Quiz: A Vocabulary for Images

March 27, 2014

Here are 11 terms you should know. You may be familiar with most of them through the work you have done with Pixelmator.

pixel: stands for picture element. It’s the smallest part of an image on a screen.
resolution: how much information there is in an image, how many pixels/inch
opacity: how much of an image is showing through. 100%, it’s all showing, 0% means nothing is showing
hue: what we normally think of as color: red, yellow, green, blue, etc.
saturation: how much of the color is there. The thicker richer the color, the greater the saturation.

value: the darkness or lightness of the image
bit-mapped image: an image made up of pixels. When you blow it up, you may notice “jaggies” if there isn’t enough resolution.
vector-based image: an image built from mathematical formulas. As you enlarge it, the math scales the image up, and the resolution stays very high.
additive color: color you get through a screen. Colors are created in the screen and projected to the eye
subtractive color: color you see from paper, or paint. White light hits the paper, and all the colors are absorbed by the paper, subtracted, except for the color you see.
RGB  vs. CMYK: Red, Green and Blue create all the colors on screens. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black create all the colors on paper, or paint.

Here’s what happens when you enlarge a bit-mapped image too far!


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 http://www.pixelmator.com/tutorials/ 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 http://wordle.net 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 http://wordle.net  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.

Project 2A: Storing your Work on Your Google Drive

January 30, 2014

VoiceThread is a great place to share work, but it has some limitations:

  1. The quality is pretty good, but not as good as the original files. It’s also hard to get the file to fill the whole screen.
  2.  You really can’t edit or change the files. They’re pdf’s and it costs extra money to download them.
  3. What about printing? Uhh, you can’t really do it from VoiceThread.

So we need a second way to store your stuff, and a second place to do it. Your GoogleDrive is a great place to do this. Why?

  1. Everybody gets 15 GB for free. That’s a lot of space. Plenty for storing all your DW projects and then some.
  2. Sharing is pretty easy. That means your teacher can see your work as the original file and help you solve technical problems, or print things out to BW or Color printers around the building, printers that your laptop computer can’t see. That’s a lot easier than swapping files on a flash drive.
  3. You can organize and back up all your files here. If your laptop crashes, not to worry. You have complete copies right on the Google Drive.

Here are the steps:

You have done enough work now that you wouldn’t want to lose any of it. Take a few minutes now and do the following:

  1. Organize all the work on your laptop into one Design Workshop folder.
  2. Label a subfolder for the project you have just finished. There is an example posted below. This example shows what your folder should look like at the end of the quarter:


Got it? For the next step, sign onto your Google Drive.  Most of the students in our class who haven’t used Google Drive this year should follow these steps:

Go to your favorite browser and open up Google. You have an account here, whether you know it or not. Go to the Firefox Toolbar and look for a little Blue “G” and the words “Google Drive Login.”  Click it and it will take you to a screen like this…


  1. Your password is firstname.lastname  You don’t have the add the @rsu1.org here because Google does it for you.
  2. The first password will be your 8-digit birthday. Check off “Stay Signed in” and you won’t have to log back in every day.
  3. Make it simple and easy to remember, for cryin’ out loud! But you still have follow Google’s rules about the length of password and including numbers and letters.

So now you’re in. Good! Look for the big Red Box over on the left side of the screen that looks this:       driveinred.png

This is where most of the Action is in Google Drive. Next Step:

  1. Click “Create” and Create a Folder. Label it Design Workshop. Here’s where you will keep copies of all your work.
  2. Inside the Design Workshop folder, create another folder labeled “Project 1 Words of Wisdom”
  3. Now click that little white arrow in the red box next to Create to do an upload. Upload your Pages document, and the PDF also if you want to.
  4. Last big step: share it with your teacher. Click the little light box next to the Design Workshop folder you made. It looks like this: design-workshop-icon.png
  5. Make sure it’s checked off. Then look for the little person icon above it, just to the right of the red box. It looks like this: share-icon.png
  6. This is the Sharing Icon. Click on it, and share your folder with Mr. Ingmundson. His address is
    dingmundson@rsu1.org.  Spell that carefully, or you won’t be sharing with anyone!

Now, everything that you put in this folder is automatically saved and shared with your teacher. Most convenient.

You will get a grade on setting up your Google Drive and sharing this folder. It should take maybe 15 minutes, and if you do it you get an easy A.

Do it, even if not all your work is quite complete. At least you will have a place set up to put the work when you’re finished.