Inconvenient Line Art Portraits

ppt-toph mike001 jack darla ppt-kyoshi

The goal of this exercise was to try and create “art” using nothing but the tools available in a vanilla Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office installation. Most of the people at work don’t have the ability to install software beyond what IT puts on the machine when it’s delivered, so I wanted to test what would be possible for someone with that limited tool set.

I settled on PowerPoint because its slide metaphor is probably closest to the canvases or artboards in Photoshop and Illustrator, at least as far as I’m concerned.

I placed the photo on the presentation’s Slide Master so I wouldn’t have to worry about accidentally selecting or moving it. Then, using the Curve tool from the Drawing tools, I traced the important parts, tweaking the vector points as necessary to fit. I drew a large box around all the shapes to use as a matte that I could toggle on and off to check my progress and kept it as the backmost object in the shapes list. Turning on the Selection Pane (Select > Selection Pane…) was very helpful for getting to the shapes that often got buried under other shapes. Being able to set the name of the shapes in the Selection Pane is also helpful since you can rename “Freeform 74” into something more descriptive like “right eye highlight”. Being able to toggle the visibility of items from the Selection Pane makes working through piles of overlapping shapes much less painful as well.

Once complete, I selected all the objects and used the Save As Picture… option from the context menu to create the final PNG files.

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