Week 8: The Photoshop Filter Challenge

In this last week of term, due to the Good Friday holiday and a sports day, I only got to properly teach the Grade 3s and Grade 5s. I did do one class of Grade 2s (we just played around more with PuppetPals) and one class of Preps (we did some more work on Adobe Voice) but this post will solely be about my most popular lesson yet . . .


I had really wanted to do this with all the older students who had been using Photoshop on the desktop, but as you saw, fate (and Easter) squandered that. I wanted to show how Photoshop could be used to apply artistic effects to photos.

To that end, I showed the students an example of a photo that I had put a filter on. I explained that it was a fairly subjective process – in other words, what one person thinks looks cool, another might think looks rubbish. Neither are wrong. Art is a matter of taste.

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I then showed them how to access the Filter Gallery within Photoshop. I showed them how to apply an effect and then how to adjust various levels within that effect. The last part about the adjustments weren’t going to be necessary for the lesson this week, but it was good to show them nevertheless.

What I had prepared was a series of seven images in a booklet that showed the original photo, and then the same photo with a filter applied. I told them that no extra adjustments were done. I had a copy of these original photos (they were all ones taken around the school by students during the term) in their shared class folder. They also had pencils and an answer sheet to fill in.

The task was, game-show style, to go through the photos, explore the filters, and write down on their answer sheet which filter had been applied to which image. I did warn them that some filters do look similar, so they had to pay close attention to detail and study the whole picture.

It was a race to see which groups got all seven answers correct first. It’s no exaggeration to say that the students (everyone of them) LOVED this game, and really got into it. From a learning perspective, they were working out how the filter gallery works, but from an engagement perspective, they were loving Photoshop! Many, many groups came to me with the wrong answers, and had to be sent back. I had little laminated badge awards for the first, second and third places in each class. I also told them they had bragging rights (for this day at least) to call themselves Photoshop Champions of the class.

Some images were easier than others. I’ve included here a link to the PDF which has the images we used. Feel free to use Photoshop yourself and work out which filters I used. All filters are from the filter gallery (not the filter menu) and come built in with Photoshop CC 2015.

This class was highly energetic, lots of learning and fun had – and I was really pleased that this was the class the principal decided to come down and do an observation on. He seemed very pleased indeed!

Photoshop Filter Challenge – Images