The basic idea of carousel animations is self-explanatory. For the young ones, carousels (also known as merry-go-rounds) are circular conveyors of plastic or wooden horses usually found at amusement parks. In animation, this usually means a collection of images or information displayed on a similar rotating conveyor.

The best (and most outdated) carousel animations example I can think of is iTunes’ Cover Flow. This feature displayed music album covers as tiles that users could scroll through horizontally, thereby gave the illusion of flipping through different LP or CD covers on a carousel.

This feature really helped me bridge the gap between analogue and digital because it looked like my music library had been digitalised, complete with interactive cover art (RIP iTunes).

Carousel animation is effective because it gives depth and movement to flat imagery. Furthermore, adding depth to something tricks the eye into seeing 2D objects as 3D. We’ve even done the same with our recent rebrand. Combined with the sense of motion, carousel animations are visually pleasing and far more dynamic than static lists or tiles.

Building a Carousel Animations in PowerPoint

Incorporating a carousel animation in PowerPoint is relatively simple. First ensure your images are the same size. Next use a ‘fly in’ entrance effect on your selected image, then use a ‘grow’ effect and move to the centre ‘with previous’ effect. Use ‘shrink’ effect and move image to the edge ‘with previous’ effect. Finish with ‘fly out’ exit effect and you’ve created a simple carousel effect that can be reproduced for several different images.

Carousel animations are a wonderful way to display different images while giving audiences an interactive sense of tactility and motion.

Previously on AMC’s Mad Men…

I’m reminded of episode 13 from season 1 of Mad Men, where Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency bid for Kodak’s latest development. The agency are tasked to market Kodak’s new slide projector, which doesn’t jam and projects continuous photos like a wheel.

The advertising men of the office (it was the 1960s and most women were relegated to secretary) make various jokes around its shape and function, referred to as a doughnut and “Kodak reinvented the wheel”. However, by the episode’s end, protagonist – Don Draper – brings it home with one of the series’ best sales pitches.

“Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means ‘the pain from an old wound’. It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship; it’s a time machine. It goes backwards and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel; it’s called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.”

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Want to learn more about how to stretch the creative limits of PowerPoint?

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