Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Using fun and Colorful Background Images with Text

I can be a lot of fun to bring in colorful images to your online courses to enhance learning, or perhaps you wish to make an interesting a fun PowerPoint Presentation using fun and colorful images. We all know how challenging it can to add text to these images so that the text is readable and it doesn't detract from the image.

I recently helped my co-worker's middle school daughter with a PowerPoint Presentation she was putting together for a class project. She had some fun images she wanted to use, but the text just wasn't readable. I tried to offer some good pointers, but I didn't feel I really succeeded in helping her out much. I wish I had read this great article below before I had the opportunity to help her.

7 Ways to Overlay Text on Photos -
                                                                    by Nicole Legault from E-Learning Heroes

A brief summary follows, but be sure to click on the link above to get the full article complete with pictures!
  1. Choose Contrasting Colors
  2. Use Empty Spaces for Text
  3. Lighten Your Image
  4. Darken Your Image
  5. Use a Gradient Overlay
  6. Insert a Shape
  7. Add a Text Drop Shadow
The article offers a video tutorial on how to work with images in a video software that you may not have called "Articulate Storyline"; however, you don't need this software to create cool images with text overlay. You can create these same effects by adding images to a PowerPoint Slide. If you just wish to capture a picture of what you created and save it to upload into your course, use the Snipping Tool! (The Snipping Tool is free on any PC. Just click the Start button and search for the tool by typing in "Snipping".)

Here is an example of using the tools already provided in PowerPoint (like adding and then formatting shapes) and then capturing the image using the Snipping Tool:

I just used PowerPoint to insert an image and changed the color a bit using the Format Picture tool and changing the saturation a bit:

I then added a shape. Using the Format Shape tool, I added the gradient effects by selecting Fill. You can add gradient stops, choose various colors and set the transparency level to what suits your picture.

Have fun and experiment a bit. You will be able to get the right effect for your purposes and not have to spend any money on fancy software!

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