How do you create stunning visual content for free? Adobe Spark is how.

There are times when you want to have complete creative control over the content you create, and when you are able to spend time on making the perfect image, video or portfolio. There are also times when you need to be able to produce something that looks great in a fraction of the time.

Adobe Spark is for those of you who need great looking results quickly. The three tools, Post, Page and Video, cover most content types, removing the technical barriers and getting you straight to the result. Below we’ll take a look into these tools for quick, easy and free content creation.

Post, for creating images with text.

Upon clicking create, you are prompted to type your message and choose an image size. You can select from a range of preset sizes, from Facebook posts, blog posts or Twitter images to Instagram images and much more. There are also standard image sizes. Once that is done you can change your image using Adobe’s royalty free image search, upload your own image or use a colour background. You have plenty of fonts and dozens of styles to choose from. What is particularly great is you can still have quite a lot of creative control, but if you want Adobe to do it for you then you still get good results. It’s worth noting that on the mobile app you can add animated backgrounds and save your creations as videos.

Page, to combine images and text into a slick scrolling page.

As with Post, all you need to do is choose how you want the section to display, choose what it displays and scroll on to the next section. This tool is brilliant if you want to tell a short story, put together a quick bio or portfolio, such as reflections on a field trip. When your page is ready you can share it using the generated link or use the embed code to put in your course site or own website.

Video, for when you need something more animated and dynamic.

When you are creating video with Spark, it starts by asking your title and then wants to know what kind of narrative you are after. Do you want to ‘Tell what happened’, ‘Promote an idea’, or ‘Teach a lesson’? These will automatically populate the amount of scenes your video has with text prompts as to the kind of content (see the image below). Whilst you may not need reminding about how to tell a story, it is helpful to have these prompts to help us be concise and on message to ensure maximum engagement.

Within Video you get to choose how each scene looks, for example you can have a symbol and text, just an image or just text and so on. There are a range of themes for you to select and each animates the transitions differently. It’s worth looking through them to decide which fit your video. You then record audio over the top of each slide and you can choose some music if you wish. The slides then automatically animate according to your chosen theme. After which you can share with a link or an embed code, or download the video.

Adobe Spark is free to use, you can sign in with your Facebook, Google or Adobe account or use your email. On the web all three tools are part of the same web page. On your mobile device they are three separate apps.

Why do we love Adobe Spark?

I would put these apps into the essential category for iPad users, and the web experience is just as good. Adobe Spark removes the tech from creating content. In our experience students love using it as they can create great looking posts, pages and videos without worrying about the tools they are using. The focus is on the content rather than the tech. The same goes for tutors, if you need to create an explainer video or an eye catching image for your course site and don’t have time to spend on production, this is the tool for you.

University of Sussex staff who would like help creating teaching resources can contact Technology Enhanced Learning on tel@sussex.ac.uk

Alternatives.

Canva creates images similar to Post. Check out our blog post Introducing Canva: an accessible graphic design tool‘.

Microsoft Sway creates scrolling content similar to Pages.

Powtoon, despite becoming increasingly limited in what you can do for free, is a tool for creating animated videos. 

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We are the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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