Showing posts with label brush ninja. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brush ninja. Show all posts

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Best of 2022 So Far - Brush Ninja Updates

I'm taking the weekend off. While I'm gone I'll be republishing some of the most popular posts of the year so far. 

Brush Ninja is a tool that I've been using and recommending for a few years now. Brush Ninja makes it incredibly easy to draw a series of images and quickly turn them into animated GIFs. In the fall of 2018 I used Brush Ninja with some middle school students to create animations to illustrate their understanding of forms of energy. You can read more about that activity right here

Brush Ninja is still a great tool for making animated GIFs. In fact, it has gotten better since I first started using it. You can now use custom backgrounds including background pictures that you take with your webcam. The animated GIF creator also now lets you change the size of the canvas you're drawing on. And there are now twice as many stickers available in the GIF creator than when I started using it. 

In addition to making animated GIFs, Brush Ninja now has three other tools. Those are an emoji art creator, a collage maker, and a comic book creator. The emoji art creator lets you click on a canvas to place any of hundreds of emojis into a pattern to create digital artwork. The collage maker is exactly what it sounds like, a tool for making photo collages. The comic book creator simply lets you upload a series of images to a comic book template that you can print and fold. 

An overview of all of the Brush Ninja tools is provided in this new video that I recorded on Wednesday. 


Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I've had students use Brush Ninja to make animations to illustrate their understanding of forms of energy. I longer explanation of that instance can be read here. An explanation of my initial introduction to the concepts behind sketching in the classroom is available here

One of the reasons that Brush Ninja continues to by one of my go-to tools is that it doesn't require students to register or sign-up for anything in order to use all of the available features. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Three Registration-free Drawing Tools for Students

Tools like Google Jamboard and Explain Everything can be great for creating drawings to illustrate concepts. They can also be good tools for students to use to illustrate stories. But sometime you just need a quick and easy tool for students to use to create a drawing or simple animation without having to jump through the hoop of logging into an account. In those instances, the following free tools provide a good way for students to quickly create digital drawings. 

Brush Ninja
For more than five years now I've been using Brush Ninja to create simple animations. Here's something I wrote about using Brush Ninja a few years ago in an eighth grade class. This video provides a demonstration of how to use Brush Ninja which is free and doesn't require registration. The featured GIF in this blog post was created by using Brush Ninja. 


Draw and Tell
Draw and Tell is a free iPad app that has been on my list of recommendations for K-2 students for many years. In this free app students can draw on a blank pages or complete coloring page templates. After completing their drawings students then record a voiceover in which they either explain the drawings or tell a story about the characters in their drawings.

ABCya Animate
ABCya Animate is a fun tool that allows students to create animated GIFs containing up to 100 frames. On ABCya Animate students build their animation creations by drawing, typing, and inserting images. Students can change the background of each frame, include new pictures in each frame, and change the text in each frame of their animations. The feature that I like best about ABCya Animate is that students can see the previous frames of their animations while working on a current frame. This helps students know where to position items in each frame in order to make their animations as smooth as possible. Students do not need to register on ABCya Animate in order to use the tool or to save their animations. When students click "save" on ABCya Animate their creations are downloaded as GIFs.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Brush Ninja - Make Animated GIFs, Emoji Art, and More!

Brush Ninja is a tool that I've been using and recommending for a few years now. Brush Ninja makes it incredibly easy to draw a series of images and quickly turn them into animated GIFs. In the fall of 2018 I used Brush Ninja with some middle school students to create animations to illustrate their understanding of forms of energy. You can read more about that activity right here

Brush Ninja is still a great tool for making animated GIFs. In fact, it has gotten better since I first started using it. You can now use custom backgrounds including background pictures that you take with your webcam. The animated GIF creator also now lets you change the size of the canvas you're drawing on. And there are now twice as many stickers available in the GIF creator than when I started using it. 

In addition to making animated GIFs, Brush Ninja now has three other tools. Those are an emoji art creator, a collage maker, and a comic book creator. The emoji art creator lets you click on a canvas to place any of hundreds of emojis into a pattern to create digital artwork. The collage maker is exactly what it sounds like, a tool for making photo collages. The comic book creator simply lets you upload a series of images to a comic book template that you can print and fold. 

