Prezi Training tip 2 – Getting the flavour right

April 19, 2011

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So we’ve looked at brainstorming ideas before we go anywhere near Prezi, but once we know what we want to achieve with our design we should then start to form ideas about how the Prezi file should look and feel. In this step I’d also suggest you don’t use Prezi just yet. We’ll start using Prezi in step 3, I promise.

I’ve seen literally hundreds of Presentations that have been made in various different software packages, and in most it’s very obvious that this step I’m sharing with you now has not been considered at all. I’ve seen nice High-Res images mixed in with that horrible HORRIBLE clip art stuff, and images that are actually quite nice have been rescaled to fit the whole screen and then become totally blurred. Some presentations I’ve seen have literally brought me to tears because they just haven’t considered one simple question from the very beginning:
“What flavour should my presentation be?”
DON’T spend time brainstorming and getting your overall concept spot only to then ruin it by jumping straight into Prezi and just using imagery as and when you find it. Get the imagery sorted early so that when you do eventually go to Prezi you can drop everything into place and it will all look and feel great to whoever is viewing it. Things will flow so much better if you get consistent imagery, and here’s what you should know about the two types of imagery you’ll be using.

Raster images

I want to explain one type of imagery which you may decide to use. Raster images are usually photographs taken with a camera and then converted into a digital format. Here’s what you should know about them, and why you may or may not decide to use them in your Prezi design.
Raster images are made up by thousands of tiny little pixels of colour. When a raster image is created, the image on the screen is converted into pixels. Each pixel is assigned a specific value which determines its colour. The raster image system uses the red, green, blue (RGB) colour system. An RGB value of 0,0,0 would be black, and the values go all the way through to 256 for each colour, allowing the expression of a wide range of colour values. In photographs with subtle shading, this can be extremely valuable.
PROS – A picture really can say a thousand words and when you have a piece of information that you need to communicate, you can really hit home with a great image to explain your point. A great benefit of using Raster images is that there are millions available online. I normally use to source raster images in my designs. They are reasonably priced and have a huge library to search through.
CONS – When zoomed into, the pixels in a raster image become apparent and this pixilation really doesn’t look good in a Prezi design. In order to avoid this you need to make sure your image is high-res, and to do that you normally have to pay extra from somewhere like High-res images are always a much higher file size than low-res, so if you are going to have a lot of them in your Prezi then the overall file size could be very large indeed. Another down side of using Raster images is that it does take a lot of time to find the right ones, and time is money!
Vector images
Vector images are a collection of individual objects rather than picture elements. A vector image can be composed of points connected by lines, and these images can be created and drawn in programs such as Adobe Illustrator (I love you AI).
PROS – Each individual object contained in a vector image is defined by a mathematical equation. This means that vector images are not resolution dependent. Thus, each vector object is scalable and can generally be resized without any loss of image quality. In the world of Prezi this is great news because it means you can zoom in as much as you like and you won’t get any of the pixilation that you would with a raster image. Vector images are always small in file size as well – Bonus!
CONS – Vector images are not appropriate for use in producing realistic-looking photos and images. Vector images have solid colour and gradient attributes but they are not conducive to uninterrupted sequences of subtle colour tone and shade variations. But I’d ask yourself how important it is in your design to use realistic looking photography? One of the only other downsides I can think of with vector images is where to get them, but again or any other online image library will stock a huge range of vector images.

The best of both worlds
Best of both worlds
So I’ve bored you with the benefits of both raster and vector images, and hopefully if your like me you’ll leaning heavily towards the use of vector images from now on. After all they use little file size, and can be zoomed into without losing qaulity; But what if you do have some great raster images you want to use, and are worried about all of the pixelation and huge file size problems I mentioned?
Well here’s a way you can have the benefits of both raster and vector images in your Prezi file. It’s called live trace and is my favourite feature of Adobe Illustrator.
It basically takes a raster image and converts it into a vector. I know what your thinking……….’how cool is that’. Rather than detail it all on this page I’ve found a great youtube clip that explains everything
So go and explore the different types of images you can work with, and remeber to get your flavour right before you attempt to build anything in prezi.

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