Art 219 Digital Media

instructor: Brent Patterson

** this is an archived syllabus **

Summer 2013 Important Dates:
June 28: Last Day to Drop
July 1 and afterward: Complete withdrawals only
July 4: No class
July 12 Final Critique

Assignments (assignments with asterisks will NOT be done by the summer 2013 course)

Course Links
Marshall’s portal – use your Marshall ID and password to access the site
Spring Exam Schedule

Course Description
This 3 credit hour course serves as an introduction to the concepts, structure, and methodologies of various digital media tools, specifically, Adobe Systems’ Creative Suite 6: Photoshop, Illustrator, with a basic introduction to web publishing, software art, digital video, motion graphics and 3D Animation. Art 219 Intro to Digital Media also reinforces the principles and foundations of art and design (line, color, composition, and ideation) by framing digital media as an expressive tool for affective art and effective communication.

Students will work in a problem-based learning environment in which regularly assigned projects, demonstrations, readings and discussions progress towards a greater understanding of the canonical history, functionality and potentials of the digital medium(s). Students will acquire practical skills for creating art and design with digital media, and they will also gain historical, cultural and stylistic context in which to explore and develop their own creative interests.
The course attempts to bracket the projects and discussion into four modes of digital media (the nature of digital imagery, moving images, reactive media, interconnected media). These modes will be used to explore issues of originality and copyright, the historical context of media, consumption and production, education vs. diversion, and surveillance and privacy.

Learning Goals
This course serves to acquaint students with the basic technical skills and concepts concerning specific digital media and its tools for production. It also serves to reinforce the foundations of visual art and design and helps to give students more context in which they de- velop themselves as artists and designers. At the end of the semester, students will be able to navigate the Macintosh OS X operating system, and understanding the basic concepts and methods of the following soft- ware applications: Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, InDesign and Final Cut Express. They should also be able to put problems concerning digital media into a broad context of understanding. Specifically:

  • Familiar with concepts of the Macintosh operating system
  • Understand the protocols for completing assignments
  • Familiar with various file types used in digital media production and distribution and can use the right file type properly
  • Understand and can apply image resolution concepts
  • A basic understanding of the capabilities, principles, methods and applications for Adobe Photoshop
  • Students will demonstrate competency at manipulating pixel-based imagery
  • An understanding of professional inkjet printers, image output methods and presentation
  • A basic understanding of the capabilities, principles, methods and applications for Adobe Illustrator
  • Students will demonstrate competency at creating and accurately manipulating vector forms
  • A basic understanding of various web services one can utilize to publish and promote creative work

Text and Materials

  • a data storage device: 4GB or greater USB Flash Drive or large external USB hard drive
  • Students must have a functioning Marshall email address
  • no text is required, the instructor will provide PDFs of assigned readings and online videos of tutorials

Studentsʼ final grades will be a composite of quiz scores and assignment/project scores. Grades will be returned to students following project due dates as soon as possible. Questions or problems with grades should be brought to the instructorʼs attention in a timely manner.

You are required to attend every class, and on time. After three absences students will lose 20% of their final grade for each subsequent absence. This is a strict policy and will be enforced. Excused absences must be administered by the Office of Student Affairs, and the instructor will only accept an excuse in writing from that office. Students who miss more than three classes rarely complete this class successfully. Come to class.

Example Evaluation Sheet (PDF)

Evaluation Rubrics
Use the following criteria to self-evaluate your projects before submitting them. By fully understanding these standards, you should be able to predict your grade for your project.

projects receiving an A will exhibit the following:
careful planning
multiple ideas
a consideration and awareness of the principles of design
connections to previous knowledge
the capacity to place the problem into context
innovative solutions to creative problems
strong effort
acute attention to detail

projects receiving a B will exhibit the following:
some planning
some awareness of the principles of design
two or more ideas before settling on one
creative problem solved directly
good effort, but room for improvement
smallest details have been ignored

projects receiving a C will exhibit the following:
assignment completed according to criteria
little evidence of planning
weak in originality or innovation
a lack of interest in work
chose easiest solutions to problems
mediocre craftsmanship

projects receiving a D will exhibit the following:
little or no evidence of planning
assignment completed, but not according to schedule
copied other ideas, no innovation
minimal effort exerted to meet assignment requirements
little or no concern for craftsmanship

projects receiving an F will exhibit the following:
minimum amount of work delivered, or not completed
no evidence of creative thinking
incomplete or incorrect solutions to problem
negligent in completing assignment correctly or didn’t understand the assignment

Grading Scale
92% – 100% A
82% – 91% B
70% – 81% C
60% – 69% D
59% or below F

Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty
Plagiarism will not be tolerated in this course. Assigned writings must be properly cited in the MLA style. Upon the first infringement, students will receive a zero for the assignment. Upon a second offense, students will receive a zero for the course and be referred to the University Academic Affairs Office. This policy applies to imagery as well. Copyrighted photos and graphics taken from the web or scanned from printed materials and used in assignments will be considered plagiarism. Public domain imagery, however, is permitted. The instructor will provide a list of reliable public domain resources. It is the student’s individual responsibility to insure his or her work is not violating any copyright laws.
Academic dishonesty also applies to actions in which students do another student’s work, or claim another student’s work as their own.

All work submitted for assignments in this class must have been created exclusively for this class. Work from previous courses or personal work made before June 8th, 2010 and submitted for this class will classify as academically dishonest behavior.

