PowerPointLabs add-in

Using this free PowerPoint add-in, you can save time creating image effects and animations without effort. It includes more than 20 built-in features in the menu, not only for image edition but also for creating audio narrations, animations with motion paths, spotlights and highlighted text among others.

I found it particularly useful the options to cut out an image, and to stand out an element of the image, like a magnifying glass, or to blur the background.  The auto-animate option creates motion paths between shapes, which don’t work well when the slide is imported into Storyline.

If you use PowerPoint I recommend you to check it out this free add-in. Below, some of the slides I created using this tool:



Animated buttons in Storyline

Did you know that animated buttons and tabs can be created in Storyline?

Animations can be added to the different states of a button or tab. Check my demo, and others great examples from the Weekly Challenge nº89.


Create free animations online with Animatron

Animatron is a simple and powerful online tool that allows you to create free HTML5 animations and interactive content. Creating your first animation is a very easy process:

  • In the Design Editor, upload your own assets like images, characters and backgrounds or create them using the site’s vector drawing tools and libraries
  • In the Animation Editor, add cue points in the timeline to add motion paths and change the size and shape of your figures. Or, you can create multiple scenes with different images.
  • Finally, publish your project in html or download it as video or GIF image.

If you’re using the free subscription, you can only create 20 projects of a maximum of 10 seconds each one, and they’ll have public visibility.

Highly recommended online tool!. Below, a simple animation I created to illustrate the glacial abrasion process:



Educational animations: Classification of River Deltas

“Educational animations are an effective way to create focal points, illustrate complex procedures, and help learners visualize change. Combined with controls like interactive sliders, learners can pause, replay, and control playback speed and direction to assist learning and comprehension.”

So begins ELHChallenge nº76, describing and including in one phrase, the benefits of animations used for educational purposes.

This time, and continuing with themes of Geography, I decided to transform the Diagram which classifies the types of river Deltas, into something more interactive, creating animations to show the evolution of these landforms.After searching the web, I found diagrams of the evolution of Mississippi and Ebro deltas. I used Illustrator to vectorize the images and uploaded them to Gifmaker.me to create a video. In the case of tide-dominated delta, I didn’t find a concrete example, so I drew the images and followed the same process.


Finally, on a world map, I placed markers for the most representative deltas of each category, and linked them to Google Maps.

Download my animations from Wikkimedia Commons:

How U-shaped Valleys are formed?: Show a process with animation and images

Glacial_valley_formationIt’s been a while since I’ve decided to start making my own images and animations. Animations and sequences of images are perfect to show processes; to illustrate changes in time and over space.

I had some notes from the time I taught Geography, and after searching some information on the web, I decided to illustrate the formation of a U-shaped Valley.

Using Artweaver, I drew a valley diagram, and combining layers, I got the different stages of the advance and retreat of a glacier and the resulting U-shaped valley. After exporting all the images; I used them to make a GIF file with GifMaker. There were two specific erosional processes at the base of the glacier, which I considered it was better to represent them separately, so I sketched two simple animations using Animatron.

On NASA’s website, I found amazing photographic files of the retreat of (still) existing glaciers.

Finally, I put all together: information, images and animation, using Storyline.

Download my animation from Wikkimedia Commons

View this project in Spanish: Formación de un Valle Glaciar

Information contained in this demo is based on scientific and educational resources. Below, some of the references I used:

Wikki Books: Glacial erosion and deposition

The Geography Site: Valley Glaciers.

USGS: A glacier carves a U-shaped Valley

Physical Geography.net: Glacial erosion 

Explain with Powtoon animated videos

Animated videos have become in one of the most useful techniques to explain concepts, principles and processes a very easy way.

If done well, they can add interest to the content, reducing the reading load for learners and making the information easier to digest and remember.

Some time ago, producing this type of videos would have required specific tools and expertise, but now we can easily create them with PowToon, an online software that offers a free and a paid version. I use the free version which allows you to create the video and share it on your YouTube channel.

The process is very simple; just insert text, images, characters and audio to a slide. You can upload you own images or you can choose objects in the libraries of shapes, characters and hand-drawn animations. There’s a time limitation of 20 seconds per slide, and in the timeline, you can manage objects entry, exit and duration.

You can create professional-looking animated videos for your courses with Powtoon.

Interactive Slider #52

One of the new features of Storyline 2 is the option to add interactive sliders. Even though this buit-in feature is not available in Storyline 1, I decided to participate in the weekly Challenge #52 Using Interactive Sliders in e-Learning.

I chose a simple example, the sequence of a bird flight; but never imagined how difficult it was to build that simple interaction in SL1. I could not have done it without the support of a community member, who kindly offered his template and helped me indicating how to deal with the triggers. Thank you e-Learning Locker.

You can see the result clicking on the image below. It took 18 objects and lots of triggers to create that simple animation. In conclusion, until I can upgrade to Storyline 2, I’ll search for other alternatives to an interactive slider.Bird-flight