Monday, March 2, 2015

Extra Project: Upcoming Baby Project

I just wanted to give you all a "heads-up" that the "Flour Baby" / "Sugar Baby" / "Maza Baby" project is coming up next week.  You will build "babies" that you will carry with you for the entire week as if it was your actual child.

All materials are due in class by FRIDAY, March 6th.  If we are not here on Friday, you will need to bring them on Monday, 3/9 fully ready.  You will need to collect a few things by then:
  • First and foremost, a 5-10 pound sack of sugar, flour, or maza (corn meal).  Checking in at a couple stores, I saw 5 lb. bags of sugar and flour for about $2.39.  If you care for your "baby" well enough, you can still use the flour or sugar when you are done with the project.

  • Next you will need to bring a color picture to use as the "baby's" face.  You can find them in parenting magazines, advertisements, or on the Internet.  Try a Google Search (example) and print them on a decent color printer.  You can use some time today to look for these.
  • You will also want to bring something to clothe the baby in.  I recommend a cheap "onesie" that you can pick up at a garage sale, a thrift shop, etc.  You may even know someone with a baby who has some old clothes they want to get rid of.  (Extra credit if you can bring extra's for your classmates)
  • You will need a basket, car seat, stroller, sling, or other baby carrying device.  If you don't want to hold the baby all day during school, you will want something that you can sit quietly under [or along side] your desk.
  • One diaper [unused].  We will go over the basics of diapering your "baby" in class.  If you are not familiar with the difficulty of disposable diapers, you may want to bring an extra.  (Extra credit if you bring extra's for your classmates)
Here are a couple examples from last year that I really liked -- the "parents" of these babies were a couple so their babies became "twins":
  • Optional:  Items to decorate your "baby" such as doll arms/legs, pacifier, baby blanket, markers, construction paper, etc.  Here are a few examples of creative approaches to this project:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Final Project Part 2: Block Letter

Rather than have people bring their portfolio's back in, I have opted to give a couple simple assignments to make sure you have the skills down.

You will be writing a block letter to me from yourself:

My address:
Robert Griffith
235 Harness Hollow Lane
Briceville, TN 37710
I want you to do the following paragraphs:
  1. What sorts of things did you enjoy learning most in Life Skills & Personal Finance?
  2. What would you change about the class if you were teaching it?
  3. What grade do you believe you deserve in this class.  Why?
  4. What are your plans for the future?
Don't forget to include the closing (i.e. Sincerely,) and your printed name with a space between those to sign your name.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Sometimes when you really want something, you need to fight for it.  Push and scratch and grab for what you want.  Many times it takes a LOT of hard work and a tenacity that only someone committed to a goal can achieve.

Here are a couple examples using skateboarding:

First, this 9-year old skater tried 75-times to land a 540—an aerial spin that involves one and a half midair rotations. Each time, the stubborn kid picked herself up and used the fail as motivation to get it right next time. Fun fact: She says she cannot yet ride a bike.
Next, this uncut video of Chris Cole Wallenberg trying to land this jump shows how much work really goes into making an epic skateboarding video.  If you have ever watched a professional in a video clip and you ask yourself, "How the (*&^(*^ does he/she always LAND those?!"  The answer is -- they don't.  But what he demonstrates here is the tenacity to NOT give up.
My point for showing these videos today is NOT that I want you to be a skateboarder, but that I want you to go after your goals as if you were in a race for a million dollars.  Reach and stretch and never give up.  You only fail when you stop trying.

End of the Year Music Video #9: Live Like We're Dying by The Script

Monday, June 2, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bug Out Bag / Emergency Kit Planner

I took the suggestions you gave me yesterday [and some of my own] and compiled a "starter list" to help you think about what you might want to put into a bug-out bag.  I will pass out a list at the beginning of class.  What I want you to do today is to use Microsoft Word to compile a list of supplies you plan to put into an emergency backpack.  Obviously you can't get all of this into a kit, but you will have to plan accordingly depending on what is most important to you.

