Recent software updates from Apple seem to have developed a rather perverse habit of removing popular features from apps. Keynote 6 is a good example – it gained new features such as the Format Panel and Interactive Charts, but it also lost the Smart Builds that made it easy to create some quite complex animation effects. But, perhaps as some sort of compensation, Keynote 6 also introduced a new set of 'emphasis builds'. These include new animation effects such as Blink, Bounce, and Flip, and you'll find them in the Action menu, listed just beneath the existing 'basic' actions – Move, Opacity, Rotate and Scale.
Like the four basic actions the new emphasis builds allow you to animate objects while they're on a slide. That's in contrast to the standard 'build in' and 'build out' effects that animate objects as they come into sight on a slide or leave the slide. As the name implies, they're designed to highlight particular objects in order to add emphasis to a particular point that you want to make. The names of the effects are fairly self-explanatory – like this Flip effect – but you can preview all the effects instantly simply by pressing the 'Preview' button beside the name of each effect.
The emphasis builds work just like other builds in Keynote, with each build allowing you to adjust settings such as the duration of the animation effect or the number of times that it repeats. Here, we've chosen the pulse action that makes text or graphic objects repeatedly increase and then decrease in size, and we've used it to highlight the 365 days of snow on offer at this ski resort. As well as adjusting the duration of the effect, you can specify the number of times that the pulse effect repeats, and also the size increase that is applied to the text.
You can use as many actions and emphasis builds on a slide as you want. The big central photo already has a Flip, so we'll make the two smaller photos rotate, and leave the Pulse effect on the text at the bottom. If we click the Build Order button at the bottom of the Format Panel we'll see a list of all the build effects on this particular slide, and the order in which they occur. At the moment, the effects occur in sequence, one after the after, beginning with the pulsing text, and the sequence only starts when we click our mouse or trackpad.
You can change this sequence in a number of ways. You can simply drag and drop effects in the Build Order list to change the order in which they take place, and it's also possible to make two or more effects take place at the same time. If we select Build 2 – the Flip applied to the large photo – and click the Start menu, we can see three different options. By default, each build effect starts 'On Click', but we can also specify that the build takes place at the same time as the previous build (With Build 1), or immediately after without waiting for you to click.
And if we want to get really carried away, we can make all these animation effects happen at the same time. We'll Command-click to select Builds 2, 3, and 4 – the builds applied to the three photos – and then use the Start menu to specify that these three builds all take place with the pulsing text of Build 1. That will make all four effects run at the same time, or you can set a delay so that there's a brief pause before each effect starts up. However, that will require you to carefully adjust the duration of each individual effect so that they all end at the right moment.
We'll select the 'With Build 1' option and hit the Preview button, and then just sit back and watch as all four animation effects start to run at the same time. Of course, you'll probably give your audience a migraine if you hit them with a few slides like this one, but it does give you an idea of how much control you have over the effects within your slides. You can mix and match the new emphasis builds and the four older 'basic' builds in all sorts of combinations, but there are some limitations that we'll look at now.
We've seen how you can animate multiple objects simultaneously, but it's also possible to apply multiple effects to individual objects as well – albeit with some limitations. You can apply the four basic action effects – Move, Opacity, Rotate and Scale to an object and then use the Build Order list to specify that the effects happen in sequence or at the same time. So, if you add the Rotate and Scale effects to this photo it will rotate and increase in size at the same time.
That isn't the case with the new emphasis builds, as these builds already combine multiple animation effects that run together. Pulse, for instance, is a series of scaling effects that repeatedly increase and decrease the size of an object, so trying to run multiple emphasis builds on a single object at the same time would just get very messy. You can still use the Add Action button to add multiple emphasis effects to an object, but you can only play those builds in sequence one after the other, rather than running them simultaneously.
The bad news is that the iOS version of Keynote doesn't include the same range of actions and emphasis builds as the Mac version. If we transfer this presentation onto our iPad the existing builds that we've applied so far will still work – and you can see the numbers representing each build on this slide. However, the iOS version of Keynote only allows you to edit a more limited set of build in and build out effects, so you can't use Keynote on your iPad to further edit the actions and emphasis builds that were originally applied on the Mac.