Chapter 11:
Using Illustrations in Your Presentation

Choosing Message-Driven Graphics

Defining Illustration Styles

Using Electronic Clip Art

Understanding Graphic File Types

Integrating Photography Into Your Presentation

Conventional Photocomposites

Digital Photocomposites

The Real World: The 64,000 Kilobyte Presentation!

Summary


Chapter 10

Chapter 12

Chapter 11:
Using Illustrations in Your Presentation

The old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words." is true. You can communicate more effectively and have a more profound influence on your audience by incorporating graphics such as illustrations and photographs into your presentation. Difficult concepts become easier to explain when accompanied by a clear, concise illustration. An audience will identify more with persons and places if you show them a photograph. Increase your level of communication by showing rather than telling.


Choosing Message-Driven Graphics

Like everything else in your presentation, the graphics you include in your slides should be message-driven. Each illustration or photograph should be designed to enhance and clarify your message. Do not, under any circumstances, include a graphic simply because it "looks nice." Pretty pictures which don't fit the message are a distraction and should be avoided.

When an illustration is the subject of a slide, it is an addition to the speech, not a substitute for it. For example, in Figure 11.1, we're describing a baseball field. When referring to this slide in a speech, it is important to describe what the audience is seeing, not just what it is. Simply saying "This slide shows a typical baseball field." does not describe a baseball field or its components. Even though the parts are clearly labeled in the slide, the speaker should also verbally describe the parts, i.e., "The batter stands at Home Plate", etc., as part of the speech.


Figure 11.1: A Baseball Field

Fit the Style to Your Presentation

The style of your illustrations should be appropriate to your speech and its message. Cartoons and other funny illustrations aren't appropriate in a serious financial presentation. On the other hand, a sales or marketing presentation which is intended to uplift and excite an audience will benefit from an occasional amusing illustration. Like the colors and typestyles you choose when designing a presentation, the illustration styles discussed later have a definite effect on the mood and perceptions of your audience.

Maintain A Consistent Visual Style

The most important aspect of using illustrations in any presentation is to maintain a consistent visual style. Avoid using different illustration styles within a presentation. Don't mix graphics from many different sources, such as several different clip art collections. A "kitchen sink" approach to illustrations looks haphazard and amateurish. The illustrations in your presentation should all look as if they were drawn by the same hand, even if it's not your own.


Defining Illustration Styles

Every artist has an individual style of drawing; but there are basic categories of illustrations which encompass those individual styles. The style of a particular illustration is determined by the use of lines, color and shading.

There is a tendency among artists to attempt to make artwork created on a computer look as little as possible like "computer graphics." This is partly because "computer art" is still looked down upon by many artists as not being "natural." But the simplicity of computer artwork makes it the most appropriate for presentation graphics, where too much detail can be a distraction rather than an advantage.

Illustration style is independent of the graphic file format (except for photographs which are always bitmap graphics). A cartoon can be painted or drawn, although generally vector graphics are more common than bitmap graphics in illustrations.

Icons


Figure 11.2: Icons

Icons are the most basic form of illustration, often consisting of just an outline of the object. They are characterized by being drawn with basic geometric shapes: circles, rectangles, squares, etc. and with very little line work. You don't need fancy drawing software to create icons; they can be quickly created using the basic drawing tools available in most presentation software. Color should be very basic in an icon, with no more than one or two colors. Avoid using complex shading in icons; use solid, flat colors and fills.


Figure 11.3: Use icons represent generic concepts


Figure 11.4: Use icons in pictograph charts

Icons are very valuable in slide design because can be easily combined with text; the simple design won't distract the audience from the words. Because icons represent simple ideas and are general in nature, they are also very reusable from one presentation to the next. Often, very detailed illustrations will only be appropriate in the context of a single slide; icons are more universal.


Figure 11.5: Use icons when a more complex drawing would lose detail

Cartoons


Figure 11.6: Cartoons are freehand style, exaggerated drawings

Cartoons are created with a looser, freehand feeling of line work, with simple color fills. Of course, the usual effect of most cartoons is humorous; the subject is visually exaggerated, colors are bright and even inanimate objects like computers often are humanized.