Obviously you can add things to your list that aren't on my list, but try to keep your items realistic and think about the weight of what you are carrying.  You don't know if you will be in a car, walking the road, or climbing over a mountain, so your job is to be the most prepared as possible for any circumstance.

Print your final list for me [which I will grade and return to you].  Your homework is to begin an Emergency Backpack with as many of your supplies as possible.

Tomorrow is the Senior Trip so we won't have a class project, but Portfolios are due next Wednesday.  Have them organized, up-to-date, and ready to begin your new life/school/career/senior year.

End of the Year Music Video #6: Photograph by Nickelback

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready?

We have talked about the need to know basic first aid & CPR skills, but are you ready for an emergency?  What if we have a major earthquake or an electrical storm that knocks power out for several weeks or wildfires that wipe out our neighborhood?  Do you know what you would take with you if you had less than 5 minutes to decide?

Many people keep an emergency "Bug Out Bag" -- a bag / backpack with emergency supplies and important necessities that they can grab and go in a moments notice.  The BOB is based on a military pack that soldiers keep at the ready, but is in use around the world for places prone to tornadoes, military strikes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, etc.

Take 5 minutes and make a list of everything you would stuff into a Bug Out Bag if we were in danger of some sort of emergency scenario.  Don't share your list or help others because we will be checking to see who does the best with this.-

What are some potential emergency scenarios?  Obviously some are less likely than others, but Lake County has endured a variety of emergencies over the years.  This winter parts of California dealt with phenomena that they never saw before -- three tornadoes in Chico within a weeks time, for example.  So it's good to prepare for all sorts of emergencies whether or not we plan to actually HAVE an emergency in our area.

  • Floods
  • Fires
  • Wind Storms
  • Earthquake
  • Volcano
  • Hurricane
  • Virus Outbreak / Plague
  • Chemical Weapon Attack
  • Nuclear Attack
  • Tornado
  • EMP
  • Power Grid Failure
  • Military Attack / Invasion
  • Revolution / Power Shift
  • Economic Collapse
  • Insect Infestation
  • Zombie Apocalypse
  • Asteroid
  • Blizzard
  • Aliens
Obviously there is little [or no] chance of these things happening [especially around here], but being prepared for anything means you are prepared for everything.

End of the Year Music Video #5: Slip on By by Austin Webb

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finish Video Editing / Photo Story Projects

You have so far been given two video editing projects:
  1. The sample video of the lady shopping for an ugly ring
  2. Your PhotoStory slideshow
Finish editing those today by doing music, titles, end credits, etc.

Tomorrow we will register for YouTube channels [if you don't already have one] and work on "branding".  We will also look at "monetization".  Try to think of something your channel would be about -- or a focus.  Something people would remember and come back for.

End of the Year Music Video #1: You're Gonna Miss This

Monday, May 12, 2014

Photo Story

Today we're going to begin using a free program (you can download it here) called Photo Story 3.  Photo Story 3 is a free presentation tool for creating digital stories with photos, text, transitions, audio narration and background music. It is a modern day version of show and tell or story telling.

You can select numerous photographs [in order if you prefer], add background music, narrate your slideshow, etc.  If you don't have music of your own, Photo Story has a build in "music creator" which will fit a variety of "moods".

Today we are going to create a slideshow using pictures you brought in for a Virtual Yearbook.

To create a Photo Story 3 project:
  • Launch the Photo Story 3 application
  • Check "Begin a new story" and click "Next"
  • Click "Import Pictures"
  • Select the pictures you would like to use in your project and click "Ok"
  • Click "Next"
  • If you don't wish to add titles/comments to your pictures, click "Next"
  • If you don't want to record narration, click "Next"
  • Click "Select Music" and choose the MP3 file you want to use for your background music
  • Click "Next"
  • Select the folder you want to save your work to (I suggest Thawspace) and click "Next"
  • Photo Story 3 will now build your movie file

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Photoshop: Collage

Today and tomorrow we are going to build a collage that we can use as a computer wallpaper. The collage must have a theme, include several images, have some sort of text (i.e. a title), and fit the dimensions of a typical computer screen.

