A new build feature discovered in Keynote 12 or just some really smart Keynote authors working at Apple?

Welcome to the first blog post of 2012!

In the lead up to my two presentations at Macworld in a few weeks time, I’m creating some Keynote effects which I hope will tantalise and enchant my intended audience.

Since there will be more people reading this blog than will attend, I thought I’d use you as a guinea pig to beta test some of my ideas. I’m going to put up some Keynote effects over the course of the next few weeks until I depart for San Francisco. The challenge will be if you can work out how I did it – and whether you think they are effects worth demonstrating and teaching at Macworld.

I was thinking about this in December, but my accidental discovery of a video on Vimeo (I’ve been playing with the AppleTV over the hot, slow days of summer here in Australia) has moved the schedule forward.

In fact, the effect I’m going to show you is one I didn’t create, but one created for a “sneak peek” keynote at Supermeet NAB Las Vegas in mid-April before the official  launch of Final Cut Pro X in  June 2011.

Now even if you don’t use FCP X, but you’re an Apple follower, you’ll know the huge ruckus this rewrite created in the professional editing community, with many saying it was iMovie Pro or “iMovie on steroids”, lamenting the lack of compatibility with previous versions, the exclusion of much loved previous features, and so on. I’ve been predicting for a while now that Keynote too will get the FCP X “treatment” when its next upgrade is released, and that prediction is somewhat forged by Apple’s long time between updates suggesting a rewrite. And if Apple can do what it did to its professional users with FCP X, it will certainly have no second thoughts about Keynote, which is in desperate need of a rewrite too, if only to put a “Magic timeline” into being. It too might be called a Magnetic timeline as it is for FCP X, (see live link, below).

I want to feature a video from Vimeo taken at the Las Vegas sneak peek of FCP X, by Emanuel Pamperi. It shows FCP X’s chief architect, Peter Steinauer, going through some of its feature set, to much rousing applause (especially the price of $299!). That applause turned to dismay when the same crowd got its hands on FCP X in June, from previously mentioned reports. There were even “Hitler parodies” made, wondering what Apple was thinking when it made the serious changes it did! (Link: http://www.google.com.au/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=hitler+parody+final+cut)

Emanuel’s video is in two sections of 25 minutes, and you can see section 1 in its entirety here (but don’t go there just yet): http://vimeo.com/22329493

About 9:10 in Steinauer introduces new features known as Content Auto Analysis where FCP X analyses the raw data such as searching for faces or crowds or colour matching. I’ve taken the video and edited it so you see how he brings in each feature, starting with the raw source (an SD card) and its target (an iMac).

Here is the edited feature set below (edited, because it’s not in real time and there’s no sound track):

1. Notice how the sequence begins with three elements: SD Card -> iMac

2. The first feature – what would be a dreary bullet point in another presentation software – comes in, separating the SD card and iMac with move builds. Notice how the arrow duplicates and separates in the one build. Probably there were two arrows layered over each other in step 1, and each arrow moved as part of the build. (Well, that’s how I would have done it.)

3. New features are added from the bottom up in table format, again keeping the focus on the features in an animated fashion, rather than static bullet points.

4. But do you notice something I’ve not been able to duplicate? Each new cell of the table both dissolves in and moves upward as the whole table moves to make room? Please go back and have another look because it’s easy to miss.

5. I’ve tried to reproduce this but Keynote 5 will not let a move and dissolve build together: it’s only after one build completes that the other build can occur, as the screen shot below shows. There is no Automatically with option.

6. So either I’m missing something, or what we saw at Las Vegas was a new Keynote feature, something I’m sure many of us could put to good use as we attempt to rid the world of bullet points!

I asked my esteemed Keynote colleague and theme creator John Driedger to have a go, and he came up with the same semi-solution as I did: we can move, then dissolve but not at the same time. (John will hopefully have some new themes and elements for me to show at Macworld).

So, over to you: Can you reproduce the effect here just using Keynote; do we have evidence of a new Keynote feature; or merely that the keynote author used a third party motion app to create the effect?

If you think you can do it in Keynote, email your Keynote file to me (lesatlesposen.com), I’ll verify it and post it as an update here. No prizes (yet!)

UPDATE (Jjanuary 5) : Problem solved using MagicMove and opacity controls. Well done to Spydre for suggesting this solution!