Cartoons should be used sparingly in presentations. They need to be appropriate for the topic or they will simply look "cute" with very little contribution to the message. Cartoons can also trivialize important information. Limit your use of cartoons to "light" topics and the occasional humorous aside in your speech.


Figure 11.7: Use cartoons for "light" topics

Graphic Illustrations

The widest range of style and personal expression is found in the general category of "graphic illustrations" which range from technical drawings to painted bitmaps to very finely detailed PostScript illustrations.

The general rule to be followed when creating illustrations for slides is: the simpler, the better. Don't get carried away creating a masterpiece of illustration which will be on the screen a total of 20 seconds. Presentation graphics are like billboards; they go by at 55 miles per hour. An overly complex illustration will actually communicate less than a simple one.


Figure 11.8: Graphic Illustrations


Figure 11.9: Illustrations can help explain structure

Maps

Maps are an essential part of many presentations. Any time you need to list geographical locations, don't settle for a simple list, use a map. Locations are often much more easily grasped by showing them in a visual context; relationships of distance are easier to communicate. The usual presentation design rules apply to creating maps: keep things simple; use contrasting colors; keep your text readable.


Figure 11.10: A sample map slide

Always strive to be as accurate drawing a map as you would be in plotting a chart or graph. Make sure you highlight the correct states or countries and that cities are placed properly. Remember, placing New York City in New Jersey may be interpreted as an insult by the citizens of both places!

Three dimensional maps are very attractive and easy to create. Unlike simple geometric shapes such as circles and squares, maps are irregular enough that true perspective drawing isn't necessary to give a feeling of depth. To create a 3D map, simply shrink the map vertically and add a drop shadow below it.

You can also use a 3D map combined with a simple column chart to plot data against location. There are two important things to remember when creating this type of chart, though:

  • Since there is no scale to compare column height, data values should be included with the column.
  • Limit the number of columns. The actual number which will be readable will depend on the location of the columns and their relative height. When in doubt, use a normal column chart.


Figure 11.11: A three-eimensional map combined with a column chart plots data against location


Using Electronic Clip Art

Like most people, you probably aren't a trained artist, and the idea of actually having to draw anything may be totally intimidating. The good news is: You don't have to be a trained artist to include quality graphics in your presentation.


Figure 11.12: Most desktop presentation packages come with clip art

The electronic clip art industry is growing by leaps and bounds, with literally thousands of clip art disks available. Millions of drawings are available, and every possible subject is covered, from aerospace to zoology. Prices for clip art disks are usually reasonable, especially those distributed on CD-ROM disks. Most presentation graphics and some illustration software packages also come with their own collections of clip art.

There are a few special things to consider when choosing clip art for slide presentations:

  • Choose clip art which enables you to edit and recolor it. The clip art's colors may be inappropriate for your presentation design.
  • Many clip art collections are finely detailed black and white PostScript illustrations which are designed for print, not slides. Make sure the artwork is appropriate for presentation graphics.
  • Make sure the collection has many illustrations which are appropriate for your business or subject matter. Don't waste money on a clip art collection for a single illustration.

Finally, when using clip art, choose illustrations which are similar is design and drawing style. As we've mentioned before, your illustrations should look as if they were drawn by the same hand, if possible.


Understanding Graphic File Types

The graphics you create on your computer fall into two main categories: Bitmap Graphics and Vector Graphics.

Bitmap Graphics

Every form of computer graphics output is based on a bitmap. A bitmap is a grid of small dots or pixels (from PICture ELements) which define an image. Your computer monitor displays its information in the form of color or black and white pixels. A laser printer's dots are also a grid of black and white pixels. And a film recorder creates slides by projecting color pixels on 35mm film.

Bitmap graphics are files where the image is made directly of individual pixels. The sharpness and realism of the file is determined by the number of pixels, and is not affected by the type of output device.


Figure 11.13: Bitmap Graphics

Presentation use of bitmap graphics is usually restricted to incorporating photographs and other scanned images into slides. File sizes for full color bitmaps can easily reach the multi-megabyte range, creating storage, handling and imaging problems (see Digital Photocomposites below).

