SchoolArts Magazine

APR 2014

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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students how to place their portrait on a textured background and create a silhouette. I also show them how to remove the background from the por - trait using various selection tools in Photoshop Elements. At this point I demonstrate how to use layer effects such as Hard Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, and Opacity to allow transpar- ency and provide a portrait layer—and all subsequent layers—a chance to mix and blend together. Using stu- dents' personal images from their shooting assignments, I demonstrate the process of adding additional lay- ers to create a multilayered effect. Scaling, rotation, and manipulation of these elements are also demon- strated. I distribute a detailed proce- dure handout and remind students to use it often, as there are many steps that they need to master in order to achieve success in this project. Selfie Design Since the layered digital selfie is composed of many elements, strong design is stressed throughout the entire process. Students are introduced to and often reminded of my hierarchy of design mantra: Shout: A strong focal point which is the primary image, in this case their own image; Speak: Middle ground ele- ments; Whisper: Background elements. The use of contrast, propor- tion, color, shape, and value (opacity), are the means stu- dents use to achieve the design objective. Unity is also stressed by means of repetition of color, shape, and overlapping ele- ments. Selfie Reflection At the close of the project, stu- dents fill out a project rubric. An artist's statement accompanies the project, giving students a chance to reflect on the entire process as well as the end result. Many of these artist statements are wonder- fully reflective, as students express in words how much they enjoyed creat- ing an original piece of digital art that is visually interesting, while also expressive of who they are. For me, the Selfie Project reinforces why the self-portrait holds such an important place in art history, and makes for one of the more enjoyable student experiences in the artroom. Michael Sacco is an art teacher at Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School in Setauket, New York. msacco @ 3villagecsd.org N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Students employ organizational struc- tures and analyze what makes them effective or not effective in the com- munication of ideas. W E B L I N K www.3villagecsd.k12.ny.us/artsgeli- nas/index.htm their cameras into class on that day. Working in pairs, students take turns shooting portraits of each other using a tripod; they also shoot some handheld photo - graphs against a simple black or white back - drop. Partners help direct each other in order to create a series of por - traits that reflect each subject's personality. Students are also reminded to consider both ward - robe and props before coming to class on that particular day. Putting Together the Selfie I present a two-part demonstra- tion of the basic procedures required to create the layered digital selfie. A variety of textured backgrounds are displayed as an option for a starting point. Next, I show This digital self-portrait is a digital composite that starts with a student portrait and includes layers of images that describe and express students as individuals. Left: Bella, grade nine. Above: Amy, grade nine. schoolartsonline.com 37 B_pages_4_14.indd 37 2/20/14 3:07 PM

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