How To Create Our Top 5 Favorite Animations

Published on
July 28, 2017
Here at Stinson, we love to push the creative boundaries of PowerPoint's native animation tools.

A lot of design agencies will embed complex animations for PowerPoint as video clips, but we know how important it is for our clients to be able to edit their content for future presentations. That's why we do our best to create all of our content within PowerPoint, including the animations.

Creating professional level animations in PowerPoint often means setting multiple animations to play simultaneously. It's a bit of work, but we think the results are well worth it!


If you're an intermediate to advanced PowerPoint user, read on to learn how we make a few of our favorite content animations. (And don't worry, if this seems way too complicated, we can always help you out.)

#1 Rotation

For this animation, we'll use the 'Path Animation' tool to move objects around a central location. We create a rotation effect by applying symmetric animations to each of the objects in the circle.

How to create a rotation animation

An image showing two ways to draw a path animation in PowerPoint
Two methods for moving objects on a path.
  • The first step is to place your objects in their initial location. This is the starting point of the animation.
  • Next, we will use the 'Path Animation' tool to move each object one quarter of the way around the circle. Depending on your comfort level with PowerPoint's path animations, you can use either the 'Draw Curve' tool (fig 1), or the 'Draw Line tool (fig 2). Both will create approximately the same final animation, but if you take the time to draw a curve, the final animation will be more refined.
  • After you've added the first animation to each shape, make sure that you set the animations to play 'with previous' so that they happen at the same time.
  • Repeat these steps for every additional quarter-rotation.
#2 Illustration-focused

An illustration-focused animation is actually less about a fancy animation, and more about technical planning to decide how to create the graphics in a way that will let you create interesting movement. With a general idea in mind, we do most of our work in Adobe Illustrator before exporting the component parts to PNGs which we can then animate in PowerPoint.

How to create an illustration-based animation

Graphics showing how to set up and move elements on a slide
Tips for creating polished animations with isometric and flat illustrations.
  • Choose an illustration style that lends itself well to animation. We recommend using an isometric style or a completely flat style.
  • Remember to keep your illustrations consistent (that means using the same shading style, matching color schemes, etc)

Animations to use with isometric graphics:

  • When using an isometric style, choose animations that give the impression of moving through a 'real' space.
  • After you've set up your illustrations in the slide, use the 'Path Animation' 'Draw Line' tool for your animations.
  • In order to make this motion feel accurate, remember to move your graphics only along the axes that you've used in your illustrations (see fig 1).

Animations to use with flat graphics:

  • When using a a flat style, create the sense of space by overlapping elements and making elements in the foreground darker and larger than elements in the background (see fig 2).
  • Use the 'Path Animation' 'Line' tool to move graphics horizontally or vertically in the space.
  • Use the 'Grow/Shrink' animation to make elements appear closer or further away.

Push animations are simple and very effective, especially when combined with push style transitions. Push animations allow you to continue the movement from the transition, making your slide change appear seamless.

How to create a push animation

  • The first step is positioning your elements on the slide. You should place them where you want them to be after the animate-in has finished.
  • Use the 'Fly In' animation and choose the appropriate direction from the 'Effect Options' dropdown.
  • When using the push animation after a push transition, your elements should fly in from the same direction.
  • TIP: Turn on the 'Smooth End' option to get a more refined animation.
#4 Parallax Photography

Like the illustration-focused animation, a parallax animation also requires some graphic skills. Using Adobe Photoshop, we'll separate the foreground of a photo from its background.

How to create a parallax animation

Graphic showing how to make a parallax effect
You need to create an image with multiple layers for a parallax animation.
  • Choose a photograph with clear foreground and background elements.
  • Open the photo in Photoshop (or whichever editing program you have)
  • Duplicate the image in a new layer.
  • Erase the background from the top layer (fig 1). Accuracy in isolating the foreground elements will improve the appearance of the final animation.
  • In order to make a convincing animation later, we'll need to fill in the area behind the foreground (fig 1, orange section). We don't want to see a duplicate of the foreground element in the animation. If you're using Photoshop, you can take advantage of the 'Content-Aware' feature. This tool detects surrounding patterns and uses them to fill in the area you've deleted. To use the feature, use the Lasso to select the area containing the foreground element. When you press the Delete key, choose 'Content-Aware' in the Fill window that comes up.
  • Save each layer into a separate PNG file. (Remember to save the foreground with a transparent background.)
  • In PowerPoint, add both images to a slide and offset them.
  • Use the 'Path Animation' 'Line' tool to move the images horizontally towards the center of the slide.
#5 Geometric Reveals

We love this animation because it looks super cool and doesn't require any photo editing. We'll complete this effect by animating shapes in PowerPoint.

