Animate 3D Models in PowerPoint Without Morph

Created: Tuesday, January 2, 2018, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 9:30 am

We explored how you can add 3D objects in PowerPoint using the new 3D feature available to Microsoft Office 365 subscribers. But until now, any movement happened using the Morph transition effect.

So what does “movement only through Morph” mean? It means that you could not animate the 3D object in 3D space without Morph. Any movement in 3D space was only possible using a Morph transition, and the biggest disadvantage of this approach was that you needed to duplicate your slide for any movement to occur. For a reasonably adventurous concept, you may even need more than two slides. I remember creating something with 3D models that spanned 5 slides, all with the Morph transition applied.

Movement: Animations and Transitions

Any movement in PowerPoint happens using two features:

  1. Animations are movements that happen to individual slide objects within a slide. When you move to the next slide, the animations on the existing slide no longer occur. Exceptions may happen in the case of sounds and videos playing across slides, which technically are also animations.
  2. Transitions are movements for the entire slide when one slides changes into another. Any movement thus happens only within the transition duration. You can create faux animations with transitions though, especially when the contents of subsequent slides are largely identical.

And herein lay the problem: this seemed like a workaround. And now it seems true that this was indeed a workaround because Microsoft just introduced real 3D animations in PowerPoint. At the time of writing, these animations are only available to Office Insider subscribers of Office 365. Both Office Insider Slow and Office Insider Fast rings have access to these animations.

Without further ado, let’s show you where you can find these new features. Here’s a quick walkthrough:

  1. First, open any presentation that already has a 3D object inserted. Alternatively, insert a 3D object in your slide. Resize, reposition, and reorient your 3D object as required.
  2. With your 3D object selected, access the Animations tab of the Ribbon. Now click the Add Animation button to bring up a drop-down gallery. Right at the top, you will see a new category of animations called 3D, as can be seen, highlighted in red within Figure 1, below.
  3. 3D Animations in PowerPoint
    Figure 1: New 3D Animations in PowerPoint
  4. Where are the 3D Animations?

    Don’t see any 3D animations in your drop-down gallery? This may happen due to two reasons:

    1. Firstly, you may not have access to an Office 365 subscription, or the Office Insider rings.
    2. Alternatively, you may have not selected a 3D object. These animations only show up when you select a 3D object.
  5. As of now, 5 such 3D animations are available. These are Arrive, Turntable, Swing, Jump & Turn, and Leave.

Here is a video clip in which Aimee Leong, Program Manager speaks with Doug Thomas about using these 3D animations.

And here’s another video that shows all five 3D animations.

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