Resolution

Bitmaps are described in terms of their resolution - the number of dots they contain. Any bitmap file consists of an exact number of pixels, measured on an X-Y axis. For example, standard VGA and Macintosh monitors have a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels, (640 across by 480 top to bottom) for a total of 307,200 pixels. Resolution is also described in term of dots per inch or DPI, especially when referring to laser printers and typesetting equipment. A standard laser printer has a resolution of 300 DPI.

Color Depth

The bitmap grid is also described in terms of its color depth (the amount of data used to determine the color of each pixel). A black and white image has a color depth of 1 bit, that is, each pixel is either on or off, black or white. 8-bit color uses eight data bits, yielding 28 or 256 possible colors. 24-bit color uses 24 data bits, yielding 224 or 16.8 million possible colors.

For normal computer graphics, 256 colors is more than enough to create beautiful illustrations. Even with a graduated background, most presentation programs will create a file with less than 256 colors.

When dealing with realistic photographs, however, 256 colors is not nearly enough to render a scene without color banding and other undesirable effects. To properly display the "true color" of a photograph, 24-bit color is necessary.

Bitmap Graphics Software

There are two main types of software that produce bitmap graphics. Photo enhancement software such as Adobe Photoshop, Letraset ColorStudio on the Mac and Aldus Photostyler for PCs is designed to enhance, retouch and alter scanned photographs. Paint software such as Supermac's PixelPaint Pro and Electronic Arts' Studio/32 on the Mac and ZSoft's PC Paintbrush for PCs is designed to create artwork using tools which simulate traditional painter's tools such as brushes, charcoal, airbrushes,

etc.

Bitmap File Formats

The basic form of any bitmap graphics file is a listing of each pixel along with its color. As you can imagine, such a list would be huge, even for a relatively small bitmap such as a computer screen. In fact, a 640 by 480 pixel 24-bit image weighs in at well over a megabyte of information. Bitmap file formats act to organize the pixel data as well as to provide some data compression which keeps file sizes manageable.

JPEG

The JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) format is the standard for digital photography. It provides the smallest files, and is th most universally accepted format.

TIFF

The TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is one of the oldest and most universal bitmap file formats on both the Mac and PC platforms, and is the favorite choice for most applications. The TIFF format was originally just a 1-bit black and white format, but has been continually updated so that it now supports full 24-bit color. TIFF also supports optional data compression, which makes for smaller files. Unfortunately, not all software packages have kept up with the standard, so there is a lot of software in offices everywhere which may produce "flavors" of TIFF which may be incompatible with other software.

PICT

The Macintosh PICT bitmap format is a direct part of the Mac System Software, and so is supported by all Macintosh programs. Some PC programs are now starting to support the PICT format as well. The PICT format supports full 24-bit color, plus an additional 8 bits for special effects such as transparency and masking (32-bits total). PICT data files are automatically compressed when saved. Because the 32-bit PICT format is part of system software, even Macintoshes with only 8-bit color monitors can view and edit full color images.

PCX

The early popularity of ZSoft's PC Paintbrush made its native file format a de facto standard for DOS-based graphics. It is supported by most presentation graphics and drawing software. Like TIFF, it has been upgraded many times and now supports full 24-bit color.

TARGA (.TGA)

Like the PCX format, the TARGA file format became popular because of a single product: the Truevision TARGA video board. The TARGA board was the hardware of choice for high-end PC graphics (especially paint) applications because of its ability to display 24-bit graphics on large monitors. Many software applications were written specifically with the TARGA format in mind. The format supports full 32-bit color and compressed data.

Windows Bitmap (.BMP)

The Windows Bitmap file format is used by Microsoft Windows to exchange bitmap graphics between Windows applications. Versions prior to Windows 3.0 were very limited in color and image size, but version 3.0 is much more useful. Most Windows-based paint programs support .BMP output, and Windows-based presentation programs can import the files for display and output to slides.

Vector Graphics

Vector (or "object-oriented") graphics are created by describing the shapes used in the artwork with mathematical descriptions. For example, a circle is defined as having a certain diameter, with its centerpoint at a particular place in the artwork; a rectangle is defined as having corners at four particular points. Vector graphics, however, are just a means of getting the best possible bitmap representation on your final output device, whether it is a monitor, laser printer or film recorder. The vector description tells the output device to turn its pixels on and off (or to make them a particular color) based on how closely each individual pixel fits inside the described shape.

Resolution-Independent Graphics

When you draw an illustration, your software keeps a list of every object in the artwork, displaying it on your computer monitor. The image you see on your monitor may be quite "jagged", especially on curves or diagonal lines, because your monitor's resolution is actually quite low (about 72 DPI). When you print your artwork on a laser printer, the edges become much smoother because the laser printer has a higher resolution (about 300 DPI) than your monitor . Your artwork looks better on a laser printer because vector graphics are resolution-independent; that is, the description of the artwork is independent of the output device. When this vector artwork is imaged on a film recorder which has a resolution of up to 8000 DPI, the edges become very smooth, even though the actual size of the image on the film is only 1 by 1-1/2 inches.


Figure 11.14: Vector Graphics

Vector Graphics Software

Every vector graphics program uses its own internal system for drawing illustrations, and the quality of each program depends on the number and accuracy of the tools it offers. Popular Macintosh drawing programs include Adobe Illustrator, Aldus Freehand, Claris MacDraw Pro and Deneba Canvas. The best PC drawing programs are Windows-based, including CorelDRAW!, Micrografx Designer, and Arts & Letters. Presentation graphics software also falls under this category. Which drawing or presentation program you use depends a lot on personal taste and the features you need.

Vector Graphics File Formats

When the time comes to move graphics from a drawing program to a presentation program, there are several universal file formats used to describe your artwork in such a way that another program can read and alter it. Each file format has a unique way of describing the shape and position of the objects in your artwork. Let's discuss the most common formats and see how they compare.

PostScript

PostScript was developed by Adobe Systems in the mid-1980s as an tool for creating typefaces, illustration and page layout. Originally intended for black and white laser printer output, PostScript has grown to encompass color and now works with virtually any medium. Color printers, film recorders, plotters, computer displays, even color copiers now have PostScript interpreters which provide an enormous variety of output options for PostScript files.

The most well-known products of PostScript are the thousands of Type 1 PostScript fonts available for PCs and Macintoshes. But the strength of PostScript for illustration lies in the powerful drawing description tools in the language, which enable the artist to create very detailed pictures. PostScript also supports bitmap graphics, although it does so in an uncompressed fashion which leads to very large file sizes.

In addition, PostScript has become the de facto standard for exchanging vector graphics files between different computer platforms. Most drawing and illustration programs support the original Adobe Illustrator format (Illustrator 1.1) which enables graphics created on PCs and Macintoshes to be exchanged easily.

Normally, PostScript files imported into presentation programs are in the form of Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), a special form of PostScript file which includes a small, low resolution bitmap preview of the graphic. EPS files are not usually interchangeable between Mac and PC systems because of the incompatibility of the bitmap preview.

Quickdraw (PICT)

The Apple Quickdraw graphics description language is what made the Macintosh the most popular platform for graphic designers and artists. An integral part of the Macintosh System Software, the PICT format enables the Macintosh to easily cut, copy and paste detailed graphics files between any Macintosh program using the Clipboard. Quickdraw supports both vector and bitmap image descriptions. All Macintosh-based drawing and presentation software supports the PICT format for both import and export.

Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM)

The Computer Graphics Metafile or CGM format is the most common graphics language and interchange format in DOS-based graphics software. Both Harvard Graphics and Lotus Freelance Plus have long supported some form of import and export of the CGM format, as have many other programs. Though the CGM format is very robust and can support quite detailed graphics, the implementation in early versions of many programs is often only fair, producing distortion and other problems when transferring graphic files from one program to another.

