cgvc 120 digital imaging 1

120 syllabus | project grades:


  • The robots and all the tutorials and project revisions are graded. If you are missing any grades, let me know asap!!
  • The 2013 Digital Student Showcase will be Friday, May 17th from 4-6pm. Submit your best work from this fall and spring. See the submission form and showcase information for more details. Prizes are awarded for the best in each category!
  • Bestiary projects are graded. Submit any revisions tomorrow, by the end of the day.
  • Turn in your "tickets" with extra credit points by next week (May 6th) to redeem them for points towards projects or quizzes.
  • All project revisions must be submitted by May 6th.
  • Project 7 has been graded.
  • Project 6 has been graded.
  • Project 5 (variations) has been graded.
  • Project 4 (wallpapers and patterns) is graded. Patterns from this class and the online seciton can be found on the student gallery site.
  • The layers and pattern tutorial are graded. Login (above, right) to see your grade.
  • Project 3 is graded. Login (above, right) to see your grade and comments.
  • Project 2 and the first tutorial are graded. Login to see your grade and comments (directions to login are still below, in previous announcement).
  • Watercolor projects can be seen on my student gallery site.
  • Project 1 is graded. Login using your access number in the box on the upper right of this page. Click the 'go' button after you type in your number (return key may not work). Your access number is the last four digits of your student ID + 120. For example, if your ID is 900001234, then your access number is 1234 + 120 = 1234120; You would type in 1234120 and then click 'go' to see your gradesheet.
  • ADiM Open Lab Schedule
  • Tutorials will be turned in on the ADiM server before class -- Do not turn them in on Blackboard as the instructions say. This is a typo; an error as I use this exercise for my online students as well.

sessions [+/–]

Session 14 [ May 6 ] - Quiz 5

Quiz 5, question 7 image

Links: Tutorial on actions from Adobe


  • Study for the final exam (May 13th, 9:05 am)

Session 13 [ Apr 29 ]

Lecture slides: Depth and Light

Links: Spatial Indicators handout ~ Properties of Light handout ~ Properties of Shadows handout

Links for inspiration: Trailer of "This is Not Photography" (Jerry Uelsmann & Maggie Taylor) ~ Maggie Taylor~ Murat Suyur ~ Adam Spizak


Session 12 [ Apr 22 ] - Quiz 4

Masks work day

Links: Original Milk Text Tutorial ~ Video of Milk Mask Technique


Session 11 [ Apr 15 ]

Lecture slides: Masking

Inspiration: Worth and 30 Examples of Photo Illustration


Session 10 [ Apr 8 ]

Lecture slides: Web Imagery

Links: Using 'Save for Web' feature in Photoshop ~ Using 'Save for Web' for Photoshop PNG ~ Browser Statistics for PNG-24


Session 9 [ Mar 25 ] - Quiz 3


We will postpone our lecture on web formats and continue working on the first part of project 7. The quiz that was schedule for today is now a take home quiz that needs to be submitted before spring break next week.


  • Take Quiz 3 on your own:
    Print the quiz (linked here) and submit via Debby's mailbox in Q209 by 5pm on Thursday (3/28); or,
    Fill in the quiz digitally, and email your quiz to by 5pm on Thursday (3/28).
  • Continue work on your project 7 designs (part 1) - I would encourage you to get feedback from your peers, or find me on Wednesday or Thursday in my office (Q303C) to get feedback. Bring your completed designs to our next class on April 8th (after spring break).

Session 8 [ Mar 18 ]

Lecture slides: Brushes & Blending Modes

Links: Smashing Magazine 50 Must-Have Brushes / Brusheezy / MyPhotoshopBrushes


Session 7 [ Mar 11 ] - Quiz 2

Lecture Slides: Cloning & Retouching

Links: Cloning to open a wine bottle and add fruit to a tree (video - jump to second half for these examples) ~ Digital Forensics, Uncovering Doctored Images ~ Photoshoped Magazine Covers ~ Photographer fired for altering image ~ Is that Iranian Missle photo a fake?


