This assignment is largely self directed, but with the focused intent of rapidly increasing your fluency in Adobe Photoshop.
You will be producing a series of raster graphics “sketches”. These are not intended to be finished compositions. Each sketch will be an exploration of the technical and expressive capabilities of Adobe Photoshop.
If you’ve never used Photoshop or similar raster graphics tools before, you will be starting out just learning the most basic selection, layering, color adjustments and other simple techniques. You will also be learning to navigate the Photoshop workspace and getting acquainted with the range of tools at your disposal. You will find that you can quickly begin to combine a few basic techniques to produce more sophisticated designs.
If you are an experienced Photoshop user, you can use this assignment to dive deeper into tools and techniques that you’ve yet to explore. You can experiment with more involved processes to achieve richer, more individualized design qualities.
You will be sharing the images you produce with accompanying notes describing the techniques involved.
You are expected to spend at least 4 hours on this project. If you are completely new to this software, assume that you will need to add another hour or so on top of that estimate to get acclimated to the workspace.
You will be submitting 12 or more images with process notes for this assignment. I’m estimating that on average you will spend 20 minutes per image. This duration includes the time you need to read or watch tutorials, experiment with the tools/techniques and add written notes as text on your photoshop sketches. I anticipate your first few sketches to be fairly simple as you get to know some of the most basic tools and techniques, but you are encouraged to take more time on later sketches and explore more involved techniques that require multiple steps.
You will be taking notes using the text tool in Photoshop, adding the notes on your experiments directly to each photoshop sketch that you produce.
Demonstrate technical proficiency using Adobe Photoshop to produce raster graphics.
Direct pixel editing of selected areas (destructive processes)
Filters (Have fun experimenting with these, but be aware that simple applications of these often result in very cliche “photoshopped” images.)
Non-destructive editing (These are more advanced techniques that will be extensively used in the main assignment for this module. For now you can just get acquainted with what they are. More guidance will be provided to help you develop workflows and understand how to apply these techniques.)
Layer Styles (fx)
Explain raster graphics techniques using the vocabulary that is specific to domain.
This will be demonstrated through your written notes on your image “sketches”.
The names of tools
The names of processes/actions
The names of workspace elements/panels
Find photographic content to edit and composite
Collect and organize images that you’ve already taken.
Shoot new photos. Focus on capturing:
Scenes/atmospheres/spaces without a foreground subject
Download Adobe Photoshop using the Creative Cloud application or Adobe website.
You will also need Illustrator, Audition, Premiere Pro and Media Encoder for other class modules. I recommend installing these right away so you don’t have to worry about doing so later in this very compressed class timeframe.
For this assignment you will only be using Photoshop. (As we progress throughout the semester you will start combining tools and techniques using the optimal tools for the specific task.)
Create a new Photoshop file. In the document settings window:
Type a meaningful name for your document (include your last name as part of the document name (ex. laheyCircuitRocks01.psdc)
Set the document width and height to 3000 x 3000 Pixels
You are welcome to use a smaller document size if you are running into memory or drive space issues.
I generally like to start with a size that is large enough to maintain image quality for photos, then crop and down-scale later as needed.
Please stick with a square aspect ration for these.
This aspect ratio gives you a lot of flexibility for composing images and reserving space for your written notes without biasing your designs to landscape or portrait orientations.
Consider using the crop option as your final step before saving your JPEG version of your image.
Orientation doesn’t matter since this is a square aspect ratio.
Set the Resolution to 300 Pixels/Inch.
Set the Color Mode to RGB, 8 bit
Set the Background Contents to White.
Leave the Advanced Options to default settings.
Save your file.
Save frequently (this is less critical if you use the Creative Cloud save option).
I recommend using the option to Save to Creative Cloud while you are working on the project.
When you finish work on an image, use Save As to save a copy to your computer. You will archive this, but it will not be a part of your submission. For this step, do the following:
File > Save As
Select “Save on your computer”
Set the Format as Photoshop (psd)
In the “Photoshop Format Options” panel that pops up
Leave the “Maximize Compatibility” box checked.
Find tutorials, lessons and reference materials that are appropriate for your experience level. YouTube and other websites can be a great source of information, but I recommend starting with Adobe’s help:
Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)
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