Presente3D is an interesting add-on for Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 that allows users to easily take any existing PowerPoint Presentation and add some volume into it turning it into a stereoscopic 3D presentation. Presente3D is currently in open beta stage and is available for free download, so anyone interested can download and try it, the full package comes with a few example presentations that you can test viewing in 3D before you actually start turning your presentations in 3D format. Probably the nicest thing about this software is the fact that everyone can quickly start using, even people new to 3D should be able to get the hang of it in a few minutes. The fact that it is so easy to use is very important, though you can say that the ease of use also limits a bit the functionality of the software. Then again when making presentations in 3D you should focus what you are presenting as information and not that much on adding a lot and very fancy and distracting 3D effects, right? The 3D in presentations should be properly used in order to help you focus the attention of the viewer on the key points in your presentation and not to sway their attention away from them.
When you install the Presente3D is going to be automatically integrated directly into Microsoft PowerPoint’s Ribon Bar, and you’ll see the Presente3D menu at the rightmost part of that bar, just click on it to see the options you have available. You’ll immediately see that there aren’t that many things that you can do and the good thing is that all of the 3D effects can be added with changing just two parameters of all the objects you have in the presentation – the depth position of an element and the other only is for applying an extrude effect. So essentially you are going to make all your presentations as you normally do in 2D mode, using all the traditional tools of PowerPoint and then you’ll have to add the depth information to the objects you want and that can just take a few minutes extra when you get the hang of it.
Currently Presente3D supports only PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010 and it can work with most more common 3D display methods such as 3D HDTV or 3D-Ready projectors, but due to the fact that the visualization of the software uses OpenGL you will not be able to make it work with 3D Vision for example. But since we are talking about presentations after, the most common ways of showing these to a group of people would be either using a projector or a bigger TV set and you should covered for these just fine. You have Side by Side and Above-Below modes for 3D HDTVs (there is a mention of HDMI 1.4 support on the official website, but I could not find it in the software) as well as Frame Sequential output for 3D DLP projectors, though apparently the FrameSequential Stereo (QuadBuffer) requires you to have an Nvidia Quadro card. What we need for 3D DLP projectors that are actually the most common and affordable ones with 3D-capabilities is a generic frame sequential mode that would not require you to have a professional level graphics card to work. Presente3D apparently will also support the quite common Anaglyph mode as well as some professional products for output such as the ones made bu Dimenco, Tridelity and SpatialView – autosterescopic 3D solutions not requiring you to wear any kind of 3D glasses to see the 3D effect.
With Presente3D you can control the depth or extrude any text, image or shape in PowerPoint or add real stereoscopic 3D images inside the presentation. You can also adjust separation, zoom in and zoom out and you can also rotate the resulting slides. When you want to change the depth position of an object in the presentation are working on you need to select it and give negative value to the Z-depth parameter in Presente3D to make the object go deep inside or positive value to make it pop-out of the screen. If you want to use extrusion as a form of adding depth to an object you need to select it and play with the value for Extrude, make sure you add an outline color as it will be used for the extrusion, and you can of course use both the Extrude and Z-Depth parameters together. Another option you have available is to add a stereoscopic 3D images into a presentation, though this is a bit tricky as currently only images with separate left and right views are supported (separate files for left and right eye), you need to insert the left view as a standard photo and then attach the right view trough the Presente3D interface. With stereoscopic 3D photos you can also play with the depth pf the photo in the presentation, though you are not able to control the 3D effect inside the photo itself.
Due to the way that Presente3D works for adding volume into existing 2D presentations the final effect is more like having cardboard cutouts as you are essentially building slides out of a number of layers with different depth for the elements or parts of elements you put in the presentation. But this actually works quite well in presentations, and if you need something else with more complex depth levels you can always include an external stereoscopic 3D photo to show. Also have in mind that running 3D presentations in stereoscopic 3D mode needs to be done through the options for showing the current slide and the whole presentation in the Presente3D bar, not trough the normal presentation play options as this way you’ll only see the normal 2D version of the presentation. There are some other limitations and things not yet implemented in Presented3D, but hopefully they will for example there is no yet support for videos, so you may have to switch to an external player to show a 2D/3D video and then get back to your 3D presentation. Getting an option to export the presentation in 3D format either as stereoscopic 3D photo pairs or a 3D video would also be useful and this is probably planned seeing an inactive option to export the presentation. But then again as I’ve mentioned PResente3D is still in beta version, so there is more to be done, but even at its current stage of development the software definitely looks very promising, so it is something to keep an eye on. I suggest you download the beta and try it out by opening the few sample presentations included to see what is possible to be done with it, and then try adding 3D effects to some of your own presentations to actually see how easy it is and how with just a few touches your presentation may suddenly become more interesting in 3D.