Halftone 2 is comic creation app that gives you the ability to turn photos, pictures and images into professional and engaging comics and scrapbooks. A really neat tool with a number of interesting applications, the app can be particularly useful in the classroom for creating lessons that catch student attention as well as a creative outlet for students who enjoy an artistic approach to learning.
Access: iTunes download
Privacy: Standalone app
A Quick Look
Creating a comic
Creating your first comic with Halftone 2 is as simple as launching the app and tapping the plus button. From there you are launched into the editor view where you can choose your background texture (ie paper type) and select a layout from the many different single or multi-cell options.
All editing in the app is done using the radial menu. This menu appears whenever you tap the page and allows you to add, move and edit photos from your device, Facebook, Flickr or Instagram.
Bring it to life
Using pre-made styles and effects, comics really start coming to life once you begin adding narration text, speech and thought bubbles and of course the iconic ‘BAM’, ‘Gasp” and ‘Thwak’ captions.
Take a quick look at this overview video where you can see just how easy it is to create some really amazing stuff using the app.
1. Quickly create engaging class content
It’s amazing how much more engaging content becomes when images and text are blended creatively. Combining that with a design style that most associate with fun and leisure, the comic strip is brilliant way to mix up the way you deliver information to your students. Try taking a look through some of the material created by history teacher John Mitchell for inspiration and ideas.
2. ‘Complete the caption’ exercise
Comics don’t have to be a finished article. In fact, leaving certain elements or fields empty is an engaging way to ask questions and have students think creatively. Print out copies and put them around the room. Project it up a whiteboard and have students write in captions on the board. Let students vote and turn it into a competition!
3. Comic translation
One unique aspect of comics is their ability to bring to life static images and text. This can be a wonderful gateway to ‘translating’ bland or colorless information into rich and interesting material. Try asking your students to ‘comicize‘ a recent news article, a section of a book or even a scene from a film or television show.
4. Snap and caption
This idea encourages students to capture their own images to use in the app and create their own comics completely from scratch. Whether it be staged snapshots or real photographs from a school event, it is a whole lot of fun for students to add captions to themselves and their friends. These finished comics can then later be used in a newsletter or posted on a classroom/school blog.
5. Collaborative comic creation
Much like the production process of commercial comics and cartoons, you can have your students work together to create a much larger project. Have students work collaboratively to develop different sections of this full scale comic book or series and give them the autonomy to define their own parts of the story. You can even use the app as a class in the early stages to define high-level storyboards for the production.
Links and Next Steps
- Halftone 2 Tutorials – Official app tutorials from JuicyBits
- John Mitchell’s blog – UK History teacher creating great stuff with Halftone 2
- Northwest Council for Computer Education – App review from NCCE Tech-Savvy Teachers
- iPad Art Room – Examples of comic creation with Halftone 2
- Photopin – Excellent image search tool to use for finding comic backgrounds
What ideas do you have for using Halftone 2 with your class? Let us know your creative gems in the comments below.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, jess-sanson.