Storytelling

Keynote Special Effects

I’m a big fan of Keynote – the presentation app for Mac and iOS – as the layout platform for many of my family history projects. Most of my projects are combinations of text, photos and design elements – an amateur’s version of the beautiful layouts found in the Somerset publications.

Here I’m using Keynote for iPad to jazz up a cover page for new project.  title page exampleI wanted a graphic element to set off my title. This “swoosh” is the result of a bit of experimenting with Keynote’s shapes. Here’s how I created it.
add panelThe swoosh begins as a curved line graphic element. Tap the + on the toolbar and choose the curved line option in the choices panel.
curved line adjustmentNotice the three dots on the line. The two blue end dots determine the starting and ending points for this line. The green dot in the center determines where along the line the curve appears and whether it will be a loose or tight curve. Tap and drag a dot to make changes. Experiment until you get the effect you want.
line style options panel Now it’s time to add some style. With the line selected, tap the paintbrush icon to display its style options. The default style for a line is a solid, black line two points thick. The first panel offers several generic options with a Style Options item at the bottom. Tap that to see the Line panel you see above. Tap the Color box to change the line’s color and move the Width slider to make a wider line. You can add arrowheads or connectors to your line if you wish. At the bottom you see several line options including dotted and dashed styles. Scroll down to display additional options – including the grungy pencil look I used here. Tap the style type you want.


The Effects panel lets you add shadows and reflections to your line if you wish. You can also adjust the opacity of your line.

If you want to use this styled line in multiple places, just copy/paste it and play with the “dots” to get the size and shape you want. That’s a lot faster than resetting all those format settings each time.

How can you put these formatting elements to other uses? Try creating a box and give it a border that is the same as the box’s fill color. Choose one of the grungy line styles for the border and increase the border width until you have a nice grungy box to show off some text or an image. Experiment with other graphic elements and formatting styles to see what kind of effects you can create. They aren’t difficult and can do wonders to add personality to your storytelling project.

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