SchoolArts Magazine

MAR 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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H I G H S C H O O L FANTASY CITIES I n my introduction to digital art, students took a drawing created on paper with a permanent black marker, uploaded it to Photoshop using a cell phone, and transformed it into an elaborate, layered, fantasy cityscape. I encouraged students to close all the gaps where the lines meet when drawing with mark - ers, otherwise they might run into trouble trying to manipulate their images in Photoshop. The Importance of PSI Photoshop usually defaults to a reso- lution of 72 pixels per square inch (PSI) because that is the resolution required for optimum internet view - ing. However, if your students plan to ever print their pictures, they will need to use at least 300 PSI. Other - wise, the images will look grainy or pixelated in print. I instructed stu - dents to change the PSI in the begin- ning before doing anything else to their artwork. Once students photographed their drawings, emailed them to them - selves, and opened them in Photo- shop, we noticed many of them were Rachel Wintemberg slightly crooked. Using the rect- angular marquis tool was difficult because students kept accidentally cropping parts of their drawings. The solution was to click Edit, Trans - form, and Rotate. Working with Backgrounds Next, the backgrounds had to go. At first, students used the Magic Wand tool on the background, but no mat - ter what they did, they were still left with extra "noise" in their images. Noise is the result of unwanted pix - els of the wrong color, which make the pictures look sloppy. The solu - tion was to select only the black lines and paste them into a new document using Select, Color Range, and Shadows. Working with Layers Once students had a flat black-and- white image, they could cleanly delete the white around the build - ings and begin experimenting with layers. If the image was in the back - ground, they had to unlock it to cre- ate a layer. Finally, they could use the Magic Wand to cut out the white around the buildings completely. We knew it was correct if a gray-and- white checkerboard appeared where the white around the buildings used to be. Saving the picture as a porta - ble network graphic (PNG) file with- out a background enabled us to use it over again in countless ways. Next, students resized their can- vases to accommodate a complex cityscape and began duplicating layers. They learned how to click Edit, Trans - form, Scale to shrink the background, and Edit, Transform, and Flip Horizon - tal to create a mirror image of a layer. After connecting the background with its mirror image, students merged the layer, duplicated it, and shrunk it again, creating a sense of deep space. Students learned how to select I wanted students to recognize the connection between creating their own original art on paper and manipulating it in Photoshop to create something entirel new. 46 MARCH 2019 SchoolArts

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