Weekly Breakdown of Classwork

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Introduction to class

Week 1 + January 26|28

TUESDAY | Introduction: First Class

Online learning, syllabus, class expectations.

THURSDAY | Introduction: Web Survival tools

Computer Literacy

Before we plunge into Applications and Graphics we need some common ground on computers and computer literacy. This is the slide deck for todays talk.

Week 2 + FEBRUARY 2|4

TUESDAY | Information Space

A big part of this class is talking about graphics, visual files and productivity. I thought we would start with something called a mind-map that combines both workflow and visualization.

The Tools

A google search for mind-mapping or visual mapping software returns a ton of choices. To make this easier I have chosen 1 online system that offers a free tier. I am also showing you the program I use regularly.

  • Coggle - Login with Google and use your SUNY Orange account
  • iThoughts - This has a free trial period if you are interested.

The Assignment

Your Information Space

We live in a world where our online self has a lot of information attached to it. It is difficult sometimes to keep track of it all. You will be creating a visual map of your own information space online.

  • Part 1 make a list
  • Part 2 visualize it
  • Part 3 Think about it and add to it when you find things.

Here is Mark’s Example.

Due in 2 weeks. You will be handing in a PDF file of your visualization. You will be uploading it to Blackboard in the Assignments section.

Why? Well, because most people don’t really think or focus on the fact that most of our stuff is ‘out there’ on someone else’s machines.

  • Go to Have I been Pwoned enter your personal ( not SUNY ) email address. It will not ask for passwords or personal information. It will tell you how many times your personal information has been stolen, leaked or put out on the internet.
  • Your password does matter. Here is a chart that shows approximately the time it takes for someone to hack your password.

ADOBE introduction. Including the steps to login and activate your school account.

STEPS for Adobe Cloud

  • Before you install anything check the requirements to run Photoshop from Adobe. Open up your disk utility and make sure you have enough room. Adobe is not very helpful, so take 4GB for install + 20GB free (more is better).
  • Use your email to login to Adobe.com you will be given a specific link that should expedite the process. IF YOU ARE ASKED TO CREATE A LOGIN STOP! you have an account issued by the school. Email me and I can expedite things.
  • When you login for the first time the system should offer to download the installer for the Creative Cloud App. If not, look for a Quick Links section, there should be a link there.
  • The Creative Cloud App installer will download to your computer run it to install. When it is installed run the actual Creative Cloud App.
  • The Creative Cloud App is your main manager of all things Adobe, choose to install Photoshop and Bridge from inside the app. Open Photoshop and make sure it runs.

You can also install Illustrator if you want and it can sit until we need it. If your disk space is low then hold off. You have access to all the programs listed in the Creative Cloud App so feel free to play provided you have the drive space to store it and sadly, the time to play.

Week 3 + FEBRUARY 9|11

TUESDAY | That thing called Photoshop

While we sill hope to get everyone's account for Creative Cloud we will begin to wrap our heads around 'computer graphics' and Photoshop.

Six degrees of George Lucas and the Knoll Brothers. Thomas Knoll and John Knoll. I actually found this article from 2000 that introduces the history of Photoshop.

THURSDAY | Night of the Living Dead Photoshop

It is my hope that we will have everything sorted out. I am working with IT.

Week 4 + FEBRUARY 16|18

TUESDAY | Photoshop environment

Set up Photoshop and talk about strange and esoteric things like resolution.

THURSDAY | Photoshop environment

Starting to Work with PhotoShop

We will begin by discussing the basic steps for working with an image. During your lab time you will work through Chapter 1, you can use this Chapter–1 file. I am using the 2020 book if you are using a different edition check with me.

Week 5 + FEBRUARY 23|25

TUESDAY | Photoshop Selections

After we do global adjustments we almost always begin to work with parts of images with selections.

We will be working through Chapter 3 in the book. You can grab the file for chapter3.zip here.

THURSDAY | Photoshop Intro to Layers

Layers are fundamental to using Photoshop we will begin our journey and continue next week.

Week 6 + MARCH 2|4

TUESDAY | Photoshop Layers Continued

As we work with layers. I want you to go through the reading and workfile from chapter 4. You can grab the file for chapter4.zip here.

I have also added an archive of textures if you want to try your hand at texture Soup.

THURSDAY | Photoshop Masks and other shadowy things

We have been working already with layers. Now we move to masks and masking as another way to manipulate images.

I am assigning chapter 6 in the book for practice. The file is chapter6.zip.

The Mid-Project

Due Friday March 19.

The Impossible - A photo-collage with Photoshop

Students will create one of the following:

  • An impossible person - creating a human character by combining pieces of other people.
  • An impossible animal - combining different images of different animals to create something Chimeric. Yes a person is an animal too.
  • An impossible place - a landscape made from blending places together.

Choose one category. You will need a total of at least 10 different image pieces. Combine these image pieces as well as you can in an 8.5x11 size image. This is a composite not a collage. You will submit the final .psd image to me.

