ARTX110: Digital Art—Syllabus
Fall Quarter 2012, Kalamazoo College
Richard Koenig, Associate Professor
Meeting Time: Tuesday & Thursday 8:30 to 11:30 AM
Meeting Place: Room 122 of the Light Fine Arts Building
Class Homepage: http://people.kzoo.edu/~rkoenig/educator/digital/digital.html
Office Hours: Monday 9:30 to 11:30 AM and Wednesday 1:30 to 3:30 PM (or by appointment)
Office Location: Light Fine Arts Building Room 203, Phone: 337.7003
Security (emergency only, for safety issues): 337.7321
The objective of this introductory studio art course is to provide the student with a working knowledge of, and skills associated with, computer-based art production. For those of you who have not taken a studio art course before, we design, produce, and then analyze (critique) artworks in this class.
The computer is a powerful tool but does not obviate the need for visual fundamental theory and execution, so we will first look at and discuss elements of design, composition, and color theory. In addition, to help us contextualize this kind of artistic production, we will spend some time looking at a brief history of digital art as well as its relationship to artwork in general.
For our work, we will be using Macintosh computers with Adobe software—both raster- and vector-based programs. Early on we will create work that consists primarily of images and text. Later we can move to time-based and/or conceptual forms as your interests move you. Your completed pieces will usually be turned in as digital files, but could also be output to hard copy or “published” online. In addition to producing digital works, we will analyze our work in critiques where we will be concerned with technical, formal, and conceptual questions regarding this technology-based form of artwork. We also consider where a work might sit in relation to existing artwork, media, and/or popular culture.
By the end of this term we should know more generally about this technology-based form of artwork and its relationship to contemporary art production; we will have gained experience with basic computer techniques and design concepts; we will have honed our ability to analyze these types of images (like that of a text); and we will have amassed a small body of creative work of a digital nature.
Merely completing the requirements for an assignment will not necessarily ensure a good evaluation for that assignment. I look at technical, formal, and conceptual aspects of your work but also the level of exploration and risk taking. Below is a breakdown of how your final grade will be determined:
20% Assignment One
20% Assignment Two
20% Assignment Three
20% Assignment Four
That last category includes Talking Points (for each reading), Structured Reflection (a small written piece), and your Overall Participation in the course.
Attendance is mandatory. It is crucial that you miss as few of the meetings as possible as the instruction builds upon itself. After two unexcused absences you will be assessed a penalty of one step (from "B+" to "B", say) for each one thereafter.
This penalty is applied to your course grade after it is determined using the above formula. One must have documentation to obtain an excused absence. Also, two late arrivals will be counted as one absence. If you do miss a class, get notes from another student in the class.
This is very different than attendance—it is in addition to it, if you like.
Good participation means one actively and candidly contributes to the conversation during critiques, while also being supportive of your peers. It means one arrives to the classroom on time, is prepared, and shows by means of facial expression and body language that one is following what is going on. It means, quite simply, that one contributes to a positive class atmosphere. Along those lines, one important note about critiques: we criticize the work, not the person making the work.
Please turn off all phones, do not email, text, or Facebook during structured class time.
There will also be a small structured reflection written task for you at the end of the term—this is required and will make up a portion of your “miscellaneous” evaluation.
There will be a total of seven pieces due this term—six assignments plus your final project. These assignments must be done on time as we critique them together during class time, please look closely at the schedule for these dates.
In most cases, have the assignment in finished form saved in a Drop Box file I will set up for you prior to class time. Then, during critique, I can easily access this file on the computer that is connected to the projector. We will open your piece in the appropriate software program for the critique.
One of the projects, however, will be printed and critiqued in the photo classroom.
Basic Collage—Use Photoshop to create a digital collage from at least four different elements. Finished piece should be approximately 7” by 9” at 150 dpi (digital file).
Triptych—Use Photoshop to create a series of three related images that together form a self-referential implied narrative. Explore the use of metaphor in the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Finished piece should be approximately 7” by 15” at 150 dpi (digital file).
