Saturday, April 2, 2011

BP2_Cloud Canvas

In searching for a new Web 2.0 tool, I concentrated on visual media creation, since this has been an issue in my professional life as of late. Recently I began teaching a new course entitled “Concert Media Design”, which is all about using computer graphics and video in alternative ways to enhance a production. The tools that are used to control this content are referred to as media servers, and with the advances in computer graphic technology over the last 10 years, they have really increased in power and capabilities. My goal in teaching this technology is not to turn my students into video and graphic designers, but to show them how to take pre-existing content that has been supplied and manipulate it so that it can be sent to video display devices on a concert stage. (Such as video screens, LED walls, and even mapping the video content across automated lighting fixtures, so each fixture acts as a pixel of the video)

            Throughout the process of teaching these media servers, however, I found that my students have very little understanding of the basics of digital graphics. Without the ability to teach an in-depth class on Photoshop, I have incorporated small elements of content creation into my course. I ask the students to turn in digital pictures or drawings to be used as content for the stage displays. Along with the original content, however, I also ask them to turn in “altered” versions of each file. While I’m lucky that all of my students have access to basic tools such as iPhoto, they do not have a decent graphics program to really enhance their work.
            Welcome to “Cloud Canvas”, a web-based graphics program that allows users to create imagery through their web browsers. Cloud Canvas is exactly the free tool that I have been looking for to offer my students. Through Cloud Canvas, you can upload pictures, alter them in many ways, and even use the drawing tools to create new graphics. Cloud Canvas offers professional tools such as the ability to create multiple layers in a graphic, vector-based graphics, transparency in images, and the ability to re-size images. When finished with a project, the user can save the image, or export it as a portable network graphic (.png) file direct to their hard drive.

Cloud Canvas is an amazing (and FREE!) tool that I can now show my students, and allow them to use in order to understand basic editing procedures of computer graphics for use in my Concert Media Design course.

"House Lights... Go"


  1. Shawn this sound like a really great graphics tool. I can tell how excited you are about using it with your students. Look forward to seeing what else you discover.

  2. This sounds like a very interesting and sophisticated tool. I will definitely check it out, as I am always looking to learn new visual techniques!