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How We Did It

Mary O'Haver
Teacher, Fairland Elementary School

How we got involved with this art project
The art project was started as a result of a call from Julie Nelson, coordinator of the E-me Digital Village project sponsored by the University of Maryland Art Gallery. A parent volunteer, Rosana Azar, an artist herself, agreed to help with the art and actual drawing.

Planning the project with the students
We started out by brainstroming with the students how they saw themselves. We wanted them to see themselves in particular setting, doing something they liked. When they decided on the setting they would create, we proceeded to take pictures of each other with something from that setting.

Capturing a still photo that they will use for a model
We used a video camera connected to a Macintosh LCII that was equipted with a videodigitizing board. That allows us to capture pictures from the video camera live. The board was a VideoSpigot Card made by SuperMac with accompaning software called ScreenPlay. Students brought in any props they might need to capture various still shots via the video camera. Each student was able select the shot they wished to keep as a model for their self-portrait. We enlarged the original shot so that it would be easier to see. Students printed out copies for themselves.

Getting our designs on paper
The use of technology allowed easier transfer of their facial proportions to the piece of paper where their final art project would reside. From the photo and an opaque projector, we were able to transfer the basic shape of the head and the position of the eyes, nose and mouth.

Rosana gets them into the artistic mood and sets the stage!
Rosana spent some time showing them her self-portrait and self portraits done by other artist. They talked about expressing your feelings about yourself in your portrait. She also gave them time to experiment with the media, oil pastels, and gave them lessons on different ways to create desired effects. Needless to say, they always returned with messy hands and big smiles on their faces!

Digitizing our art work
After the art work was done, we used an Apple Color OneScanner and Ofoto software to scan each child's work. The original scanned images were huge, approx. 1,400 K, so we used Graphic Converter to convert them into "JPEG" format. This reduced the file size of the images by approximately 20 fold. After scanning we cropped and scaled them to fit conviently on the web site. The final image files were only 20K - 50K in size, reducing the time to load them, and yet were large enough on the Web page to show off the students' work well.

Additional information on web page
Students were asked to write a short paragraph telling something about themselves and thier portrait. They used the Writing Center as their word processing program. They were asked to record a short sound bite using SoundMachine to digitize their sound. The photo at the bottom of the page is the photo the student chose as their pose for their self-portrait.

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