You will have today and tomorrow to build your collage.
  1. Create a new Photoshop document using your choice of the following dimensions:  (Dimensions from W3Schools 9/19)
    1. 1366x768 (18.7% of computer screens use this resolution) 
    2. 1024x768  (13% use this resolution)
    3. 1280x1024  (11.5%)
    4. 1280x800 (10.7%)
    5. 1440x900 (8.1%)
  2. Sometimes it's better to fill your canvas with a certain color (i.e. black, blue, or green) to serve as a base for your pasted images, although you can create some interesting collages by using a textured background or even an image (i.e. the example showing Asian writing).
  3. Begin finding images [within your theme as well as being classroom appropriate] and save them to a folder on your Thawspace or USB drive.  Make sure the images are large enough that you don't have to stretch them on your canvas.
  4. Begin "pasting in" images and dragging them to the best fit on your canvas.
  5. You may want to use a soft, feathered brush as an eraser and soften the edges of your images.
  6. You may also want to try adjusting the opacity on some of your images [layers] to help the layers "melt together" better.
  7. You may even try a color gradient overlay with low opacity for some interesting effects.
  8. Choose a font that fits your theme, and place a title on your page.
  9. Choose a small font and put your name on your new artwork.
  10. Try some layer styles (drop shadows, bevel & emboss, stroke, etc.) to improve your text layer.
Finally, make sure you save your file as a PSD (Photoshop Document) as well as a JPEG, then upload the JPEG to your Blogger portfolio.

Here are some examples of Photoshop collages:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Being Connected

Photoshop: Recoloring

Today we will continue playing with the "Replace Color" tool:

Step I: Getting Started
  1. Click on one of the sample images below to view it full screen
  2. Copy the image
  3. Open PhotoShop and create a New Document
  4. Paste the image

Step II: Making a "Warhol Grid"
  2. Change "Inches" to "Percent"
  3. Change BOTH Width and Height to 200 [percent].
  4. Click the "Upper-Left" Arrow
  5. Click OK
  7. Paste another copy of your picture
  8. Use the arrow to drag the picture to the upper-right corner
  9. Paste another copy of your picture
  10. Use the arrow to drag the picture to the lower-left corner
  11. Paste another copy of your picture
  12. Use the arrow to drag the picture to the lower-right corner.
Step III: Changing Colors
  1. Select the layer that you want to adjust (top-right, bottom-left, and bottom-right)
  3. Use the Dropper tool to click on one of the bright colors
  4. Hold Shift and select other shades of that color
  5. Drag the "HUE" slider left or right to adjust the color
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for the other two squares.
Step IV: Finishing
  1. Add your name to your image
  2. Save your image to ThawSpace as a PSD
  3. Save your image to ThawSpace again -- this time as a JPG
  4. Log in to your portfolio (Blogger) page
  5. Create a New Post and insert your JPG picture
  6. Write a quick summary of the project and what you did to get the look you came up with
If you have access to YouTube you can watch the following video tutorial explaining this process:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

How We See Ourselves

Last week we discussed this project:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Photoshop: Photo Manipulation

Assignment:  We have accepted an assignment from a client to take a dull, scanned photograph and improve it for use in a poster, brochure, web site, etc.  The client has scanned a photograph of a gondola, but they think it is too hazy... and they don't like the speedboat in the center of the picture... and "the colors are a little blah".  We will use PhotoShop to correct these issues... and more.

Photoshop Tools/Options Used:
  • Ruler
  • Rotate Canvas
  • Crop
  • Levels
  • Clone Stamp
  • Dodge
  • Burn
  • Replace Color
  • Magic Wand
  • Paste Into
  • Free Transform
We will be using the following images to create our final project:
(Right-click each image and save to your computer, then open them in Photoshop.)

