agenda :: 3/15

today: clone yourself using iMovie!

i recently discovered a pretty cool trick you can use in iMovie to clone yourself! this is a pretty easy special effect once you get the hang of it. today we’ll need to collaborate and shoot some original footage in order to make it work. i’ve got a couple cameras on hand, but feel free to shoot your own footage with your phone.


  1. the first important thing to do is to make sure your camera is stable. the camera will need to stay locked in one position while shooting, so you’ll need to use a tripod (or a d.i.y. one from the binder clips i’ve provided). this will make sure that when we overlap your two shots, everything will match up.
  2. find an interesting scene with no big changes going on in the background. on a bench, against a wall, in a stairwell – all good choices, but feel free to be creative. have your partner set up the camera and direct you to the left side of the frame. act out whatever you’ve planned or improvise something. maybe you’re reading a book, asking yourself questions to be answered by your cloned self, etc. imagine a line in the center of the frame – you can use an element in the background as a reference –  and do not cross it. your clones won’t be able to touch each other (sorry, you can’t high five yourself), but it is possible to suggest interaction through dialogue, gestures, or other creative solutions. these rules will help us make sure the effect works correctly in editing.
  3. keep the camera rolling so that you don’t move the camera. next, move to the right side of the frame and have your partner shoot new footage with a new action (sitting down next to the original you on a bench, answering questions, etc.). again, don’t cross the imaginary center line of the frame.


  1. come back to the lab and open up iMovie (sorry, its gonna be a mac kind of day!)
  2. first, we need to enable the advanced features of iMovie. in the iMovie menu at the top, click on preferences and check the box for “show advanced tools”.
  3. upload your footage to your computer via cable or email. import your footage by either dragging into the “event” panel, or by choosing from the file menu. this event panel shows you what raw footage you have to choose from when creating a new video project.
  4. using the yellow selecting bars, drag and crop your clip so that you have only the action you want to keep surrounded. this time we just want to grab the part of the clip with you on the left side of the frame. drag this selection into the project panel below. this panel is the timeline where you edit your video project together (what the final product will look like). you can swap the position of these by clicking the two arrows in the middle divider (it will probably boot up already preset in the “wrong” way for some reason).
  5. repeat step 2, but this time select the part of the clip when you are on the right side of the frame. drag below to the project panel, and place directly on top of the first clip. a green plus sign should appear, and from the menu that pops up, select “green screen”.
  6. what you should see now is both clips layered on top of each other, but since they are both the full size of the frame only the top layer is visible. to adjust this, click the “cropped” button at the top, and pull the left side of the selection box in to the center. adjust as you need so that both versions of yourself will fit fully in the frame
  7. now you have both clips playing simultaneously, the left-side clone on the left, and the right-side clone on the right. if you kept your camera still and were careful that lighting didn’t change, it should look pretty seamless! last step is to adjust the timing of the clips by dragging to the appropriate place in the timeline.
  8. to save your file, go to the share menu, and choose export movie. any size resolution is good, but the bigger the better!

agenda :: 2/15

today: digital collage/play day


today for my mini lesson, i’d like to show you some work by artists who use digital imaging software like photoshop to reinvent the old idea of collage. collage has always been about experimenting, mixing and matching, and juxtaposing seemingly unrelated images to come up with a new work. with so many images at your fingertips online, it seems like a no-brainer for today’s artists to use this wealth of media for their own work. here’s a few examples of what people are doing with digital collage today. what tools within photoshop do you think each artist is using? what are the basic elements that each picture is made up of?

ok, so your assignment today (if you choose to accept it) is pretty open ended. if you’d like, surf the web for interesting images, tinker around in photoshop, and create your own digital collages. its up to you how simple or complex they should be, and what tools you will use within photoshop.  feel free to experiment on your own with the various tools in photoshop like layers, masking, filters, etc. if digital collage just isn’t your thing, that’s fine, you’re more than welcome to direct yourself towards something else you’d prefer to work on. here’s some helpful tutorials i’ve run across in the past week that i thought you all might be interested in:

  • 35 collage photoshop tutorials :: even if you don’t follow these to the letter, it can be helpful to read through and learn some tips and tricks
  • character design tutorials :: it seems like a lot of you are interested in designing and drawing your own characters for various reasons – this is a good list of projects you might try out to hone your skills in illustrator or photoshop
  • :: since a lot of you are interested in digital painting with your tablets, this website has a lot of great info for beginners or more advanced users.
  • :: this website has a lot of high quality tutorials on a lot of subjects including design & illustration, web design/coding, music/audio, 3d & motion graphics. take a look here if you’re looking for some help navigating a specific subject
  • you suck at photoshop :: this youtube channel is devoted to teaching you how to be better at photoshop. well, kind of. it is sorta entertaining and you might learn a few tricks along the way.

ok, now go off on your own and see what you can do. give me a holler if you’ve got any questions or problems i can help out with!

Details for Tomorrow!

Greetings everyone,

I am excited to have our first session of the Digital Arts Workshop tomorrow and to meet everyone! I sent along an email with this info, but thought I’d post it here as well to cover all bases:
  • We will be meeting at 1-3pm in our lab (Room 289) at the Media Commons, located in the Undergraduate Library. If you’ve never been to the Undergrad, it can be a little tough to find since it was built underground (an interesting story!). Check the schedule and location page on our website for a map and more detailed info about how to get there and where to park or drop off students.
  • Remember to print off and sign the consent letters to participate in the Workshop. Both parents and students will need to read and sign one.
  • For tomorrow’s session, we’re going to be making looping .GIF images. I’ll explain more tomorrow, but this will require students to take a short video clip and import it to Photoshop for editing. If you have a smartphone or other camera that is capable of taking video, I encourage you to bring it (and a connector cable if needed) to our session tomorrow. I should have a few backup devices available, and we will have access to software and computers in the lab, but the Media Commons has encouraged me to try out a “back pocket” model of photo/video taking whenever possible. This means exploring ways of making really cool stuff with tools most of us already have, which I think is a great idea.
I think that’s about it, but please let me know if you have any questions. See everyone tomorrow!


Looks like you’ve found the online home for the upcoming Digital Arts Workshop! I am excited to meet you all at our first session, January 25th, but in the meantime feel free to look around and find out more about the program. Hopefully this site will also let me get a little preliminary feedback from participants about what exactly they’d like to learn about and what their interests are.

I’ve received a few questions from parents and participants, most of which are about where and when exactly this will be taking place. Here’s some basic info to help fill in some of these details:

When: The Digital Arts Workshop will meet for a 9-week period on Saturday afternoons from 1-3 pm. The program will begin with our first session on January 25th, 2014. The program will continue for 9 weeks every Saturday until our last session on March 22nd.

Where: My initial plans have changed a bit, but I’m happy to say it will be for the better! Instead of holding the workshop in a classroom at the Art and Design building on campus, we have graciously been granted use of a computer lab by the UIUC Media Commons, located in the Undergrad Library on campus. This will hopefully allow students all the access they need to computer equipment, software, and other loanable items available through the Media Commons. I do not currently have a lab number in place (gears are turning!) but the Media Commons space is located at 250 Undergrad Library. I’ll hopefully have an update soon about a more specific location.

Also, I just want to remind everyone that this program is free for participants and open to any high school student. We have a few spots still left open, so if you know a friend who is looking for a fun experience learning about art, pass this information along!

I’ll be adding more here in the days to come, but thanks for stopping by and please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at if you have any questions. See you in a couple weeks!

Brad Olson :: Director, Digital Arts Workshop