PowerPoint Tutorial: The Ken Burns effect

A little while ago we received a request on the Presentation Helper Forum to do the Ken Burns Effect in PowerPoint.

The Ken Burns Effect, named after the American documentary maker Ken Burns, is the technique of embedding still photographs in movies, displayed with slow zooming and panning effects, and fading transitions between them. The zooming and panning across photographs gives the feeling of motion, and keeps the viewer visually entertained.

The basic Ken Burns effect that is included in Apple’s iMovie software package is simply a zoom feature.

Ken Burns Effect

This is fairly easy to replicate in PowerPoint, by using the Grow/ Shrink command in Custom Animation. The main drawback is that you have to zoom into the centre of the image.

In this case we wanted to zoom in on the old lady to the left of the centre of the picture.

Ken Burns effect

To do this we first need to use a Custom Motion Path to bring her to the centre of the screen.

Ken Burns effect

We then need to play around with the arrows in PowerPoint Custom Animation to get the animation path right. This seems to be quite fiddly to get right and does not seem to line up with where you would think it should go.

Download Ken Burns Effect in PowerPoint FormatIf we combine the Grow/ Shrink and the Custom Motion path we get a good approximation of the Ken Burns effect.

An example of these animations is available to download a Power Point template.

How we did it

1. Basic Ken Burns effect using Grow/ Shrink Size:150% Speed :Slow

Select Slide Show > Custom Animation

Then on the right hand Custom Animation bar Add Effect > Emphasis > Grow/ Shrink
Then set the timing to Slow or Very Slow

2. Creating a custom motion path

Select Slide Show > Custom Animation > Add Effect > Motion Paths > Draw Custom Path > Line

Move the green and red arrows and keep testing until you get the centre of the picture in the right place (this can be very fiddly to get right)

3. Combining the motion path with Grow/ Shrink to create a combined zoom and panning effect

In custom animation add in the Grow/ Shrink as before
To make both animations start at the same time click on the second animation and change Start > With Previous

You may need to play around with the settings to get it working the way you want.

Click on the link to go to the template page.


Published On: 9th May 2007

Read more about -
Animated Powerpoint Templates,PowerPoint ,

  1. I would like to create the ken burns effect in power point 2000 for windows and power point 2004 for macs. Is this possible and if so can i have a response ASAP.

    Regards Andre

    Cressall Resistors Ltd

    Andre Blackwood 26 Sep at 11:56 am
  2. Andre just click on the PPT link (at the botton of the article) and you should be able to download the files to make it happen.

    admin 28 Sep at 6:17 pm
  3. hi my name is lulwa i really needed the microsoft powerpoint for my presenation in school thx tht really helped me :p

    lulwa 27 Oct at 4:52 am

    MISS .G. 20 Nov at 6:48 pm
  5. bril

    ellie morter 21 Nov at 5:36 pm
  6. hihihihihi

    Anonymous 29 Nov at 7:21 pm
  7. how do u download it ehh aye cnt find it anywere

    MARSHEY 29 Nov at 8:34 pm
  8. I have had no problems downloading the file off the website

    Just click on the link where it says – PowerPoint File: Ken-Burns-effect.ppt

    admin 4 Dec at 11:35 pm
  9. I need more information

    jack 27 Feb at 12:32 pm
  10. How did he get the people to stand in the red box? Awsome, wonder if it is heavy.

    tel 1 Mar at 2:35 pm
  11. I am missing something because I cant figure out how to get my picture in the frame. Or even how to create the frame. Thanks for you help..

    JD 20 Apr at 3:26 pm
  12. I figured it out.. thanks,

    JD 20 Apr at 3:48 pm
  13. how did you create a frame for your picture?

    Brian 13 Aug at 9:11 pm
  14. Can I translate it into spanish and share it referencing this page as the original source of the document?

    CNatra 22 Feb at 5:36 pm
  15. i have been searching this “special effect” from web slider, video, and now i have found this for powerpoint !

    nice tutorial i ever found 😀

    andrew 22 Jun at 1:12 am
  16. Can this be reversed as a shrink/grow instead of the grow/shrink?

    Carl 29 May at 10:32 pm
  17. Ken Morse eat your heart out!

    This is a great effect with archive photographs and paintings, especially if used sparingly

    Thank you for the very clear instructions

    Gordon 29 Aug at 3:31 pm