Part I: We will begin with the Gondola picture (p_start.psd):
  • Select VIEW > FIT ON SCREEN (shortcut is CTRL+0) to see the image as large as possible
  • Select the RULER tool (sometimes it's hidden under the EYEDROPPER) -- a shortcut is SHIFT+I which toggles through that toolset.
  • Drag the ruler along an edge that should be straight (i.e. the edge of the tower).
  • A suggested rotation is already in place based on your ruler line (this tool is trying to make the ruler line vertical or horizonal)... so click OK.
  • Use the RECTANGULAR MARQUEE tool (the box shape) to select as much of the picture as possible without including the black border (it's okay if you don't get all of the photo in the square).
  • Select IMAGE > CROP
  • Select VIEW > FIT ON SCREEN (again, to see the maximum image size)
  • Drag the "black triangle" in toward the very beginning of the "mountain range" -- and do the same for the "white triangle" (click the "Preview" box to toggle this change to preview what it is doing) then click OK.
  • You now have a brightened, cropped image to work with for the next part.
Part II: Removing the Motor Boat / Using the Clone Stamp
  • Click the CLONE STAMP tool
  • Move your pointer over to a clear area of water -- about the same distance/depth as your motorboat (i.e. somewhere in the same horizontal line) and ALT+CLICK.
  • Move your mouse over to the center of the motorboat and slowly paint over the boat.  Notice the "+" shape where the CLONE STAMP is copying from.
Part III: Adjusting Highlights and Shadows
  • Click the DODGE tool (it looks like a black pushpin) and set the Range for HIGHLIGHTS and the Exposure to around 10%.
  • Adjust your brush size as necessary with the [ and ] keys.
  • Brush over the red and white striped tarp and notice how the highlights are getting brighter.  Try this on other tarps and the side of the boat which seems to get shinier.
  • Click the BURN tool (it looks like a hand pinching and is found under the DODGE tool) and set the Range for SHADOWS and the Exposure to around 5%.
  • Adjust your brush size as necessary with the [ and ] keys.
  • Brush over the boats/tarps just to get a little contrast.
Part IV: Replace the Orange Tarp
  • Use the ZOOM tool (it looks like a magnifying glass) to zoom in on the orange tarp -- making sure you can see the entire thing.
  • Use the LASSO tool and draw around the orange tarp (making a selection)
  • Click on the orange part of the orange tarp.  You should see a faint "mask" of the orange shape appear in the Replace Color box.
  • Hold down the SHIFT key and Click and Drag around the orange tarp trying to select ONLY the orange areas.  If you over-select (i.e. you accidentally go into the black) you can start this step over.
  • When you feel like you have a nice, sharp "mask" of the orange tarps shape, drag the HUE slider left and right.  Notice the colors changing on your image.
  • If you adjust the SATURATION slider and the LIGHTNESS slider, you can actually match the colors of the other tarps on the boat.
Part V: Make Blue Skies From Gray
  • Open the Clouds picture (p_clouds.psd).
  • Click on SELECT > ALL (or do CTRL+A)
  • Select EDIT > COPY (or do CTRL+C)
  • Go back to your Gondola picture.
  • Click the MAGIC WAND tool (SHIFT+W toggles this)
  • Click in one of the "gray" areas of the sky and notice how it selects some of the building tops.  We don't want that.
  • Drop your TOLERANCE down to 10 and see how that works.  Notice that it [probably] doesn't select the entire piece.  We can compensate for that by holding SHIFT and clicking in the "unselected" areas.
  • Continue SHIFT-Clicking the other "gray" areas of the sky throughout the picture.
  • Select EDIT > PASTE INTO (not PASTE)
  • Notice how ugly and unnatural this looks?  Don't worry -- go over to the OPACITY setting (above your LAYERS) and drag that down until it looks natural.  Mine is about 37% [this time].
  • When you are satisfied with your final product, select LAYER > FLATTEN IMAGE.
Part VI: Make the Before and After
  • Change "inches" to percent and change the width (since this is a picture that is taller than it is wide, a side-by-side comparison works best -- so we will adjust the width) and change the 100 to 200 (making it twice the width).
  • Click on the Right Arrow (this means you want your current picture -- the "after" -- to be on the right) and click OK.
  • Copy your original image (in this case, p_start.psd) and Paste it into your finished image.  Use the MOVE tool (the black arrow) to drag it to the left side.
  • You may want to use your FREE TRANSFORM to rotate and resize the original so it fits better.
  • Add your name to the finished image.
  • Save your completed file as a JPEG image to your Thawspace. 
Part VII: Add to Your Portfolio
  • Go to your Blog ( and sign into your account.
  • Click New Post and make sure "Compose" is selected.
  • Click the IMAGE/PICTURE button.
  • Browse for your picture (from your Thawspace).
  • Add a description about the steps you completed or the process you used in putting this together.  You could even add the reason you did the project (e.g. A virtual client wanted you to clean up an image to use for print/online media).
  • Click VIEW BLOG.
If you have difficulty following along and would like to work on this from home, here is a tutorial using the same images:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Photoshop: Colorize a Photo

