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Right Seat’s Vox Proxy.

Nearly everyone has had those dull PowerPoint moments, where the lights are low, the quickly moving graphs and charts are lulling, and suddenly, bam! Your chin hits your chest and you’re officially not listening anymore. The developers at Right Seat Software must have had far too many of these incidents, because their entry into the PowerPoint add-on arena, Vox Proxy, is enough to make even the sleepiest audience member pay attention.

The software inserts 3D animated characters into PowerPoint slide shows, giving presentations a souped-up feel and a fresh, if sometimes inadvertently amusing, approach. The characters are wide ranging, from a cartoonish, pot-bellied Biblical “Noah” to the near-realism of “Louis,” nattily attired in polo shirt and khakis. Other potentials for populating the slide show world include a laid-back yet wisecracking dog, a haughty-looking professor complete with tweed jacket and half-glasses, and “Chrome,” a talking silver head.

But what are characters who can’t speak? These most certainly do, and in a variety of languages like French, German, and Spanish. (If you feel like taking a breather from serious presentation development, try making Noah chat in Indian-accent English. You won’t be sorry.) At times, the characters can make deeply complicated material seem a little too lightweight, and distract from the material being shown. There’s definitely a danger that dry material like year-end sales projections will get ignored when a talking dog is on the screen, but fortunately, the characters can be sprinkled throughout rather than used continually.

The only other quibble is that some of the characters can look boxy, especially for those used to seeing streamlined game graphics like those of “Final Fantasy” and “The Sims.” But this is a minor flaw that’s vastly outweighed by the major benefit the software provides to a PowerPoint presentation audience: the ability not just to stay awake, but also to see something worth watching.

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