Session 6 [ Mar 4 ]

Lecture Slides: Copyright & Stock

Links: US Copyright Office ~ Creative Commons ~ Wikipedia: DMCA ~ Photographer removes her Pinterest boards - Is it legal to pin other's work? ~ Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

Stock photo sites: Jupiter / Getty / Veer / Masterfile / iStock / Stock Exchange


Session 5 [ Feb 25 ]

Lecture Slides: Color

Links: ~ Color theory and artist's palettes ~ What is CMYK color printing ~ Color profile graphs (visuals) ~ Color Trends from Colour Lovers ~ Pantone color predictions and palettes


Session 4 [ Feb 18 ]

Handouts: Pattern

Links: Video on creating seamless patterns with object layers ~ video on creating seamless pattern backgrounds


Session 3 [ Feb 11 ] - Quiz 1

Lecture Slides: Layers

Links: Layers palette handout ~ ADiM Video Library Resources on Selection Tools ~ Video on Layers for beginners


Session 2 [ Feb 4 ]

Lecture Slides: Optimizing

Handouts: Digital Imaging Vocabulary ~ Optimizing Steps

Links: Video on Curves and Threshold ~ tutorial on non-destructive dodge/burn ~ Lightroom vs. Bridge


Session 1 [ Jan 28 ]

Lecture Slides: Digital imaging & basic tools

Links: Wikipedia: Photoshop ~ Wikipedia: Bitmap ~ How Stuff Works: File Compression ~ Startup Memories: Photoshop



Project 9: ROBOT


Create a robot out of 20 items listed below. You must use all 20 items in your robot. The robot can be any kind of robot, any part of the robot, or the full robot.

Ask yourself what makes an interesting robot. Gather images of all the objects and develop 2-3 personalities, themes, or functions for your robot. Submit 2 of your ideas for initial feedback.

As you are developing your robot, experiment with different connections, sizing of parts, and repetition of parts. Think about angles and styles of the objects you must use.


  1. Drawing Tablet (e.g. Wacom)
  2. iPad
  3. iPhone
  4. Android Phone
  5. Cassette Player
  6. Cassette
  7. Record Player (phonograph)
  8. Record
  9. Laptop (anykind)
  10. Kindle
  11. Karaoke Machine
  12. Typewriter
  13. Juke Box
  14. Rotary Telephone
  15. VCR
  16. Cotton Gin
  17. Portable CD player (e.g. Walkman)
  18. Floppy Disk
  19. Old TV (with knobs and anteanna)
  20. Atari (original or 2600)


Your image will be graded on your concept, creativity in use of objects, composition and balance, and effectiveness of the creation of depth and connection.


  • 180 dpi minimum (this will be printed)
  • 5 x 7 inches or larger
  • A layered PSD file and
  • Quality color print

Due: Session 14 (May 6)

Project 8: Bestiary


Create a beastiary by combing two or more animals. The resulting animal should be convincing (looks realistic) but not an animal known to earth.

You will be graded on your creativity, ability to develop and execute your artistic concept, use of the tools, and believability of your beast.

Suggested Steps:

  • Brainstorm new animals. Make a list of all the animals you can think of, and then try to visualize a combination of two or more.
  • Sketch out 3-4 ideas for your design. You will submit 2 of the best ideas for review and feedback in class.
  • Gather resources via the web, scanned image, and your own graphics, photos, or illustration.
  • Experiment with different parts (head, tail, legs, etc.), as well as just color (fur/feather color, stripes, etc.)
  • Use masks to blend parts together, or to simply hide unwanted pieces of objects.
  • Use blending modes to blend colors and patterns.
  • Use brushes to create new textures, colors, and patterns.


  • 180 dpi minimum (will be printed)
  • 8 x 10 inches or larger
  • A layered PSD file
  • File named: "lastname_proj8.psd"
  • Use of masks
  • Organized layers

Sketches/Comps Due: Session 12 (April 22)

Final Bestiary Due: Session 13 ( April 29 )

Project 7: Elements


Create brush strokes to represent each of the four earth elements.

Using one of the starting files provided, create forms in each quadrant (or spiral set) for four different elements (water, wind, earth, fire, air, ice). The quadrants should be created with brushes, though other imagery may be used as a backdrop or starting point. Brushes can be downloaded or created to complete the assignment.

Part 1: Your final design - four quadrants and four elements.

Use the starting file; do not change the size or resolution.


Part 2: Your design converted into two different web sizes, and saved in a web format.

Using your design, crop or transform elements to fit the sizes below(DO NOT DISTORT!). You may have to adjust values or colors at the smaller size- be sure your design works effectively at each size. Convert the images to a web format in two specified standard web ad sizes below (one of each):

  • 500 x 350 pixels
  • 180 x 150 pixels

Your image will be graded on creativity, effective representation of the elements, balance of the composition, quality of the web versions, and file size of the resulting web versions.


