Course Title: Digital Imaging with Photoshop

Part A: Course Overview

Course ID: 034614

Course Title: Digital Imaging with Photoshop

Credit Points: 6

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


345T Creative Media


Sem 1 2006

Course Coordinator: Murray McKeich

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 4679

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

No pre-requisites for this course

Course Description

This digital imaging course is grounded in the theory and practice of visual communication. The practicum aspect is based on digital imaging software skills (PhotoShop) and the underpinning technical concepts and theory. Students will utilise Photoshop to develop advanced skills in digital imaging and produce a folio of digitally generated and manipulated images.

The theoretical base of the course is drawn from a mix of critical theory and cultural studies. Students will develop their understanding of digital imaging as a communication tool through the analysis of visual design theories and the application of theoretical and technical skills in solving specific visual design problems.

Enrolled students will receive CD’s that contain QuickTime movies of step-by-step tutorials and the image files that they need to complete them. Students work through the tutorials in Photoshop as they play the movies on their computer at the same time. Tutorial topics will include a range of Photoshop techniques that will allow them to craft and manipulate images. An extensive range of online reference materials will also be available. Student’s questions will be answered via online correspondence and face-to-face consultation with tutors when required.

Visit the course website for more info:

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

• Software skills
A range of Photoshop tools & techniques are taught in relation to their specific value in achieving effective creative out comes.
This course does not aim to provide students with a comprehensive and exhaustive guide to Photoshop’s (overly) vast and complex array of tools. Such an objective would be difficult to achieve and of limited practical use.
Instead – The software related teaching focuses on specific toolsets that have a broad and highly effective range of applications within creative practice.

• Technical Concepts
The technical theories and concepts that underpin digital imaging technologies. For example: Colour space, Resolution, Vector v Raster graphics etc.
Digital imaging software tools are in a constant state of change & evolution. The software skills that are learnt today will inevitably become redundant at some stage in the near future.
However - the underlying technical concepts that the software is based on remain relatively constant. Understanding these basic concepts will enable students to evaluate, learn and utilise new software tools as they evolve. Understanding these concepts will also allow students to formulate solutions to technical problems as they arise within the process of their digital imaging practice.

• Creative Skills
Basic creative skills required in creating effective imagery. For example: visual design elements (line, form & colour etc), composition, symmetry etc.
To create effective imagery requires far more than just software skills. Photoshop will not make suggestions on how to compose an image or choose colours etc. It only provides the tools that allow it to be done. This course will provide students with the basic visual design skills required to create an effective image – digital or otherwise.

• Theoretical Insights
Visual communication theory. For example: visual symbolism and meaning.
Learning to communicate with visual imagery is much the same as learning a spoken or written language. Both involve mastering a lexicon of meaningful symbols that are combined using rules of syntax to express ideas.
Learning the language of visual symbolism and meaning will allow students to conceive and craft images that effectively communicate ideas and evoke expressive meaning.

• Communication Skills
The communication of concepts and ideas via written and visual media
Participating within a creative community requires the exchange and expression of ideas and concepts. The effective communication of concepts and ideas requires the development of specialised language and communication skills.

• Work practices
Working methods within a screen based medium.
Creative practice within a screen-based medium presents its own unique set of challenges. Generating, collecting and managing digital information requires the development of workflow and process planning skills to help students establish a productive and professional creative practice.

1.To develop the capability to investigate and apply skills in an understanding of visual communication theory.
2.To develop the capability to investigate and apply skills in visual semiotics as it applies to visual communication theory.
3.To be able to research visual styles, genres and techniques and determine their social and historical context in visual communication theory.
4.To identify and apply professional work practices and methodology in the fulfilment of a visual design brief within a professional context.
5.To skill students in the applied use of industry relevant digital imaging software to produce computer generated and manipulated artwork for print and screen based media.
6.To provide students with an understanding of the technical concepts and theories that underpin digital imaging technologies.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be challenged with new ideas arising from the theories presented in tutorials and lectures and will be encouraged to assimilate these through application to specific examples of digital imaging.

You will also have an opportunity each week to practice digital imaging as a professional and communicative practice and to receive feedback from their peers.

You will engage in brainstorming activities, planning and problem solving activities that encourage self-reflection on creative processes.

Overview of Learning Resources

The course materials are delivered via 2 resources:

1. Tutorial CD’s

2. Course Website (RMIT DLS)

Enrolled students receive CD’s via the mail. These CD’s contain QuickTime movies of step-by-step PhotoShop tutorials and the image files that you need to complete them. You work through the tutorials in Photoshop as you play the movies on your computer at the same time.

2. Course Website

The course utilises the RMIT DLS (Distributed Learning System). Enrolled students gain access to the course website via the online @ RMIT website. Students use the course website to: Check course announcements, Access assignment briefs, Upload finished assignments for grading, Check grades, Access course notes and resources, Communicate with staff and fellow students, Access course info & guides, Access streaming QuickTime Tutorial movies, Initiate and participate in discussion groups.

• Personal computer and software requirements

Apple Macintosh

If you have an Apple Macintosh, it requires:

Macintosh Power PC preferred
System 7.5 or above
Monitor at 800 x 600 resolution or above
56K modem (recommended) or a web-enabled local area network (LAN) connection
PC / IBM Compatible
If you use a PC or IBM Compatible Computer, it requires:
IBM compatible Pentium preferred Windows 95 or above
Monitor at 800 x 600 resolution or above
56K modem (recommended) or a web-enabled local area network (LAN) connection

Web Browser Requirements
To access Online @ RMIT correctly the following Web Browser Versions and Settings are recommended

MS Internet Explorer 4.01 (with Service Pack 2)
Netscape Navigator 4.7

Mac OS 7.6.1 – OS9.2 (inclusive)
IE 5.0
Netscape Navigator 4.7**
IE 5.1

Software Requirements
Students will require the following software to complete this course.
• QuickTime 6.3
• Acrobat Reader
• Adobe Photoshop: Versions: 6, 7 or CS(8).
• Microsoft Word

Students will be provided with QuickTime and Acrobat Reader software.
Students must have their own versions of Photoshop and MS Word software.
Please note that students who do not have access to the required hardware and software resources can gain access to them at:
RMIT Carlton library. City campus. Cardigan Street. Building 94 Level 3.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed via 2 types of assignments:

1. Exercises:
Exercise assignments require you to create one or multiple images that use the specific software tools and techniques they have learnt from tutorials. Exercises will require you to use these techniques creatively to produce their own unique images in response to a brief.

2. Projects
Projects require you to produce images in response to a brief and through a documented process of research and development. This process will require you to produce 3 assessment items per project:

2.1. Research Journal
This requires you to research visual styles, genres and techniques (e.g. surrealist photo montage) - collect visual examples and write critical analysis.

2.2. Concept Development Journal
This requires you to document the conceptual development of their project.

2.3. Project Image(s)
The final image you create in response to the brief and the culmination of their research and development.

Grades: This table lists the assignments you will need to complete and the percentage of the final grade that they each represent.

Points possible / % Of Grades
• Exercise 1: 10 / 10%
• Exercise 2: 10 / 10%
• Exercise 3: 10 / 10%
• Exercise 4: 10 / 10%
• Exercise 5: 10 / 10%
• Research Journal 8 / 8%
• Concept Development Journal 12 / 12%
• Project Final Images 30 / 30%

Total 100 / 100%

Result/Grading Numerical Mark
HD (High Distinction) 80-100
DI (Distinction) 70-79
CR (Credit) 60-69
PA (Pass) 50-59
NN (Fail) 0-49