Bev's adventures in ICT

Posts tagged ‘BRUSHster’

That time of year again…

…so much happening. Lots to do. A constant emery go round of events, or so it seems. Anyway, I thought it might be time to remind you of a few art based, ICT ideas that I’ve highlighted previously. You might be creating firework images using a suitable software package, or looking for ideas based around Children in Need, but I’m going to focus on poppy based  ideas you could link to November 11th. So here we go…

You might like to create some mosaic style images: poppies (any sort of flower really) are a particularly good subject for this – you just need to find the right images. Andrea mosaic would be my tool of choice and there’s a bit more information about that here (including a poppy themed example). You could also try your hand at one of the art activities here or maybe create a stained glass or texture style image: all fabulous ideas in their own way. But what I really thought you might like was another quick clip art tutorial showing how to make simple poppy images using Autoshapes. So that’s what you’re getting…


The Big Bang!

Over the next few days I am sure a number of you will be looking for ways to create firework themed images with your pupils, be it via the use of ICT or not. Here are just a few ideas you could use in your classroom.

My first pick would be to use the Splash tool on 2Paint a Picture – it’s more versatile than you think! Use the brush on a large setting to fill the background with a nice dark night sky and the use a smaller brush setting (getting the children to vary the sizes works best) for the fireworks. There a number of techniques you could show the children: just clicking the mouse once gives a nice explosion effect, but you can also add a second splash, preferably in a different colour, to make it more dynamic and 3D looking. Clicking the mouse while dragging gives a lovely ‘whooshing’ type image and by using variety in the speed of your drag and the size of your brush can give you a range of firework styles that look very effective.

For older children you could use the All Tools setting as this gives pupils the option of developing a background scene and some foreground action or interest. Drawing characters looks nice but a street scene of houses with fireworks overhead can look equally effective. If you wanted to go in a different direction entirely you could also use the Slice tool to create Catherine wheel effect art, which look lovely cut out on a display.

Not everyone, however, has access to 2Paint a Picture so it’s worth looking around for alternatives to use. The best free piece of kit for this that I have found is Brushster: it has a large number of different brush styles and a full colour palette and is easy enough to use. You can set a black background and add colours on top and it looks very pleasing, albeit a bit more muted in tone than the 2Paint a Picture images. You will need to play around with it though – not all the brush styles are suitable and it might take a bit of time and error to get the look you want. It’ll be worth it in the end though.

What shall we do today?

You know, I’m pretty much the ‘out on a limb’ type: I often plan things that are a little bit unusual and have tenuous links to the topics being covered. I like a bit of leeway here and there. I like to take things in an unexpected direction. There are, however, skills to cover and these still need to be included in lessons as it’s an important part ICT. But doing it in a fun and engaging way is also key.

I like unusual activities. There’s the lovely menu project (as outlined on ‘Come Dine With Me) and a whole host of others. Ever thought about designing a theme park around a local area using PowerPoint (skills recapped: word art, text boxes, use of the spellchecker, inserting pictures, using Autoshapes and slide transition)? How about using Audacity and Movie Maker to create small information films and travel guides about our local area? What about linking ICT to Science work, using PowerPoint Autoshapes to design sportswear and logos. If your interested in making sessions challenging how about using my World Cup Challenge where pupils can go in any direction they chose as long as it fits the brief . there’s the Mathematical challenge and a number of others in the set.

Creative ICT can involve looking at different types of computer based art, graphics and photo editing packages. Pupils can try out a whole load of different types of software: some you might have installed at school (2Paint a Picture, Revelation Natural  Art, to name a couple of common ones) and some that are web based (Bomomo, Brushster, SumoPaint etc.). Some that are mainly for photo editing and manipulation (Fotoflexer, Tuxpi etc.), photo collage applications (Andrea Mosaic, Shape Collage etc. ) and some that aren’t really art packages at all  but have artistic merits (Wordle, PowerPoint, Textorizer etc.).

Pupils can use a Photo Album PowerPoint template or Ript to create digital art scrapbooks showcasing their efforts, writing little comments about their work. By the end of the session get them to decide on a favourite application and what they liked about it. So that everyone is focused on adding content to the scrapbook,  add their names to the fruit machine random name generator available via Classtools – and use it to choose pupils to come up front and showcase their work – that way you can carry out some self evaluation and peer evaluation (like  2 stars and a wish) during your plenary.

Art for art’s sake…

If, like me, you love doodling on a computer screen then you might be interested in some pretty cool and funky online art applications that are absolutely free! These online activities would be great for adding to or extending your selection of art based software in school. Each have their own set of different features and are worth a look.

First up is bomomo, which is a ‘freeform’ art application. There are no colour choices and you can’t really draw anything. every movement of the mouse creates dynamically moving art. There are different options for the style of brush and each one does something completely different.

There’s just something satisfying about creating a totally abstract doodle. How about using it to spark off a discussion about adjectives? Or using on the IWB as a golden time fun activity. However you use it, I’m sure you’ll find it very popular!

Totally different, but just as addictive, is BRUSHster. A more traditional art application with a large selection of brush types and a rainbow palette, BRUSHster includes some really gorgeous paint effects that I haven’t seen on other free applications. The brush size can easily be altered and some of the brush styles give beautiful effects and a huge selection of options.

I can see how this application would fit into any computer based project that is linked to the impressionists, as the various brush styles would really suit this style of art. Have a try and see what you think!

Finally, I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t done so already to have a peek at Sumo Paint. The layout is pretty similar to professional graphics applications (Adobe Illustrator comes to mind) and it has a large number of fantastic options. I can particularly see this application appealing to boys – and not just because of the name! It looks the business and the fill effects and shape tools make it perfect for designing logos or creating cartoon style art – although it’s so complete the possibilities are endless!

Have a play with them in your classroom! See what you, and your pupils, think. When so much great free stuff is about it would be a shame not to use it!