Using SMARTNotebook Software to Create Aurasma Trigger Images

If you are new to Aurasma, creating a great trigger image can be challenging. If you have access to a SMARTBoard, using SMARTNotebook software makes it easier to create an excellent image that can be easily scanned by the Aurasma app. On the Recorder Karate Wall of Fame the images of the children were created from photos and enhanced using SMARTNotebook software. If you are interested in using pictures of your students to create a similar display, I want to give you a few time-saving tips and walk through how to (painlessly) turn an ordinary picture into a scan-able  Aurasma trigger image.

Recorder Wall of Fame bulletin board

Pictures on the board change frequently as Black Belts are earned.

Aurasma Trigger images and SMART Notebook Software work well together!

In my last post I mentioned all of the emails that are being sent back and forth as my recorder students pass off their pieces from home. To display the wonderful work of my students, I created a “Wall of Fame” and each child’s picture is a trigger image much like a QR code.  When scanned with the Aurasma app, these images trigger the linked video of the child playing his/her best piece. It is augmented reality and it is uber-cool! My next post will give much more detail, but here is a snippet of what happens when an image is scanned by Aurasma.

Take good pictures

As I will explain in a few minutes, I took pictures of each of my eighty 4th graders. Some photos were taken in the hallway with a beige background, others were taken in a classroom with a busy background, and still others were taken in front of a plain blue bulletin board.  Because I wanted to put mustaches and glasses on my children, it would have been much easier to have taken the pictures in front of a green screen or solid blue background. In the real world it didn’t work out that way! :) I thought that lining the kids up in the hallway would be really easy. It was, but the pictures had a beige background that blended with their skin tone making removing it difficult. If I had to do it again, I would use a green screen to take the pictures.

After I took the pictures of the children with my iPhone or camera, I uploaded them to my desktop using  This app and website work beautifully for transferring images and videos from any smart phone or iPad to a computer.  Here is a brief demonstration video.  In the past, I sent pictures to myself via email… but that is so last year!! Send-anywhere is such a time-saver. I take the pictures during my breaks or during a class, use the app to send them to my computer, go to the website on my computer, type in the 6 digit  number, and receive. While I’m teaching my next class, the images are downloading to the perfect folder on my computer. I don’t have to sit and send multiple emails and download each one because Send-Anywhere does it all in the background.

What makes a good Trigger Image in Aurasma?

According to the Aurasma website, “Overall, effective trigger images have unique shapes and images, high color tone variation, and lots of details.” When creating my Recorder Karate Wall of Fame, I thought that pictures of the individual children would be unique enough – especially if I added a mustache and glasses – right? NOT!

Aurasma examples for blog

That part about “unique shapes and images, and lots of details” is MOST important. I discovered that my pictures of the children were just blurs. I had to embellish the images to make each one unique enough to be recognized. At first I tried just adding the glasses and mustaches and that worked on the pictures taken in front of a busy background, but it looked all messy to me and it didn’t POP on the board like I wanted it to. For this project, the only answer was to take away the background and add my own details.

Unfortunately, a picture of a child is not usually going to be an effective trigger image.  Just like a QR code has unique arrangements of pixels, Aurasma trigger images must have enough unique details to set it apart.

Before you stop reading because I’m making it sound so complicated, let me tell you how SMARTNotebook is the perfect answer to this problem!

SMARTNotebook + the Snipping Tool (PC) or Grab Tool (Mac)

Watch this brief video demonstration of how I use SMARTNotebook software to create unique images.

There are many other ways to create unique images, but this video gives a few examples of how .png can be created using SMARTNotebook and an image capturing accessory tool.

Using Image Transparency and the Free-form Camera tool to edit the background of an image.

This video may be redundant, but it demonstrates another way to edit the pictures in SMART Notebook.

SMART Notebook Mustache file

Would you be interested in having a copy of the Mustache file demonstrated in this video? If you want to create a similar project, I will be happy to share the working  file I used for all of these images. The pages contain images of various mustaches, glasses and backgrounds. If this file is used, only the pictures need to be imported. Send me an email at for a link to the Mustache file. You will be able to import pictures of your students, embellish them with “stuff” and use the snipping tool to capture and save the image for use anywhere.

Using Smart Notebook software to create Aurasma trigger images is easier than many desktop publishing programs. If you have a SMARTBoard, take advantage of the .notebook software you have available to customize not only trigger images for Aurasma, but any other image need you may have.

Coming soon…

How I use my SMARTBoard with Aurasma, Details about a unique challenge for my advanced recorder players, How to flip a video, and a Step-by-step guide to setting up an Aurasma aura.

Aurasma Trigger Images and SMART Notebook Software… Are you exploring the tools you already have?


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Nona March 1, 2014 at 7:14 AM

Dearest Cherie,
I have to tell how amazed I am at your love, creativity, desire to learn new, everyday. I feel that I’ve found a person I needed to know for a long time. I appreciate all you willingness to share your expertise with other fellow music teachers.
I did not read the post carefully yet, but I am looking forward to go through step by step.
So sad, I am very far from the US but isn’t it great, we have an Internet! I would love to learn from you!
I’ve used the QR code, and started with the first video, kids were thrilled! So, I need to make an augmented reality real in my classroom and on all my Bulletin Boards outside of the classroom. It will be nice for parents, while waiting for their kids in the hallways after the ASA, can watch the videos of their kids performing! Also, I need to share this with kids in great detail, that they will start making those videos with Aurasma, I hope it will work! We are 1:1 iPad and Macbook school.
Thanks a lot!!!!! You are an amazing teacher!


Cherie Herring March 2, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Nona, You are so kind!! I would love to help you learn how to use the Aurasma app to display performances! My next post will be about actually making the aura and I hope that it will help a little. It may seem complicated at first, but it gets easier once you’ve successfully made a few. It is best to have just one channel if you want parents to view them. There is a way to email and ask for an upgrade to your account that will allow you to have your students on the same channel under you. I will get those directions to you soon.
If you are interested, the main thing to do is find a home for your videos – preferably in cloud storage like Dropbox. You will also need a trigger image or picture for each child. don’t fret, I’ll help you step by step. – Cherie


Suhyuk March 6, 2014 at 4:24 AM

Hi, Cherie!
Thanks for using Send Anywhere! I’m one of the 4 members of Send Anywhere Team :)
I’m very excited and pleased to know that Send Anywhere is saving your time!
Thank you very much for introducing Send Anywhere app. Spread more words for us!
And I am so impressed about your passionate work on integrating technology into the teaching.

Happy Sending!


Nancy March 10, 2014 at 2:32 AM

Hi Cherie,
I can’t tell you how inspired I have been since finding your site. I have started the flipped recorder class and the kids who have tried it are hooked. Now I want to get other students keen to try it so I’m going to add the Wall of Fame. I have practiced deleting the background in Notebook but was wondering if you would share the moustache file and the Recorder Karate Ribbon?
Thanks so much,
Nancy Baxendale


Cherie Herring March 10, 2014 at 7:52 AM

Nancy, thank you so much for the kind words. I’m happy that you found my blog and I’m thrilled that you are going to try Aurasma to inspire your students. It works! I’ve emailed you the links to download the two files for creating the Wall of Fame mustache board and the Recorder Repair board.
Thanks again,Cherie


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