Review by Erin Brereton, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013

Sumopaint

Impressive, easy-to-use tool for creating and editing images

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Teachers say (1 Review)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
6-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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5 images

Pros: Sumopaint is free, easy to use, and mimics many of the editing features found in more expensive image applications.

Cons: Some options are only available in the paid version, and there’s no filter for gallery comments, so kids could potentially find inappropriate content.

Bottom Line: Sumopaint can spark students’ creativity, encourage them to be artistic, and provide them with new, image-related tech skills.

Sumopaint can be a cost-effective way to encourage students to be creative while honing their tech skills. Its imaging properties can be used in a variety of projects such as preparing photos for a school newspaper, creating collages to represent events or students’ personalities, or just practicing basic art skills like drawing. Teachers can also explain how art is used for self-expression, and discuss its subjective nature by asking students to create an image based on a theme and then comparing the different results.

Educators may want to distribute general application usage tips, but kids should be able to gradually understand all of its features as they use it. Another bonus: Sumopaint is available in 22 languages, so it can be used for ESL students or students who need extra practice in a language they’re studying. Also, kids don’t have to register to use Sumopaint unless they want to post images to the gallery, so their identity won’t be broadcast across the Internet.

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Sumopaint operates much like Photoshop. Kids can crop, color, or otherwise edit preexisting photos or draw a new picture with the imaging application. Like Photoshop, Sumopaint also offers a smudge tool, text tool, and eyedropper tool to help users match colors in different parts of an image; users can also adjust the hue levels in a photo or run an image through filters to create blurring, pixilation, and other effects.   

The biggest difference between the two? Photoshop retails for several hundred dollars, and Sumopaint is available for free. (The manufacturer also offers two paid lifetime license versions with extra features and no ads for $9 and $19.) A few Sumopaint tools are only available in the paid versions; however, kids can access enough editing tools for free to create dozens of unique effects.

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If kids have used Photoshop or a similar editing tool before, Sumopaint will look familiar. Younger kids may need additional guidance, but the browser-based application is fairly easy to figure out; middle school-aged students should be able to master Sumopaint independently inside or outside of class. A brief video on the site’s homepage also runs through some of the tool options, and if kids have additional questions, they can find a few answers in the site’s brief help section.

When finished, kids can save an image to their desktop as a PNG, JPG, or GIF file, or as a SUMO file, which stores layer and layer effects as a single, compressed file; or post their image to the Sumo Community. Users share and discuss creations in the online gallery; most comments are positive, but they aren’t screened, so teachers may want to discourage kids from checking out the separate community website.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Kids should enjoy playing around with the tool, which they'll probably be able to figure out without much instruction. They'll feel in control of the process with dozens of image-altering options to choose from.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

There's not much direct instruction on design principles, art history, or anything else academic. Kids will instead learn a few broader concepts, including certain artistic treatments' effect, expressing yourself, and being creative.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

A brief help section lists information on a few site usage-related topics. Kids can also post a public question or share their creation in an online art gallery.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
David S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
4
Great introduction to the basics of image editing, has some issues

Sumopaint is great as an alternative to GIMP or photoshop style programs. It does have three main issues. The first is that it often thinks you have an area selected even when you don't and as such won't let you draw or edit outside of the supposed selection, we fix this by selecting the lasso tool and clicking anywhere in the image to de-select. Second the saving process is somewhat tricky, our computers do not recognize a .sumo extension as valid so it often gets deleted when students are titling work, and then wont open next class as it has no extension. Last is more a student issue than a sumopaint issue, students love the symetry tool and if not watched can really lose a lot of time with it, and overuse it as a tool. extra issue, it is not possible to edit text once you have left that specific text box.

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