This assignment is as much about process as result. Come up with an idea and find things to match rather than 'fish' for something interesting and hope it all fits together.

Week 7 + MARCH 9|11

TUESDAY | Photoshop Stuff and Projects

We are going to go over some best practices for the Mid-Project. We will go over some useful tools/concepts from a couple chapters we will not be going through completely.

  • Page 35 is a resolution refresher for you.
  • Page 44 spot healing brush
  • page 46 clone stamp
  • Page 114 liquify tool
THURSDAY | Photoshop and MID-Project

We will be going over any questions about the project and I will demo any tools or techniques people need reviewed. I am assigning Chapter 9 in the book.

Week 8 + MARCH 16|18

TUESDAY | Introducing Illustrator

This will be an introduction to Adobe Illustrator and some basic concepts you will need to understand.

THURSDAY | Illustrator

This is the second half of basic concepts and tools for working with vector images.

Week 9 + MARCH 23|25

TUESDAY | Illustrator review

We will be reviewing from last week and working on 2 small worksheets. You need to complete them yourself and email them to me. Please add your name to each file. I am assigning chapter 2 in the book for next week. See Assignments section of BlackBoard.

THURSDAY | Typography!

Type and typography are not only part of Illustrator's bag of tricks it is also how we can communicate and influence people. It's a bit of mind control. I have a list of free type resources on my website.

Week 10 + MARCH 30|APRIL 1

TUESDAY | Illustrator Type Paths

Now that we have started talking about type in Illustrator we can use it in ways few other programs can.

THURSDAY | Design Dark Arts

The secret teachings of readability and mind control. We are talking about using a layout grid. Here is your layout kit for Illustrator. I want you to develop 3 versions for your lab time.

I would like you to work your way through Chapter 4 in the book.

Week 11 + APRIL 6|8

TUESDAY | The Interwebs are Broken

How can we possible survive without connectivity!

THURSDAY | Illustrator wrap up

We will finish up our tour of Illustrator with a talk about gradients & image tracing. We can review the grid as well.

I am assigning chapter 11 in the book.

Week 12 + APRIL 13|15

TUESDAY | Productivity!

What does productivity even mean?

A shift in computing in the late 1970’s from computation to using a computer to work with words & documents, communication like email and eventually everything we call ‘multi-media’. The promise that a computer would make you more productive.

Now everyone has a computer so the promise of having a computer = more productivity is kind of dead. So Productivity is the fill-in term, like multi-media (sound, image, video) because it would be difficult to find a ‘computer’ that didn’t do all of the above.

The cloud and computational power. John Maeda CX report

From here we talk about workflow.

  • What do you do?
  • What tools do you use?
  • The pleasure and pain principal.
THURSDAY | Word is not the only word

Microsoft Word is the current definition of what a Word Processor is. Microsoft Office Support site

Part 1 of Final Project: Using your word processing skills create a proposal - you as a consultant will be creating a presentation for me. 2 paragraphs intro and pitch. I want it readable and clean. This is due next week by Friday April 23

I am [ ] from the consulting firm of [] I am preparing a presentation to address the need for []

Week 13 + APRIL 20|22

TUESDAY | Excell

Excell is that really smart friend who doesn't get your jokes and wears really boring slacks but they always remember your birthday.

Here is a .zip of demo files I will be using.

Your Excell Assignment is to make a ledger of all your slides you will use for your presentation.

THURSDAY | Excell + PowerPoint

We just have a couple more Excell points to cover then we will introduce the idea of PowerPoint.


Charts: The thing about charts is that Microsoft and other productivity apps make them easy to make. Here are the really important concepts to keep in mind:

  • If you don’t know what you are charting, you are the problem not the program.
  • Charts are a visual communication of data, every chart is created to tell a story from a particular point of view.
  • Chart types are not interchangeable they all are designed for a different focus.

My favorite chart maker was/is Feltron.


Here are some big ideas about presentations and slide decks.

-TED talks has an article on good presentation decks.

-PechaKucha is a slide presentation format. This sparked a bunch of variations like lightning talks.

-Guy Kawaskai was not the original creator but he is famous for promoting it.

Week 14 + APRIL 27|29

TUESDAY | PowerPoint

The most used and abused program after Word...

THURSDAY | PowerPoint

Final Class, review and answer any unanswered questions.


The class will conclude with you submitting a presentation deck to me. The Title is “Teach Me Something”.

This will require you to hand in to me several preliminary documents:

1) A word Document stating your proposed presentation

2) An Excel Spreadsheet listing the slide order and general content

3) Finally A slide deck containing the finished presentation.

I will not be asking you to present. The deck is ‘about’ 10 slides. If you can accomplish your presentation in a little less or a little more that is ok. I am more interested in how you creating a learning progression than jamming content into 10 containers. That said you cannot do it in 3–5 slides and I don’t want to sit through 25 slides.

All the parts are due by final week of class, however you need to get me the preliminary documents before I will accept the slide deck. Final week is May 7th.