Getting Graphical… Even If You’re Not Artistic

Getting Graphical… Even If You’re Not Artistic

By the End of This Tutorial, You’ll Be Able To:
 Add prefab pictures to your letters, resumes, and spreadsheets
 Create an on-screen slide show using a presentation program
 Create graphs and organizational charts without a ruler
 Draw a circle, rectangle, or line in any graphics program
 Use a scanner to use pictures other people have drawnTo place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.  

In this age of information overload, most of us would rather look at a picture than wade through a sea of words. We don’t want to read a newspaper column to find out how many trillions of dollars we owe as a nation. We want a graph that shows how much we owed in 1995 and how much we’ll owe in the year 2000, or maybe a map that shows how much of the nation could have built $100,000 homes given the amount of our debt. Maybe even a picture of a tax dollar that shows how much of the dollar goes to pay off the interest on the national debt. We want USA Today.
But what about your presentations and the documents you create? Are you as kind to your audience? Do you use pictures to present information more clearly and succinctly? Do you show as well as tell? After reading this tutorial, you will know about several types of programs that will help you answer “Yes” to all of these questions.

Clip Art (for the Lazy and Untalented)
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of graphics programs, I want to warn you that you may not need a graphics program. If you want to add graphics to your newsletters and other documents, you can buy collections of computerized clip art, sketches that some person born with artistic talent created using a graphics program.
Here’s the scenario: You’re creating a newsletter and you want to spruce it up with some pictures. Nothing fancy, maybe a picture of a birthday cake for a company newsletter or a picture of a baseball player to mark upcoming games for the Softball league. You create the newsletter and then enter a command telling the program to insert a piece of clip art. You select the piece you want, click the OK button, and voila, instant illustration, no talent required!

Get It Where You Can: Sources of Clip Art
Some programs (desktop publishing, word processing, business presentation, and drawing programs) come with a collection of clip art on disk. Some of this “free” clip art is very good—but some isn’t fit for open house at the local kindergarten. The next figure shows a small portion of the clip art that comes with PowerPoint (a presentation graphics pro¬gram for Windows). Just for reference, this is some of the good stuff.
You can also purchase separate clip art libraries on disk, just as you would purchase a program. These libraries typically include hundreds or even thousands of clip art images that are broken down into several categories: borders and backgrounds, computers, communications, people and places, animals, productivity and performance, time and y, travel and entertainment, words and symbols, you name it.

Clip Art Shopping Savvy
Before you plop down 50 bucks for a clip art library, make sure your word processing or desktop publishing program can handle the graphic format of the clip art. For example, if you have a word processing program that can’t use PCX files (art created using a program called PC Paintbrush), don’t buy a clip art library that consists of PCX images.

Pasting Clip Art on a Page
Now that you have a bushelful of clip art, how do you get it from the bushel into your documents? Well, that depends. Sometimes, you have to open the library, cut the picture you want, and paste it onto a page. Other times, you import or insert the image by specify¬ing the name of the file in which the image is saved (it’s sort of like opening a file). No natter how you do it, the program inserts the clip art in a box as shown here. You can then use your mouse to shove the image around, stretch it, or squeeze it.

Making Slide Shows, Overhead Transparencies, and Handouts
Even if you are not in sales or marketing, you have probably seen a business presentation sometime in your life probably on TV or in a movie. A sales or marketing representative stands up in front of the board of directors or some other group and shows a series of slides that pitch a new product or show how profitable the company is. How did that person create this presentation? Probably by using a presentation graphics program. MOST presentation programs let you create the following:
 On-screen slide shows You can create a slide show that can be displayed on a computer screen. If you have the right equipment, you can project the on-screen slide show onto a projector screen or wall, or play it on a TV. (This is the coolest way to go.)
 35mm slide shows You can transform your presentation file into 35mm slides for viewing with a slide projector (great for getting uninvited guests to leave early). You can send your presentation to a company that converts presentations into slides.
 Overhead transparencies Most printers will print your slide show on special transparency sheets instead of paper (or you can send them out to have them done). You can then display them with an overhead projector. (When printing transparencies, be sure to get transparency sheets that are specifically for printers; otherwise, you’ll be sucking molten plastic out of your fancy laser printer.)
 Audience handouts Many business people use presentation graphics programs to create audience handouts, which can be used alone or in conjunction with slide shows.

