PowerPlugs: Blurify
Technical Support — Frequently Asked Questions

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1. How do I install powerPlugs: Blurify?
2. How do I use PowerPlugs: Blurify?
3. What are the different ways I can use PowerPlugs: Blurify?

Downloading and Installation
1. How do I install PowerPlugs: Blurify?
1) Run the install program BlurifySetup.exe and accept the default settings unless you have a particular reason for changing them.

2) In PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 you will see a Blurify icon in the Add-ins Tab. If using PowerPoint 2003 or older, you will see it in a little floating toolbar. If so, drag the toolbar to your toolbar area, or any other part of the screen that suits you.

3) If the installation fails or runs into difficulties, note the content of any error message you see. For example, you may need to change your security settings (temporarily) and tell PowerPoint that Blurify is safe to allow. This is different for different versions of PowerPoint. The simplest way to find out what to do is by searching the internet for the error message you saw. (Hint: The www.pptfaq.com site is a great source of answers to all PowerPoint problems.)

2. How do I use PowerPlugs: Blurify?

1) Identify the part of your slide that you want to capture a blurred or a clear image of. This can be the whole slide, a picture, some text, or any area overlapping any of those.

2) Select the PowerPoint shape ('autoshape' in PPT 2003 and earlier) that best suits the area you want to cover. (It can be a freehand drawn shape too.)

3) Draw the shape over the area that you want to capture an image of.

4) Click on the Blurify icon in the Add-ins Tab or toolbar.

5) If you just want a clear but blurred image the default setting of 10% blur and 100% transparency may be just what you need. Simply click the OK button.

6) To change the amount of blur, use the slider and click on the 'BLUR' button.

0% will capture a clear image of whatever is underneath.

7) To change the transparency of the shape, adjust the slider position and click on the 'transp' button.

When you change the transparency of the shape from the default 100% to, say, 70%, the color of the shape you drew will show through and color the image that you have captured. To change that color, click on the 'color' button and choose your new color.

• 100% transparency hides the underlying shape, leaving just the blurred (or clear) image visible without color.
• 0% transparency creates a solid fill and will mean that you can not see the image you have captured. (No need to use PowerPlugs: Blurify for that!)

This can be done using the shape functions in PowerPoint after using PowerPlugs: Blurify, but it is included in the add-in for greater convenience. You may want to use it to give extra 'solidity' to a blurred image for improved contrast if, for example, you are going to add text to the shape.

8) By default, Blurify will remove any line from around the shape as this is the option you will want most often. However, when you want to keep the line just uncheck the 'no lines' checkbox under the 'blur' button.

9) You can drag the Blurify dialog box to a more convenient place on your screen. Hold down your left mouse button when pointing your mouse between Blurify's preview window and the top of the dialog box.

Note that a 'Blurified' shape has the same properties as any other PowerPoint shape, it just has a unique fill. So you can still type on it to add text; change the shape; animate it, and so on.
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3. What are the different ways I can use PowerPlugs: Blurify?
1) Hide someone's identity
If you have a photo of someone on your slide whose identity you can not reveal for legal reasons—or you don't want to reveal for a quiz—then just draw an oval shape over his or her face and blur it with Blurify. It is much more natural and sophisticated than covering it with a solid shape.

2) Cover up a brand name or make other distractions disappear
Similar to hiding someone's identity but you can do it for branded items. But if the text in an image is on a plain background you can make it disappear completely by capturing another part of the plain background in a shape (with the blur set to 0%) and moving it over the offending text.

It doesn't just have to be text. You can hide something like a distracting spot on a photo of someone's face. (Or you could be wicked and add one!)

3) Create a feathered shadow for text or a shape
If you are using one of the older versions of PowerPoint that can not produce soft shadow effects, you can create a version with Blurify.

First write the text or draw the shape that you want to make the soft shadow for.

Change the color of the text or shape to the color you want the shadow to be—light gray, to take a common example.

Next, capture a slightly blurred image using Blurify. Just 2–3% may be enough.

Then send your blurified shape behind your original and adjust its position so that it can be seen at the bottom and/or to the side.

Finally, change the original text or shape to the color you want it to be, that is, not the shadow color.

4) Create shapes with abstract fills

The soft, abstract fills you can create with Blurify are much more interesting/prettier/fun than shapes with normal gradient fills! This is something to experiment with.

Draw a number of different shapes on a blank slide and color each one with plain, gradient or picture fills, depending on how complex you want your abstract fills to be. Overlap them—whatever. Let's call them your 'patterning shapes'.

