PowerPoint – 3-D Custom Shapes (Cylinders)
In a previous blog I showed you how to create a shiny sphere which you can use in a variety of ways. This time, I will show you how to create a transparent tube/cylinder.
Go to the INSERT tab and click on SHAPES. From the window that appears, click on the DONUT.
Draw a perfectly round DONUT by holding down the SHIFT key as you click and drag.
The DONUT ring is quite thick and we need to reduce this a bit so we end up with the image on the right (above). To do this, click and drag the yellow grab handle towards the outside of the DONUT.
We will start with a basic cylinder for now, but I will show you how to add something inside the cylinder a bit further on.
Right click on your DONUT and select FORMAT SHAPE.
Select 3-D ROTATION, and from the presets, and from the group called PERSPECTIVE, pick the one called PERSPECTIVE RELAXED.
You now get something like this…
You can always change the perspective manually later to suit your particular requirements, but this will do for now.
At this stage we can add a little interest to the shape by adding a bevel, but it’s not absolutely necessary. If we do though, we do it by selecting the 3-D FORMAT option and selecting one of the bevel options from the TOP BEVEL button. This will give us…
Now we need to add some depth to our shape. Amongst the 3-D FORMAT options you’ll see DEPTH. Pick a colour so it matches with what will be the top of our cylinder and type in a value to give some depth to the DONUT. In this example I will set it to 250 pt.
Try out the different MATERIAL and LIGHTING options available to you as well as the ANGLE of the light to see a variety of different effects.
At this point you are thinking “well…that’s pretty…but what do I do with it?”
This is where having something in the cylinder might be of use. For instance you might want to represent profit levels, or levels of readiness for a project and want something a little more interesting than just 50% written across the screen.
Start off exactly as we did before to create the empty cylinder but this time add in a coloured CIRCLE inside the DONUT. Once you’ve done that, GROUP the two shapes together. Continue as above adding bevels and depth to the grouped shape. You should now have something like this…
At the moment our contents “fill” the cylinder. We can adjust this level to whatever we want to give the impression of different values i.e. 75%, 50% etc.
Click TWICE (not a double click) to select the “filling”. Change the DEPTH to whatever level you want to show. Here, I will set it to 125 pt (or 50% of the full cylinder).
Problem is, the DEPTH varies starting from the top, not the bottom which would make more sense. To lower the “filling” go to 3-D ROTATION and go to the setting DISTANCE FROM GROUND. Enter a NEGATIVE value until you hit the bottom of the cylinder.
Apply different values to your “filling” to represent different values as I have done in the example above. I have also changed the perspective slightly to give a better view of the levels in each cylinder.
So with a few simple techniques you can create your own custom 3-D shapes that represent your data in a more visually interesting way than just a handful of bullets with numbers, and you don’t have to go and buy some random stock photo that doesn’t really show what you want the way you imagined it.