Workshop 05 - Creative Practice and Play

This workshop is about exploring creative use and play with your new computer. These activities are simple introductions, with some extra resources and links for going further. Some of the activities require internet access.

Photo Editing in Gimp

Creating and editing audio in Audacity

Editing a video in Kdenlive

Design for 3D printing using Tinkercad

Installing Terasology - an open source Minecraft clone

GIMP is a free and open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Just like Photoshop, GIMP is a deep and complex image editing and creative tool, but we can get started with just a few concepts to ease our way into it.

If you are a professional graphics designer using a drawing tablet then you may miss a few features, but for most users GIMP has all the features you need.

For this tutorial, we will experiment with techniques used to fake a minature photograph. Then we will touch up the image, and finally export it for use in video making activity.

The ideal fake miniature image is from a top down perspective with the top and bottom of the image looking out of focus, tricking the eye into perceiving the scene as tiny. When done with a real lense, this is called 'tilt-shift' but we can fake the out-of-focus look with a blur effect.


By Gregkeene (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

You can use any picture you like or right click and download the one below. It is a shot of a huge digger we took on the way to our workshop in Dysart.

digger photo

GIMP is installed already in Xubuntu. To launch GIMP from the whisker menu just start typing in the search bar.


Like most image editing programs GIMP has a very flexible layout with many, many menus. For our activity all we need is the toolbox on the left, the layers and the brushes on the right. Take a moment to organise your windows, making the main window as big as possible without getting covered by the floating menus.


Now open your image using the File menu.


The first technique we'll use is a blur. This gives us the out-of-focus look and also helps with hiding the camera noise present because the image was taken with a mobile phone at night.


Make a duplicate layer from the 'layer' menu. This lets us make changes to a copy of the original image. The new layer will appear on the right in our layer menu on top of our original layer.


Next we will apply a blur to our image - select Gaussian blur from the Filter menu.


You can crank up the settings, no need to be subtle here, as we are trying for a tilt-shift effect. Drag around in the little preview window to check the effect.


Here is what the Gaussian blur looks like applied to the whole layer.


Now we need to apply a mask. Think of it like masking tape when painting. Go to menu Layer/Mask/Add Layer Mask.


Right now you want a black mask - which means that none of the masked layer will show.


It's time to 'cut' into our mask, for this we will use the blend tool to make a gradient that smoothly 'fades' the mask out in two directions.


Select bi-linear gradient, and make sure your foreground is black and background is white.


Now you can start playing with the gradient tool. Just place the tool somewhere and click and drag, keep repeating the process until you get a feel for it.


Once you are happy with the outcome, select the original layer again and hide the top layer by clicking on the eye.


We are going to sharpen the original up a little. Use ctrl-a to select all, then go to the filter menu and select /Enhance/Unsharp mask.


Once again, trial and error is the way to go, just be careful not to bring out the noise too much - unless you like that effect!


Now it's time to flatten the image - this flattens all our layers together and applies the mask.


Nearly done, let's adjust the colours to make it really 'saturated', another trick for faking minatures. Use Colors/Auto/Color Enhance for a quick and easy adjustment.


And finally let's get the image the right size for our future movie project. Check out the file size in the menu bar at the top of the image.

The digger.png is 2592 pixels by 1936 pixels. We need to end up at 1920 pixels wide by 1080 high, which is full HD resolution. First step is to scale the image width, using /Image/Scale image.


Change the width to 1920 pixels making sure the little chain is linked. This keeps the proportions of the image.


Our image is now 1920 pixels by 1434 pixels. This is close to 1920×1080, but we need to lose a few pixels at the top and bottom. We will crop the canvas to do this using /Image/Canvas size.


Enter 1080 as your height, but make sure the chain is not linked. Now you can choose how to offset your crop to lose those last few pixels, either centre you image or nudge it up or down.


Time to export - I've chosen to use .png format.


And here is the final version.


Audacity is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds. Audacity is available for Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux; and other operating systems. Like all the applications we are using, Audacity can be used for simple tasks easily, but is a deep and detailed program.

There is a version of Audacity in the Ubuntu repository already, so started by installing Audacity, either with the command line using:

 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install audacity

Or the Ubuntu App Centre.

