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National Gallery Artzone - web site review

"Artzone" from the National Gallery of Art


Ages 11 and up, or 6 and up with lots of help at first.

This site is full of fun, clever, and surprisingly modern-looking interactive art environments from the National Gallery (not usually noted for its hipness).

For example, there's the collage maker, which lets you put pictures on a virtual collage, change their size, position, orientation, and transparency. The results look great and may inspire your kids to try the real thing offline.

Another fun one is the 3-D twirler. You change the profile and other characteristics of a 3-D object, and then you can use the controls to make it turn in any direction so you can see the effects of your changes.

To make the most of Artzone, you really have to read the instructions - don't let the tiny tiny print dissuade you. As you roll your mouse over the controls, text elsewhere on the screen tells you what the control does - but you often have to look around to find that text. That's why I've set the age levels so high, but once you figure out how to work things, younger kids can enjoy Artzone too.

All the environments use "Shockwave" software, which you can download for free if you don't already have it - the Artzone page has links for downloading.




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