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David Marshall - Art Instructor | Introduction to Computer Illustration | MassArt Summer 2003

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Introduction to Computer Illustration

Summer 2003

  • Mon + Wed, 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
  • June 2 - July 16
  • Massachusetts College of Art
  • Class DE-308, Tower 310
  • 621 Huntington Avenue
  • Boston MA 02115
  • David Marshall, Instructor

Syllabus

COURSE DEFINITION

This is a class for beginners who want to learn the basics of using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or Corel Painter. Students entering this class must have some Macintosh experience. Technical focus (such as pixel vs. vector, dpi vs. lpi, formatting images for web and print usage) is used as a foundation for artistic expression. The work is primarily focused on commercial applications, but these imaging tools can also be used for personal fine art. Homework is based on real-world illustration assignments. In every week, students will be given a different exercise, each designed to highlight one of the application's tools. The familiarity with these fundamentals will enable the students to draw in a variety of styles. In the second half of the semester, students will apply their new knowledge to create a FINAL ILLUSTRATION.

DAILY REQUIREMENTS

Books: Painter for Macintosh by Elaine Weinmann & Peter Lourekas (Peachpit Press) Students should also get a ruler, notebook, a Zip disc and have access to a Polaroid camera. Pantone or Trumatch color selectors are optional. Every student must have an e-mail address by the third week of class.

THE RIOT ACT

In order to insure every student's chance to learn at peak efficiency, the class will start promptly at 6:30 pm. Students are allowed two absences; three are grounds for dismissal. Two late appearances count for one absence. Homework must be handed in every week, both in printed form (for class critique) and on disc (for me to look at to see how your drawings are structured). This means homework must be printed before - not during - classtime. Most homework assignments go through at least two rounds, and none are counted as complete until all of the instructor's corrections are done by the student. Grades for each assignment will be given at deadline.

Individual homework assignments are graded in three categories: Technical Mastery, Artistic Merit and Meeting the Deadline. Final grades are compiled from homework assignments, classroom participation and attendence. All final grades will be given at the semester's end; there are no incompletes.

Because of the technical nature of this class -- as well as student's varying levels of experience -- this syllabus is subject to change without notice.

SCHEDULE

WEEK ONE: Wednesday

Our Objective of the Day: Historical presentation about Desktop Publishing, the difference between digital mediums of pixel and vector. Demonstrate scanning, saving files as TIFFs. Desktop dos and don'ts. Classtime activities include:

  • Intro Demo A (The Quickie Self-Portrait): Create a 6 by 6 inch, 72 dpi, RGB mode document in Adobe Photoshop. Using the Wacom drawing tablet, create a self-portrait in 15 minutes
  • Scanner Basics Demo: Common elements in all scanner drivers, such as scale, resolution, color modes and saving formats
  • Adobe Illustrator Demo A: A lecture covering the most basic-level tools and palettes, such as shape creation, layers, coloring and using the Pen tool to make vector shapes with corner, curved and split points.
  • Student Workshop (Trace over Human Head): For this classroom exercise, use one of the ones in the /PEOPLE folder.

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

  • Finish today's Student Workshop exercise (Trace over Human Head)
  • HW3a (Human Portrait, Part 1): Begin research for illustration. Use photos for reference, make at least 5 - 10 exploratory sketches of your proposed layout. Bring this to class next week.

WEEK TWO: Monday

Our Objective of the Day: Gaining enough familiarly with the basics of Illustrator to work on HW1 in class today. Discuss fundamentals of image composition.

  • Review of Last Week's Homework: Group discussion of your finished Human Head Tracing, sketches for HW3a
  • Adobe Illustrator Demo B: Using files from the "Retro Logo" collection, trace over the "CBS Logo" and "TT Gear". Cover Cutting, Averaging/Joining, Paste-in Front.

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

  • HW1 (Recreation of Retro Logo): Recreate an Retro logo of your choice. Final art due this Wednesday.
  • HW3a (Human Portrait, Part 1): Based on input from today's group discussion, tighten your sketches from last week. Email COMPRESSED, FLATTENED, LO-REZ completed sketch to me by Wednesday at noon. Bring material to work on during classtime.

WEEK TWO: Wednesday

Our Objective of the Day: Revisiting any technical aspects of Illustrator. Get layout approval for HW3a.

  • Review of Monday's Homework: Group critique of HW1; feedback on your HW3a material.
  • Adobe Illustrator Demo C: How to trace over a scan

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

WEEK THREE: Monday

Our Objective of the Day: Introducing technical aspects of Illustrator needed to work on HW3b. Those aspects include the creation and modification of Customized Blends and Gradients, Masks and Patterned Tiles.