While Audacity installs you can grab an audio file to use. Just choose one that you like from below or find your own.

These two were found on ccmixter a Creative Commons music site, and are free to use under a Creative Commons non-commerical attribute license.

This is a great reggae acapella called knowledge is the power by Bryan Art.

Here is a remix featuring the above acappella by loveshadow.

Or you can try a classical music podcast from Gardner Mueseum. This is much longer than the other tracks.

We are going to take a little section of our chosen track and turn it into a ringtone for any Android or iPhone.

Let's start Audacity. Open it from the whisker menu under Multimedia.


You can disable the tips on start up if you like, then click OK to move on. Maximise the window.


Open your downloaded audio file. This time we'll use Bryan Art's acapella.


Audacity creates a new track for the audio. What you see here is a waveform, the most common way to visually display audio. Press space or the play button to hear the track. Press space or the stop button to stop.


Now skip through the track by clicking anywhere on the display and playing. Grab a little bit of the track by clicking and dragging and see if you can get the playback to loop. Our next task is to get around the waveform display. The easiest way is to use the magnifying glass tool buttons. You can zoom in and out.


Out to the whole track….


Or in to the selection,


And use use the scroll bar at the bottom to change our view.

There is also a tool bar that switches our mouse pointer function, we can turn our mouse into a magnifying glass. we'll explore the other functions as we go.


For now let's find a section to use for our ring tone. I'm going to use a short section of the chorus, but you can select any part up to 40 seconds long which is the standard ringtone length.


Once you have a section, try listening to it on loop - hold down shift and press play/spacebar. This will help work out what your ringtone will sound like when we are done.

Now we'll trim our audio to just the section we want with the trim tool. This removes any audio outside our selection.


Give it another listen - if you grabbed a section like mine you could have clicks at the start or end where the audio is cut - off sharply. Let's zoom in to check by using the zoom tool.


If we keep zooming in on the waveform display the wave turns into dots. Sure enough, our wave cuts off sharply. This makes a strong 'click' sound when played back.


If you are feeling adventurous, we can try to draw the waveform smooth by using the draw tool! But this is not the right tool for the job really, so let's zoom out again and use an effect instead.

Once you are zoomed out, change to the selection tool and select the last little chunk of the waveform. Now go to the Effect menu and select fade out.


If you zoom in again you will see a nice smooth end to the audio file.


Let's export this now. Open the file 'export' menu.


Give your rintone a name, and make sure you change the file type to AAC.


Well done! You've made a ring tone - now you can use this on your android or windows phone, and use the same technique for any other audio. Here is my example.

If you are using an Apple phone - you'll need to rename your file to .m4r - just right click it and select rename.


Then change the file type to .m4r.


Audacity Part Two : An ambient soundscape

For extra points let's get creative with our ring tone. I'm going to grab the second half of my audio


and silence it using the silence tool


so there is only one line, 'Things will be better', followed by a gap.

Now I'll apply a reverb effect fron the last word 'better' and give it a bit of time to fade out..


Sounds a bit more interesting..


but let's go over-the-top and make an epic soundscape, all using one effect 'Paulstreatch'. First, lets move our audio to the start of the track. Change to the time-shift tool in tool menu.


Then zoom out until you can see zero, and drag your audio back to the start.


Change to the selection tool and double click on your audio to select it all, then open 'paulstreatch' from the effect menu


There are only two parameters we can use - set the time to 20. Leave the stretch factor as is. This will give you about one minute of audio.


Check out the end result - and watch out for the volume! It starts loud.



That's our soundtrack for the video we will make in the next activity.

Kdenlive is a multi-track video editor, including most recent video technologies. It is free and open source and available in the ubuntu repository. You can learn more here

Let's start with installing kdenlive. You can use the Ubuntu software centre, or the command line

   sudo apt-get update
   sudo apt-get install kdenlive

Kdenlive depends on components of the KDE desktop environment, so it takes a bit of space to install - about 100 meg.

We are going to make a short video using a still image as a background and add the soundtrack we created earlier. We will also try applying a few effects and transitions.

