A slide show is a sequence of images setup to be shown in order. For our purposes most of the images are photographs, but we also include titles, maps, and some text. The slide show may be stepped through manually so that you can comment on each image, or it can be self-contained. Self-contained slide shows are made with software tools such as Photoshop Elements or Microsoft Powerpoint. A self-contained show has the images advance automatically in sequence and may include a musical track or audio narration. This tutorial covers the basics of making a self-contained slide show.
The steps of making a slide show are:
The running example in this tutorial is an afternoon visit to Jerome, Arizona. Once a mining town, it is now emerging as a tourist town and artist colony. I visited with a friend in July 2008 and took about 70 photos during the trip. That is a lot, but quite a few were three frame sequences for HRDI, and others were multiple frames for stitched panoramas. It boiled down to about 45 images for the show.
For travel shows it is good to add maps near the start of the show to orient the reader to the location. I use Google Maps to bring up the map images on the computer screen, then do a screen capture. Pressing Print Screen on your keyboard actually doesn't print the screen, it copies the screen image to the computer's clip board. In the Photoshop Editor File > New > From clipboard brings up the image so it can be cropped and annotated. Add some bold text for the destination, because the map details may be difficult to read, particularly if the slides get cooked down to DVD resolution. It helps to use two or three maps to zoom in on the location. Print Screen overwrites the clipboard every time you press the key, so you can switch over to Photoshop and save the screen image each time, or you can use a program like MWSnap to automatically save the captures with different names.
If the route to the location is interesting that can be added to the map. Another possibility is to add the locations and directions of individual photo location by adding small arrows to the map. To prepare for adding photo locations save a clean copy of the map at an appropriate scale. Tag all the the maps and collected images in organizer (Jerome Slide Show in this case).
If you'd like to add a musical track there are Internet sites that offer "free" tracks. The ones I looked at wanted an enormous amount of personal information and only promised sample fragments. Another option is "royalty free," which means that you pay a one-time fee up front, but nothing thereafter. You must read the license agreements carefully, one front allows only ten copies, use only in-house, and use only for sixty days. They offered a three and a half minute track for $40 subject to all those restrictions. There are sites with more favorable terms, but take extreme care. I don't recommend copying something off a CD you own if the slide show is going to be distributed to others. That infringes on copyright laws.
At that point you should be concerned with the resolution of the final product. This affects the sharpening and resizing of images when you resize the images to fit the final display. Also, you have the opportunity of extracting a small are from a 2400 x 3600 pixel image to show in a separate slide. If you are preparing for DVD output, you may want to do that more often than if you are headed for a computer screen.
In Jerome, the Historical Society was raising funds for a restoration project by encouraging visitors to pitch coins into various receptacles. I had a wide angle shot of the project from which I extracted a small area to show what was going on. To extract an area first use the selection tool to draw a dotted box around it (shown red below for clarity) then Edit > Copy to put it on the clipboard. Then File > New > Image from clipboard to create a new image.
In the close-up I darken the lettering in the sign and lightened the shadows in the small building. Notice that the coins, mostly pennies (cheapskate tourists), are visible in the close up.
Consider extracting close views of
For the Jerome slide show I opted for the 1280 x 960 format for a pdf. I made the title and text slides to fit that exactly. The pdf will play on most computer screens. If I opt for a DVD output, I'll trust the output software to do the 2:1 reduction required.
I think it best to put an image on the title slide. That is a clue that this will be mainly a picture show rather than a "death by bullets" Powerpoint presentation. For Jerome I chose an overview scene showing the town on its hillside perch. The first images are of the downtown, so the hill view helps set the context.
I fussed with the type fonts to be consistent with an Old West theme. There are web sites (e.g., Urban Fonts, SearchFreeFonts) offering free type fonts to support theming. You might shortcut this nicety to save time. It is more about the images than the fonts. Text slide can be made in the Slide show Editor, but there is more flexibility in making them using the Photoshop Full Edit.
There should be a slide at the end to signal that the show is over. You might include your name, your e-mail address, acknowledgments of people who helped, websites for further study on the topic, and a copyright notice. In the US you have a copyright by default, but it doesn't hurt to show you are interested. Because of the default copyright, if you want to allow the show to be reproduced or to be reproduced with restrictions, you must put in a notice to that effect.
There is an innocuous default music track that can be set to repeat, or you can add your own music track. Voice narration can be added to each slide in Organizer, as can written captions. I think music is often the best, even if it is just the default.
Make the slide show at the resolution you are planning for the final output.
Movie files can be upload to a site like YouTube if you can put up with the quality limitations. pdf slide shows can be burned to disk or posted on your own web site. If they are not too large, they can be sent as e-mail attachments. Some e-mail services have a limitation on attachment size, 5 MB is typical. There are also online digital delivery services like YouSendIt that allow you upload large files and then notify recipients how to download them. That overcomes e-mail limitations.
The Jerome Slide Show is a 14 MB pdf. To view the sample slide show of Jerome provided here, right click on the link below and Save link as... (or the equivalent on your browser). Then click on the transfered file to display it using Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 or later. The show cycles in a loop; hit the ESC key on your keyboard to exit.
The Jerome slide show includes examples of many of the techniques presented on this site. There are distortion-corrected wide angle shots, closeups, stitched panoramas, high dynamic range images, and natural light interiors. Taking pictures was part of the experience of visiting Jerome, but it was not so intrusive as to require putting all else aside in favor of the photography mission. We walked around, enjoyed the sights, and had lunch. Most of the fuss related to photography was later, at home, preparing the images and editing the slide presentation.