Windows Metafile (WMF)

The Windows Metafile format is similar to the Macintosh PICT format in that it is designed for the easy exchange of graphics files between Windows applications through the Clipboard. Most Windows graphics applications will also save files in the Windows Metafile format for import into other programs.


Integrating Photography Into Your Presentation

Photographs are an integral part of our lives. We accept photographs as windows on reality: family snapshots, news photography, even photos in advertising act as a link to real life. Placing photographs in your presentation provide a depth and realism that can't be achieved be even the best computer graphics.

The simplest way to include photography in your presentation is to include full frame photographic slides into your slide sequence. It is inexpensive; the only costs are film processing and mounting. It is convenient; your local 1 hour photo store can produce your photos. The only drawback is that a full frame photograph will break up the graphic look of your presentation, because it lacks the formatting and design of the rest of your show.

Integrating photography into an overall presentation design is a little more complicated, but the rewards in design and format consistency are great. The process of combining photography and computer graphics is called compositing, and the end result is called a photocomposite. There are two ways of creating a photocomposite; the first involves conventional photographic techniques, the second is purely electronic.


Figure 11.15: A photocomposite


Conventional Photocomposites

Before the advent of scanners (see below), all photographs were inserted into slides via optical processes similar to those used to create movie special effects. In many cases, this is still the best and most economical method of combining computer-created graphics and photography. It enables you to include artwork in your slides which requires special photographic setups, or which may be too large to place on a scanner. Using conventional photographic techniques, anything that can be photographed can be placed in your slides.

Creating conventional photocomposites is not a do-it-yourself project; it requires sophisticated photographic equipment and in-house film processing. Many service bureaus and photo labs offer photocomposite and other photographic services in addition to computer graphics imaging, and they are your best source for photographic work.

You can, however, reduce your costs by creating the basic artwork necessary to produce a photocomposite using your presentation graphics software. The trick is to create on your computer the basic elements that the service bureau's photographer will use to create the final product. The process of compositing involves creating a window in your computer graphics file where the photograph will be inserted. The instructions that follow are general; your service bureau may have slightly different requirements, so be sure to check with them before attempting to create your own photocomposite graphics.

Photocomposite Elements

A photocomposite with a single photograph inset into a computer graphic background requires three main elements:

A color computer element which consists of the background, title and any other text or graphics, plus a black window in the exact size and position where the photo is to be inserted. It is important that the window should be exactly the same shape as that of the photo. You should place some sort of light-colored line around the window; it will cover any small alignment errors when the composite is created.


Figure 11.16: Color Computer Element

A black and white mask which consists of a single clear area defining the area of the frame where the photograph will fall. The mask is created from a copy of the color computer element, with all of the unnecessary artwork stripped away, and all of the colors in the slide changed to black except the window which is changed to white. The line around the window should also be black. Some service bureaus may ask you to reverse this color scheme, with a white background and a black window.


Figure 11.17: B/W Mask

Your original slide or photo print. You should indicate whether the entire image is to be inserted, or whether it should be cropped (only part of the image used). On 35mm slides, cropping should be indicated on the slide mount with short lines defining the top, bottom and sides of the area to be used. On large transparencies (4"x5", 8"x10") or prints, use a tissue paper overlay with a box drawn around the area.


Figure 11.18: Cropping

Send your disk in for imaging to the service bureau, along with your original slide or print. Documentation is very important at this stage. Clearly indicate (using a sketch or a printout of your computer graphics) which original slide belongs to which computer file. Keep in mind that many vendors' production schedules require two to three days for turnaround on photocomposites, so allow extra time or create and send in your composites for imaging before the rest of your presentation.

Creating a Conventional Photocomposite

Once the service bureau has your disk and original photo, they will produce the final photocomposite using the following steps (see Figure 11.19):

  • Your computer files are imaged and processed.
  • On a special copy camera, your original photo is rephotographed so it is cropped, sized and positioned as closely as possible to the window position. This film is processed.
  • A special effects camera is then used to create the final composite. Your mask and the resized original photo are sandwiched together and placed on alignment pins in the camera which fit in the film's sprocket holes. The mask allows only the window area to be exposed.
  • Without advancing the film in the special effects camera, your original color computer graphics element is photographed. The color element exposes the areas which were black on the mask; the black window is unexposed.
  • The resulting "double-exposure" is your final photocomposite which is then processed and mounted for your final slide.


