How to Customize an Image in Just a Few Easy Steps

There are several companies that provide quality photos, illustrations and background art for a fee. (Here is a list of some of the best.) However, there are times when my clients want something other than what is available. For example, an employee activities committee wanted an image that w

Topics included photography, drawing, dancing, music and writing a novel.* I downloaded several images and created a collage, using PowerPoint rather than Photoshop so the committee could make changes with ease.

Wait--POWERPOINT? People are often surprised that I have used PowerPoint to sketch out ideas or create posters and brochures for internal company use. However, this only works if it doesn't have to look as sophisticated as, for example, a sales brochure.

In PowerPoint, I used three tools to create the collage: Cropping, Remove Background, and Image Adjustments. You will find them all in the Format tab.

  1. Select and download the images you want to use. Add them to PowerPoint pages. I selected images that illustrated what kinds of events would be offered.

  2. To use only part of an image (such as the giant pink pencil), you can cut out what you don't want by cropping. Click here for simple directions on cropping and enhancing images in PowerPoint.

  3. Next, remove the (in this case, white) background from each image. You'll find great instructions here. The result is a transparent background that allows you to slip images near or on top of each other (layers).

  4. PowerPoint offers several options for changing the way images appear, from altering the image's color or brightness to adding some stylish effects. These options are located in the Adjust and Picture Styles groups on the Format tab

I wanted to make the dancer graphic look more like an illustration than a photograph.

  1. You have selected and downloaded your images, cropped them, and removed the backgrounds so they are transparent. You manipulated them to create a cohesive image. But how do you transfer it to, say, a web site? You need to convert it into a gif or a jpg (pronounced "jay-peg"). Microsoft Paint, which is an often-forgotten app included with recent versions of Microsoft Windows. It's super easy to crop and resize images. Again, save as a jpg or gif file.

A NOTE ABOUT TEXT

Creating text with your image in PowerPoint does not work as well when converted into a jpg format. The text tends to look a bit fuzzy. However, you can add sharp-looking text near or over your image using Microsoft Paint.

* This was a fantastic event created with a minimal budget. I was invited and thoroughly enjoyed myself!

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT POWERPOINT OR MICROSOFT PAINT, check out www.gcflearnfree.org, provided for free by GoodWill Industries. It's a great site with hundreds of lessons available!

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