I feel a bit guilty this week. Our school broke up last Thursday but lots of you are still busy in the classroom. I’m sure it all evens out in the big scheme of things but I thought I’d share an end of the year activity with you that might be a nice way for any school leavers to take away memories of their class and friends. Best of all it uses free stuff.
The above image was made using Microsoft AutoCollage and it’s a great program for merging photos together in a pleasant and artistic way. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ve used it for a few different things in the classroom. The good thing about this is that it’s free if you’re a member of Partners in Learning – and it’s not the only free download they’re offering! I think it would work well, with individual pictures of members of a class (plus teachers or support staff), as a take home memento. If you don’t like the images merged together you could do a similar thing with Shape collage, although it’s worth looking for an older version as the new one leaves quite a visible watermark. shape collage allows you control over the shape , background colour and spacing of the pictures but the full version is not free. It is, nonetheless, worth seeking out in its older format.
The picture above was made using a free download called Andrea Mosaic. I think it is a great little freebie. Collect a group of images together ( in this case family images but for class purposes it could be individual portrait pics), choose the photo you want to mosaic and away you go. The website has loads of examples to view and inspire you and there’s more information on it here. I did this with a group of Year 6 leavers a while ago and parents were coming in and asking to have them laminated - they were that nice! So there you have it – fun stuff that’s also free! You can’t fault it.
About a week ago I mentioned a digital art project :trying out different ideas using computer generated art and photo editing packages. There are all sorts of programs available t try out and everyone can create something something different or unusual. Digital art offers a range of different ideas, some of which are more inclusive than others, but it’s truly a ‘something for everyone’ area of ICT.
One technique to look at is tracing over photo images: a lot of clip art is created this way and I’ve already highlighted this method for making textured images in PowerPoint. You could use 2Paint a Picture or Revelation Natural Art (plus any number of other things) to paint over the photo images (the picture above was created this way using 2Paint a Picture). The results can be variable but the impressionist setting on 2Paint a Picture and the watercolour setting on Revelation Natural Art give the most realistic results.
If creating art is not your thing then try making photo collages using Shape Collage, Microsoft AutoCollage or Andrea Mosaic. Microsoft AutoCollage definitely has a big ‘wow factor’ but Shape Collage does offer more control over their finished collage as it allowed them to choose a background colour, border colour, shape and overlap. Andrea Mosaic is a different sort of thing entirely and some might think it needs too much effort as you need a large selection of images to get a good result. The resulting creations have a big impact though.
There’s also plenty of opportunity to use photo editing packages ( online application FotoFlexer is a favourite)Why not collect all the images together and place them in a PowerPoint Notebook template. These look like sketch books used in many art sessions and these are a close approximation of the same thing in a digital format. Why not have a go?
Another Day – another PowerPoint Project. Today looking at designing your own PowerPoint templates.Now if you want to start creating your own PowerPoint templates there are tutorials for 2003 and 2007 available online to walk you through the process. For maximum impact it’s also an opportunity to use art based or photo editing software – I’m using Microsoft AutoCollage! Firstly, make a new folder and searched the internet and resource bank for suitable images for your theme. . You’ll need about 20 to 30 images but Microsoft AutoCollage allows up to 50 images to be used and will discard any that are not large enough to be included before you create the actual photo collage.
Once you’ve created your collage use photo editing software: installed stuff like PhotoSimple or internet based applications like Tuxpi; to make changes. You might like to colourise or posterise. Sepia and Greyscale can also work well. It’s just a personal choice. Now time for the next stage – creating slide backgrounds!
Insert your collage or image on a blank PowerPoint slide and trim it to fit exactly using the crop tool. Then use autoshapes to add a focus area for the main title, making sure the fill colour or gradient fill compliments the colours in our image. Then group these two elements and save them as a jpeg image. But one background a template does not make (did I sound like Yoda then?) so you’ll needed to work on.
For our second background add a rectangular autoshape the exact size of the slide (again using a suitable colour or gradient fill). Follow that by inserting your image and cropping it to a banner or sidebar, possibly adding an additional autoshape for a title spot. You could create both a banner and a sidebar combination on two separate slides. Again, the items on the slide were grouped and saved as jpeg images, giving at least two backgrounds to use. You can then save this as your very own design template to use in your PowerPoints.