GRM23 Visual Technologies

GRM23 Syllabus
Spring 2014
Nancy Haberman

GRM23 Visual Technologies introduces visual technologies, concepts and principles of production used by designers and media artists. Explores software applications as they relate to current methods of design and media arts production. Emphasizes the development of fundamental computer skills and an understanding of the relationship between digital media and visual design.

Applies to Associate Degree. Transfer Credit: CSU.
This Class Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m. — 3:15 p.m.. in Com. 109
Best Ways to Reach Me – Email: (It is important that you type GRM23 in the subject line so that your email is not classified as spam.)
Dean: LisaPutnam
Division Office: PAC 140, extension 1408.
Division Office Hours: 8am-5pm M-Th; 8am-noon on Friday

FINAL PRESENTATION: Final Critique is scheduled For Monday, May 19th from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Special Needs: If you have a disability, you are encouraged to contact ACCESS at 378-1461. Their office is just to the right of the Campus Center Building. They will help you determine what assistance is available for you.

Upon satisfactory completion of the course, students should be able to:

  1. identify and analyze hardware and software technologies including the operating systems, scanners, digital cameras, image manipulation, vector versus bitmap artwork concepts, text and font management, color models and output.
  2. discuss the history of digital media, explain the key concepts, and define the digital media arts terminology
  3. apply storyboarding and thumbnail sketching techniques to express personal ideas, subjective visions, and informed opinions through the design process
  4. draw, scan and manipulate images as design elements to create designs for print and web, motion, and interactive design
  5. define and produce appropriate resolution and digital file formats for output to various media
  6. demonstrate proficiency working with digital technologies to input and manipulate images and use various software programs for the development of individual projects
  7. explain copyright law and intellectual property rights as they apply to digital media arts


White Space is not Your Enemy: A beginner’s guide to communicating visually through graph, web and multimedia design, Kim Golombisky and Rebecca Hagen


  1. USB Flash Drive
  2. Manilla folder and self-adhesive fasteners for every assignment, including exercises
  3. Journal for sketching and note taking
  4. Access to a Digital camera (phone or point and shoot okay), camera to USB cable (must be with you in class at ALL times)

ATTENDANCE: Attach files you worked on during each class to your email attendance at the end of every class session. Also attach to your attendance email a unique snapshot of yourself taken during every class session either inside or outside of the classroom.

­ Class overview and expectations: Visual Technologies surveys the history of computer graphics and its premiere collection of software, the Adobe Creative Suite, by exploring a variety of commonly encountered graphics challenges. This class is a must for those pursuing a career in the field of business graphics, commercial art and graphic design, film, animation, the internet (web design and development), pre-press/graphic production, or the fine arts.

Experience: Previous computer experience is not required. Prior or concurrent course work in fine arts, graphic design, printing/pre-press, multimedia or photography is encouraged. This class is a 5-hr/week class, and consists of a combination of lecture and lab time, roughly split in half. Standard expectations for college coursework are 3 hours of homework for each lecture hour, so you should expect to spend between 6 and 8 hours each week on homework. Homework assignments, projects, required reading and deadlines will be posted on the blog. Lab Hours will be posted after the semester’s schedules are in place for the Labs in Com109 (Mac lab) or Com151 (PC lab). The Computer Learning Center has some of the graphics programs we will be using in class and is available for student use. Students who choose to do lab work outside of the classroom are still required to be present during all class hours and are still responsible for all materials introduced during the entire class period.

Attendance: Do Not Underestimate how this affects your grade! Attendance in class is Mandatory and is a part of your grade. You are expected to arrive at class on time and stay until class is dismissed. To assure the recording of your attendance, it is imperative upon you, the student, to be on time as your class start time is known in advance. Any email containing questions or other communication should be submitted by email with subject line containing the string of characters, GRM23. If you must be absent, you are still responsible for everything covered in that class session and deadlines still apply to you.

Assignments: It is your responsibility to check for updates to the assignments. All due dates will be posted online on our class website and all assignments are to be posted to our class blog by each student. When in doubt, ask questions. One of our early lessons will include instructions on how to post text and images on the blog where group critique will take place. All students must participate in the online discussion. All assignments will have a due date assigned and work turned in after the due date is late and will be marked down. You will be notified if any assignments you turned in are sub-par and do not satisfy the stated requirements, in which case you will have the opportunity to rework the assignment and turn it in for credit. Almost everything can be improved, and refinement of your assignment is part of the learning process in this class, in fact, it is part of the design process as well.

All assignments must be finalized and submitted using the following procedure:

  1. Printed in high resolution (300dpi)-in a manilla folder; if color is part of the design, the assignment must be printed in color on a color printer
  2. Digital files must be backed up on on the file server and on your flash drive
  3. File format should be .jpg (unless another format is specified) and attached to an email sent to the instructor
  4. .jpgs intended for blog posts should be no more than 600 pixels in width.

Grades: Your assignment success is determined by the following criteria:

  1. Timeliness – have your met the published deadline?
  2. Concept – do you have a “good idea?” Have you creatively visualized the idea?
  3. Technique – how effectively have you communicated the idea using the appropriate tools available to you inside and outside of the classroom?

