Students love to be a part of the action and using a green screen makes it easy to jump into a range of digital classroom projects. Imagine sharing information as an animal, transporting yourself back in time or exploring a far away culture. Green screen can help.
Green screen commonly refers to removing the background from an image so it can be easily combined with a different image. A "green screen" is what you put your actor in front of as you capture their image. The computer then uses a process called chroma key to remove a single color or color range from the background, making it easy to combine with a new background.
Set up a green screen in your classroom
While technically any solid color background could work, avoid black or white. A green background usually works great for clean cutouts in a school setting with fluorescent lighting. You can use green construction or craft paper, or better yet, green fabric. Simply hang it on a wall, over a door, or make your own stand.
Then, take pictures of students posing in the position they need for their Wixie scene... Are they sitting in a chair? Swimming under water? Running a race?
Create with green screen images in Wixie
Step 1 - Add the image
Use the Image button in Wixie to add the green screen photos. If your device is portable, you can simply use the Image dialog's Camera tab to capture the picture in front of the green screen. If you have taken pictures with a different device, move them to the device you are using and choose the Image dialog's My Computer tab to find and add the picture.
Step 2 - Remove the background
Adding an image to Wixie makes it an object. To get rid of the background, you must first move the image to the paint layer. While the image is still selected, use the Glue button on the options panel.
Choose the Magic Wand option of the Selection tool on the tool palette.
Click the Magic Wand tool on part of the "green" background in the image. You will see a slight indication of the selection. Press the Delete key on the keyboard to get rid of the selected area.
The Magic Wand selects a range of similar colors. This is helpful to get rid of shadows and creases in the greenscreen, but may also mean part of the image is deleted. If you don't like the selection, use the Undo button and try clicking the wand in a lighter or darker area of the background.
Continue this process until the wand removes most of the background. You can also clean up the image using the Eraser tool. Don't forget you can use the Zoom slider for more detailed work.
Step 3 - Convert to a Sticker
This step isn't necessary, but will make any additional work with the cut out image a lot easier. Choose the Lasso option of the Selection tool on the tool palette. Click and drag to select around the entire image. The lasso will "shrink" to just the remaining area of the image cutout.
Go to the Edit menu and choose Convert to Sticker. This will turn the image back into an object.
Step 4 - Add your background image
Select the page away from the image. Use the Page Picture button to add an image to the background of the page.
This will add it behind the cutout and "combine" the green screen image with the new background.
So many possibilities
Green screening can help students connect more personally to the content they are studying and because their image is on screen they take additional pride in sharing high-quality information and opinions. For example, you might include their image on a book review or as the reviewer in a movie-style book trailer. Taking on the persona of a person from history, or animal they are learning about, moves "being an expert" to a whole different level.
When using a green screening process in Wixie, students can easily become:
- explorers in a different time or place.
- protagonists in their own story.
- tour guides at historical sites.
- part of personalize greetings.
- comic book heroes.
No matter what you choose to do, including actual photos of your students makes them a truly integral part of their project content.
Enjoy the journey!
PS - Don't limit your green screen to just your student's either. Grab a stuffed animal, or your class pet, or student-created robot and explore the world through their eyes too!