Figure 11.19: Photocomposite Process

The quality of a conventional photocomposite depends on the accuracy of the mask, the quality of the original photo, and the skill of the photographer. There is very little margin for error in this process, so consult with your service bureau and be sure to do a trial run before diving into a big project involving conventional.photocomposites.


Digital Photocomposites

Digital photocomposites are composites created entirely in your computer. Using scanners or electronic photography, color bitmap images are stored on disk, where they can be viewed, cropped, altered and then combined with vector graphics to create an electronic version of the photocomposite. There are several challenges involved in creating digital photocomposites. The first step is getting the photographic image into your computer.

Scanners

Scanners have become an integral part of creating professional-looking presentations. In addition to scanning photographs for composites, you can also scan logos and other artwork for tracing in a drawing program.

There are three types of scanners. A flatbed scanner works like a copy machine. The artwork to be scanned is placed face down on a glass plate. A bright light allows an optical system to project the image in very small increments onto an electronic sensor which converts the reflected light into signals which are interpreted by your computer to create the final bitmap image.


Figure 11.20: A flatbed scanner

Flatbed scanners are rated according to the maximum resolving power of the sensor. Reolution is measured in dots per inch or DPI, which is the smallest area which can be detected by the sensor. Consumer models range from 300 to 600 DPI, while professional scanners designed for high-end publishing can scan in the thousands of dots per inch. Scanners come in both gray-scale and color models. The gray scale machines will usually scan up to 256 levels of gray (8-bit); the color machines scan up to 16.7 million colors (24-bit).

A slide scanner is performs the same task for 35mm slides, only the light is projected through the slide, rather than reflected. Resolution on a slide scanner is measured in line resolution; the maximum number of individual rows of pixels which can be scanned from a slide. Most consumer slide scanners work at resolutions from 1500 to 3000 lines. Color depth on slide scanners is always 24-bit.


Figure 11.21: Slide scanner

The third type is the handheld scanner, which is a flatbed scanner turned inside out. The scanner is drawn by hand over the artwork, creating the computer data. Handheld scanners are not generally accurate enough for proper scanning of photos for presentation purposes.

Electronic Photography

Unfortunately, you can't tuck a scanner under your arm, take it out to the branch office and take snapshots of the winner of the monthly sales contest. But you can use electronic photography.

An electronic camera is essentially a video camera which records a still image in digital form, just like a scanner. Products such as the Sony Mavica system and the Canon Xapshot work just like a 35mm camera, and store digital images on a small diskette which can then be accessed by your computer. The disk is reusable, so instead of having a lot of slides or prints lying around gathering dust, you simply transfer your best photos to your hard disk for storage and then reuse the camera diskette for your next photo session.

Electronic photography's main drawback is that the images are still fairly low-resolution; 1000 pixels square or less. Newer models are planned by several companies which will allow you to take true high-resolution digital photographs.

Limiting the Size of Digital Photographs

The biggest drawback to using any sort of digital photographic image is the sheer size of the file created. A 24-bit scan of an 8" by 10" photograph at 300 dots per inch creates a file of up to 22 megabytes! Many people use scanners under the misconception that to get acceptable quality, you have to scan your materials at the highest possible resolution. In fact, very high resolution files are often a waste of time and disk space.

When you are scanning to place images into 35mm slides you should not be thinking in terms of dots per inch, but rather of the total number of pixels being created. The maximum number of pixels necessary to create a clear photo image of a natural scene on 35mm film is about 1200 pixels wide by 800 pixels high. This is for a full frame image on the slide. Photographs to be placed in windows may need even fewer pixels to be usable. The important thing to remember

When you need a photo for compositing in a slide, scan at a resolution which will give you the appropriate number of pixels. For example, an 8" x 10" photograph should be scanned at only 120 DPI to have more than enough pixels to be sharp on the slide (8" x 10" x 120 DPI = 960 pixels x 1200 pixels).