STEPS: Part 1

  1. Brainstorm shapes or forms for the elements. If you work abstractly, then consider movement and rhythm to connect the quadrants. If you want to create representational forms, consider how they will be cropped and how they will relate.
  2. Brainstorm colors for the elements. Are you going to work in grayscale? If you choose color, will all the colors harmonize?
  3. Sketch your ideas and concepts.
  4. Gather brushes or images to create brushes.
  5. Open the starting document and start creating your design. Experiment with sizes, overlapping colors and layers, and direction of your strokes.

STEPS: Part 2

  1. Resize and recompose your design to fit the dimensions of 500x350. DO NOT DISTORT OR STRETCH YOUR IMAGE. This size will require you to adjust your design slightly to fit the standard web size. It will require you to crop your image and possibly move and transform items individually within your design. Save this file as a PSD for your own backup.
  2. Use Photoshop's 'Save for Web & Devices' feature to save your image as a jpg, gif, or png. Consider and experiment with which web file format will be most effective for your imagery. Save this file as "lastname_proj7_500x350".
  3. Resize and recompose your design to fit the dimensions of 180x150. DO NOT DISTORT OR STRETCH YOUR IMAGE. This size will definitely require you to adjust your design to fit the small size. It will require you to crop your image and possibly move and transform items individually within your design, as well as remove items completely. You may have to prioritize how much information you can supply in such a small composition. Save this file as a PSD for your own backup.
  4. Use Photoshop's 'Save for Web & Devices' feature to save your image as a jpg, gif, or png. Consider and experiment with which web file format will be most effective for your imagery. Save this file as "lastname_proj7_180x150".


  • Use of the starting Photoshop document
  • Four elements represented with brush strokes
  • Final design as a Photoshop document named: "lastname_proj7.psd"
  • Two files in a web format (jpg, gif, or png)
    • One file 500 x 350 pixels (landscape or portrait acceptable)
    • One file 180 x 150 pixels (landscape or portrait acceptable)
    • File names: "lastname_proj7_500x350" and "lasname_proj7_180x150"

Part 1 Due: Session 8 (March 25) Session 9 (April 8)

Part 2 Due: Session 9 (April 8)

Project 6: Retouch


Using one of the two starting images provide, remove the unnecessary and distracting details in the background. Areas where imagery is removed should be covered up flawlessly and without any artifacts - the image should look as convincing as possible. Value, texture, and color should be mimicked exactly from the starting photograph. Aim for a magical transformation when comparing the before and after images!


Girl Photo: Remove the people, chairs, and umbrellas in the background - surrounding her head.


Boy Photo: Remove the dad's arms and body, and the car in the background.


Format: A single Photoshop document (lastname_p5.psd)

Due: Session 8 ( March 18 )

Project 5: Twenty Variations


Using a CC licensed image create 20 variations that show changes in value, color, and stylization.

Find a Creative Commons licensed image for the subject assigned to you (determined in class). Use this image to create 20 variations of the original image. The variations should all be the same size, and nothing may be removed, nor may any objects be added to the image. Create variations on value, color, and any stylization. Stylization would include drawing or painting on the image, filtering parts of the image (e.g. blur, etc.), and other creative changes based on the limitation of maintaining the basic forms within the image.

Suggested Steps:

  • Brainstorm objects, scenes, or scenarios that fit your assigned subject
  • Using the CC search page, or the Flickr CC group, or any other means, find a CC licensed image to use for your project.
  • Open your starting image and determine if it needs to be cropped. If so, crop it, then save it as the original image for your project.
  • Save your image as variation 1 (each will be a separate file - name them clearly using numbers or descriptions - e.g. tree_v1.psd, tree_v2.psd, etc.)
  • Change the image values and save 2-6 variations based on value. You may use levels, curves, dodge, burn, or any other tools to adjust value. You may apply these changes to a grayscale and/or color version of the image.
  • Change the image colors and save 5-8 variations based on color. You may remove or add color; enhance or change color.
  • Stylize the image and save 5-8 variations. You may paint on a greyscale version, use blur for part of the image, use filters on part of the image, paint or draw to enhance lines or forms, or any other creative techniques.
    Be sure you do not completely remove any forms!
    Do not use filters on more than 8 versions of the image; and be sure the filters relate to the subject or forms.
  • Once all 20 variations are complete (and all PSD files saved), create a PDF presentation of your images. The images should be neatly aligned and evenly spaced. The recommended settings are:
    • Portrait (tall) images - 20in x 30in page with 3 rows of 7 images each (7 columns, 3 rows). The original image should be the first image in the upper left.
    • Landscape (wide) images - 30in x 20in page with 7 rows of 3 images each (3 columns, 7 rows). The original image should be the first image in the upper left.

