Gifs on a budget of £0

Every contract is different, and one in 2021 was definitely out there on the unique scale. The project was to help with the creation of a series of small courses using Articulate Rise. Sounds OK. But there was a catch. Isn’t there always?

This time, there was a very specific brand to follow, with extreme imagery restrictions around the use of people, food, colours, and animals. I love a challenge, and this one certainly challenged and expanded my choices and design skills for visuals that would work for each subject.

The main challenge was not being able to use photographs of people, in a course about health conditions. For such emotive subjects, the go to approach is to use images of people to add context to the learning, bringing in the human connection. So it was time to get creative, and find ways to put some visual elements into the rise courses to bring colour, contrast and emphasis of key points, rather than focusing on the people element of the health conditions. But I had no budget for stock visuals… nothing at all… So where do I go from here?

I love creating with PowerPoint. I think it is a really underrated tool we can use when creating learning content… It gets a really bad press, and sometimes this is well deserved. We have all seen some really suspect presentations, with all of the animations used, and some scary clip art choices.

a calendar gif created in PPT

But with limited options, this was one of the few tools available to me. So I took PowerPoint, and played around with creating images, icons, accent points, and even gifs… all using the elements available within PowerPoint… nothing more, nothing less.

The gif on the right was created using the shapes available within PowerPoint. By creating a custom square slide size, I could fill the slide with my simple design, duplicating the slide to make edits, and adding transitions to each slide to give the animation effect I was after. After automating the slides moving on, followed by previews, and minor tweaks, it is just a case of File / Export to save your creation as an animated GIF.

My PowerPoint file

My creations using this method are not masterpieces, but they give quick and simple visuals which can add subtle impact at key points in a Rise 360 course.

For this project and client, my gifs, rather than being the final visuals, were working examples of what they could create to bring some dynamic elements to their courses. They were pointers to what is possible when budgets are an issue.

Here is the PowerPoint file, if you want to try it our for yourself:

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