorize remaining. The other attributes are either useless or are better served in the Text Settings tab.

Avoid Zoom: Use Font Size instead. Zoom causes blur, more when increasing, less when decreasing. If you must use zoom, initially set the caption to the largest font size you’ll need and then zoom up to or down from that size. You can use sharpening in the Adjustments tab, where it will occur throughout, or it might be better in Effects where you can apply sharpening to only the keyframe(s) where the most blur occurs.

Automatic Color: If you want to be able to set text color in the Text Settings tab without bothering with keyframes, make sure all keyframes in the Text Effects tab initially have the same color. If there are 3 or more keyframes, remove the checkmark next to Color for all keyframes between the first and last. Now you can change the color once in Text Settings, and all keyframes will obey.

Automating the Rest: All attributes work like Color. If you want size, position, the two types of rotate, skew, or opacity to use one-stop shopping in the Text Settings tab, the first and last keyframes must be identical. Then remove the checkmarks for your chosen the attributes to automate them. The orange highlights below show the attributes you can uncheck to automate them. (I always forget to uncheck vertical position, changing only horizontal. Don’t be like me.)

Automate It

Published in: on August 11, 2015 at 4:17 pm  Comments Off on Basics for Great ProShow Text Layers  
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Curvaceous Titles

Perhaps ProShow’s captions will grow up someday and we’ll be able to fit them to curves, but in the meantime, we can do it on our own. For instance:


The trick is to use an image as a template that can guide you in letter placement. In the above illustration, it was an oval shape that was deleted when no longer needed.

Add your shape to a slide, and then add the letters in your title, each letter being an entire caption. Thus, if your title is “JAMAICA,” then caption 1 will be ‘J’, caption 2 will be ‘A’, caption 3 will be ‘M’, and so on.

Once all the captions for all the letters have been created, move them into position one letter caption at a time.

For fine adjustments, hold the Control key while using the arrow keys to nudge the letters into place.

Use rotation to get the correct angle.

If the title will be there when the slide transitions in and out, make sure you place a check next to “Included in slide transition effect” for each and every letter.

Another possibility is for the letters to show up in rapid succession. In the keyframe editor, placing the first keyframe of the 1st letter at the point when the title is to start coming in. Then place the first keyframe of the 2nd letter .2 seconds after that. Continue in this way, adding .2 seconds for each successive letter. It will look like this in the editor:

keyframe editor

Below is a simple heart that was to remain in the slide. Perhaps a different font would have looked better, but at least it shows letters shaped using two curves.


You can use curves as simple or as complicated as you like, from a basic circle to a very wavy line, but reserve this technique for short titles. The more letters there are, the more tedious it can become!


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.