ProShow Gold has long been the best slide show creation software available. Sure, you could buy the even more versatile ProShow Producer, but that costs over three times as much. With a little creativity, almost everything that can be accomplished in Producer can also be done in ProShow Gold.
With version 4, Photodex introduces an advanced new feature called slide styles. To learn how to use slide styles, watch my video below. Then, follow the steps in the article to practice on your own.
If you’d like to see more slide styles in action, read part 1 of my series on ProShow Gold 4. That article includes a video demo of several built-in and custom-made slide styles.
Slide styles are templates that are easily applied to a slide to instantly add motion effects, multiple layers, and the like. Anything that can be customized in ProShow’s Slide Options window can be saved as part of a slide style. That includes any modification made to the settings under the Slide, Layers, Effects, Captions, and Sounds tabs in the Slide Options window.
So, let’s say you’ve spent a half an hour customizing a slide. You’ve added a couple of layers, used motion effects to move them across the screen, and changed a few other slide options to your liking. You’re happy with your creation and you’d like to be able to use this same customization again – either in the same slide show or in some future production. You don’t want to spend a lot of time customizing all the settings every time you wish to duplicate your masterpiece. What do you do? Save it as a slide style.
In a later lesson, we’ll learn how to create and save our own slide styles. But, fortunately, the folks at Photodex – the makers of ProShow – have already done a lot of this hard work for us.
|The Official Photodex Guide to ProShow 4 by James Karney|
|Secrets of Proshow Experts: The Official Guide to Creating Your Best Slide Shows with ProShow Gold and Producer by Paul Schmidt|
Support PhotoCitizen. Purchase books or other items by clicking on links on this page and you’ll be helping to keep the bills paid here at PhotoCitizen. Thanks.
Built-In Slide Styles
Included with ProShow Gold 4 are over 50 ready-to-use slide styles. These are grouped into several different categories: Montages (both basic and complex), Frames and Borders, Image Adjustments, Single Images Enhancements, and Titles and Captions. Additional styles are available directly from Photodex in their recently released ProShow Style Packs. Volume 1 is currently available and I’m sure more will follow.
Apply A Slide Style
Although it’s not too difficult to create your own slide style, we’ll start by applying one of ProShow Gold’s included styles. Start by creating a new slideshow with a handful of images. You’ll only need three for this tutorial.
- Drag one of the images into the timeline at the bottom of ProShow’s main screen.
- Double-click on that image in the timeline to open the Slide Options window.
- Go to the main tab called SLIDE and choose the sub-tab STYLES.
- Choose the slide style called “Display of Three Expanding.”
- Click the APPLY button in the upper left of the Slide Styles screen, not the OK button in the lower right.
- After you’ve applied the style by clicking the APPLY button, you can close the window by clicking OK.
This style – Display of Three Expanding – uses four layers. Two of the layers are populated with the image you dragged in earlier. Layer 4 is the background for the slide and Layer 1 is one of the three images that will move across the background.
- Double-click the image again to return to the Slide Styles window. Notice that Layer 1 and Layer 4 contain your image. Layers 2 and 3 are blank. We need to add images to these layers.
- Click on Layer 2 to select it. Do not click on the check mark. The layer must remain checked to be visible. Instead, click on the thumbnail image or on the layer’s name to select it. Once selected, it will be highlighted in a pale blue color.
- To add an image to the selected layer, click on the SELECT FILE button and navigate to the image folder on your computer.
- Select an image and click OPEN. The layer will now be populated with that image
- Add an image to Layer 3 the same way.
- Click OK to close the Slide Styles window and return to the main ProShow Gold window.
Completing the Show
You now have a slide show containing a single slide. Preview your show and you should see three images expanding across the background image. Next we need to make a second slide with a different, though related, slide style.
- Copy the first slide and paste it into the second slide position which is currently empty.
- Double-click the second slide and choose the slide style called “Display of Three Still.”
- Preview your show and you’ll see that the three images move across the background and then hold still.
- Remove the transition between the two slides by setting it to a Cut transition and setting the duration to zero. This will prevent the image from jumping around between the two slides.
Change the Image Positions
You can change the order of the images on your slide. In the slide style we’ve used, the image in Layer 1 (the image of the flag-shaped balloon) moves from the center to the upper left of the slide while the center image (the women with shopping carts) stays in the center. You’ll also notice that the flag image is on top of the shopping cart image. In other words, the flag image hides part of the shopping cart image as if it were physically stacked on top. You can swap the two images or put the center image on top of the other images if you’d like.
Changing the stacking order of the images is simple:
- In the Slide Options window, click on Layer 2 (the shopping carts) and, with the mouse button still held down, drag that layer to the top of the stack above the flag image.
- When you see a thick black line above the Layer 1 image, let go. Another way to accomplish this is to select the layer and then click the up arrow in the blue tool panel to the left under the sideways word, “Layers.” The shopping cart image now becomes Layer 1 and the flag image moves to Layer 2.
- Preview the slide and you’ll see that the flag image still stays in the center of the slide, but now it is above the other two images and not obscured by either one of them.
To swap the images so that the flag image stays in the center of the slide and the shopping cart image moves toward the upper left, do this:
- Click on the flag layer to select it.
- Click on the SELECT FILE button.
- Navigate to the folder where your images are stored and choose the shopping cart image.
- Click OPEN. Now both Layer 1 and Layer 2 contain the shopping cart image.
- Do the same for the other shopping cart image, except this time choose the flag image.
You’ll end up with the same three images you had before, but two of them will be on different layers (remember, we never touched the third image, so it remains unchanged on Layer 3). When you view the preview, you’ll see that the flag image is now in the center and the shopping cart image moves towards the upper left. Layer 3 still moves to the lower right as it did before.
Get More Information
ProShow Gold 4 is made by Photodex. You can only buy it directly from them. Not sure if ProShow is right for you? You can download a free 30-day trial here. The trial version is fully functional, but if you use it to output a finished show, it will have a yellow ProShow banner across the middle of the screen. But you can view it as a preview from within ProShow without any such obstruction. Plus, once you buy a copy for yourself, the yellow banner will be removed. So, you can create a cool show using the trial version and not have to re-do it once you buy the full version.
ProShow Gold 4 only works on Windows computers. For Mac owners, I’ve been told it runs very nicely using Parallels Desktop for Mac.
The help files that come with ProShow Gold 4 are not very good. They are very basic. Photodex has some good online tutorials and other support. Once you purchase ProShow Gold 4 or Producer 4, they also offer pretty good free support by phone. That’s a rarity these days.
There is also an excellent user-to-user forum at ProShowEnthusiasts.com. Most of your questions will probably already have been answered here. If not, you can register for free and post new questions.
Read the other articles in this series on ProShow Gold 4: