11 Apr

Use Your Own Textures for Slide Backgrounds

Dirt image by M.Maslowska (Typeface: 28 Days Later)

A quick way to create a unique slide background is by simply using a great texture. By definition a texture is “The feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface or a substance” (Dictionary.com)

Textures just like photos can convey the message and they work particularly well in situations where the art direction of a presentation is more abstract.

I love textures. In fact I love them so much, while still in college I’ve briefly considered becoming a texture artist. What is a texture artist? It’s someone who creates textures for digital media, for example for mapping on 3D objects that are used in 3D animated movies or video games.

Creating Your Texture Collection

Example of a stone texture used on a 3D model.

Example of a stone texture used on a 3D model. (by MMaslowska)

While I was taking a “texturing class” one of the ongoing assignments was to take photos of interesting textures for use in projects. So I walked around with my camera and took pictures of everything that could be used as a texture in a 3D environment: walls, hardwood floors, rocks, papers, rusted pipes. And many years later I continue to build my texture collection in the same way. For example I took the dirt image above in my moms garden over the weekend.  I have one of those small Canon Elph cameras I carry in my purse wherever I go and take pictures of anything I could use in projects, including textures. The key is setting the photo output size to the highest possible available (somewhere in the 6k width is more than adequate) in case there is need for cropping and using the “Macro” setting.

Green Texture from Clementine Paper, Inc notebook cover.

Green Texture from Clementine Paper, Inc notebook cover.

I also use a scanner to scan objects that have great textures. For example this green pattern texture on the right was scanned from greenroom eco Clementine Paper, Inc notebook cover.  In addition to the great pattern, the cover was printed on paper that had it’s own embossed-like texture.

Scanners are relatively inexpensive these days and a great way to quickly build up a texture library.  For a typical 7in by 10in PPT slide you need 2200px by 1540px resolution for a full slide image if you’re planning to print it or show it on a large scale plasma or LCD monitor. This means a scanner with a minimum DPI of 2200 x 1540. Of course scanners with higher DPI values will be better for small details. Flatbed scanners are best for scanning textures because you can lay down almost any object that will fit on the scanning surface to scan it.

Scanned texture tiled as a slide background

Scanned texture tiled as a slide background (Typeface: Hand of Sean)


Some everyday objects you can scan for textures : your jeans or any clothing for that matter, a cardboard box, notebook paper, leaves, baskets, plates, fruit or vegerables etc.

Gravel picture by M.Maslowska

Gravel picture by M.Maslowska

Rust texture by M.Maslowska

Rust texture by M.Maslowska (Typeface: Bebas Neue)

To create a subtle texture background simply cover the slide with a rectangle shape the size of the slide with a solid or gradient fill and increase the transparency.

Format Background dialog box in PowerPoint 2007

Format Background dialog box in PowerPoint 2007

Setting a slide background in PowerPoint is very easy. Right-click anywhere on the slide and scroll down to Format Background… Then click on the File button and look for your texture. You can use the Offsets to adjust the texture position directly in PowerPoint.

Comments (1)

  1. get smart 08. Dec, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Ardyth Davis has been included in the Quilt National at least six times and won their Award of Excellence in 1985, but Davis does not call her work “quilts”, but rather goes for the more general term: “fiber constructions”. Davis work features lush color and sensual textures, which come together to create a surface that is hypnotic and inviting.
    get smart recently posted..No last blog posts to return.

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