Creating iPad Icons Using Adobe Tools

This project takes the idea of redesigning some of the logos of the native Apple apps on an iPad. I explained to the students that I was turning them into mini graphic designer teams. Apple has asked for a fresh look for its own logos.

The project was done in four sessions, even though it was orginally planned for three. Sessions 1 & 2 were the students sketching their logos on the iPad using Adobe Draw. I got them using Adobe Draw rather than Adobe Sketch because I wanted their images to be vectorised pictures which could be scaled up and down without degradation. Also, with Adobe Draw, it’s easy to fill in a closed shape by pressing down inside the shape. These images were saved one at a time into the students Google Drive, ready to be used on a computer.

The next step in the second session was to bring all the images in Illustrator to crop them and resize them all uniformly. I provided them with a template file which contained 20 artboards, all in a grid, for the students to use. They didn’t need to fill in all artboards when exporting out their images.

Once this was done, the fourth and final session was the students placing the images into my iPad mockup InDesign template and labelling them. I even sourced the correct font that Apple uses on it’s iOS devices! Once that was done, their work was saved as a jpg and I cropped the bottom part of since no one got that far.

Below are two videos. The first one explains how I got the students using Illustrator to prepare their images, and the second video details how the students placed the icons into InDesign. At the end, I have some student examples.

The students found this an exciting project to do. It gave them a good appreciation of what it is like to fulfill a brief as a graphic designer. The only real notes I gave them along the way was to make sure it was obvious what app their icon design was for. You don’t want people looking at the icon and having no idea what it’s for – no matter how good it looks.

Here are some examples (apologies for the low res quality).

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The eBook is now out! Order it now!!!

CONFESSIONS OF A MEDIA ARTS TEACHER – VOLUME 1

You’ve followed the blog, now get the book! The time is ready and the time is now. The ultimate guide to teaching Media Arts is ready for purchase and download! This book is packed to the brim with lesson plans, instructional videos, assets to download and reflections along the way. This book will give you plenty of ideas to easily fill a year’s worth of curriculum.

Tried and tested on an iPad and on a Mac. Reading it on a PC has limited functionality. This is a known issue and is currently being worked on, and customers will be advised when we have the fix in place.

Click here to download a sample of the first 10 pages! (ePUB format – chapter links won’t work on the Sample) and click here to download a sample lesson (ePUB format)

The book is selling at a crazy price of $29.95! There are options to deliver the book that you can read in the information below.

Buy “Confessions of a Media Arts Teacher” eBook – Direct Download option
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Buy “Confessions of a Media Arts Teacher” eBook – USB Key Delivered option
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CONTENT

The book is an expansion of the posts from last year on this blog. A lot of effort has gone into creating content that can be viewed (many, many screencasts; picture galleries) and downloaded (lesson resources, PowerPoints etc) for most lessons covered in this book.

This is a lot more than just a copy of the blog.

A lot of reflection has gone into the writing of this. I’ve added notes here and there with tips on how to better teach the lessons if I feel it didn’t quite go the way I planned.

As you see in the picture above, all lessons come with notes on what grade level I taught the lesson at, what apps were used, and links to where to get those apps. Obviously prices will vary and were current as of the time of writing.

This book is for everyone! Firstly, whether you teach Primary or Secondary, many of these lessons can be adapted for older students. Secondly, as a parent, this is a way that you can get your kids interested in videography, photography and animation (if they aren’t already) by exposing them to some fantastic, creative and fun apps.

If there is enough interest, I already have ideas on a volume 2 which will provide links to the Victorian and Australian Curriculums, as well as detail how in my second year I have progressed from teaching all students from scratch, to now consolidating and developing their skills in Media Arts.


COPYRIGHT

I hope you do choose to purchase this book. As I am a poor teacher, I beg that you don’t share the file with everyone and anyone. I can’t stop you, but obviously I’d like people to purchase the book I’ve put so many months into. Certainly, for a school, $29.95 is a bargain for any fledgling Media Arts teacher who desperately needs ideas for their classes.


