Prepping a talk is basically a one-person operation for me. Can you relate? So I am always on the look out for a quick tip that will yield gain without drain.
The focus of this quick tip is improving the readability of a presentation slide using text layered on top of an image. The key thing to avoid is placing text on a busy background in which it becomes lost in colour and patterns. That mistake results in the audience struggling to read the text and possibly deciding to disengage.
A potential fix is to blur the image that sits in the background so that the foreground text is more pronounced. Now there are a number of ways to accomplish this, a few of which are well summarized by Scott Schwertly of Ethos3. Let me illustrate three.
If you use PowerPoint then it is quite easy to apply a blur effect to an image. Very briefly you need to double-click the image and then select “Artistic Effects” and choose the blur filter. Detailed instructions with additional options can be found here for PowerPoint 2010 and here for PowerPoint 2013.
The results are seen in the images below.
Not as simple as the basic blur is the radial blur. For this I am using a full-featured image editing program that you can download for free call Paint.net. To give you a feel for Paint.net I have enclosed a 30s screencast showing the basic steps of applying a radial blur.
This effect is no more complex to generate via Paint.net than the radial blur.
This quick tip was Windows-centric. I would love to hear how people are accomplishing the same kind of thing but via Mac.