Charts and Slides
Some presentation graphics programs refer to each “page” in a presentation as a chart. Other programs call each “page” a slide and refer to the presentation as a slide show.

Where Do I Start?
Presentation programs are not all alike. With some pro¬grams, you first select the type of chart you want to use: pie chart, organizational chart, bar graph, and so on. The chart becomes the central element on the slide. You can then add other elements such as titles, labels, pictures, and sarcastic comments.
With other presentation graphics programs, you start with an overall look. For example, you might select the colors and layout you want to use for all the slides in the slide show. You can then add a chart, bulleted list, title, picture and other elements to each slide you create. The following sections give you an overall idea of how to create a slide show in a typical presentation program.

Step 1: Pick a Look, Any Look
You can usually start a presentation by picking the colors and layout you want to use for all the slides in your presentation. Most programs come with a collection of profession¬ally designed templates. By selecting a template, you ensure that all the slides in your presentation will have a consistent look and that no colors will clash (well, theoretically at least). The next picture shows a list of templates that come with Microsoft PowerPoint and a preview of one of the templates.

Controlling the Master
Most presentations have a master slide on which you can add elements such as your company logo, your name, the date of the presentation, and the slide number. Any elements you place on the master slide appear on all the slides in the presentation.

Step 2: Adding Pictures, Graphs, and Text on a Slide
Once you have set the look for your slide show, you can start concentrating on individual slides. In most programs, you can add one or more of the following elements to a slide: graphs, titles, bulleted lists, organizational charts, flow charts, and clip art (or your company logo). Each element you add is considered a separate object, which you can move around on the slide. Graphs and bulleted lists are the meat and potatoes of any presentation program. If you can do graphs and bulleted lists, you are a prime candidate for marketing manager in a Fortune 500 company.
In most presentation graphics programs, you create one slide at a time. When you are done with one slide, you enter a command to insert a new slide. The new slide has the same design and color as the slide you just created. You can then start plopping objects on the new slide.

Step 3: Shuffling Your Slides
Your presentation program should provide a tool that enables you to rearrange the slides in your preservation. Usually, the program displays a screen that shows miniature ver¬sions of all the slides. You just drag the slides around wherever you want them.

Step 4: Adding Some Fancy Touches
If you’re creating an on-screen slide show, you may be able to add some special effects:
 Sounds: If your computer has a soundboard (such as SoundBlaster), you can plug in a microphone and record your voice, music, or other sounds that will play when you move from one slide to the next.
 Transitions: These are animated effects that control the movement from one slide to the next. For example, the current slide may open like vertical blinds, revealing the next slide.
 Builds: This animation effect adds items to the slide while the audience looks on. For example, instead of displaying an entire bulleted list at once, a build would add one item at a time while you’re giving your presentation.

Step 5: Transforming a Presentation into Something Useful
After you’ve created a chart or a series of charts, you need to transform your creation into some usable form. For example, you may want to print the charts, convert them to transparencies so you can use them on an overhead projector, or create a slide show that you can display on-screen.
If you want to create slide shows or overhead presentations but you don’t have the equipment for making slides and overheads, you can usually send the files to an outside vendor to have the work done. These vendors can transfer your files to 35mm slides, film, transparencies, or a VHS tape. Many vendors offer overnight service. Many users simply print their presentations on paper, make copies, and use the presentation as a handout. Be careful; this allows the audience to walk out early.

Is a Business Presentation Graphics Program for You?
Many programs offer basic graphics features. For example, several spreadsheet programs (Quattro Pro, Excel, and Lotus) can translate spreadsheet data into graphs. If that’s all you need, you would do better purchasing a spreadsheet program.
If you need the advanced features of a business presentation graphics program, however, there are several good ones out there:
 Microsoft PowerPoint, featured in this tutorial, comes with several sample presentations and templates that help you get up and running in a hurry.
 Astound is a lesser known presentation program that’s easy to use and allows you to quickly transform your presentations into World Wide Web pages (to present the presentation electronically on the Internet).
 ASAP, by Software Publishing is a simple, very affordable presentation program. It doesn’t offer the advanced tools of PowerPoint or Astound, but you’ll be able to quickly learn the program.

Paint and Draw Programs: For Those with Artistic Talent
So you think you’re Leonardo da Vinci or Georgia O’Keefe. If you have even a smidgen of artistic talent, you can create your own computer art. To create art from scratch, you can use either of two types of graphics programs: a paint program or a draw program.

Computerized Graffiti: Painting on Your Screen
Remember the old Lite Brite toy? It consisted of a box with a light bulb in it, a peg board, and a bunch of colored, translucent pegs. You stuck the pegs in the board in various patterns to create pictures. The same principle applies to paint programs. You turn on a bunch of on-screen dots to create a picture.
You already have a paint program, called Paintbrush (in Windows 3.1) or Paint (in Windows 95). From now on, I’ll refer to both of them as Paintbrush. In Windows 95, you can find Paintbrush on the Accessories submenu. In Windows 3.1, it’s in the Accessories group. Run Paintbrush to display the following screen.

Take the following steps to try out some of its drawing and painting tools:
1. From the line thickness list (in the lower left corner), click the desired thickness of the line you want to draw.
2. In the color palette, click the color of the line you want to draw. The selected color appears here.
1. Click the desired color.
2. Click the line or shape you want to draw.
3. Move the mouse pointer where you want one corner or end of the object to appear hold down the mouse button, and drag the pointer to the opposite corner or end.
4. Release the mouse button. The object appears on the screen.
5. Repeat steps 3 through 5 to draw a circle or rectangle that’s not filled in. (You’ll fill the shape with color in the next couple steps.)
6. Click the Fill tool (it looks like a paint roller in Windows 3.1 or like a paint bucket in Windows 95), and then click the color you want to use to fill the shape.
7. Move the mouse pointer inside the shape, and click. The Fill tool pours color into the shape.
8. Now, draw a shape that’s filled with color. In the tool list, click one of the shapes that’s filled in (in Windows 3.1). In Windows 95, click a shape, and then click the filled shape in the line thickness list.
9. Click the color you want to use for the inside of the shape, and then right-click the color you want to use for the line that defines the outside of the shape.
10. The color for the outside of the shape
11. Now, drag the mouse pointer across the screen to draw the shape. (Tip: Hold down the Shift key while dragging, to draw a perfect square or circle or a perfectly straight line.)
12. Once you have a few objects on the screen, click the Eraser tool, and then drag it over parts of your drawing to see how it works. You may need to right-click on the background color.
13. The Airbrush tool (looks like a can of spray paint) lets you spray paint the screen. Click the tool, click a color and line thickness, and drag the mouse pointer across the screen.
14. You can cut and copy portions of drawings. Click one of the Select tools. And then drag the mouse pointer to select a portion of your drawing.
15. Open the Edit menu and select Cut or Copy to place the selection on the Windows Clipboard. You can now paste the selection.
16. Open the Edit menu and select Paste. Drag the pasted selection from the upper-left comer of the screen to where you want it.
You can do much more in Paintbrush, including adding text to your drawing, editing individual pixels (dots) on the screen, and using the color eraser to replace one color with another. However, these steps give you a pretty clear idea of how a paint program works.
Your computer screen is essentially a canvas made up of 150,000 to 700,000 tiny lights called pixels. Whenever you type a character in a word processing program, or draw a line with a paint or draw program, you activate a series of these pixels so that they form a recognizable shape on-screen.

Playing with Shapes Using a Draw Program
A draw program lets you create drawings by putting together a bunch of shapes. For example, you might draw a city-scape by putting together a bunch of rectangles of various sizes and dimensions. Of course, you can do this with a paint program, too, so what’s the difference? Look at it this way:
 In a drawing program, each shape is treated as a separate object. Think of eachshape as being formed out of a pipe cleaner (you know, those fuzzy, flexible wire things). If you lay one shape on top of another, you can easily lift the shape off later, without disturbing the other objects.
 In a paint program, each shape is made of a collection of dots. Think of each shape as being formed out of marbles. You can’t just lift one shape without disturbing the marbles that make up the other shapes.
Object-Oriented Graphics
Draw programs are often called object-oriented graphics programs, because they treat objects as individual units rather than as a collection of pixels.