An overview of all of the Brush Ninja tools is provided in this new video that I recorded on Wednesday. 


Applications for Education
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I've had students use Brush Ninja to make animations to illustrate their understanding of forms of energy. I longer explanation of that instance can be read here. An explanation of my initial introduction to the concepts behind sketching in the classroom is available here

One of the reasons that Brush Ninja continues to by one of my go-to tools is that it doesn't require students to register or sign-up for anything in order to use all of the available features. 

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Two Great Ways to Quickly Create Animations

A couple of weeks ago in my weekly newsletter I explained why I value having students create simple animations. The short version of the explanation is that I agree with the premise of Dan Roam's Back of the Napkin. The premise is that if you really understand a complex topic you can explain it in a series of simple sketches. Turning those sketches into an animation is a good way to illustrate a concept from start to finish. 

For a few years now I've been using Brush Ninja to create simple animations. Here's something I wrote about using Brush Ninja a few years ago in an eighth grade class. This video provides a demonstration of how to use Brush Ninja which is free and doesn't require registration. 



Brush Ninja is still a great tool for creating animations. Recently, I started experimenting with the features of Wick Editor for making animations. One of the things that I like about it is that you can add sound effects to your animations. Additionally, you also have the option download your animations as GIF or MP4 files. In this short video I demonstrate how to use Wick Editor to create an animation.



This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If seen elsewhere it has been used without permission.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Create Animated GIFs in PowerPoint

Years ago Common Craft made a fun little guide to understanding the World Cup. The guide featured a bunch of animated GIFs. It was a great example of using silent animations to explain a topic. In the years since then I've encouraged teachers to think about having students make animated GIFs to illustrate and explain concepts. For example, a few years ago I worked with a middle school science teacher who used Brush Ninja to have students make animated GIFs to explain forms of energy. 

Brush Ninja is a tool that was created specifically to make it easy for anyone to draw and create animated GIFs. There are lots of other tools that you and your students can use to create animated GIFs. One of those tools is PowerPoint. 

Mike Tholfsen recently published a new video overview of how to create animated GIFs in PowerPoint. If you're interested in learning how to do that, I encourage to watch his explanation on his YouTube channel or as embedded below. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Screencastify Submit Looks Promising - Easy Way for Students to Make Videos

Thanks to John Padula this morning I learned about a new Screencastify feature called Screencastify Submit. This feature is currently in beta and you have to apply to get access to it, but it does look promising. I've applied and I hope to get access to it soon.

Screencastify Submit will let you create an assignment for your students to complete by making videos with Screencastify. The neat thing about it is you can post the assignment link in Google Classroom or any other LMS and when students click the link they can instantly start recording. Students don't need to have the Screencastify extension installed in order to record videos via Screencastify Submit. Students also don't need a Screencastify account. After students have finished recording their videos are automatically uploaded to your Google Drive for you to review.

Watch this short video to see how Screencastify Submit works.


Applications for Education
As I wrote in an email to John, I think that Screencastify Submit could be a great tool to use with my Comp Sci students. This will make it easier for them to record videos for the assignments I give them to demonstrate and explain pieces of code that they develop. Additionally, I like that Screencastify Submit will organize students' submissions in my Google Drive.

In the past I've had students use Screencastify and Brush Ninja together to create science videos. You can read about that here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Using Brush Ninja and Screencastify to Make Science Presentations

This week I had the opportunity to work in an eighth grade science class. I was there to help their teacher help them learn new ways to make presentations. The topic of their presentations was "forms of energy." That topic lends itself to having students making illustrative animations. In this case I taught the students how to use Brush Ninja to make animated GIFs that they then inserted into Google Slides. Click here for video directions on how to use Brush Ninja.


After making their animations of forms of energy the students inserted them into Google Slides. Those animated GIFs were positioned to take up about half of a slide. Once the animations were in the slides we moved onto using Screencastify on their Chromebooks.

The students used Screencastify to record short, 15 to 30 seconds, videos in which they gave explanations of the concept that their animations illustrated. Screencastify automatically saved their videos into their Google Drives. Then they were able to insert their videos into their Google Slides right next to their animations. My sample slide is embedded below (the students did a better job, but I didn't get permission to share their work on this blog).


If you'd like to have me work with teachers at your school, please get in touch with me here.