  • Review of Monday's Homework: Group discussion of your progress on HW3a; feedback on your HW4 material.
  • Adobe Illustrator Demo D: Blends, Patterns and Masks. Color preparation and usage.
  • HW2 (Technical Practice for Blends, Masks and Patterns): Apply Blend, Pattern and Mask to a content-free Adobe Illustrator document. Final due at classtime's end.

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

WEEK THREE: Wednesday

Our Objective of the Day: Review Monday's homework HW3b. Verbal presentation of HW4. Email rules and regulations/stuffit.

  • Review of Monday's Homework: Group discussion of your progress on HW3a; feedback on your HW4 material.
  • Adobe Photoshop Demo A: Introductory lecture on the tools and pulldown menus, saving formats, getting paths from Illustrator, layers and channels. Build and example collage.

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

WEEK FOUR: Monday

Our Objective of the Day: Revisit Photoshop technical aspects. Group discussions. Email rules and regulations/stuffit.

  • Review of Last Week's Homework: Group discussion of your progress on HW3a; feedback on your HW4 material.
  • Adobe Photoshop Demo B: Layer Masks, Define Patterns. Also importance of keeping a sketchbook.
  • HW4 (New York Times Illustration): Begin Phase Two by continuing your collage in class.

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

WEEK FOUR: Wednesday

Our Objective of the Day: Review Monday's homework HW4. Revisit technical aspects of Photoshop.

  • Review of Monday's Homework: Group discussion of your progress on HW4.
  • Adobe Photoshop Demo C Saving for Web. Introduce naming convention for our web files.
  • HW4 (New York Times Illustration) Classtime work.

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

WEEK FIVE: Monday

Our Objective of the Day: Provide individualized support on Photoshop matters.

  • Review of Last Week's Homework: Group discussion of your progress on HW4 and HW5.
  • HW4: Classtime work. Continue working on collage

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

  • HW4: Continue working on collage

WEEK FIVE: Wednesday

Our Objective of the Day: Review Monday's homework.

  • Review of Monday's Homework: Group discussion of your progress on HW4.
  • HW4: Classtime work. Continue working on collage.
  • Corel Painter Demo A: Introduction to tools, menus and palettes. Draw each other in Painter.

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

  • HW4: Based on input from today's group discussion, continue working on this image. Email jpeg/gif, properly-named files to me no later than Midnight this Friday.
  • HW5 (Entertainment Weekly Illustration): Prepare to work on this during class on Wednesday. Bring in scanned images to work on during classtime. Email a FLATTENED, STUFFED sketch to me no later than Friday June 30 Midnight. This sketch doesn't have to be complete, just good enough to show me what you're thinking. Once I give remote approval, you'll have the freedom to work on this during the week. More importantly, you'll be prepared to work on it during next Wednesday's class.

WEEK SIX: Monday

Happy 3rd/4th of July. You're still expected to work on HW5 during Wednesday's class.

WEEK SIX: Wednesday

Our Objective of the Day: In preparation of HW5, talk about printing at service bureaus.

  • Review of Last Week's Homework: Group discussion of your final art for HW4 and HW5.
  • HW4: Classtime workshop.
  • HW5: Classtime workshop.
  • Preparation for HW6 (Magnum Opus): Start researching for content, reference material and images. Explore different time periods ... find one that speaks to you in a personal level. You can use people, exterior or interior settings, as well as machinery, fashions, or anything else that defines a specific era and place. Verbal presentation of sketches due next Monday.

TONIGHT'S HOMEWORK:

  • HW4: Color Printed Final is due next Monday.
  • HW5: Based on input from today's group discussion, continue working on this image.
  • Preparation for HW6 (Magnum Opus): Think about the content, source material, general "feeling" you want to express. Bring sketch for Monday discussion.

WEEK SEVEN: Monday

Our Objective of the Day: Show and Tell: Sketches for HW6. Final classtime workshop for the HW5.

  • Follow-up Reviews of Last Week's Homework: Group discussion of your final art for HW4 and HW5.
  • First Review: Group discussion of your preliminary material for HW6.
  • HW5: Final classtime workshop.
  • HW6 (Magnum Opus): Scan reference images. Bring scanned images to work on during classtime on Wednesday

WEEK SEVEN: Wednesday

  • HW5: Review printed homework (HW5)
  • HW6: Classtime workshop for HW6

WEEK EIGHT: Monday

Classtime workshop for HW6. Printed final due Wednesday, July 16.

WEEK EIGHT: Wednesday

Review all homework. Hand out grades.

Homework Assignments

Unless otherwise noted, all homework should be printed and posted on Discussion Wall at the beginning of class (to get an immediately start of group critique). Homework printed during classtime is considered late.