Due Dates and Make-up policies:
Assignments and quizzes completed late will lose points for each day they are late. Exceptions can be made for university-excused absences. It is strongly preferred for the student to make the instructor aware that the work will be late BEFORE it is late. COMPUTER FAILURE and INSUFFICIENT SUPPLIES are NOT accepted excuses for late assignments. Computers fail and supplies run out at the least opportune times. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

Inclement Weather
Please refer to the university student handbook for the inclement weather policy. Also note that the weather in Smith Hall varies from day-today (the lab can sometimes be quite cold or hot most unpredictably).
Refer to the MU Inclement Weather Policy:

Student Work Used in Promotional Materials
Particularly strong student work from this class may be displayed on the Department of Art & Design’s website as well as the instructor’s personal website, Credit will be given when possible. If you would prefer to not have your work displayed, just let the instructor know.

Course Philosophy
Much of the software and techniques covered in this course will be obsolete in 10 years or less. The field is changing too quickly for anyone to become a master at all the software in a single undergraduate course. The empowered and educated artist/designer does not rely solely on the skills she or he has learned in school. What often is most important in this discipline is the ability to self-teach, and to adapt. This course will provide problem situations in which students learn these principles. It is not a skill but rather a mode of thinking through a process. This process involves assessing situations, questioning assumptions and adapting to new paradigms. Your greatest assets in this course will be curiosity, an open mind, attentiveness and persistence.

Special Accomodations
Accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities. It is the student’s responsibility to make the instructor aware of any required accommodations as soon as possible at the beginning of the semester.

MU Policy for Students with Disabilities:

Lab ettiquette and behavior
No drinks, no food in the lab. Turn off your cell phone before class. Always carry your student ID. Students not currently enrolled in courses that use SH 625 should not be in SH 625, so ask the instructor before bringing in visitors. No instant messaging, texting, unassigned web browsing or accessing Facebook during class. Doing so will immediately result in an absence being recorded for that day in your attendance record. Never change peripherals (mice, keyboards, etc.) without asking the instructor. Don’t leave a mess at your machine. Wash your hands before and after using the computer lab (a lot of people use these machines, so keep your hands out of your mouth).

Please review the MU Computer Acceptable Use Policy.

Cell Phones
Put them on vibrate. Be respectful and try to limit distractions – cell phones are a prime distraction.

It is against university policy for instructors to correspond with students using any email system other than the university system. Only use your official Marshall email address ( or muOnline. Facebook is not an authorized communication method for class.

Syllabus Revisions
This syllabus is subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances or by mutual agreement between the students and the instructor. If the syllabus is revised students will be notified of changes promptly and receive the revised syllabus in a timely manner.

It is the policy of Marshall University to provide equal opportunities to all prospective and current members of the student body, faculty, and staff on the basis of individual qualifications and merit without regard to race, color, sex, religion, age, disability, national origin or sexual orientation.

This nondiscrimination policy also applies to all programs and activities covered under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in higher education.

The university ensures equality of opportunity and treatment in all areas related to student admissions, instructions, employment, placement, accommodations, financial assistance programs and other services. Marshall University also neither affiliates with nor grants recognition to any individual, group or organization having policies that discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, disability, national origin or sexual orientation.

Further, the university is committed to the ideals of inclusion for students, faculty and staff and whenever appropriate, will take affirmative steps to enhance diversity.

Course Outline
This course outline is tentative and may change as the dynamics of the course evolve.

Part 1: Getting Started
Syllabus Introduction
What to expect
Code of Hamurabi
Welcome to the Mac

file structure
launching/closing applications
the many apps and their uses/nonuses
GarageBand, Photobooth
moving/copying/renaming files/folders
using thumb drives/external drives
accessing your v drive
creating/saving files
file organization and your health
installing fonts
burning CDs
the Tao of backup
using WebCT for Brent’s Class
hacking big files into webCT
Part 2: intro to Photoshop

digital media and art history
Photoshop basics

image size
pixel size
pixels per inch
understanding bit depth
image compression
file types (jpg, tif, psd, etc.)
Photoshop interface
tools, palettes, menus, views
Image Size

current size and percentage
opening/creating/saving documents
photo manipulation
Photo manipulation

selections and selection modifications
transfer modes
layer folders
more advanced manipulation techniques
image output/presentation
Part 3: working in Illustrator
brief history
raster vs. vector
illustrator environment
various tools
colors and swatches
object hierarchy
integrating raster images
drawing techniques
stroke settings
vector manipulation and adjustment
working with typography
3D shapes
mapping artwork
Mastering Vectors

the art of using the pen tool
manipulating vertices with tangents
Part 4: Web Presence
Establishing a web presence with a CMS system
Uploading files
basic formatting options
keeping up to date
preparations for purchasing your own domain
Part 5: Intro to Moving Imagery
Photoshop and Video

brief history
creating video layers
capturing video with iMovie
importing video into Photoshop
painting and filters
rendering video
Final Cut Pro

Video editing history
Video vs. film vs. television vs. internet video
FCE Interface

Clip bin
preview window
program window

capturing video
transferring video files
editing video and audio
adding basic effects

export formats and their purposes
uploading to the web
basic DVD authoring and concepts
Part 6: Programming Art
Intro to Processing

Output and presentation
Basic Object Oriented Programming Concepts
Drawing Shapes
Animating Shapes
Using variables, functions
exporting files
Intro To 3D Modeling and Animation

Blender Interface
Thinking in 3D on 2D surfaces
Navigating virtual 3D space
Sculpting 3D Vector shapes
Blender Concepts and Workflow
Basic Animation concepts
Colors and Textures
Rendering and Output