DELIVERY

The book can be delivered in two ways. If you choose DIRECT DOWNLOAD, I will email you with a link (via Dropbox) for you to download. But – be aware, with all the embedded media in the book – it clocks up at approx 1.6gb. That’s a lot for some people. So I’ve added, for an additional $12, the option for me to post out the book on a USB key anywhere in Australia. Price includes USB key and delivery. Overseas customers can contact me for delivery prices. I don’t intend to profit on this extra option, I just wanted to make the choice available.


RECOMMENDED DEVICES / SOFTWARE

Please be aware this is a huge, interactive experience. The book is full of videos, picture galleries and links to downloadable content via Dropbox. As such, not every ebook app plays nicely with such a huge book.

This book is recommended, and is tested primarily on an iPad that has a Dropbox app also installed and signed in. That way, you can access all my downloads directly on the device. If you are on a Mac, then iBooks works just as well. We are currently working on a known issue getting the book to work properly on a PC. Customers will be advised in the future when this fix has been worked out.

Please feel free to comment and give me some feedback on the book. I’d really appreciate it.

Buy “Confessions of a Media Arts Teacher” eBook – Direct Download option
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Buy “Confessions of a Media Arts Teacher” eBook – USB Key Delivered option
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Creating your own handwritten Font with Fontise

Something that I bet my Grade 5 students had never thought about before. How do you create a font? The answer to that can be quite complicated and honestly a little dull. But creating their own handwritten font – using a simple app on the iPad? That has potential to be much more interesting.

There are many, many apps to create your own font, and some cost quite a bit of money. The one I chose is free and easy to use. Not just that – it can also be saved out to work on an iOS device or a computer.

The video below shows how to create a font using the app, and below that are a couple of student examples.

Creating Comic Books with Halftone (Grade 4)

Who doesn’t love a comic book? Maybe I should rephrase . . . What kid doesn’t love a comic book? Well, the answer is probably a fair few, so let’s try one more time. What kid doesn’t love creating a comic book? Ah, now the answer is much higher. Probably most kids, I would think. Judging by my students, there was a lot of fun to be had in this project. I also think it’s important to pitch it at the right age. Grade 4 for this project (that’s 9-10 year olds) is the perfect age. They are young enough to love the idea, but literate enough to craft a cohesive story.

So, the project was this. I told the students to go out and think of a photo story. Around 10-12 images photos would be ideal. Think of what the story is, and what photos you need to take to tell the story. That was a whole session in itself.

From there I modeled how to use Halftone (actually Halftone 2 is what we used). We also had a discussion on what elements make up a comic page. This page on Wikipedia was ideal in helping me to prepare for this. I showed how to create pages, find templates for the panels, insert speech bubbles and captions. Most importantly, I showed them the edit tool and what you could do. From there they went about creating their own comic book.

The kids had a great deal of fun with this. The app was a little challenging to them the first time they used it, but once they got into it, they flew through the process.

When saving their work, there is the option to save each page as an image, or the whole thing as a PDF, but it actually works really well as a video!

Here is a video that models the app – and again, apologies for the sound quality. That’s what you get for recording when you’re out of the country!

Here is one particular example I really enjoyed.

Drawing Emojis in Illustrator CC (Grade 4)

For this project, I needed to seriously brush up on my Illustrator skills. I’ll be the first to admit that Illustrator is not my preferred tool for the reason that I CAN’T DRAW. So, I looked for guidance.

I found an excellent series of videos by a YouTuber named Danksy who I relied heavily on to learn how to draw the first three emojis I was going to teach the class. My idea is that I would create an Illustrator file with four empty artboards. Each week, the students would learn how to create one kind of emoji (I had happy, sad and angry) and in the fourth week – now they had some skills and experience under their belts – they would have a go and making their own in the fourth artboard.