35 responses to “A new build feature discovered in Keynote 12 or just some really smart Keynote authors working at Apple?

  1. Hi Les,

    I haven’t tried it live yet, but this looks like a “Magic Move” transition over a series of slides (one for each of the new text elements) combined with a “Dissolve” build set to start as soon as the new slide appears.

    • You might be correct, so we’ll have to try it. Apple is using MagicMove so much in its keynotes.
      Ok, tried it. You get the upper cell to move, the lower cell to dissolve in, but it doesn’t dissolve and move up at the same time. back to – ahem – square 1.

      • It is a magic move. There are two objects, A & B on top of each other on slide 1. A is fully visible. B has 0 opacity. On slide 2, A and B are at new locations with 100% opacity. So it appears that B is moving and dissolving in at the same time.
        Also what looks like a table is really shapes and text. You cannot magic move a table.
        A little bit of work, but that entire keynote is doable using Magic Move.

      • Magic move would seem the solution, and creating individual boxes and text. Did you try this? I’ll try myself a little later and post the results.

      • Ok, I tried this. No, not quite. I created the boxes by using text first then outlining in using the frame element for two words. No need to use words and shapes, then group. Keep it simple. But when I try it as suggested using Magic Move “B” does not move, only dissolves in. “A” does move however. But the technique is a useful one, regardless.

      • Nice one Spydre! I didn’t realise that you could play with the opacity of objects on Magic Move – seeing as you lose the effect with, for example, a text box if you change the colour or size of the text. I never thought to check if changing opacity carries through in Magic Move.

        Major nerdy kudos sir! Thank you.

      • I tried it – it’s not successful. I recorded my whole effort to follow Spydre’s directions in Screenflow and will put it up in a few hours (lunch first!). As they say, watch this space!

  2. Just sent you what might be the solution …

  3. Not sure, but i’ve something that comes very close, Les.

    Slide 1:
    Rectangle 1: Build 1: Action = Move up (.5 seconds)
    Rectangle 2: Build 2: Build in = Dissolve (with Build 1, .1 seconds delay)
    Slide transition = Dissolve (automatically)

    Slide 2:
    Rectangle 1: Build 1: Action = Move up (.5 seconds)
    Rectangle 2: Build 2: Action = Move up (with Build 1) (.5 seconds)
    Rectangle 3: Build 3: Build in = Dissolve (with Build 1, .1 seconds delay)

    Slide 3:

    • Close, but no cigar! The lower cell dissolves in, but there is no dissolve and move together. It needs 3 essential builds:

      1. The previously formed table scrolls up
      2. the new cell dissolves in and
      3. at the same time scrolls up to join the previous table

  4. I played with it and came close by moving the table up while dissolving a series of overlapping boxes. But it didn’t look the same. If they used Keynote, I figure they could’ve done it with a series of slides, but I was thinking of the effort it would take — doesn’t seem worth it. I’m going to vote that that wasn’t how it was done (unless Apple has people without enough real work to do).

    • I agree. It’s not like Apple to work so hard for what seems a simple effect. Not worth the effort. I vote for a new build.

  5. It seemed to me a pretty simple trick and it took me about 20 minutes to build it. I did not bother with exact timing, images or alingment, only with ‘style’ as done at Apple’s presentaion. The key for me was using ‘actions’ as opposed to builds and a masked image. I’ll be sending it as a movie and as a KN file, titled ‘Les’ Test’ I’ll also post it on my Facebook Page at:
    Wayne Garriepy

  6. Les, I’ve just seen the dissolve AND move of the table object. (Had to ‘full screen’ the YouTube’ video to catch it. Let me work on what I think may solve it.

    • Ah, not so easy. I think only Keynote enthusiasts who like a challenge would even see it, much less try to emulate it!

  7. Three possibilities come to mind:

    1. It’s indeed a new transition for the upcoming Keynote version (say “build table up”) or something made with a different animation program (something that I’d like to see better integrated in the next Keynote version).

    2. It’s an artifact of the video compression used (not entirely unlikely, given the way video compression works; a dissolve-like effect is a way to soften up macro-blocking in compression).

    3. Here’s how I’d mock it: a) move up the cells; b) make a rectangle filled to match the background appear at the bottom of the table in front of a new cell; c) dissolve out that rectangle while moving up the cell (behind it).