Image/Text—Use Photoshop and/or Illustrator to blur the lines between image and symbol (text) in an integrated way. Finished piece should be approximately 7” by 9” at 150 dpi (digital file).
Poster—Use Photoshop and/or Illustrator to create a printed piece. Notice the high resolution that printing demands with this assignment. Formal design, complexity, and unity will be the focus here. Finished piece should be precisely 10” by 7.5” at 300 dpi (hard copy).
Animated Gif—Use Photoshop to create a simple animation. Finished piece can be relatively small, 4” by 5” at 72 dpi, but should be made up of at least ten frames (digital file).
Small animation or video piece—Use I-Movie and still images to create a more advanced version of the animated Gif. This piece can be much larger, longer, and t’s easy to add sound or music using the video program.
Open (Final) Project
The aim of this assignment is for you to play to your strengths—and to make something a bit more substantial than we’ve done thus far (you have three weeks for this). You could make a more complex video piece. You could use InDesign to create a book. You could use Photoshop to make a well-developed series of images—printed for the wall if you like output. Or you could make an artwork designed specifically for the web (harking back to the dream of New Media). In any case, your idea must be approved in consultation with me.
Hardware, Lecture, and Lab Time
Our usual meeting place will be Fine Arts Room 122 (which I call the FABLAB). You will note that there are fifteen new Apple I-Mac computers, with the very latest Adobe Creative Suite software, on which you will be working. This room is accessible to you from 7:00 A.M. throughout the day till 1:00 A.M. except for organized class times (8:30 PM to 3:30 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays).
Please note—my other class, Framing Difference, meets in this room Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Due to this you will not be able to work in the FABLAB during that time.
I usually begin each class period with a PowerPoint lecture so please come on time each day. After that, there will be time for a variety of demonstrations or open lab time. There are additional resources in the Center for New Media found on the first floor of the Library, particularly scanning and output devices.
To complete your work to a satisfactory level, you will have to spend time outside of class. Do not leave things until the last minute, especially when hard copy is due—I will notice the lack of quality and grade accordingly. Look, think, and plan ahead.
Lab Fee and Costs
You will be charged $25 for a lab fee in this class. This pays for output materials (ink and paper). In addition, you will have to spend a small sum for a USB drive and possibly some disks.
There are no required textbooks for this course—I will give you handouts for this purpose. Please see our schedule for dates of particular readings and discussion sessions.
For each reading I want you to come to class with three questions or “talking points” printed (hard copy) that you will first refer to in discussion, and then hand in. This is required and will make up a portion of your “participation” evaluation.
For further reading please see the bibliography for a list of books that our library owns so you can pursue the original, or additional, reading material.
Any student with a disability who needs an accommodation or other assistance in this course should make an appointment to speak with me. There is no prerequisite for this class.
Gathering Source Material
I would encourage the use of your own source material for this class unless you have a conceptual reason for appropriating imagery. An easy way to avoid the possibility of copyright problems, as well as assuring image quality, is to totally create your own artwork rather than lifting it from the web or scanning the of work of someone else.
For this reason, it is probably a good thing if you have access to a camera (a point-and-shoot should be fine for our needs). Also, one can creatively use a scanner to gather content (scan three-dimensional objects). Please cover scanner glass with a piece of acetate so as to guard against scratches if you are scanning rough objects however.
Saving Your Work and Desktop Courtesy
Save your work regularly to a USB drive and/or the “M” drive—ideally, it is good to have your important work in at least two places. If the drives become full, save to a portable drive or burn to a disk. I will invite you to join a Drop Box group so you can save your final pieces for critiques and evaluation.
With our computers in the FABLAB, you have to sign in. Then you can save all of your files right on the desktop. Remember to sign out when you leave so others cannot accidently throw your files away. At then end of the term, however, remember to burn to disk as all files will be removed permanently.
Please do not eat or drink in the FABLAB.