Monday, December 6, 2010

Student Work/Lesson Idea: Animorph portraits - digital

Last year was my first year at this school and some of the classes I was tasked with leading were Computer-aided (CAD) Graphic Design classes.  Now, I can hold my own in terms of navigating Photoshop and other such photo manipulation softwares but for the most part?  I'm self-taught with what I know how to do (which is probably somewhere between intermediate and advanced if you want to quantify it) but mostly?  I'm a hack at it.  I have learned through my own trial and error, tutorials that I've been able to find via Google, and by way of assorted and random textbook tutorials that I've gotten from others.  Needless to say, last year was a huge growing experience for me but I did make tremendous strides in learning how the best ways to teach a CAD class as well as becoming reasonably proficient in my technical writing skills.

Most of my planning periods last year were devoted to writing and converting tutorials (to be used for Photoshop CS2) for my students to use in class.  It was a tireless job but I was committed to doing it.  I had a few archived lessons from previous instructors before me but many of them weren't intensive enough for the level that I know my students wanted to and could work at.  Just the same, after I finished out the semester, I realized that for all of my own tutorials that I had written, I would be stupid not to start researching a textbook that could be used because ultimately?  I'm a hack at it all and the students needed to learn the fundamentals of photoshop the right way.

I researched a number of textbooks and settled on The Photoshop CS/CS2 Wow! Book.  It got decent reviews and was reasonably priced if bought at a used rate versus brand-new.  (I also got the  Illustrator version of the book and I'm planning on using it when I teach the Advanced Graphic Design class this coming Spring.)

Recently the students did a tutorial in the Photoshop book (found on p. 615 of the book) called "Applying an image with Liquify."  The jist of it is that you take a print of an animal and then apply it to the surface of someones skin.  The example use stock photography of a female model and a zebra print.  Each of the students were instructed to complete the tutorial and then create two more versions using pictures of their own, stock photography, and other animal prints.

The students had a lot of fun with this project and I will definitely keep it in my archive of winners for future classes. It was relatively quick to get through with them - I gave them about a week (five classes at 55 minute blocks) to complete the tutorial and then two other self-directed pieces - and I feel their outputs are both high-quality and impressive to look at it.

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