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Tutorial Tuesday: Full Gradient Color Overlay

Have you ever found yourself creating a PowerPoint really wishing you had gone to art school? You are not alone! In fact, 99% of Americans do not possess professional design skills. If you’re always searching for another tool for your arsenal, you can play around with full gradient color overlays and see how those might spice up your slides. When might these be appropriate, you may ask? The most common uses for a full gradient color overlay in Powerpoint are for title slides and when using photos as background images.

Title slide

Adding a full gradient color overlay to a photo is a great way to make a title slide engaging. It allows you to explore using your brand’s colors in a new way. Try showcasing an image relevant to your presentation’s overall theme/content without it being the focal point by implementing this effect.

Photos as Background Images

Using an image as a slide background can aid in storytelling by helping explain concepts. It can also be used for varying visual interest across multiple slides. Proceed with caution, as a full color photo will likely be too busy when heavy content sits on top. A full gradient color overlay helps by allowing you to control the transparency of the photo. This way, you can limit how much of the photo shows up so as not to clash with any content of the slide. Think of it as a more subtle background.


Step 1Select an image. We suggest trying these steps with a very busy image as well as a more calm image to experience how that affects your general outcome. We use Adobe Stock, but there are lots of options out there.

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Step 2- Insert the image onto a slide.
Drag your image from its destination to your blank PowerPoint slide making sure it fills the entire space. Your image size should be 1024 x 768 pixels

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Step 3- Create a shape and format it. Navigate to Insert in the toolbar. Then, click Shape and select rectangle. Resize the rectangle until it completely covers the slide and image

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Step 4-Create the gradient layer.
Click on Shape Format and select Shape Fill. Press Gradient, then More Gradients in the dropdown menu. Under fill, select Gradient Fill.

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Under Gradient stops, you will see 4 tabs. Remove 2 of the 4 tabs by simply dragging them off of the sliding scale.  This is what you should see after removing the 2 tabs:

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Now, you can change the color of the gradient layer. Click on the color icon and select More Colors. We went with a medium dark blue for the first color. After you have chosen your first color, you will need to select a darker shade of that color for the second color stop. An easy way to do this is by choosing the most recent color used, then navigating to the darker shade needed to create the gradient.

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With both colors indicated, we decided to change the direction of the gradient so that it flowed from left to right. This element can be transformed by selecting an option under Direction.

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Step 5- Adjust Transparency.
 After you decide on a gradient flow, you will want to shift the transparency so that the image can shine through the color overlay. To do this, click on Transparency and create as many stops as you find necessary to achieve the look and feel you want. We chose 4 stops, each with progressively greater transparency than the one before it.

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Step 6- Add Text.  Finally, we created a text box and added copy.

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We hope you have fun implementing this design tool in your next presentation! At Ethos3, we are obsessed with presentation design. Reach out and let us know if you have any other design needs! Don’t forget to comment if this tutorial was helpful for you, and if there are any tutorials you would like to see in the future!

The post Tutorial Tuesday: Full Gradient Color Overlay appeared first on Ethos3 – A Presentation Design Agency.

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