Photoshop Tutorial: Student Astronaut Project (Semester lesson)

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This lesson gives students the opportunity to not only learn a host of Photoshop tools and techniques, but to be creative as well.

In part one, students begin with a photograph of their face and use a variety of Photoshop's tools to turn the photograph into a full-color cartoon image. Along the way, students learn a variety of keyboard shortcuts, how to create and open a document, adjusting levels, working with layers, modifying image size, and using such Photoshop tools as Brush, Pen, Eraser, Magic Wand, and more. Students always have fun with this part of the lesson as it gives them experience with Photoshop's basic tools while allowing them to create an awesome image.

In the second part of the lesson, students create a vibrant solar system complete with a starfield, nebula, sun, planets, comet, and asteroids. Students master such Photoshop techniques as creating a document, working with layers, layer visibility, multiple filters, adjusting levels, adjusting layer blending modes, layer groups, opacity, spherize, color balance, layer styles, and many more. Additionally, this lesson gives students extended experience with most of Photoshop's tools including, Brush, Paint Bucket, Dodge, Eraser, Lasso, Elliptical Marquee, and many more.

While each student follows the same process to create the individaul elements in their space scene, they have the opportunity to make personal choices which customizes each scene. Your students will love this project and will be competing with each other to see who can create the most awesome solar system (in fact, I have a contest each year and let the students vote on which space scene they like the best)! They won't even know they are learning as they strive to build an amazing space panorama.

Part three of the lesson covers basic animation with Photoshop. Students add their cartoon head, along with a spaceship, to their solar system and make themselves fly around their planets. This gives students a complete understanding of Photoshop's timeline.

This is a lengthly lesson (semester length), so be sure to take grades and check student progress as they work. The lesson is divided into 20 separate parts to give you ample opportunity to award progress/completion grades.

This lesson assumes students have never used Photoshop. Instructions are written for Photoshop CS6, but can be easily adjusted for use with any version of the software. The download is a zip file. The tutorial is presented as a website so that students can move easily between steps. The instructions can be easily edited with Adobe Dreamweaver or any webpage editing tool, so feel free to edit and personalize the instructions to meet the needs of your class/course. The preview file gives you a look at the first few directions for the first 4 steps.

Don't bother with poorly written tutorials on the Internet that you can't edit - download, modify, and use this lesson with your students today! Enjoy!
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Teaching Duration
1 Semester

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Photoshop Tutorial: Student Astronaut Project (Semester lesson)