You should keep in mind that to fully fill a slide frame, a bitmap graphic needs to have its pixels in the same 2:3 proportion as the slide. Different proportions will leave gaps in the slide frame, the same as if you used the wrong page setup in formatting your slides.

The Data Storage Dilemma

Storing even medium-resolution photo files can add up to a lot of disk space. If you are planning to use electronic photography and create photocomposites, be prepared to spend a lot of money on image storage. Here are some tips on storing your large image files:

  • Invest in a large hard drive (at least 150 megabyte) to handle currently active files. You will quickly run out of disk space with anything smaller.
  • Use image compression and archiving software. Large bitmap files can often be reduced to 20% or less of their original size for storage. Excellent software is available for DOS, Windows and Macintosh.
  • Use removable storage such as Bernoulli, Syquest or tape backup to store files which are no longer current. Prices on removable storage devices have dropped radically in recent years and can now compete with floppy disks on price per megabyte.

The Real World:
The 64,000 Kilobyte Presentation!

Thursday, October 11, 10:00 AM: Jim Gonzalez is on the phone with Larry Thomas at "Slides R Us" talking about a small problem with the files he's preparing to send over for imaging.

"Well, Larry, some of these files are pretty big. I have some slides with photos of the bigshots and they're all about 6 megabytes apiece. How should I send them over to you?"

"That sounds awfully big for simple photocomposites, Jim. How did you scan them?"

"We got some black and white prints from personnel and scanned them on our ScanBoss 600, then imported them into our presentation file."

"How big were the photos?"

"8 by 10's," said Jim.

"And I'll bet you scanned them at 300 DPI, or thereabouts, right?"

"Right."

Larry winced. Fortunately, Jim was a good client who could handle a bit of last minute advice. "Jim, I think you may have to rework those photo slides. It sounds like your scans are much too big. I could image them as they are, but it would take much longer than a standard image and that will slow down delivery and cost you extra."

Jim sounded dubious. "You mean I should redo all four slides?"

"Absolutely. You don't need such large files to have a good-looking photocomposite. I'd rescan all four of the photos at 100 DPI. At that rate, your files will come in under a megabyte apiece and you can just toss them on floppies."

"Will that be enough for a sharp photo? It sounds pretty low-resolution."

"Don't worry. Even at 100 DPI, you'll have an 800 by 1000 pixel file. That's plenty sharp enough if you're not filling the frame. I assume these photos are going in windows on the slide?"

"Yes," said Jim.

"Then don't worry. They'll be fine. Why don't you go ahead and send me the rest of your files? When the four composites are ready, send them and I'll put them on the schedule with no rush charges since the rework is my idea."

"OK, Larry." Jim replied. "I'll have those four to you by the end of the day. By the way it looks like we're going to need two each of these shows after all. Can we fit that into the shooting schedule?"

"That's no problem, Jim. Make sure you mark two each on your order form."

"Will do. Thanks a lot, Larry. I'll talk to you later this afternoon. Bye!"

"Bye, Jim."


Summary

You can enliven your presentation and improve communication with your audience by incorporating illustrations and photography into your slides. Let's review some of the guidelines for using illustrations:

  • Illustrations should be message-driven. Never include a picture just because it "looks nice."
  • Never assume an illustration is self-explanatory. The speech should give a verbal guide to what the audience is seeing.
  • The style of your illustrations should be appropriate to your speech and message.
  • Maintain a consistent illustration style throughout your presentation. Avoid the "kitchen sink" approach to illustration.
  • Bitmap or pixel-based graphics are described by their resolution and their color depth. Output resolution is limited to the actual number of pixels in the file.
  • Vector or object-oriented graphics are resolution-independent. They will print at the maximum resolution of the output device.
  • Integrate photography into your presentation using photocomposites, scanning or electronic photography.
  • Keep your file sizes under control by limiting photo scans to less than 1200 x 800 pixels. Use compression software to save disk space.
  • Check with your service bureau for advice on combining photos with presentation graphics.