Canvastic Logo   Finally: A Tool, Not a Toy

 

Features

Although other products have been on the market for many years, we think we've beat them with our very first version. And now at version 3 we continue to innovate. There are so many great reasons to choose Canvastic. We couldn't list them all here. But, we've selected some of the top features. If you'd like to learn more, please download a demonstration version of the product and see for yourself.

See Version 3.5 notes just below.

Combined Text and Graphics

Students can use Canvastic to create graphic, text, and presentation documents. Graphic documents can include editable text. And text documents can include graphics. Combine them to create striking class presentations. Integrating curriculum with text and graphics is a natural for our students. When they draw what they know and write about what they have created, their projects are better and more complete. It provides full desktop publishing for K-8 users.

 

A Clear On-Screen Display

Canvastic's interface is pleasant easy to use. It is clear and uncluttered. The tool icons are based on industry standards and the screen is not messy nor is it trying to be "colorful." The students add the color to the Canvastic screen! The students love using Canvastic because they know how to use it very quickly. Time isn't wasted in the classroom trying to explain "cute" icons. The preview palette shows exactly what the next mark on the canvas will be.

 

It Grows With the User

We deliver some example preference sets with the product. But you are welcome to combine tools, color choices, palette positions, default tools, default fonts, and palette visibility in any way you choose. Create a separate set for each grade level or a special sets for certain activities. You control the available options to keep kids on task and increase their chances for success. Younger students can taught the tools one at a time. Older students can utilize more complex choices. Everytime we add a feature we add the ability to customize it as well. For example, you can turn the spell check feature on or off. If it is on you can turn off the "learn" button to keep your dictionary from becoming corrupted.

 

No Toys!

Canvastic's interface is all business. There are no toy features to waste the students' time. For example, there is no fun way to destroy your document. There are no bombs, fire hoses or dancing, singing clip art. Younger students are engrossed so quickly they don't notice that they are having fun creating rather than playing. The older students appreciate using a tool that wasn't designed to appeal to babies but is still easy enough for them to use well. We don't include excessive options that waste the students' time either. For example, when creating a slide show the user is given the option of choosing from just a few music loops, not thousands.

 

Unlimited Undo

Kids should be encouraged to explore options when they are creating. They shouldn't be restricted to only undoing their most recent action. With virtually unlimited undo and redo options, students can move freely backwards and forwards through all of the steps they took to create their document.

 

Preview Palette

The Preview palette displays a shape exactly as it will be drawn on the canvas, given the current tool, color, and option selections. Students will know what to expect before they click the mouse in the canvas.

 

Browser Palette

The Browser palette displays a set of thumbnail images, graphically representing each of the open Canvastic documents. Simply click on a thumbnail image to bring that document to the front.

 

Painting, Drawing, and Background Layers

The graphically advanced may refer to creation tools as bitmap or vector based. The are sometimes called paint and draw. Painting tools create shapes and pictures that are made of small colored dots named 'pixels'. Each dot can be colored (or erased) individually. Drawing tools create shapes (like rectangles, circles, and text) that can be selected, moved, stretched, and modified as a shape rather than a group of dots.

Canvastic provides both painting and drawing tools and keeps the resulting graphics on separate layers in your documents. Combine those layers with an independent background layer for displaying a color or picture and you've got a strong foundation on which to build some terrific documents.

 

Quicktime Movie Slideshows

Combine multiple Canvastic documents into an attractive QuickTime slideshow. You control the timing between slides and the transition effects between them. The resulting slideshow can be sent via email or CD and played on any computer (Macintosh or Windows) with the free Apple QuickTime application installed.

You can also give user controlled full screen presentations of course.

 

Export to Common Formats

When you save you create a Canvastic document but there are also choices for exporting to common graphics file formats like jpg and png. So if you want to include work done with Canvastic in another program it is just an easy save.

 

What's New in Version 3.5?

The Audio Tool

The new Audio Tool adds a lot of new opportunities. Students can do live recording so easily. Just click, record the sound and click OK.

The sound becomes an object on the canvas that will play with a double-click or automatically in a slideshow.

Songs from iTunes can also be added. Other downloaded audio can be inserted just like images. It all creates a more rich multi-media experience but with Canvastic's signature ease of use.

Songs from iTunes

 

Universal Binary

Version 3.5 runs natively on Macintosh PPC and Intel computers including Leopard!

Version 3.5 runs natively on Windows computers from W2K including Vista.

 

Smart Spell Check

spell check dialog box

Canvastic's new spell checking feature is better than any other for our students. First, you can make it available or not depending upon who is using the program. Second when writing or editing the entry box takes over most of the screen helping the students focus on the task. The words found by the spell checker are shown in full context. Finally, the Learn button can be turned off! No more corrupted dictionaries!

