Robotics, Virtual Reality and Games

Creating avatars using graphic software (Photoshop)

What do you know about the way graphics need to be stored on computers?

Can you explain pixels, resolution, binary or hexadecimals?

Have a look at this video by one of the co-founders of Instagram.

Rewatch the video and then write a summary on your blog about what you now know about storing graphical information on computers. Identify any questions you still have.

Activity 1 – Playing with Photoshop

Using YouTube to learn how to use Photoshop techniques

You will use You Tube to search how to use techniques in Photoshop CS6. In your groups of 3 choose 6 techniques you would like to use in Photoshop. Each person is responsible for finding how to use 2 techniques. Post the best 2 links you find to the comment section of this page. Once you have learnt to use your techniques teach them to other members in your group.  Create a Custom picture with these techniques using a resolution of 200. We will later use this graphic and convert it to a graphic suitable for web use. Some techniques are;

Making Selections

  • Using the Marquee tools
  • Using the Lasso tool
  • Using the Poygonal Lasso tool
  • Using the Magnetic Lasso tool
  • Using the Quick Selection tool
  • Using the Magic Wand tool
  • Inverting selections
  • Refining selections
  • Using Quick Mask mode

Enhancing & Retouching Photos


  • Cropping a photo
  • Straightening an image with the Ruler tool
  • Using the Smart Sharpen filter
  • Adjusting saturation
  • Adjusting brightness & contrast
  • Using a neutral density gradient
  • Using the Dodge & Burn tools
  • Removing red eye
  • Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
  • Using the Healing Brush tool
  • Using the Patch tool
  • Using the Clone Stamp tool
  • Converting to black & white
  • Using Smart Filters
  • Disabling & deleting Smart Filters

Working with Colour


  • Setting the foreground & background colour
  • Using the Eyedropper tool
  • Creating & deleting swatches
  • Using the Colour Replacement tool
  • Using the Paint Bucket tool
  • Using the Brush tool
  • Adjusting colour balance
  • Using the Sponge tool

Shapes, Gradients & Type

  • Creating basic shapes
  • Using the Custom Shape tool
  • Using the Gradient tool
  • Creating custom gradients
  • Adding text

Activity 2

Preparing a Graphics of the best resolution for Print

We will use Photoshop CS6 to create 2 more avatars.  Photoshop mainly uses raster graphics  i.e. graphics using pixels but does have some vector graphics i.e. graphics using mathematical formula to create lines rather than pixels. You cannot use both together but you can convert them and Photoshop will ask you if you want to do this.

Click  on Creating a new file to see how to open a file to create a graphic for web use.

There are 4 important aspects for preparing graphics effectively on the web;

    1. Before you start make sure the Resolution of your graphic is 72 ppi. This is the satndard resolution for web based graphics.
    2. You need to ensure the graphic contains only the bits you want. You can use the crop tool to select the bits you want to keep. Click on Cropping a photo to see how this is done.
    3. You need to ensure the graphic is ready to use. i.e. it should be reduced to the actual size you want to use it. Remember you should not increase the size of the graphic as this will reduce the quality of the image. You can do this by selecting Image Size from the Image Tab and playing with Pixel Dimensions or click on Resizing your photo while saving for Web (jpeg) to see an easier way. If you do it yourself in Image size make sure that Constrain Proportions box is clicked so you do not distort graphic.
    4. You need to ensure that it is saved in the appropriate format for graphic images in web browsers. This is usually in jpeg, gif or png.

Once this is done you can import graphic into a post using the Add Media Tab in Edublogs. Once this is added to your library you can then insert it into the post or any other post by selecting it from the library.

Creating and editing graphics in Photoshop

Create the following avatars using Photoshop.

  1. Take a photo of part of yourself or something that represents part of your identity. This does not mean your whole face but if you choose your face you need to change it so it keeps your real image private. Using Photoshop tools such as colour and distortions edit your image.
  2. Choose up to 5 tools to manipulate your photo. You will discuss the use of these tools on your blog. Your final product should be your avatar but should not look exactly like you. See the links  Atomic Learning below to find out some tools you can use. Make sure you login to Atomic Learning so you can access links below. Add this avatar to a blog post. Discuss what you learned, the tools you used and any problems you encountered and how you solved them if you solved them.
  3. Change your graphic to a thumbnail. Make your thumbnail no bigger than 200 x 200 pixels. Make sure Constrain Proportions have been selected so you do not distort the image.
  4. Add this thumbnail avatar as your blog avatar (or if it does not let you do this add it to a post). Do this by going to Settings and Blog Avatar. You then add a Blog avatar widget by selecting Appearance and Widget.
  5. Reflect about what you learnt. Discuss the 5 tools you used in Photoshop and how you used them. What were the strengths of this software package? What could you do that the other software tools did not do? What was its weakness or what did you find difficult or did not like about Photoshop. Finally discuss the image you created and how it represents you while keeping your identity.


  1. Playing with photoshop: Photoshop techniques CS6 – Youtube links

    1. Removing red eyes and using the clone stamp tool

    2. Using the Smart Sharpen Filter

  2. Playing with photoshop: Photoshop techniques CS6 – Youtube links

    1. Using the paint bucket tool

    2. Using the sponge tool

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