Thursday, 8 December 2016

Pixel Art with Kano - Hour of Code


My 10 year old has had fun coding pixel art with Kano's online editor. Kids love pixel art and coding pixel art designs is a great way to get them thinking hard while having fun.

It's Hour of Code week so we've been trying out some of the activities at home, there's lots there to encourage kids who already code to try something new. One of the activities is Kano's Pixel Hack which teaches kids to code cool pixel art by typing code into a friendly and helpful online editor.

My kids have also been completing Elbrie's Pixel Art Advent calendar. They love creating the designs in Minecraft, but after trying Pixel Hack my 10 year old and I had a go at coding one of the designs.

Kano is a Raspberry Pi-based computer for kids and beginners and it has its own coding tools. The Pixel Hack hour of code activity (and other activities) can be completed in a web browser without needing a Kano computer kit.

The basic idea is that you can draw coloured rectangles from different starting locations. We chose the Christmas bell design from the advent calendar and worked out that the design would just about fit onto the canvas with 40x40 pixels.

We worked in horizontal lines across the screen creating rectangles corresponding to rows of the same colour pixel. We worked a colour at a time. There was quite a bit of calculating involved to get the pixels to appear in the right locations but luckily I had my son to help (it would appear that his mental arithmetic is often faster than mine, but I can still type faster!)


We'd recommend working through the Pixel Hack Hour of Code before attempting your own design. Then you can head to the Kano Playground to try your own pixel art.

You're welcome to copy our code and paste it into the Kano editor to draw the bell:

stroke 0
moveTo 225, 0
colour yellow
rectangle 40, 40
moveTo 185, 40
rectangle 120, 40
moveTo 145, 80
rectangle 200, 40
moveTo 145, 120
rectangle 200, 40
moveTo 105, 160
rectangle 280, 40
moveTo 105, 200
rectangle 280, 40
moveTo 65, 240
rectangle 360, 40
moveTo 65, 320
rectangle 360, 40
moveTo 25, 400
rectangle 440, 40
colour orange
moveTo 65, 280
rectangle 360, 40
moveTo 25, 360
rectangle 440, 40
moveTo 185, 440
rectangle 120, 40
moveTo 225, 480
rectangle 40, 40
color white
moveTo 265, 80
rectangle 40, 80
moveTo 305, 160
rectangle 40, 40
moveTo 265, 280
rectangle 40, 40
moveTo 345, 280
rectangle 40, 40
moveTo 305, 360
rectangle 40, 40
moveTo 385, 360
rectangle 40, 40

Why not have a go at creating one of the other designs from the Pixel Art Advent Calendar?

We're also looking forward to Kano's Creative Computing Kits project on Kickstarter. This includes a physical pixel grid of programmable RGB LEDs which is available to pre-order from Kano (due April 2017.)




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