Producer 7 – Glue Text to Image in a Heartbeat

Before Producer 7: Say you had a heart that rotated and zoomed in, and you wanted “I Love You” glued to the middle of the heart. You created the text, built keyframes for it identical to the heart’s keyframes, watched out for size and positioning, and then you prayed…a lot.

Heart in Motion

Producer 7, bless its heart, has given us “Convert Layer, ” which is easily overlooked because it’s in a right-click menu.

Let’s keep the heart example to show how it’s done, but before anything else, make your heart do everything you want–pan, rotate, zoom or tilt, any combination of effects–and then when done, you’ll be able to glue text to it in a snap.

1. Duplicate the image:


2. Right-click the duplicate and choose Convert to Layer > Convert to Text Layer:

Convert to Text

3. Type your text into the popup box and click OK:

Add Text

4. Resize the Options screen to its smallest so you can move it aside to uncover the main preview. While keeping an eye on the preview, change font, size, color, and position (if necessary) in the Text Settings tab.

Text unchanged:

Text Unedited

Text edited:

Text Edited

Run the slide to see how your text remains absolutely glued to the image. It’s so easy that you’ll be gluing stuff all over the place.

Published in: on May 31, 2016 at 12:39 pm  Comments Off on Producer 7 – Glue Text to Image in a Heartbeat  
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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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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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