Web Dev

Personalized Books

Age Range: 8-15
Difficulty: Moderate
Time Frame: 2-4 Weeks

      A very educational and useful project we have made. This is one that you can be proud of. We used it as a personalized gift for the kids cousins just changing the name and pictures.

      We did this as a summer project. We picked a general theme for the book, in this case - Philippine folklore, and I gave the kids a general broad outlline of a story and asked the kids to write it, embellishing the story as they saw fit. I also asked them to research on the folktale and folklore that was assigned to them so they can learn about it and asked them to make a small summary of each creature. For one child, I asked him to write a poem about the story instead. I gave them a general idea of how long I wanted it to be, gave them 1 month to make it, and left them to enjoy their summer. I reminded them every week about the project, and as an incentive, promised to pay them a small fee for getting it done.

      Once they submitted their story, I went and proof read them, had one story sent back to be revised, edited the grammar and streamlined the storyline, and then showed it to them again to get their approval to go with the edited story.

      I collected cliparts of the different creatures in the story, chose appropriate pictures of the children from our own albums, photoshopped (actually I used Corel Photopaint) the children and the creatures into appropriate settings. I made maybe 2-3 pictures per story. Once the picture collages were done, I ran them through a batch editing process to convert them into cartoons so the pictures became uniform.

Make a Duplicate Layer
Adjust brightness and contrast threshold to 128
Adjust layer properties to softlight at 75 opacity
Apply Halftone Artistic Effects with the following parameters: round, 2 pixels, normal blend mode with 35 opacity

      There are a lot of sites now that allow you to design your own photo album and print it out. The site I used was My Canvas at Mycanvas.com. My Canvas has the advantaged of printing out photos in PNG, which will allow you to upload photos with transparencies thereby creating irregular borders. There are also sites for book publishing but since you will be printing only a few, if not only one copy, it is not a good choice. Aside from the fact that they usually print on low quality paper.

      I uploaded the photos, copy and pasted the story and manually typeset them to the appropriate pages. This may require a bit of trial and error since My Canvas is really a photo album creating site and was not designed to have text flow and wrap to the next page.

      First I put the photos in place on the pages, playing with position and the different page styles available to get a nice pleasant look. I find it better to vary the page design to make the project more pleasing to the eyes, especially using different colors. Then I paste the text, adjust it on the page.

      Once you have everything designed to your liking, have My Canvas print it out and viola, a personalized book your children can call their own.

Time Capsule Cartoon

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