Transparency and Tone Control

transparency example

Every color can be adjusted using transparency sliders for some fantastic art effects. The sliders are easy to use and adjust the line, the fill and the text colors.

 

Sensible Brush Shape Choices

The paint brush now has four shapes to make graphics more detailed. As usual the choices are limited to an appropriate level to keep students on task and selection is intuitive, just click the shape next to the line size choice.

brush shapesbrush shapes in the choices palette

 

Eyedropper Tool

The new Eyedropper tool allows students to add colors to the Colors palette with a click. Very useful for customizing colors with photographs.

eyedropper tool example

 

Open Folder... Command

Why can't you open all the documents from a project all at once? You can in Canvastic! File Menu . Open Folder... and your project is on-screen.

open folder command

 

Insert Photographs and They Automatically Scale Themselves

Digital photos are everywhere and often hard to manage in other applications. Now when you insert a photo it will shrink to fit your Canvastic document automatically. Use the Open Folder... command on a folder of photos and they will all be opened and inserted into Canvastic documents.

scaled photo

 

New Templates, Backgrounds, and Clip Art

Canvastic's graphics that support the curriculum have been enhanced. For example the new Speckles clip art allow students to add color without wasting printer ink. For primary students, there is a representative picture for every letter of the alphabet in English and Spanish.

example of speckles clip art

A "speckled" sky.

 

cow clip art

C is for Cow and V is for Vaca.

 

Version 2 Upates?

Version 2 of Canvastic brought over 40 new features, refinements and fixes to the program. Version 2 was a free upgrade for all registered users.

 

New Features

  • Word Processing Tool : Now there is a tool which allows more control over the text that students add to their documents. Text entered into the new word processing objects can be independently formatted with common text choices such as color, font and style. The Text tool is still available for primary students and for use in labeling, titling or for short sections.

 

  • Multiple Folders in Clip Art: Now you can organize clip art into folders for easy organization. Clip art should still be stored in the Art folder within the Canvastic folder. Now the included images are organized into three folders; Basic Clip Art, Drawing Aids, and Math. To add your graphics to the program just add folders containing the art to the Art folder and restart Canvastic.

 

  • Template Files: Canvastic documents that are opened from the new Templates folder will open as new, untitled documents. There are many templates included with Canvastic but to add your own, just prepare the template and save or copy it into the Templates folder. There are nine full book publishing sets included for both portrait and landscape orientation.

 

  • Document Palette: With a click on the new Document palette you can create new, open, save and print. This palette may be a good choice for younger students' preference sets.

 

  • Network Location of Preference Sets: Your preference sets can now be stored on a network server rather than in the Preferences folder within the Canvastic folder. In an intelligent fashion, if the network server is not available, the program will look in the original local Preferences folder. This allows for immediate changes to the working environment for your students at any work station.

  • Slide Shows and Movies: You can now create live full screen presentations with a few clicks. Sound tracks are now supported on Slide Shows. Four default choices are included; Jazz, Rock, Country, and Pastoral. Exporting to QuickTime movies is still supported as well.
  • Teacher Control: Teachers now have a keyboard shortcut for quickly and temporarily "unlocking" palettes without editing the preference set. Now if you need to make a quick adjustment for a particular student you can do so quickly. Option Control click for Mac and Ctrl Alt click for Windows.
  • New Preference Settings: There are new settings for enabling/disabling the color picker, linking colors, and enabling/disabling the contextual menu.

 

Refinements

  • Canvastic documents can now be inserted as graphic elements into other Canvastic documents.
  • Canvastic documents can now be used as backgrounds for other Canvastic documents.
  • Art tools now remember the settings you last gave them. For example if you changed the line tool to thick and red, then used the rectangle tool with other settings the line tool will revert to thick and red when you next choose it.
  • Selection tools now show a preview in the Preview palette.
  • Text boxes automatically shrink to enclose just the text entered when the user has clicked to set its location but hasn't dragged to define the shape.
  • Text boxes and Word Processing objects are now automatically selected when they are created. This allows for instant editing of the object without having to switch tools.
  • Inserted and pasted items are now controlled by the tool you have selected. For example, if you want to take a part of the paint layer to the object layer. Select it, copy it, and choose an object tool, then paste. It will come in as an object. The opposite is also true. To take an object to the paint layer, select it, copy it, and choose a paint tool, then paste. It will come in as painted graphics. This now works for inserted items as well as pasted ones. This allows you to turn any object into bitmap grahics and any painted graphics into vector objects.
  • You can easily add all open documents or all the contents from a chosen folder to a slide show or movie.