Using PowerPoint Gradients for 3D Effect

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Learn to use gradients effectively in your business presentations to create a stunning 3D Effect. Don’t settle for the standard presets that come with the software.

An interesting question:

How do you convert a simple 2D object into an interesting 3D object without using any 3D tools in PowerPoint?

Answer: By using Gradient fill. Take a look at the following example:

PowerPoint Gradients 3D Effect We transformed a boring two dimensional circle into a stunning three dimensional glossy ball by applying Radial gradient fill. Here is another example:

Rectangle to Pipe with 3D Gradients We converted a simple 2D rectangle shape into an interesting 3D pipe, by applying linear gradient fill. We didn’t use any 3D tool to achieve the results shown in the examples above.

Magic behind the transformation:

The simple secret behind this magical transformation of objects is – the principle of light and shade. Over the years, great painters, architects and designers have utilized the principle to create magic in their work of art. The principle is based on these two simple facts:

  1. The area closest to light source is the brightest and the area farthest to light source is the darkest
  2. Light spreads evenly on plain surfaces

Whenever these principles are violated, we feel the flaw intuitively.

Issues with Gradient Presets:

One of the common ways to apply gradients to shapes is to use standard presets that come with the software.  However, the results are not always convincing. Let us take the example of ‘Chrome II’ preset:

Issue with Gradient Presets The preset doesn’t seem to follow the principles of light and shade closely. Here is a improved version of the preset:

Improved Gradient Preset We made minor adjustments to ‘Start positions’ of the Gradient stops to get a much improved version of the preset shade.See this tutorial here to learn about setting gradients >>

Let’s see the difference the shading makes when used in a graphic:

Impact of Gradient Fill in Graphic

Source: Thank you slides from PowerPoint CEO Pack 1

The steel pin in the top graphic uses standard PowerPoint Gradients preset, the pin in the bottom graphic uses improved gradient fill.

It is subtle differences like these that set professional graphics apart from the ‘usual’ graphics.

Conclusion about Gradients:

When you use color fill in PowerPoint effectively, they can take your graphics to a whole new level. However, when you use them poorly, they make your graphics look amateurish.

Take a couple of minutes to adjust the ‘Gradient stops’ till you are happy with the result. It is worth the effort. Once done, you can use the fill as your new preset and use ‘Format painter’ to apply the improved fill to any shape you want.

It is not too difficult to differentiate professional graphics from the ones created by ‘others’. When you make high stakes business presentations, the difference in quality reflects in your brand image and confidence.

If you are a business presenter who makes critical presentations, we recommend you take a look at our ‘PowerPoint Charts and Diagrams Templates packs for CEOs’. The two packs have more than 1600 premium charts, graphs, diagrams and graphics to help you visualize every business idea imaginable.

Here are some example of modified professional coloring used:

Bullet Point Alternatives from CEO Pack 2
Metallic Text Boxes from CEO pack 2

Source: Bullet Point Alternatives from CEO Pack 2

All the templates are fully editable in PowerPoint. You just need to choose the template that matches your thought, replace the sample text with your own text and your business slides get ready in no time. Creating professional presentations has never been easier.

Hope you liked this simple tutorial on PowerPoint Gradients. There are many more such ideas and Advanced PowerPoint Tutorials in this site. Do browse through them below…

Related: PowerPoint Circular Text Effect

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