To say the students were excited about doing this, is an understatement. They were practically ripping the door down before each class to come in. They absolutely loved it!!! It was, however, a lot of hard work. Each lesson had me give the students a couple of instructions before they ran back to their computers to do them. Many, many times! But there was a lot of energy in what we were doing, and there were some great skills to learn here, like using the pen tool, the arc tool, pathfinder -> divide and cut out, a lot of copying and pasting, nudging both in size and movement, and using exact colours based on hex codes.

I did not make videos in how to do these, since Dansky explains it very well. I made a few small concessions in my teaching, so I didn’t do it absolutely exactly the same, but it was pretty close, so I need to give him complete credit.

 

As far as the kids went with their own artwork, I was really blown away with what some of them came up with. The only rule I had was that it needed to be a face emoji. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I teach the skills, but the ideas that come from them is where the real joy of my job lies.

Here are some highlights:

 

 

Crafting Animal Composites with Photoshop CC (Grade 3)

This is my first big regret of the year. Not that the idea behind the project wasn’t a good one, but that the expectation was perhaps too great for my Grade 3 students, who are still very new to Photoshop.

The genesis of this project started with a conversation with the teachers in the Grade 3 team. Something I do regularly is to check in with the teams to see what they are covering in the upcoming term to see if I can those themes to my lessons. In this case, they told me that the students would soon be doing a unit on animal adaptations. They further told me that in the past they have done a fun engagement activity with the kids where they can design their own animal, using different animal bodyparts. I got the impression this was usually done as a sketch. Could this be done in Photoshop they asked?

The answer, of course, is yes – it can. The more important question is, are the students up for it? That, I was not so sure about. It usually takes some practise with a variety of tools (such as the quick selection tool, the magic wand, quick mask, etc) to make a good selection that you can then remove a background.

I planned this lesson to come right after the one they did on selecting and removing the background from superhero pictures (which is covered in a post last year here). In that case, the images were chosen by me, and had varying levels of difficulty in selecting the background correctly.

In this activity, students were to choose three animals. They were to find the pictures on Google and save them to import into Photoshop. But – there were some guidelines first. Each animal needed to be facing the same direction to make it easier. I wanted the students to visualise how they wanted the creature to look in their heads, before they finalised which pictures they were going to use. Most students followed this, but some still had some problematic choices. It says something about the kind of teacher I am, in that there were cases where I let the students choose difficult pictures so they could see where the problems would lie when they brought them into Photoshop.

In any case, the project was simple enough in concept. Bring in three pictures to Photoshop – each on a seperate layer. Choose one animal for the head, one for the body (including legs) and one for the tail. Cut out the background as best you can, and make any transformations needed to put together the animal.

The results were fairly mixed, it’s fair to say. This is perhaps one for a Grade 4 class who have a little more experience in using Photoshop. Nevertheless, the students were all pretty happy with how their menagerie came out.

Below is a video describing the workflow in Photoshop, and under that are some student examples.

Colouring in your photos using Colorscape (Grade 2)

A simple app for a simple project. The Grade 2 students were shown how to use an app called Colorscape. Basically, this app takes a photo (either directly from camera or saved on the camera roll) and turns it into a black and white line drawing like a colouring page. Students can then paint in colours however they like. There are a huge range of colours to choose from, including Palette Colours – which are a palette of colours taken directly from the original photo itself.

I got my trusty box of toys out that I normally use for stop motion videos, and had the students use them to photograph and to colour. When they had finished this first task, I then let them take photos of whatever they wanted. I did have a small caveat, and that was that if they were taking a photo of someone else, they needed to ask their permission first. Knowing the kids, they would have some fun with it!

Some students took it a little more seriously than others. The best works were those that were done carefully and patiently, with some thought into what colours they wanted to use.

The students really enjoyed it, and as an aside – my own 5 year old daughter loves using the app too.

Here below is a quick video in how to use the app, and below that some student examples.