Getting a Handle on Graphics Objects
Once you’ve drawn an object, handles appear around the object. You can then drag the object anywhere on-screen or change the object’s shape, size, or orientation without affecting surrounding objects. To move an object, move the mouse pointer over the center of the object (not on any of the handles). Hold down the mouse button and drag the object to the desired location.
To change an object’s size or dimensions, move the mouse pointer over one of the handles and hold down the mouse button (this is commonly called grabbing a handle). Drag the handle toward the center of the object to make it smaller or narrower; drag the handle away from the center to make it larger or wider.

Shapes, Together and Apart
In a paint program, if you lay a circle on top of a square, the circle and square become one. Wherever their lines cross, they are linked like Siamese twins. In a draw program, objects retain their autonomy. If you lay a circle on a square, you can later pull the circle off the square just as if it had been drawn on a separate piece of paper.
However, you do have the option of treating the objects as a unit. To group several objects, you usually draw a selection box around the objects. You can then move, copy, or delete the group of objects as if it were a single object.

What About Text?
Although paint and draw programs are not designed to handle huge blocks of text, they do let you add labels and draw arrows to point out important areas of an illustration.

The Trouble with Text
Paint programs handle text as a series of pixels, making the text very difficult to edit. The process may require you to cut a portion of the text and paste in a revised portion. Aligning the revised text can be extremely frustrating. Draw programs offer much more flexibility when dealing with text. The text is contained in a separate box, and you can edit the text just as if you were using a word processing program.

Paint and Draw Programs You Should Consider
If you don’t want to shell out a lot of money, and you need to create some simple draw¬ings, Paintbrush (which comes with Windows) probably has all the features you need. However, if you need high-quality art for advertisements, covers, posters, and professional publications, check out the following graphics applications:
 CorelDraw is the easiest to use full-featured graphics program on the market. CorelDraw 6 comes with a drawing program, a photo-enhancer, a program for 3D imaging, an animation program, morphing capabilities (so you can transform Vanna White into Porky Pig), and a business presentation program. CorelDraw is a must for anyone who’s serious about computer graphics.
 Visio is an inexpensive graphics tool, which is ideal for business use. If you need to create organizational charts, flow charts, floor plans, or schematic drawings, Visio is the program for you. And it’s affordable.
 MicroGrafx is a less expensive full-featured graphics program that offers many of the same features as CorelDraw. However, you’d do better shelling out the extra money for CorelDraw.
 Fine Artist is a great graphics program for kids. It offers a paint studio, where kids can fling paint onto the screen, rolls of stamps (animals, cars, people, and other beings), sounds, cartoon strips, and much more to keep your kids interested.

Adding Photos and Figures to Your Masterpiece
If you have a photograph or a drawing on paper, and if you have the right equipment, you can turn your existing photos into pixel versions to display on your computer screen. To do this, you need a digitizer or a scanner that converts the image into a series of dots and stores it on a disk. You also must have a graphics program that supports a scanner (the scanner usually comes with a program). Once the image is in your system, you can edit it in your favorite paint program.
In addition, most graphics programs (such as CorelDraw) offer a tracing utility that can convert a scanned image into a collection of shapes, colors, and shades. You can then play with the shapes and colors to create some wild effects.

The Least You Need To Know
Graphics can get as complex as you like. With an advanced graphics program, you can create three-dimensional, life-like drawings that look like sleek color photos in a magazine ad. But for now, just make sure you know the basics:
 A business presentation graphics program allows you to create an on-screen slide show, 35mm slide show, overhead transparencies, or audience handouts.
 To create a slide show, you pick a template that gives the presentation a consistent look, and then you add graphs, pictures, and text to each slide.
 Clip-art images are small pieces of ready-made art that you can include in your presentations and publications.
 A paint program allows you to create freehand sketches and other intricate
 drawings.
 In a paint program, you have full control over each pixel on the screen.
 A draw program treats each object on-screen as an individual element.
 In a draw program, you assemble shapes to create an illustration.
 Draw programs are usually used to create floor plans, technical illustrations, and other drawings that consist of regular, geometric shapes.
 If you have no artistic talent, do what I do: stick with clip art, and get yourself a good scanner.

To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
GTBank (Guaranty Trust Bank)
Account Name – Chudi-Oji Chukwuka
Account No – 0044157183
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.  

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