How to create a geometric reveal animation

Creating a matrix of shapes for your animation
  • Choose a geometric shape that will create a seamless pattern. We like to use triangles, diamonds, squares and hexagons.
  • When you're happy with your shape, make enough copies of it to cover the slide and then line them up. You can make sure rows and columns are aligned by using the 'Align' tools, which you can find in the 'Arrange' dropdown in the 'Home' ribbon. (fig 1)
  • Now it's time to style your shapes: select them all then choose the fill color, and a stroke if you want one.
  • The key step in making the geometric reveal is to stagger the animations. Three steps is usually a good starting point. You may find the easiest way to do this is by selecting about one third of the shapes at a time. This way you can control which shapes animate together.
  • Add a 'Fade' animation to each set of shapes.
  • TIP: Try not to put neighboring shapes in the same animating step (fig 2) unless you intend to reveal a specific part of the image first.
  • Finally, add your photo to the slide and use the 'Arrange' tools to 'Send to Back'.

Frequently Asked Questions

Working with Stinson: The Presentation Agency

What exactly do presentation agencies do?

We provide all the help you may need to design presentations that achieve your goals. This can include content consulting, presentation slide design, custom icons and illustrations, and presentation handouts—ultimately, our team of PowerPoint designers and consultants develop a comprehensive presentation solution that meets your specific needs.

Why do companies work with presentation agencies?

Consider how much time you (or your team) spend making PowerPoint presentations for meetings. Think about the back and forth over which fonts, colors, icons, and images to use. Is it okay to use bullet points? Did you use the right brand colors? Does the slide look too crowded and busy? Or does it look too plain? How do you create the look and feel that you're picturing? After the design is done, do you have enough time to practice presenting?

As presentation experts, it is our second nature to understand your goals and work with you to create the professional PowerPoint deck that you envisioned. You can learn more about our 3-phase process here.

By leaving the presentation design to an agency like Stinson, you save yourself the time and worry over the look, feel, and progression of your presentation—we make your PowerPoint presentation-ready so that you can focus on the presentation delivery.

Which presentation design service will I need?

As a presentation company, we offer every service you may need to develop your you may need to develop your PowerPoint—however, it's tough to say exactly which services of ours would benefit you the most without having chatted about your company, industry, and presentation uses.

We've generalized the scenarios that we regularly see and help our clients with. If your situation is similar to any of the below, then rest assured that our presentation experts have proven success in developing solutions.

  • You have an upcoming presentation with investors or clients. You feel your slide deck looks outdated or dull, and you don't know how to help it. You're also not sure if the content in your presentation conveys your value. View our case study where our presentation development and content consulting services helped our client achieve their investor funding goals.
  • Your company has regular internal department presentations. Everyone works on their respective slides, which are then combined into one presentation deck. The resulting PowerPoint does not have a cohesive look and somehow, there are five new shades of your corporate colors. We can help you identify your common slide layouts and design easy-to-use custom PowerPoint templates so your team members can create seamless, unified slides.
  • Your company has a great PowerPoint template that strongly reflects your branding, but your team tends to include too much text and irrelevant images on their slides. During the presentation, key messages are lost. We offer presentation training for exactly this—we'll train your team to create better slides more efficiently.

Expectations when working with us

How does partnering with a PowerPoint designer work?

Once you contact us, we'll meet with you and ask for as much context as possible regarding the project: what materials you already have, who is presenting, who is the audience, and so on—this is our Discover phase. From there, we move onto Develop and Design where we start defining the narrative and visual characteristics of your new presentation. For more details, please read our process.

How long do projects take?

