Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GRAPHIC ARTS . . . Photography names

Graphic artists have completed their photo name collages. We took a walk around our campus with our digital cameras and looked for images that reminded us of the letters of our names. A tree, for example, could often be seen as a letter "Y". Part of a railing might look like a letter "D" as David did with his name. Anything round, such as a door knob or the bush in Fiona's name can be used for a letter "O". Students were also allowed to plan their photo shoots by arranging something from nature into the shape of a letter as you see in Ava's name.

The first part of this project was learning how to use the camera, framing the picture and holding it steady as we capture the image. (Scroll down to see my earlier post for tips on using a digital camera.)

Photo by Alexa
Photo by Melanie

Photo by Alden

Photo by Maya

Once we took enough images to spell out our names, these photos were uploaded to the computer. In Adobe Photoshop students opened each image and checked that it was a sharp photograph and included all of the letter that we needed to see. Then we adjusted each photo for our project. Here are some of the tools we used...

  • The Cropping tool cuts off any part of the photo we don't need. It works by clicking with the tool on the image and scrolling down to include all that we want to show. By pressing down with the Shift key on the keyboard we were able to constrain the cropping image to a perfect square. 
  • Under the Image Menu, we can re-size the image. We selected 4" x 4" for each photograph. This pull down menu also lets us rotate the image. Perhaps we want the image to be upside down or sideways. We did whatever was needed to see the image as a letter.
  • Photoshop also allows us to adjust the brightness or the color of the image, and with special tools like the clone stamp tool, we could further adjust the image so that it really does look like the letter we need. 
  • There is so much to learn in Photoshop and often professional artists aren't even aware of all the tools available for altering an image. We should never afraid to just click on a new tool and see what it does to our image. Playing around with special effects and different tools is the best way to learn new techniques, and with Photoshop, you can always undo what does not look good.
To complete this project, students learned how to merge all their retouched images together to spell out their names. When you see these wonderful name photos in our art exhibition next month, I hope you enjoy how recognizable the names are, even though the letters are made up of trees and door knobs! I also hope you notice how beautiful and well composed each photograph is that makes up each name.

Note to families...
This art blog will be updated regularly with new posts sharing our daily activities in the art room and news about upcoming art exhibits. To respect the privacy of our students, names will always be limited to first name only and identifiable photos will never be accompanied with a name. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write in the comment box below or send me an email at I would love to hear from you!
    In my class, students are given the chance to explore different materials and fun new techniques as they develop their signature style. Some young artists love to draw with a pencil, some like to paint on canvas or create images in a digital format, while others prefer working with clay and molding three-dimensional forms. In my classroom, we use a variety of materials allowing all artists to experiment and figure out which type of art they like the best. At Ranney School, we place a strong emphasis on originality and celebrate artistic differences, always nurturing and encouraging the imagination of every student.
     Remember to check out our display of finished artwork and student portfolios in the Ranney home page of