Adobe Photoshop: Groovy Dancer Tutorial

I love Photoshop. It’s the single piece of creative software that I use the most. From web design, artwork to games design; it covers all the bases.  I’ve been working on converting a complex on-line tutorial into something which S2 pupils can cope with.  I wanted to produce resources for this lesson which would allow each learner to proceed at his/her own pace and which would begin to get them thinking about using the software creatively.

Dancer Tutorial Image

I started the lesson off by showing the pupils the final image we were aiming to create and introducing some of the language of Photoshop (blend, lens flare, brush, layer etc.).  The “dancer” image looks great and the pupils interest levels certainly went up (it wasn’t word processing or spreadsheet after all!).

I often demonstrate how to use software with my Interactive Whiteboard but this will normally involve repeating the demo three times so that nearly every pupil understands what to do.  The best five or six pupils get the demo first time and are up and running, the next eight or nine get it second time around and those that remain get individual attention.  I find “whole class” teaching an application package hard work and many pupils end up sitting waiting for assistance, becoming restless and being unproductive.

The solution I’ve found is to develop my own video tutorials which are supported by a written worksheet of instructions (which add a little bit more scaffolding for pupils – particularly the more able who can really work quickly and effectively using this kind of software).

Each video covers only one small aspect of the task and is captured at 800 x 600 resolution so that a reasonable amount of detail is preserved when the pupils watch them.  Pupils wear headphones and will often pause and rewind sections to ensure that they understand the instructions.  It’s the closest thing I can do to cloning myself and allows me to help those in the class who are most in need of assistance.  I’ve upped the first few videos to YouTube and they are embedded here for you to view.  The images used in the tutorial can be downloaded from my Flickr photostream.  The worksheet which pupils receive can be downloaded here (please remember, it’s still a “work in progress!”).

In a 54 minute period, every pupil had made progress.  Even those who found the work more challenging were able to load and place an image, blend it, change layers and create a mask. And using the video tutorials took the pressure off the learner allowing him/her time to comprehend instructions at his/her own pace.

And little “Billy” who never watches a demo (because he’s looking out the window, or tapping his mouse, or chatting to the girl behind him 😉 was sitting clicking back and forward, intently listening to the instructions and comprehending what to do next.  That’s a result!

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