Today we will be learning to colorize a black and white image.  The image we are starting with, however, is already in color.  What we will do is take this image into PhotoShop, convert it to black & white, then colorize it.

1.  Click on the image (below) to view it full-size.
2.  Right-click and save the image to your folder.

3.  Open the image in PhotoShop.
4.  Convert it to Black & White by going to:  IMAGE > MODE > GRAYSCALE
5.  Balance it by going to: IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > AUTO CONTRAST
6.  Convert the image back to RGB Color by going to:  IMAGE > MODE > RGB COLOR
7.  Create a new layer:  LAYER > NEW > LAYER
8.  Pick a bright color (pink, blue, red, etc.)
9.  Choose a soft (feathered) brush and paint on your new layer over an object (hat, pants, overalls, etc.).  Don't worry about the bright, ugly color because we're going to adjust that in the next step.
10.  Next, adjust the opacity (transparency) of your painted layer by clicking the arrow next to OPACITY above the Layer.  Drag the arrow left or right to adjust the opacity. 

This is a quick example of the project:

Here are a few examples of adding color to a black & white photograph to create different effects:

If [for some reason] you don't see your layers, click F7.

Also, if you have access to YouTube you can check out this video tutorial that I put together a few years ago.  It's on a Macintosh, but the concepts are the same:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Photoshop: Basic Retouching


Today we are going to explore some photo retouching.  Next we will be creating a "before and after" picture to save to our portfolios.

First we will get an original source image to work with:
  1. Begin by right-clicking the image below and selecting "Copy Image" or "Copy" (depending on which browser you are using). 
  2. Open Photoshop and select FILE > NEW
  3. Select EDIT > PASTE
  4. Use the tools I demonstrate in class to touch up the photograph 

Next we will create the Before & After picture:
  2. Change your settings to "PERCENT"
  3. Click on the "Right Arrow"
  4. Change your Width to 200% and click OK
  5. You should now have an image with space on the left
  6. Copy the original image (from this web page) again
  7. Paste the image into your Photoshop document and drag it to the left (as the "before" image)
  8. Use the Text tool to add your name to the image.
  9. Save your image to your Thawspace as a PSD and as a JPG
Next we will upload these pictures to our portfolio:
  1. Open your Blogger account (you may want to open Gmail and then go to
  2. Select your "Portfolio" page.
  3. Click "New Post"
  4. Click the "Image" button in the post window.
  5. Locate and select your picture (the JPG version), then click "OK"
  6. Click on the picture in your post and select the size you want it displayed.
  7. Write a brief summary of what this project is about (either before, after, or on either side of your image).
  8. Click "Publish"
  9. Click "View Blog" (at the very top of your window)

Finally, choose another picture that you can retouch.  I'm attaching a couple examples, but you can select another image if you like.  (I recommend clicking the picture to view it full-size before copying it.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Digital Photo Ethics: Photo Manipulation

Today we will be discussing how "the media" uses programs like Photoshop to alter images for advertising or even news.  We will also discuss the ethics of such manipulation, and prepare for some basic image alterations for a mock client.