Recreation of Retro Logos (HW1)

Use Adobe Illustrator to recreate any Retro Logo of your choice. Large as possible on lettersize. B/W, no grays. Emphasize precision, logic and closed paths.

  • Printed Final due Wednesday June 7

Technical Practice (HW2)

Apply Blend, Pattern and Mask to a content-free Adobe Illustrator document.

  • Printed Final due Monday June 12

Human Portrait, Part 1 of 2 (HW3a)

Illustration for Book Cover. Lettersize, 4/c medium-range shot of a person in an interior setting. FLAT colors.

Your Deadlines (aka "Scheduled Deliverables):

  • Tightened Sketches (email) due Wednesday noon June 7
  • Work files due Wednesday June 7
  • Printed Final due Monday June 12

Human Portrait, Part 2 of 2 (HW3b)

Same drawing, with at least one Custom Blend and Mask.

Your Deadlines (aka "Scheduled Deliverables):

  • Tightened Sketches (email) due Wednesday noon June 7
  • Round One due Wednesday June 14
  • Printed Final due Monday June 19

Web Illustration for New York Times (HW4)

Use Adobe Photoshop to create a 6" x 4", 72 dpi, illustration. Apply Photoshop-specific features -- such as controling Layers (including Opacity and Function,) Image adjusters (under Image/Adjust/...) and Filters -- to create a personal, unique image. This is a collage assignment, and must have a bare minimum of five (5) images. These supporting elements can be in the form of photographs, drawings and textures. Use content hierarchy to make the collected images combine into a single story. Use still-life elements, human figure if necessary.

As part of a web presentation for this assignment, students must also include two versions of a portrait of someone in the class, as well as a brief description of the final New York Times illustration. Email a Stuffit (.SEA) document with the following items:

  • The finished illustration with the following naming convention: lastname-nytimes.gif (lastname-nytimes.jpeg)
  • A brief description of the illustration. This can be a .txt file (SimpleText, TextEdit) or a Microsoft Word (.doc) file.
  • A 125 x 84 pixel, GIF portrait of another student in our class, rendered in Painter 5.5. Send two versions of this art (gray version: lastname-a.gif, color version lastname-b.gif) Use "Save for the Web" to keep the time it would take to draw through a 28.8 modem down to 2 seconds or less.

Your Deadlines (aka "Scheduled Deliverables):

  • Sketches due Monday, June 19
  • Round One due Wednesday, June 21
  • Round Two due Monday, June 26
  • All final art due (via email) Friday June 30 by Midnight

Print Illustration for Entertainment Weekly (HW5)

Use Corel Painter to create a 4" x 8", 200 dpi, full-color illustration for an ad appearing in Entertainment Weekly. Must have Layers that are adjusted. Editorially, it should be a human figure in some type of setting, experiencing the joy of whatever we're selling.

Editorially, it should be a human figure either using or demonstrating the product. The illustration can be sincere or satirical in nature. Photoshop can be used as an intermediate step in building a final Painter document (RIFF.) Once your final is complete, Photshop will then be used to create a print production-ready version. Remember to budget extra time for experimentation. You are encouraged to create a 6" x 6" 72 dpi test document to explore and invent techniques.

Print final version in color for grade and group discussion. As part of a web presentation for this assignment, students must also include two versions of a self-portrait, as well as a brief description of the final Entertainment Weekly illustration. Email a Stuffit (.SEA) document with the following items:

  • A 3" x 6", 72 dpi web version of your final illustration with the following naming convention: lastname-ew.gif (lastname-ew.jpg)
  • A brief description of the illustration in html. Copy your current html (lastname.html) to use as a template.
  • A 125 x 84 pixel, GIF self-portrait, rendered in Corel Painter. Send two versions of this art (gray version: lastname-a.gif, color version lastname-b.gif) Use "Save for the Web" to keep the time it would take to draw through a 28.8 modem down to 2 seconds or less.

Your Deadlines (aka "Scheduled Deliverables):

  • Sketches/Work Files due Friday June 30
  • Round One due on Wednesday, July 5
  • Web Presentation Material due Friday, July 7 by Midnight
  • Printed Final due Wednesday July 12

Magnum Opus (HW6)

Use any combination of the Illustrator, Photoshop and Painter (along with optional scanned traditional elements) to create a 11" x 17", 200 dpi (pixel elements), full-color poster. Apply knowledge gained in this class to create an image that (a) combines traditional skills with digital tools and (b) would be impossible to build traditionally.

The content, subject matter and purpose of this poster is entirely up to you. Go whild. Print final version in color for grade and group discussion.

Your Deadlines (aka "Scheduled Deliverables):

  • Sketches due on Monday, July 10
  • Printed Final due Wednesday July 19

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