The BACHA Byte: Stretch your creative muscle at work!

The job we do as student affairs professionals can be very process oriented and straightforward.  Let’s face it; conduct meetings and health and safety checks wouldn’t really be any better liked if they came in a splashy font, or colorful paper.  But luckily, we also get to express a creative side through flyers, newsletters, websites, and programs.  If you are anything like me, you cherish these moments because they allow us to enjoy the simplicity of just making something look great, and possibly the excitement of learning something new.  To those of you take joy in these creative moments; I wanted to share a few new tools for your artistic expression.

Disclaimer: As I am a mac and iphone/ipad user many of my tips fit those platforms.  If you are an android, blackberry or PC user and have great programs to share please let me know and I will share them with our readership in the next BACHA Byte!

Type Drawing
http://itunes.apple.com/

Free to try, $1.99 for the iphone, $.99 for the ipad

The first time I found this program I was so excited about the possibilities.  This is a prime example of a program that will make you look like a photoshop genius with very little work.  Use Type Drawing to outline a shape, write a word, or add a comment to a photo.  See my examples of ways in which you might use Type Drawing to jazz up your flyer or add something new to a newsletter.  There is an incredible amount of modification you can do within the program, from selecting fonts to varying the size of the text based on how fast you are drawing with your finger.    If you have an iphone you must try it.  If you don’t find it useful, you’ll at least have a lot of fun!

Toon Paint
http://toonpaint.toon-fx.com/
$1.99 for iphone

You won’t be able to use this program without wanting to try it on every photo in your library!  You’ve probably seen tech geeks with cartoon photos of themselves on facebook or on the web and wondered how many hours they would have to spend in Adobe Illustrator to make those wonderful graphics.  Luckily for you, you will not need to spend more than 5 minutes converting a photo of you or your students into a fantastic looking cartoon.  Download this iphone app to create cartoon versions of your staff for the next RA selection process, or just to modify your own facebook photo.

cf/x collage
http://www.cfxsoftware.com/

Mac, free demo, $29.99 to buy

This program I found quite by accident when I was asked to help pull together a photo collage for a colleague that was leaving the college.  I was trying to find a way to put together over 50 photos in a creative and classy way without spending my entire weekend on it.  cf/collage came to my rescue!  The demo of the program is a lot of fun to work in, and while it doesn’t provide all of the bells and whistles as the full version, the demo version did allow me to switch photos around the collage with ease and resize images.  I do however want to forewarn you that printing or saving to PDF from the demo version will give you large watermark across your whole project.  If you are working on a small project however, a screen shot of your finished work could capture what you need (as it did for me).  This program can come in super handy for those end of the year gifts for the RA or RD staff!

Shape Collage
http://www.shapecollage.com/

Mac/PC, free demo, $25 to buy

Another program I stumbled upon in my search for the right collage program.  I was barely able to scratch the surface on what this program can do.  I am still quite amazed with the level of complexity in this program for only $25.  Again, come out with any product using Shape Collage and your boss will think you spent days working on the project.  Don’t worry, I won’t tell them that it only actually took you 15 minutes!  With a free demo of this product, it is 100% a must try!

I hope that you enjoyed this small listing of programs to help expand your tech repertoire and teach you that amazingly creative student affairs solutions are only a few downloads away.

Enjoy!

Jess Faulk
Technology Chair BACHA
Director of Residence Life, Simmons College
@jessfaulk
http://www.jessfaulk.com/

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