Digital Arts VSAR 302

Digital Arts Course Objectives: VSAR 302: ARTS 239: Tuesday 5-8:45 pm
Deborah Small Blog
Office Hours: Tues 2:30-5:00, and by appointment
Telephone: 760-750-4151

Required texts:
Online subscription to
$10/month for 2 months: total = @$20
access to 5 software programs for the class

The Big Five Tutorials:
Photoshop CC for Photographers: Fundamentals
Photoshop CC for Photographers: Intermediate
Photoshop Lightroom 5 Essentials: Develop Module Basics
Foundations of Photography: Exposure

You will create a
 personal blogsite, your electronic portfolio for this class, for your writing and for uploading and reflecting upon your photos. The class will use

a) ALWAYS back-up your work. Systems crash when least expected. It’s a good idea to make two backups on different media, as storage media are occasionally unstable. This is an important habit to develop when working with any digital media.

1) One Tryitych: 18″ x 12″
2) Two Grids: 20″ x 24″ printed at COSTCO
3) Print a 40-80-page book: you will use the 8 x 10 format in either landscape or portrait mode, or the 7 x 7 format. At least 6 double-page spreads are required in your books.

Equipment Check-out
Use your own hi-end digital cameras, which Must be able to shoot in Camera Raw, or check out our terrific cameras from ARTS 239, as well as tripods, lights, etc.
We will spend the second week working with the cameras to familiarize you with them, but you must also spend time with the manuals. We will go over check-out times and rules.

Lab Access
Arts 239 is open so you can do your homework assignments. Hours are posted on the door. I will also send everyone’s name to public safety, and you can call using the phone outside the lab and they will come to let you in. Labs are open 24/7, except when a class is in session. Please never let anyone in if you don’t recognize them. All software is also available on computers in the library on the 2nd floor.

Learning Outcomes
A. Learning digital languages:
Digital cameras: In this class, you will learn to use digital still cameras and tripods to create image series, panoramic images, close-ups.

Software: You will become sophisticated users of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 and Adobe Photoshop CC to edit and enhance your photographs, and you will learn the use of digital imaging tools including scanners and additional software including BookSmart, the book publishing software at Learning will take place via classroom lectures, demonstrations, online tutorials at and with Julieanne Kost, Adobe evangelist (yes, Lightroom and Photoshop are religions) as well as discussions and critiques of the projects that you will complete for the class. You will develop skills by learning techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop, including HDR imaging, formal and informal lighting techniques outdoors and in the studio, uses of layer masks and blending modes, use of smart objects, use of plug-ins such as Nik software, among other techniques. 

Printing: You will learn to prepare your images as single images, triptychs, and grids, for printing using the Print Module in Lightroom and from Photoshop CC. You will learn Blurb software to layout and print you book.

Contemporary Artists: Through classroom lectures, discussion, screenings, and web research, you will explore contemporary digital artists and photographers, and their documentary and experimental uses of digital media. By viewing and discussing a broad range of artistic practices, you will learn how art making is a means to discover and develop your ideas about the world and to extend the power, clarity, and range of your voice and vision.

Contemporary Photographers: You will visit a photography museum, MOPA, and will study contemporary photographers online. You will write about 3 online photographers that will serve as inspiration for you Book Project.


• Throughout the semester you will keep a daily/weekly personal BLOG, electronic portfolio, of your ideas, drawings, photographs, dream fragments, etc. which will act a source for your creative process. You will write posts on all the films and classroom presentations on various photographers on your blog. I frequently will ask you to “freewrite” about the images and videos we are viewing in class, and then to share those thoughts with others after posting what you have written.

• You also will write about 3 online photographers whose work inspires your final Book Project. All of your writing should be in the form of a 1st person narrative about your reaction and relationship to the work. Again, each entry for the museum write-up and for each of the 3 online photographers that you choose as your inspiration should be @ 250 words, or the equivalent of a full page in a Word doc. Please include photos.

• Student presentation: In addition to the blog, students in the class will demonstrate how they upload their photos to various photo-sharing sites: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

B. Producing artwork
Projects: You will produce four art projects over the semester

1) Triptych: 1 print 18 x 12

2) Grids: 2 prints 20 x 24

3) Social Projects Book and Project Proposal: For your book, you will focus on a social, political, or cultural issue that is of great interest to you. You will choose your project early on during the class, so you can work on it throughout the semester.

4) Blog and Writings: You will create a personal blog at for your art, writing, journaling, reflections and photographs. Each class, we will look at a few students’ blog sites and discuss the writing and images.

Attendance: Please do not attend class is you are ill with the flu or a bad cold.
Just let me know via email. We all will love you for not joining us that week.
This course is conducted as a workshop: all students must participate actively and consistently. Much of the class will be devoted to the work of other artists and to the development and discussion of your projects. Part of your final evaluation will focus on your ability to respond thoughtfully to other students’ artwork and your ability to work collaboratively with each other. For this reason, it is essential that you attend class regularly. I will take attendance at the beginning and at the end of each class. Class attendance and participation is mandatory!!! Two unexcused absences will result in lowering your final grade. Classroom Participation in discussions and helpful collaboration with your peers will account for 15% of your final grade. 

The course includes the Visual and Performing Arts Department’s Arts Events Attendance Requirement. You are required to ATTEND the 1 museum exhibitions.
On your blogsite, you will write an approximately one-page (250 words) narrative reflection about the work of one photographer exhibition. 

You also will write about 2 online photographers whose work inspires you. All of your writing should be in the form of a 1st person narrative about your reaction and relationship to the work. Again, each entry should be @ 250 words, or a page in Word.

Throughout the semester, you will use your blog site to reflect upon and write about the artists we view in class and your ideas for your art projects, and your art process, etc. I am interested in the quality of YOUR think and reflections, your ability to make comparisons among the various artists we view.

I am interested in the quality of your images; that is, your ability to perform key image enhancements that we will cover. You will also be evaluated on the content of your images, the coherence and originality of your idea.
05% Triptych
15% Grids
35% Blog, Writing and Project Proposal

30% Book Project
15% Participation 

PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITIONS to attend this semester in Balboa Park MOPA Balboa Park

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