Our standard turnaround for presentation development is 2–4 weeks; for custom presentation templates, our typical turnaround is 3–6 weeks. We know this is a wide range, but due to the collaborative nature of our presentation design process (i.e. asking for and incorporating your feedback), our turnaround time also relies on your responsiveness and availability. We do offer a rush service if your timelines are short.

How much does a presentation design cost?

We price on a project-by-project basis, involving a number of key factors outlined in our pricing model. However, we do require a minimum project cost of $1,500.

We often see companies that do not have budget allocations for presentation design and are hesitant to make the initial investment. We understand—at first, it can be difficult to see the value and difference a well-designed, practical presentation can make. For our clients that started in this situation, we worked on a smaller pilot test project; when they saw the positive ROI of the presentation, they were able to secure larger budgets and found more presentations that needed our help.

What are the final files that I will receive?

All of our final PowerPoint (or other presentation software) deliverables are shared with you in its native, editable file format. We are also able to provide a PDF or video version of your presentation if you would like.

Any presentation collateral we design for your project is shared as a ready-to-print PDF, unless if you specify a different preference.

Have you worked with other clients in my industry? Can you share related samples?

Our list of clients spans a wide range of industries, some of which we hadn't known of prior to the client's project. Since our approach involves familiarizing ourselves with the client's business and industry, we've become a team of jacks-of-all-trades for industry knowledge.

We're able to share blinded, industry-specific samples of presentations that our clients have consented to. Contact us if you're interested!


Aside from PowerPoint, do you work in Google Slides? Keynote? Prezi?

Yes! While we prefer designing PowerPoint presentations due to its robust features that let us create advanced designs, we've created custom presentation designs in Google Slides and Keynote at our clients' request.

We generally do not design presentations in Prezi since it does not support the level of design customization that we need for our clients. Instead, we use PowerPoint to create the same animations and layouts that are characteristic of Prezi presentations—you can view examples in our portfolio.

Will we run into issues if we use Mac and/or Windows PC?

There are some differences in functionality between PowerPoint for Mac and PowerPoint for Windows—but these are not for your concern! We use both Mac and Windows computers at Stinson, so we're able to ensure cross-device compatibility with every PowerPoint presentation we design. During our initial call with you, we'll ask you for these tech specs so that we know to bear them in mind when working on your project.

Does it matter which version of PowerPoint we use?

Yes; the latest versions of PowerPoint have new functions and features that earlier versions of PowerPoint cannot load. We'll take note of your tech setup to ensure that our presentations for you run as intended.

Designing with branding

How are you able to design with our company's brand?

If you have any brand guidelines, we ask you to provide them early on in the process so that we can familiarize ourselves not only with your logos, colors, and fonts, but the overarching brand tone. Our collaborative process includes rounds of revision for you to provide your feedback on the presentation design.

Are you able to design within our very strict corporate brand guidelines?

Absolutely! Many of our clients are companies with well-established brand identities. We do our due diligence to maintain the integrity of their branding when designing their presentations and collateral.

Strict brand guidelines do not necessarily restrict the possibility of creating a sophisticated PowerPoint; our presentation designers thoughtfully use photos, animations, and other visuals to build the story.

We don't have concrete branding yet or we're in the process of updating our brand. Can you work without defined brand elements?

Yes! When we work with clients who are still ironing out the details of their branding, we ask them to provide us any materials they have already and to share their design inspirations. From there, we lay out moodboards of different tones and styles to see which resonates the most with what our client has in mind.


We have highly sensitive information. Will my data remain confidential?

Absolutely—we respect the proprietary nature of businesses, and enforce a strict confidentiality policy company-wide. From the first point of contact with you, we assume a non-disclosure agreement (NDA); we are happy to sign your company's NDA as well.

Where do you store my files and data?

All of our files are stored securely in an industry-leading content server. The server exceeds regulatory standards and encrypts each file using AES 256-bit encryption in diverse locations.

Additionally, the Stinson team works completely in-house, so your files will not cross borders.

How secure is my data?

We take data security seriously. We enforce numerous internal policies and procedures to ensure that Stinson continues to meet compliance and security standards for data protection, including multi-factor authentication for all company accounts and access restrictions.

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