Below is a video (from Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty) which demonstrates how much the print media (magazines, billboards, etc.) rely on PhotoShop.  It also does a great job of demonstrating why young people today have difficulty living up to the images they see in magazines and advertising.  Even supermodels get Photoshopped before they are "good enough".

And this one:
And one for the guys:
And how about a real-time video editing selection:

Here are some examples of Photo Manipulation in the media:

So when did "photo manipulation" begin?  Many people think it's a new invention which arrived with the invention of programs like Photoshop, but although technology has made photo manipulation easier it has been around almost since photography was invented.  Look at the following examples:
This well-known portrait of Abraham Lincoln was done around 1860.  It is actually a combination of Abraham Lincoln's head and Southern politician John Calhoun's body.
This well-known picture of General U.S. Grant atop his horse at a Civil War camp is actually a composite of three separate pictures.  (Click to view larger picture)

The big question is to decide when it is appropriate to manipulate a photo and how much manipulation should be done.  Are you removing a pimple from the tip of someones nose or doctoring a photo to make someone appear more guilty?  Are you removing a power line or a distracting road sign to improve the image, or are you removing wrinkles from someones' face for an anti-wrinkle cream?  Here are some more examples:
Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Another big question is should the news be able to create images to illustrate their stories?  Sometimes they are altered, sometimes cropped, and sometimes created outright.  So when is something "news" and when does it cross the line to become entertainment?

These two magazine covers used the same photo and sat on news stands the same week:

The same two magazines had these covers depicting the McCaughey septuplets.  One magazine (in this case, Newsweek) decided that they needed to replace Mrs. McCaughey's mouth with another that was more attractive.
Sometimes the same company can release the same picture -- and decide to "fix" it.

Here are some examples of when the news takes things out of [or put things into] the picture:
Iranian Missile Launch Test

Brad & Angelina were "caught together", although the photo's shown  were taken at different times and in different places -- Brad Pitt was in the Caribbean in 2005 and Angelina Jolie was in Virginia in 2004.
The $2 Bill was changed to reflect ethnic diversity in 2009.

When an actor is known for his facial expressions (including wrinkles) it seems silly to Photoshop them out.

Here's an example of the same student from the same picture using 3 different laptops from 3 different advertisements.

In this example, National Geographic gained some dubious recognition when they "created" the cover of the magazine by Photoshopping together pyramids into a more aesthetically pleasing photo.

These photos of deceased soldiers (released by the Army in 2008) were later retracted when it was discovered that they were identical -- with the exception of the name and face, obviously.

Israeli newspaper Yated Neeman removed two female cabinet members from a photo of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres -- and replaced them with male cabinet members.

Malaysian President Jeffrey Wong Su En produced this doctored photo as evidence that he had been knighted by the Queen of England.

Egypts newspaper Al-Ahram published this photo in which Egyptian President Mubarak was moved to the leadership position appearing to lead the group of world leaders.

This picture claiming to be Sarah Palin was printed in many newspapers during the last election.  I saw it in a San Francisco newspaper as recently as last Summer.  It was later revealed to be doctored.

Claiming a Rabbinical modesty code, Orthodox newspaper Der Tzitung removed pictures of women from this photo of President Obama's situation room during the take-down of Osama Bin Laden.

Here are a few pictures showing some editing/manipulation (click to view animation):

Sometimes they simply piece together parts of the same celebrity to create the shot they are looking for.

There's a quickly growing collection of "Photoshop Fails" which display examples bad Photoshop work -- typically unfinished or unnoticed problems.  Usually just the result of lazy designers.