Over the top of your patterning shapes draw the shapes that you want to fill with abstract patterns. Blur the new shapes. Create as many as you need, perhaps using different parts of the slide. When you are done, delete the pattering shapes.

Now you can use your shapes with abstract fills. Don't forget that you can type directly onto a shape and that lines around shapes do not need to be thin black lines. They can be dashed, colored and thick, which often looks fresh and interesting to an audience!

5) Turn your friends into 'stars'—and other effects!
First, a little explanation. As well as a blurred image, you can capture a clear version of the whole or part of a photo with Blurify by setting the blur to 0% and leaving the transparency to the default 100%. This is very different from using a picture fill for a shape in PowerPoint. In the latter case, if you fill, say, a star shape with a photo it will be distorted. Using Blurify you can capture an image of a picture in a star shape without distorting it. It will look like you have cut out the shape of the star from the picture.

What can you do with clear images?
All sorts of things! But here are a few suggestions:

• Turn your friends into 'stars' using their photos. This effect is best if you keep the line on the shape (uncheck the 'no line' checkbox) and turn the line into a frame, making it thick and a contrasting color to the background.

• Create a personalized 'Where's Waldo?' type puzzle for young children using shapes with a photo of their own face hidden in all sorts of places on a picture. Blurify makes this easy because you can capture the face in a shape once and then create lots of copies that you can resize (and change the shape of) to hide all over the place.

• Highlight part of your slide. To do this first duplicate or copy the whole slide and, on the second one, draw a shape (an oval usually works well) over the area you want to highlight. Then capture a clear image with Blurify. Next draw a rectangle over the WHOLE of the slide. Fill the rectangle with black and make it semi-transparent—try 50% but vary it to get the look you want. You can set the color and transparency with Blurify, but you do not necessarily want the rectangle to be blurred so you can just do this with PowerPoint's own shape format settings. Finally, select the rectangle and move it backwards one level on the slide. (Right-click and select 'Send Backwards' on the context menu.) Note: move it back one level, not all the way to the back, where it would be hidden.

When you do this the shape with the clear image will jump out at you against the darkened background. Just move to this slide in your presentation when you want the audience to focus on the highlighted area.

For the following powerful effects you will need to know basic PowerPoint custom animation for your version of PowerPoint. If you are not familiar with how to do it, look up 'custom animation' in PowerPoint help.

6) Sophisticated title slide

For the title slide of your presentation, fill the slide with a photo.

Draw a rectangle, an oval, or a rectangle with rounded corners over most of the slide.

Blur with Blurify and perhaps reduce the transparency and change the color for more contrast if necessary.

Tip: Make sure you do not move the blurified shape or you will spoil the effect.

Type your title, etc. directly onto the blurified shape.

Apply a PowerPoint custom animation to the shape, to animate when you click to advance to the next slide. Good animations to use are 'fade' or 'split (vertical)' exit animations, but experiment with your own ideas!

7) Create a visual quiz and warm up audiences

PowerPoint visual quizzes are great for young children and for language learners of all ages. A fun quiz for grown ups can warm up audiences and fill in those awkward minutes when a business presentation can not get going because you are waiting for key people to turn up.

The hardest part about creating a visual quiz is thinking up things to ask that are appropriate to the likely audience.

8) A fresh way to reveal bullet points

It is a perennial debate amongst presenters…
It is better to show an audience all the bullets on a slide before you start talking about them or to bring the bullets in one-by-one and keep the audience waiting to see how many there are? Well, with Blurify you can compromise in a very elegant way!
Cover each bullet with a shape that you blur. This tells the audience how many there are without revealing the contents. Of course you remove each blurred shape when you are ready, revealing the underlying bullet point.

9) Unveil a new product
Blurify has been used very successfully in product launches. The audience is shown a picture of the current product on one side of the slide and the new product is hidden tantalizingly under a blurred image. They are first reminded of the features of the current product (and the problems associated with them that the new one solves) and then the new product is revealed as the old one fades out.

Like unveiling a statue this can have a very powerful effect. Add a drum roll sound effect to the animation for even greater impact!

10) Highlight parts of a picture: animated version

Follow the instructions in 5) above for highlighting part of your slide but, instead of moving onto the next slide, make the large, semi transparent rectangle and the clear blurified image appear by means of simultaneous custom animations. Then, when you no longer want the highlight, a further click can remove them.

The advantage of using animations for highlighting is that you can feature a sequence of areas without cluttering up your presentation with numerous slides.

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