    Happy new year,

    • Yes, some people have tried your solution but it comes up short with regard to the two builds together: you have to move the previous multiple table up, while dissolving in and moving up the new cell. And doing it on a gradient background makes it tougher. It’s unApple for them to do it in a way that’s too complicated – that’s what we do to make up for Keynote’s shortcomings!



  8. Years ago, when Keynote 1 was fairly new, I wrote to Steve Jobs to ask how he’d done a trick in one of his presentations. As I recall, he made some letters shatter and fall off the screen. I asked him if it was part of a new Keynote 2, and he replied “Sorry, your premise is wrong. We don’t have a version of Keynote 2 in the works.” I wrote back and asked him how he did the shatter trick, and he admitted they used Motion (or was it LiveType in those days?) to animate the type in that slide. So he certainly wasn’t a purist then — and certainly not impossible that they’ve used some secondary software now.

    • Nice story.. Of course, apple eventually built in that letter transformation in Keynote 5. One wonders what would happen if Motion and Keynote teams got together.

  9. I finally got a chance to review the full-screen vid on YouTube and I’m not sure that the way they’ve done it in that preso is necessarily the optimal way to introduce a new element.

    1. I think it is stronger to move the existing elements out of the way and introduce each of the new text boxes in line with the arrows.

    2. The new element will have greater salience by being still as it appears, rather than moving with the others. I’m considering a slight fade-down of the colour saturation of the previous text boxes to reinforce this.

    What do you think? Is this a case of “Ooh! Cool new toy!” rather than “What’s the best way to introduce each of these elements” ?

    • What you say is very important. I spend some time on this concept in workshops, showing how to introduce elements or points usually to crowds who either show 8 bullet points per slide all at once, or zing them in individually which is all sizzle and no steak. Keynote has interesting ways to use bullets (but without the bullets themselves if you choose) but again the idea is how to make your points without overwhelming the audiences working memory capacity.

      • I generally eschew animations when possible (it’s part of a robustness drive for my presentation materials), but here’s a mockup of animated introduction of topics I just made (emphasis on “mock-up”):

        Probably will blog something about this later (I’ve been thinking about robustness for a while now, after seeing another speaker blow his presentation in front of ~2000 people due to equipment problems).

      • Very nice, simple animation. It’s a tension between what audiences have become used to in terms of visual presentations – movies, TV, apps, etc – and the quality delivery of ideas which can be done so simply and without the whistles and bells. There are too few people who can deliver memorable teaching via speech alone. Somewhere in this dynamic is a happy medium

  10. I’m not a Keynote user, but I thought this was done using a gradient fill (0-100% opacity) over where the cell appears.

    As you’re presenting at Macworld, surely you could ask Peter Steinauer how it was done – there must be someone you know who could contact him?

    • Well, Apple is no longer a presence at Macworld. But yes, I will find a way once I exhaust all possibilities to see if in fact it was done entirely in Keynote, or with some helpers. Apple’s principal research scientist, Kim Silverman is attending the workshop; still waiting to hear if any of the Keynote team will again this year.

  11. Peter Steinauer is on LinkedIn (but he’s out of my network). Perhaps he’s in your network and you can forward a request to him.

    • Ok, in fact many Apple employees are on LinkedIn – it’s a matter of connecting with them, and Apple’s policies. By the way, here’s my clip of trying to emulate the effect using Spydre’s solution:

      • Just move the image stabilization box down by height of the box on the first slide and then when it magic moves it will move up and also fade in at the same time. Basically on both slides the two boxes have to be on top of each other like a table (ie just sharing an edge), not physically occupying the same space. I may have been incorrect in my description above.

      • Yes, will give it a try and report back… my bad, I think!

      • Here’s the result when I move the boxes as per your suggestion:

      • It worked! Well done…

  12. Impressive Les. Very good on your YouTube test. Right off I can see how good you are by the speed with which you construct slides. Had you ‘grouped’ the two text boxes together, would that have made a difference?
    That gradiant slide complicates matters. Did Jose Silva use two black opaque shapes with shadows as ‘covers’ over his scrolling text?

    • yes, I think that’s what Jose did. And if I really wanted that solution, you’d go for a non gradient them, but that’s inelegant.

  13. Les, is it possible for you to make the KN file available for download for us to examine?

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