Photoshop Proofs and Movie Spoofs
When selecting projects for students, it’s always good to know what will connect them to their own visual/material culture. I have learned that what worked for students 10 years ago will probably not relate to students today. So, it’s important to continue to stay tuned to what they are tuned into if you want to keep your lessons engaging.
However, movies and videos are still an important part of their culture. Now, thanks to the Internet, movies are more accessible right from home. However, there is still something entertaining about going to movie theaters to see first run films on the big screen with family and friends over a big box of popcorn.
When I first envisioned a Photoshop project for my 8thGrade art students I knew I might need an expert. My knowledge in Photoshop was limited to a few features that I had used to design brochures and posters and I had also played around with a few effects to create surrealist-looking photos just for fun.
I knew that if students could see how to navigate the filters and apps, they would continue to explore them, but I needed guidance to get them started. So, I approached a former art teacher who was now working full time in the Communications department at my school to see if he was willing to come in and show them a few basics. Before his visit, I instructed students to collect some digital images, so that they could have easy access to them when he came. These could be original images or ones downloaded from public domain. These included a selfie, a cityscape, a country landscape, a body of water, the interior of a room, an animal, a place of business, and a car.
My goal was for students to have enough images to work with to create an ad for a car as a practice lesson. After some experimentation with this, we changed the project to the design of a movie poster. This theme seemed to resonate a little more. I allowed students to include the images they had already collected or to gather more. I showed them how to find domain free images using Google Images. The criteria for the project included the following:
· Create a poster in Photoshop for either an original movie or make a spoof of an existing movie.
· Use text in the poster (Refer to elements of existing or vintage movie posters as guidelines for the layout).
· Background layer must be from a separate source than the elements added to it.
· Middle ground layer must be from a separate source than elements in the foreground.
· Filters and cropping features must be used to alter original and public domain photographs in some way. (Discuss plagiarism).
· Filters should enhance the theme of the poster.
· URL for images gathered from the Internet must be saved on a separate document.
Some of the students who had already been exploring Photoshop, were able to assist others with solving issues. They also shared YouTube tutorials which had helped them in learning how to manipulate many of the features. I was there to help them consider the composition of their layout with prompts such as:
· If you saw this poster at the theatre, would you want to see it?
· What elements of movie posters attract you?
· How does the composition set the mood for the movie?
As students became more comfortable manipulating the images, I prompted them to consider the following:
· Did you explore other font choices before selecting this one?
· Does the effect you used fit with the theme of your poster or distract from it?
· Do the design choices fit with the genre of the film?
When students completed their movie posters, they were printed on a large poster printer at our school and displayed in the hallway.
Next, I showed students how to use the Trailer option in iMovie. Some of them were already familiar with it from a project we did the year before. The program is designed in a way where users can edit the text and drop in photos and video clips into a selected theme. Using a few guidelines, students created trailers for their film. They were allowed to film one another as actors as well as use images previously generated. The only required component was that the trailer had to include the movie poster somewhere in the clip.
On the last day of the project, students presented their iMovie Trailers to the class. And yes, there was popcorn.
Materials and Resources
· Adobe Photoshop Software
· Access to Photos (original and domain free images)
· Electronic Presentation with slides of various movie posters
· YouTube Tutorials on Adobe Photoshop
Melody Weintraub is an art teacher at Briarcrest Christian School in Eads, Tennessee. Weintraub@gmail.com
National Media Arts Standard
Creating: Generate and conceptualize new artistic ideas and work.