Overall grade is determined by successfully meeting the following criteria:

  1. Attendance & Classroom Participation
  2. Assignment Quality & Effective Communication
  3. In-class exercises
  4. Midterm project
  5. Final project

Weight distribution:

1. Final project – 20%

  1. Midterm project – 15%
  2. Assignments, In-class exercises, Quizzes – 35%
  3. Attendance and Classroom Participation – 30%

PROJECT ONE: Poster  – Trim Size 11”x17” (1,3,4,5,6) Specific Objective TBA
Use Photoshop to assemble images and/or part of images and phrase or quotation (typography)

ESSAY: Copyright (7)
Demonstrate an understanding of intellectual property rights and copyright law as they apply to digital and media arts

PROJECT TWO: Greeting Card Set (1,4,5,6)
Use Adobe Illustrator to create four illustrations that demonstrate a visual theme and continuity among the “set.”

FINAL PROJECT: Portfolio Book (3,4,5,6)
to edit and present the best of your work using the cumulative knowledge gained over the semester. Due Monday May 20th at 12:30pm sharp


Week 1

  1. Syllabus Review
  2. Reading-Introduction, Chapter 1 & Chapter 2 (1,2)
  3. In-class exercises (1,4,5)
  4. Understanding the “Blog”
  5. The Folder (3,6)
    How to prepare and submit Assignments
  6. The Photoshop Workspace (6)
    Photoshop Tools

Week 2

  1. White Space read Chapter 1, pp. 1–8
  2. Spheres Exercise (4,5,6)
  3. Readings-Chapter 5
  4. PROJECT ONE Poster –  (1,3,4,5,6)
    Brainstorm approaches to a self-portrait
    Create thumbnails (3)
  5. Discussion (2)

Week 3

  1. White Space read Chapter 2, pp. 9—20
  2. Photo Retouching Exercises (3,4,5,6)
  3. Chapter 6, Photoshop Magic
  4. Chapter 7, File Formats & Compression
  5. Chapter 8, Scanning Guidelines
  6. Discussion (2)

Week 4

  1. Chapter 3, Art and the Computer (2)
  2. More of Diane Fenster’s art
  3. Painting in Photoshop (4,5,6)
  4. Discussion (2)

Week 5

  1. White Space read Chapter 3 & 4, pp. 21–42
  2. Introducing the Pen Tool (vectors) in Photoshop and Illustrator (4,5,6)
  3. The Illustrator Workspace (4,5,6)
  4. Chapter 12, Introduction to Adobe Illustrator

Week 6

  1. NPR Radio Show with Terri Gross – Shepard Fairey: Inspiration or Infringement (7)
  2. Electronic Highway Robbery An Artist’s Guide to Copyrights in the Digital Era by Mary E. Carter (Paperback – July 1996. Buy it used)
  3. Discussion (7)
  4. Mid-term-essay

Week 7

  1. White Space read Chapter 5, pp. 43–56
  2. Illustrator templates (4,5,6)
  3. Oscar, the weiner dog Exercise (4,5,6)
    Strokes, Fills, Layers, Patterns
  4. Style and Theme
  5. PROJECT TWO – Greeting Card set  (1,4,5,6)

Week 8

  1. White Space read Chapter 6 & 7, pp. 57–84
  2. Transformations
  3. Line vs. objects – shape drawing tools
  4. Gradients
  5. Gradient Mesh (4,6)

Week 9

• Mid-term-essay due

  1. White Space read Chapter 8, pp. 85–110
  2. Illustrator Seal Exercise (4,6)
  3. Typography
  4. Illustrator Artboards
  5. Software Essentials read pp. 78-108

Week 10

  1. White Space read Chapter 9, pp. 111–130
  2. The InDesign workspace
  3. Familiar tools – the pen tool
  4. Set up greeting cards in InDesign
  5. Single vs. Multi-page publication-compare/contrast to Illustrator Artboards (1,4,6)

Week 11

  1. White Space read Chapter 10, pp. 131–151
  2. AB Caffé slides
  3. Brushes, Patterns
  4. 3D and image mapping (1,4,6)

Week 12

  1. Review Criteria for Final Project
  2. Thumbnails for Final Project
  3. How to create a Dummy Book for Final Project (3)

Week 13

  1. White Space read Chapter 15, pp. 219-243
  2. Master Pages – page palette, page size
    page numbering
  3. Guides and grids – margins (1,6)
  4. Working with Images in InDesign – sizing and cropping
  5. Typography and typographic Heirarchy
  6. Text Wrap (1,6)
  7. Flowing text in InDesign
  8. Pagination

Week 14

  1. Preparing an InDesign document to print
  2. Export PDF – embedded, compressed bitmaps
  3. Package – includes original font files and graphics (1,5,6)
  4. Introduction to Adobe Acrobat
  5. Printing and proofing your book
  6. Editing the InDesign File (1,6)

Week 15

  1. All lab

Week 16

FINAL PRESENTATION: Final Critique is scheduled For Monday, May 19th from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.