The third element of iWorks ’08 is Keynote and this is probably closer to PowerPoint in capabilities than the other two apps are to their Office counterparts. Specialist at producing eye-catching presentations with little design effort, Keynote already includes as standard features such as slide styles, presentation themes and text effects.
There’s not a lot that’s radically new in Keynote, though the tweaks that have been made can add spice to most presentations. There are more text effects, for example, with some fun examples like Comet, which sparkles text onto the screen as if it’s in the tail of a comet – you might have seen it in Steve Jobs’ keynote presentations. Extra transitions also make for some stylish switches from slide to slide, including Shuffle, which pulls one slide away and stacks it behind the next.
If you want to be more adventurous with the way objects appear on your slides, you can use Keynote’s Build function. This generates fancy animations, particularly useful with photos, such as a rotating cube with a different image on each of its four vertical faces. The Shuffle animation is another good example; it moves four photos out in a cross formation, reassembling them with a different image at the front.
To take movement effects a step further, Apple has introduced A to B animation. This enables you to build a movement sequence for just about any object introduced onto a Keynote slide. You can define the path the object takes, with either straight or curved segments between each animation node and you can change its speed and size.
This can make for some dramatic effects, though it’s perhaps not as intuitive as Apple believes. Selecting nodes, converting movement paths from straight to curved and controlling movement, speed and object size at the same time is quite an acquired skill.