Your image will be graded on creativity of the variations, successfulness of each variation, and the project guidelines below.


  • Original image may not be smaller than 500 pixels in either direction
  • 20 variations (plus the original = 21)
  • No complete removal or complete hiding of forms
  • A PDF document with all 21 images presented neatly (using Bridge, or Photoshop) at the same size
  • File name: "lastname_proj5.pdf"
  • Submission of your theme and the URL of your source image

Due: Session 7 ( March 11 )

Project 4: Gift Wrap pattern oR Desktop wallpaper


Create a pattern design for gift wrap or a desktop (digital) wallpaper design.

If you choose to design gift wrap, choose a holiday or occassion as your theme. Be sure your theme and imagery are unique, and not something we see often on gift wrap paper.
You will create a single pattern tile that repeats seamlessly to accomodate any amount of wrapping paper needed. From this tile you will generate a piece of wrapping approximately 11x14 inches that shows at least 4 tiles.

If you choose to design a wallpaper, choose a specific target audience for your design. Some example target audiences: fans of specific band or musician, fans of a specific team, fans of a tv show or movie, collectors, hobbiests, etc.
Your design must incorporate a patterned background to accomodate all the various digital screen sizes. The foreground elements will be sized and placed for each screen size. You will create a design for two screen sizes: 1600 x 1200 pixels, and, 1024 x 768 pixels.

Requirements & Formatting:

  • Minimum of 3 digital images (gathered or created) and a background
  • 180 dpi minimum
    A single pattern tile (psd file between 3 and 6 inches), and,
    an 11x14 inch document showing multiple tiles (PSD file or print)
    A design at 1600x1200 pixels (PSD file), and,
    A design at 1024x768 pixels (PSD file)

Due: Session 6 ( March 4 )

Project 3: Object Spelling


Spell a word using only photos of objects related to the word.

Using one of the suggested words below, or a word of your choice, find (or take) photos of objects that relate to that word. Cutout the objects [digitally] with accuracy and precision, and align them to spell the word visually.

The final illustration of the word must be legible and the imagery must relate to the word.

apple example

Requirements and Formatting:

  • No fonts! All letters must be created via objects or images.
  • Three letter word minimum
  • Document size (final image size) no smaller than 4 inches wide at 180dpi
  • Any background (blank, or use an image that does not distract)
  • Images used must relate to the word
  • Image resizing (if needed) without loss of quality
  • File name: "lastname_proj3.psd"

Choose One:
(Once image has loaded in window, right-click on image and chosoe 'save image as')

  • run
  • build
  • ignite
  • pride
  • fear
  • cute
  • grow

Due: Session 4 ( Feb 18 )

Project 2: Optimized image SERIES


Optimize an image in color and in black & white (grayscale).

Using one of the starting images below or an image of your choice optimize the image following the basic four steps reviewed in class. Complete two versions of the image - one in color, and one in grayscale. The final step will be to present all three (original, color, b/w) in one document, neatly aligned and evenly spaced.

Choose One:
(Once image has loaded in window, right-click on image and chosoe 'save image as')

Your image will be graded on effective optimizing, attention to detail, and presentation.


  • Image resolution set to 180dpi for all images
  • A pdf document showing the three images (this can be created using Bridge) neatly spaced and aligned. Click here for instructions on creating the PDF. (note: hold onto your individual PSD files for each version -- if there is a problem reading your PDF, these files will be needed for grading)
  • Title your file with your lastname and project number (e.g. smith_p2.pdf)
  • Place your file in the Project Submission folder (TO_BE_GRADED) for project 2 on the server.

Due: Session 3 ( Feb 11 )

Project 1: DIGITAL WaterColor


Using an image from a link below, or a b/w photo of your own, add your own color additions to mimic the watercolor technique used on traditional photographs. Your choice of your colors should not be random, but should be based on cultural colors, natural or realistic colors, or a color harmony. The original photograph should be enhanced by your color additions and not degraded or hidden.

Your image will be graded on your skill with the tools (details!), your choice of colors, and the overall aesthetic of the final photograph. You are encouraged to experiment with multiple trials and then choose the best outcome to submit.

apple example


Mann McNabb Whitehead Williams


  • A Photoshop document with the original image included (as a background layer or other layer, hidden or showing).
  • Title your file with your lastname and project number (e.g. smith_p1.psd).
  • Place your file in the Project Submission folder for project 1 on the server . We will review the submission process next week when the project is due (session 2).

Project Sources (choose one image):

Due: Session 2 ( Feb 4 )