Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

Whole Class Fresco

Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

Whole Class Fresco

Article excerpt

Company: Tool Factory, Inc., 1929 Dorset Hill Rd., East Dorset, VT 05253; Phone: 800/220-8386; Fax: 800/3668170; Web: httpJ/www.toolfactory.com/. Price: $50-single unit price. $150five-pack. $250-10-pack. $50025-pack. $380-network site license. Audience: K-9th grade.

Format: CD-ROM (Windows only): multimedia, graphics.

Minimum System Requirements: Windows systems: Pentium II processor, 32 MB RAM, Windows 95, 4x CD-ROM drive.

Description: Whole Class Fresco is a graphics program with a variety of drawing and painting tools suitable for a range of ages.

Reviewer Comments:

Instalation: I reviewed this program on a Dell Latitude laptop computer with a Pentium III and Windows 2000. Installation is required. The program installed easily-I had absolutely no problems. I chose installation on my laptop to allow flexibility in displaying my art to the entire class via a projector. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Whole Class Fresco provides drawing and painting tools that can be used to simulate "real" media and is designed for individual use or collaborative work.

The art tools cover media such as crayon, charcoal, pastel, airbrush, watercolor, spray, pen, charcoal, paint, felt tip, splatter brush, italic pen, and zigzag pen. Stamp objects include green and brown leaves, stones, clouds, spheres, fire, cones, water drops, and grass.

Students can choose from a variety of types of paper and canvas, experiment with symmetry and tiling effects, work with brush effects and multiple paint palettes, and experiment with effects such as diffusion, smudging, blurring, colorizing, cloning, repeating patterns, and stencil effects. Also included are tools that mask, zoom, erase, snap to grid, copy, cut, paste, and undo.

The program may be operated on one of four pre-defined levels. Students can create and save custom levels. Teachers can change the pre-set levels, create new levels, set dialog and menu levels, select the buttons available to students, switch tools on or off, and more.

Each pre-defined level contains a progressively more advanced feature set. Features can be added and saved to specific levels.

The Yellow level is the most basic. It provides a great introduction to computer art programs. At this level, students will find a single brush, an eraser, bucket fill, tile and symmetry, and a palette of basic colors.

The next level, the Green level, extends the basic set of features found on the Yellow level and adds the ability to lighten and darken colors, set different colors in the background and foreground, and paint with a selection of three different brushes.

The Blue and Red levels continue to increase the level of complexity. Each contains the same features; however, the difference between the two is in the level of detail.

The program guide suggests the Blue level as a good starting point. This was supported by my experience in working with some Kindergarten students. They worked with the Blue level and went wild! They experienced no problems at this level.

Some students, however, may work better with the limited choices that gradually increase as they work their way up from the Yellow level to the Green level and onward.

The Blue and Red levels support more choices in a variety of areas. In terms of printing, these levels offer students the opportunity to preview their art before printing it. These levels also support a feature that simulates running out of paint. …

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