Scratch visual programming (scratch.mit.edu) for artists

Scratch is a visual programming environment. Scratch has become very popular with the push in the last few years for school students to learn programming and development related thinking. With Scratch, children can very easily create games, interactive art, and generally be creative with the computer. Scratch helps children understand programming concepts while having fun. This can then lead to more formal programming courses.

If you are a graphic artist, Scratch is a great way to allow children to use your creations. In the post I explain how you can quickly import your images into Scratch. The images can then be used by children and students for animation and story telling.

Philosophy of remixing

All projects shared on the Scratch website can be ‘remixed’. This is a very important part of the philosophy of Scratch:

We believe that viewing and remixing interesting projects is a great way to learn to program, and leads to cool new ideas. That’s why the source code is visible for every project shared to the Scratch website.

The Scratch name itself was derived from ‘scratching’ turntables to create music.

The name was derived from turntablism’s technique of scratching[6][7] (i.e., mixing sounds), relating the ease of mixing sounds to the ease of mixing projects made with Scratch.

Scratch in different languages

Scratch is available in a very large number of languages. This is an opportunity for artists to create artwork which is specific to different cultures and countries. This can allow children to use images which they can easily associate with.

Frame animation

Scratch is a great medium for children to create animated stories. You can create animation using frames. In the image below the cat has two frames.

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Users animate the cat by using commands such as: ‘next costume’ or ‘switch costume to costume2’.

In the rest of the post I’ll explain how you can import image frames created in an external software like Photoshop or GIMP.

Type of images

Scratch supports both raster and vector images. Images can be imported from external graphic files. In my experience the resolution of raster images in Scratch is not very good and it’s preferable to use vector.

Get started

To get started sign up on the Scratch website.

Once you are signed in click on ‘Create’ to open the Scratch editor

Click on the ‘Costumes’ tab

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Click on the button to ‘upload costume from file’. Choose your graphic created outside Scratch.

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There are few more features to keep in mind:

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2. On the top right you can choose the center of the costume. This allows you to align all the frames. If you want, you can create a center point of your images when you create the frames in your image editing software.

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You should know be able to create animations in a external graphic editor and upload the frames to Scratch.

If you are a designer or graphic artists with skills in illustration or art or manipulating images, Scratch is a great opportunity to create material which can be used by children all over the world.

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Software testing, project management, managing testers

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