by Adam Noar
Using Clip Art in presentations is usually a bad idea.
However, what if I told you there was a way to “remix” free Clip Art into some really good looking images or icons for your presentations?
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Why would I use Clip Art when there are TONS of good looking images on the internet to download?”
While there certainly are plenty of images on the internet, the nice thing about remixing Clip Art is threefold:
1) Clip Art can be re-colored. On the other hand, if you download images off the internet you are stuck with whatever color the original artist decided on.
2) Clip Art is scalable. This means that you can re-size them without losing pixel quality. With internet images, unless you find one that’s high quality, there is a good chance your image will come out “grainy” which doesn’t look nice.
3) Clip Art is editable. This includes deleting parts of the images that you don’t like, and modifying the elements of the image to your preferences. Unless you pay for vector downloads, most images that you find off the internet are going to be in PNG (or some other picture format) that can NOT be modified.
Let’s Get This Remix Party Started
In this post, I’m going to walk you through a step-by-step PowerPoint tutorial of how to remix a piece of free Clip Art into a nice looking icon.
Note: This might not be as helpful to those with advanced illustration skills. However, if you’re not a professional designer, and want to learn how to create some good looking imagery for your presentations, keep reading.
In order to create a successful icon all you have to remember about iconography is to keep it simple.
For the record, the time it took me to complete this icon was about 1 min 30 sec. I don’t know many designers that can make an icon like this from scratch that fast.
Obviously if this is your first time using this technique it might take you a bit longer. However, once you go through my step-by-step PowerPoint tutorial below you will be able to knock these images out just as fast.
It’s important to note that this PowerPoint tutorial is ONLY for PowerPoint on a Windows computer. You can’t break apart vector art in PowerPoint 2008 on Macs or Keynote
Step 1: Insert Clip Art And Re-Size It To Fill The Slide
Start off by selecting your Clip Art (click on the “Insert Tab” and select “Clip Art”). In my example, I searched for “DJ” and chose that “cheese-tastic” looking guy that you see above. By the way, I have seen WAY worse when it comes to Clip Art.
Note: When you do your search, make sure that you filter the Clip Art by “Illustrations” (you obviously don’t want to have photos, videos, or audio in the search results).
Note: Before you select your image, right click it and make sure that the image is a WMF file. Only WMF files can be modified. Other files, such as PNGs, can NOT be modified.
Next, re-size your image so that it fills the entire slide. Doing this makes it much easier for you to modify the image.
Step 2: Ungroup Your Image
Once you have inserted the Clip Art, and made it larger to fill the slide, “ungroup” the image (as seen in the image above). By ungrouping the image you will then be able to delete certain parts of the image that you don’t want.
Step 3: Delete Everything You Don’t Want
After you ungrouped your image, the next step is to delete all the stuff in the image that you don’t want. In my example, above I deleted the microphone (that the character is talking into), and also deleted the white shadow/reflection on the characters face.
Step 4: Re-Color the Image However You Like
Re-color the clip art (as seen above) to the fit the color scheme of your presentation.
Step 5: Modify the Image However You like
One of the nice things about remixing free Clip Art is that you can change certain parts of the image by double clicking the part of the image you want to change and then selecting the “edit shape” option in PowerPoint. Once you do this you can re-format the image to your taste. As you can see in my examples above, I decided to change the nose of the character to be less pointed.
Step 6: Add Any Final Color Edits
Step 7: Regroup The Image
Once you are done making final tweaks to the image, regroup the image by lassoing the entire image with your mouse and then clicking on the “group” option within PowerPoint. By grouping the image you can then re-size the image to your preferences.
Step 8: Re-size The Image
Step 9: (Optional) Place The Image Inside A Shape
Draw the shape of your choice (in my example above I chose to draw a circle), and then right click and “send the shape to the back” behind your new image.
French-Swiss film director, Jean-Luc Godard once said “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
Creating your own royalty free Clip Art can be a great way to create some really nice CUSTOM looking images and icons for your presentations.
A good icon or image will leave a memorable impression on the viewer and will help viewers remember topics or themes in a presentation.
I would be confident to say that, in 99% of cases, Clip Art does NOT look good on its own. However, with a little bit of “remixing” you can actually turn these cheesy looking images into something that looks really sharp.
Here’s my question for you …
After reading this article, do you think you will try my method of remixing Clip Art in your future presentations? Let me know what you think below and please try to be specific as possible.
Also, do you have a friend that could benefit from my Clip Art remixing technique? If so, email them the link to this post now using the sharing options below.
Finally, do you have a presentation topic, or PowerPoint tutorial, that you would like me to cover in future blog posts? Post your questions in the comment box below, or send me a message through the Contact Page.