Friday, September 9, 2016

Awesome Avatars Using Google Draw!

My all-time favorite project in computer lit class is one that I call "Google Doodle Yourself" using Google Draw. You can use Google Draw to create your own illustrator-esque portraits, which are awesome for having students use as avatars. The best part is that this is actually quite simple to do! It doesn't need to be perfect in order to come out realistically. It's up to you how detailed you want to go with it.

I use this YouTube video in class to show students how it's done:

I love that you can take a picture right on the spot, but you can also upload existing photos, which lends itself to creating portraits of friends and family for gifts or other surprise things!

The trick to creating these images is the line drawing tool called "curve," which smoothes out any shapes that you make. It gives your shapes a cool cutout style for that all-around freehand-ish drawn look.

The only downside of Google Draw that I've discovered so far is that there isn't an iOS app for it. But I like to use it on Chrome (via Chromebook, Macbook, or PC laptop) using a mouse to help with the fine motor skills required if you wanna get the details looking good.

The other thing to keep in mind is that shapes work on layers, so it's important to work from largest shapes to smallest shapes when tracing, so that you can select the tiny shapes without the larger ones blocking access. Then, when filling in the shapes, you work backwards, smallest to biggest. If you mess up, no biggie, because there's an "Arrange --> Order" function that will allow you to move shapes forward or back as needed.

When you're all done, you can download your drawing as .pdf, .svg, .jpg, or .png - or you can just screen grab it, too! And from there, the possibilities are endless!

This is one of my favorite new computer tricks!

-Mrs. L.

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