Once Kdenlive is installed you can find it in your whisker menu - under Multimedia


On first run we'll need to set-up (configure) Kdenlive. You can just click next on the first two menus, kdenlive is checking dependencies.



Now we select our video project size. In this case we are going to use full HD - so select HD 1080p 30fps.


Now tell kdenlive where to save your videos, remember this location for future reference.


Kdenlive is looking for a capture device, like a camera. Press next to skip. You want to try out a camera of course! For a list of supported devices check out


One final check and we are ready to go. You can safely ignore the red cross, we won't be needing that function.


And here we are with the kdenlive window. There is a lot going on here, so expand it to fill your whole screen.


Let's get started by importing an image into the 'project tree' by clicking on the little clip button.


You can use the one we made earlier, or use anything you like.


Now we need to adjust the duration of the clip - which is just the image shown on the screen, so it fits nicely in our movie. Right click the clip.


And in the duration box, make it about one minute long.


Now drag the clip into the timeline. You can watch the the project monitor at the top right for video playback.


If you think one minute is a little long for a still image to be on screen, you can change the duration by dragging the end of the clip.


Now we will add an effect to the clip. Just right click anywhere on the clip to bring up a menu, then select /add effect/fade/fade from black.


Up in the effects stack the adjustments for this effect appear. You can tweak how long the fade from black is.


Now we will add a title, this could be an opening or closing credit.


With our background clip dark, we'll change our title text colour.


Pick something bright to contrast.


Now click on show background so we can check what our text looks like.


Click on the text button on the top left to select text.


And change the font size to something big - at least 100 pixel.


Enter some text.


Then check what it looks like in the project monitor.


It's time to add our soundtrack. You can grab this strange ambient piece, or use your own.



Now you can drag it from the project tree into the timeline as another clip. Drop it on an audio track.


Resize you audio to fit the video, once again by dragging the end of the clip.


Now you can add an audio fade. Right click and select /add effect/fade/fade in.


Adjust the fade to fit in the Effect Stack.


Now I'll add a little fade out at the end.


And I'm ready to render. Click the little red button in the toolbar.


Make sure your output is H264 - this is a widely used format. Choose your output directory and click render.


Your video will start to render in the queue.


And you are done! Check out our example here.


This is a brief introduction to Tinkercad, a simple web based 3D design tool. You will need internet access for this activity.

Tinkercad has been around for a few years now, and is the easiest way we've found to get started with 3D modelling for 3D printing. Objects are built from a basis of pre-made shapes that are combined, grouped and used to cut and build upon each other.

Don't be fooled by the apparent simplicity of this approach, Tinkercad can be used to create complex models and is a great starter program. We are going to make a simple key fob, with initials carved into it.

Go to If you have time you can scroll down to the 'take a tour' video, but for now let's get straight into it by clicking on 'start tinkering now'.


You'll need to sign-up using your email or facebook ID. You don't need to check this to log in.


Once Tinkercad loads, you'll be pushed straight into a lesson. We want to 'exit lesson' straight away to do our own tutorial. Otherwise anything we do won't be saved.


Once you exit, you'll see your user page. You can customise this later, for now we want to 'create new design'.


Now we are back onto our workspace, which is nice and empty. Tinkercad has given your design a name in the top left. Below the name are some controls for moving around in 3D space. Have a play with them now.


Once you can move around, have a look at the panel on the right of your workspace. We want to start with a simple shape, so click on the arrow next to 'Geometric' to open up the menu, then grab a cube and drag 'n drop it onto you workplane.


Zoom in closer to your block, either using the zoom buttons on the top left or your mouse scroll wheel.


Now we are going to add a ruler from the 'Helpers' menu. The ruler helps us to be precise and measure our design, which is vital when we want to make an object for 3D printing. Drop the ruler on the corner of a box on the workplane.


You will now see the dimensions (size) of your box, and its location on the workplane. How long, tall and wide is it? How far is it from the zero of the ruler?


Move you box until it's exactly on the zero point of your ruler. You can do this by just clicking and dragging with the mouse.


You can click anywhere outside of an object to get rid of the rulers.


Now it's time to to resize our block. We are going to make it 10 mm by 10 mm. You can resize by grabbing a 'handle' like the little dot on the top of the box. Grab the dot and drag your mouse down to make the block shorter, pay attention to the measurments on the sides until your reach 10 mm.


