Project #10: Make a Customized List

May 21, 2014

Lists can be auto-generated by the computer, or you can really do things right by creating a customized list. Making a customized list will show you how to control tabs and alignment in a very sophisticated way that makes the document easier to edit and control.

Follow the directions here to create a customized version of any list.

And below is a rough, uninteresting version of the list that you can work from.
Robert Sternberg’s 10 Tips on Creativity

And here is one solution from last year’s class. Simple, but pretty effective. Notice 2 things: 1) The opacity is lowered for the image so it is “ghosted” into the background and 2) the number “10″ kicks out to the left, which makes all the numbers line up in a more elegant, customized way.

Project #7: Making a Fantasy CD

April 5, 2014

Make a CD insert with an imaginary artist, original artwork, and 10 creatively titled “tracks.”  Include all the little details that make a CD look realistic, like copyright © or trademark ™ detail, US and Canadian pricing, maybe Euros €, UPC product code, explicit lyrics warning (if appropriate!), name of the production company. Basically, include everything you see on a regular CD jacket.

This is an exercise in creativity and close attention to detail! Feel free to bring in artwork for Pixelmator or elsewhere, include as much original art as you can, use a decimal tab to get the title to line up exactly right, not just a spacebar! (Details to follow on decimal tabs and lining up titles.)

And, oh yeah. You’re responsible for cutting the project and bringing in a CD “jewelbox” to contribute to the class collection!

Click here for the basic directions and a template that shows the exact dimensions for a regular CD “Jewel box.”

This year, we’re cranking it up a notch! Reproduce your artwork as a piece of
CD origami, where you print the front and back on a piece of 8.5 x 11 paper, then fold it into a CD case. Warning: You can use the basic design you made for the front of your CD, but the dimensions are slightly bigger for this paper version. Also, the playlist will look a little different (12.9 cm wide by 12.2 cm high, with a 1 cm spine above the cover art.)

Click here for a CD Origami basic template you can adapt to put in your own cover art, a spine, a playlist. Sorry, but this step is a little tricky because the blog doesn’t allow me to post files in the Pages format. This is a compressed file, a .zip file, but you can open it in Pages by just double-clicking on it on most computers. Then you should see a Pages file pop up that is called CD origami 2. Open that, and change it to suit your needs. Notice, everything is locked by default so you can’t move things around accidentally! You can go to Arrange and unlock items one at a time.

Click here for some choices and cool examples of alternative ways to do this. (Double CD cases, pentagonal CD cases, 3-dimensional crafted CD albums, all sorts of stuff)

Project #6: Photo Compositing: Jekyll and Hyde

March 21, 2014

Do you have a good side and a bad side? Find out by making two convincing self portraits. Start having some creative fun with Pixelmator, and see how powerful this tool can be.

For Project #6, take a picture of yourself, and make two different portraits: one with a mirrored version of your right side, and one with a mirrored version of your left side.


After you have the two sides, mask the background and put in a new background.

Here is a picture of a Morse student, along with two of her left side and two of her right side. After I looked at them, I decided the left was most interesting. I took it, masked the background, colored her eyes, and put her in a landscape from Pandora (Remember the movie, Avatar?) Here’s the finished work, a reduced size copy, but still pretty spooky. Click on the picture if you want to see the entire, panoramic view.


So, a finished project should have 5 pictures:
Your original self portrait.
Your left side, doubled.
Your right side, doubled.
Your left side done artistically in a fantasy background.
Your right side done artistically in a fantasy background, (not the same background).

The tutorials at the Pixelmator site are excellent: very short and broken into easy bits. You can understand one tool at a time. Go to for some great ideas and instruction.

You can work a long time to perfect your skills with this work. Use 3 or more layers. Use the Magic Wand tool to remove the background from an image, so you can place on image layer on top of an improbable background. Use the Marquee and Move tools to move the image around. Use the rubber stamp tool or the healing tool (looks like a BandAid) to change the shape of parts of the picture. Use Edit and Transform to adjust scale. Use all the controls under Image to adjust color and shading so that one image looks as if it’s part of the other image. Can you cast a shadow over the background of the image using the Lasso tools and Image controls? Use the Blur tool and rub with it to take away the hard edges, so it doesn’t look like you just cut one picture out and dropped it on top of the other.

You may need to use other tools. Try to solve problems yourself, or ask for help if you’re looking for a certain effect and having trouble achieving it. Experiment and play around with the entire tool set.

You should submit five finished designs, and post them to VoiceThread. Make them all different, and show that you are getting increasingly skillful and adept at handling the Pixelmator tool set. Put the three finished designs all in one VoiceThread.

Project 4A: Creating a Word Cloud

February 8, 2014

How to Make a Word Cloud

The website is the place to go if you want to make beautiful word clouds. Use them to illustrate reports or stories or presentations you need to make.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Make sure you have an updated version of Java on your computer. Wordle requires Java to do its magic.
  2. Find some text. The more the better. It’s best to start with at least 15 or 20 words to make a nice cloud. You could start with several thousand, say a chapter from a book, or the US Constitution. Select it and copy it into your computer’s memory.
  3. Go to  You might want to look at some examples and the Gallery to see some possibilities, but, pretty soon, you will want to head to the Create section.
  4. Paste the words you have already copied into the text box.
  5. Click on the “Go” button, then wait a few seconds while Wordle does its magic.
  6. Change the fonts and colors and alignment around until you get something you like.
  7. Ready to use it? Click the “Print” button, then choose “PDF” and “Save as PDF.” Save it with a name you can use. You should have something like what you see below.
  8. You need to go to “Insert” and “Choose” to bring it into Pages.

Click Here if you would like a printout of these instructions.

Project #4: Creating Your Personal Typography

February 7, 2014

Project #4: A Personal Typography

Learn the terms and meanings of 15 terms by illustrating and defining them. Follow the template in Pages to see how to do it. You will learn the terms by listing and defining them, and showing examples for each of them.

Here’s what you put on each page:

Cover sheet:

  • Write “My Personal Typography” and put in the definition of typography.
  • Make a Word Cloud of your name and the 15 terms, and include it on the page.

Page 1:

  • List the 15 Typography terms.
  • Make a fancy colored version of the number “15”
  • Include your word cloud again

Page 2:

  • Write your name on two lines. Make it 72 point
  • Mark and define the words point size, leading, and baseline

Page 3:

  • Pick a musical artist or group and use it to illustrate the terms.
  • Mark and define font and kerning.

Page 4:

  • Pick a team and use it to illustrate the terms.
  • Mark and define Caps Height, X-Height, Ascender, and Descender

Page 5:

  • Pick either a new team or a new artist and use it to define the terms.
  • Put at least one word in a serif font (with tails and wings and legs) and one word in a sans serif font.
  • Mark and define Serif and Sans Serif

Page 6:

  • Pick a game (either computer or an old fashioned game) and use it to define the terms.
  • Mark and define Stroke Weight, Bowl, and Counter.

Click here to see a pdf version of a finished personal typography. It’s often easiest to work from a model.