Another way to resize is to click on the measurement you want to change and enter in the exact number you want. Let's do this for the other two sides of our box.


Now it's time to add our initials. Click on the 'Letters' triangle on the right, and select your first letter. I've grabbed a C for CCC.


Once again resize your letter. We are going to stick the letter into our block, you will see why later on, but for now just resize it to about four by four mm. You can now lift your letter up using the little cone on the top. Watch how the measurements on your ruler change to tell you how far up the letter is.


Drag your Letter over the the top of your box and lower it down until it is just visible. Click outside your box somewhere to check how it looks without the ruler numbers.


Now try moving your letter around with the arrow keys. This is a nice way to nudge shapes around.


We want to be more precise with our movement to get our letter exaclty where we want it. So go down to the snap grid in the bottom left and change it to a half (0.5) mm.


Let's make another letter, but we'll cheat this time. Grab the cone and move your letter up, then go to the Edit menu and select Duplicate. Your duplicate letter is in exactly the same place as our original, so click and move it (using the arrow keys, or mouse) until it's just touching the first letter.


Do the same to make another letter, then drag a selection box over them all to select them together.


You can tell the letters are all selected with a little blue outline. Now got to the Group Button on the menu, and you can now move them all around at once.


With our new group click on the cone and lower them all at once into the square, so the top is just showing again. Then it's time for some more magic - click on the 'hole' button in the inspector in the top right of the window.


And now your letters have 'carved' a hole into the block!


It's time to make the block a little smaller again to make it more like a keyring. Use any way you like to drop the height to 5mm. I clicked and typed.


Grab a 'Tube thin' from the geometric menu on the right.


Move and resize it until it looks right.


Then group it - this locks the shapes together so we can't mess it up later. And you are done!


It's time to give our thing a proper name - use the Design Menu and select properties. You can set how you want to share your thing here..


Let's download our keyring for 3D printing, once again use the design menu, this time selecting Download for 3D Printing.


Choose .STL as the file format and save it to your computer!


Now you can take your file to your local library, or The Edge at SLQ and print it out!

Terasology is an open-source survival and discovery game with influences from Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress, and Dungeon Keeper. It's in alpha release, which means that it's quite possibly unstable, but the game is already well developed and fun to play. You will need internet access for this activity.

Getting ready with Java

Before we start, terasology, like minecraft, needs the java virtual machine (JVM) installed to run. We have already installed an open source JVM while installing Libreoffice, but terasology requires a specific version of the JVM, released by Oracle. We will use a personal package archive (PPA) to install it.

A PPA is like the standard Ubuntu repository, we can use apt-get to install from it. First we add the repository;

  sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java

Then we update apt-get

  sudo apt-get update

Then grab the installer

  sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-installer

The installer will run in the terminal, and take a couple of minutes. Once it's done you can check which version of java you are using.

  sudo update-alternatives --config java

You should see as the auto selection;


Install Terasology

To install terasology, we need to grab the files from github - the most popular site for open source software development. You can find the game launcher here. The launcher takes care of downloading and installing the game. We are after the zip file;


Once it's downloaded, double click unzip it into your home directory, and find the TerasologyLauncher shell script in



Double click the script and the launcher will start.


First up it will ask where you want to put your game directory,


and your data directory. You can just go with the defaults.


Start with selecting and downloading a game version. Once again just go with the defaults and grab the latest version. This will take some time to download.


Once your download is complete, just click the play button and terasology will launch.


Before we start playing - let's adjust the settings to make the game more playable.


Open the video settings.


And lower the visual preset to 'minimal' then exit settings.


Now start single player game.


We don't have any games created, so click on create.


And choose a game template and world generator type, then click play.


Wait for the world to generate and load - this could take a while depending on your settings.


And play!


Congratulations on completing Workshop 05 and the CCC program!

It's time to pack up your computer and take it home, and don't forget to ask your facilitator about CCC Completion Certificates.

Also, don't forget to check out the resources section for information on how and where to upgrade your computer.


The CCC team.

  • mbrc_hp8x00/workshop_05
  • by Andrei Maberley