Course Title: Photographic Digital Imaging - Essential Skills

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Photographic Digital Imaging - Essential Skills

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


345H Media and Communication


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2013

Course Coordinator: Mark Galer

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3680

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

No pre-requisites courses are required to study this course but the following skills are preferable:

  • A basic understanding of computer software, web interfaces and camera controls.
  • Access to a DSLR, Interchanagebale Lens or ’prosumer’ camera that is capable of saving image files in the Raw file format.
  • Familiarity with basic camera controls (aperture, shutter speed, focus and file quality settings).

Course Description

Photographic Digital Imaging: Essential Skills is a course that is designed to help you develop the essential photographic post-production techniques and skills for commercial image retouching and compositing. You will be using Adobe Photoshop (Photoshop CS6 or Photoshop CC) for the production of high quality images. The course is supported by an Internationally recognised text that is designed to aid indpenednent learning. This course text supplies the images and supporting movies to aid the learning process.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop the following program capabilities:

  • Capture information-rich digital images suitable for post-production editing.
  • Develop technical post-production image editing skills.
  • Become aware of the illustrative potential of digital imaging software.
  • Establish a basic knowledge of the Adobe Photoshop imaging software.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Research commercial imaging workflows
  • Apply conceptual, technical and creative design skills.
  • Apply a basic knowledge of commercial imaging software, digital capture and output devices.
  • Investigate basic design principles and technical control relating to two-dimensional images through your own practical work.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness and the communication potential of your digital images.

Overview of Learning Activities

Through studio workshops and lectures you will develop the following knowledge and skills:

• Analyse subject brightness range
• Work within the limited latitude of a capture device
• Explore histograms, highlight, gamma and shadow adjustment and tonal clipping
• Gain a working knowledge of resolution, format and colour profiling
• Develop cropping, perspective cropping and canvas rotation
• Gain familiarity with ‘profile to profile’ and ‘same as source’ printing techniques
• Gain a working knowledge of selection tools, quick mask, alpha channels and layer masks
• Acquire practical skills with advanced layer mask techniques including blurring, sharpening, expanding and choking masks
• Use global and localized colour adjustments using ‘Adjustment layers’
• Target highlight and shadow tones to specific output devices
• Correct colour casts
• Create composite images using non-destructive editing techniques
• Use ‘clipping groups’ to limit the effects of adjustment layers and act as layer masks 
• Use gradient tools for partial masking
• Engage in non-destructive dodge and burn techniques
• Gain a familiarity with layer blend modes

In addition, you will engage in problem solving activities and critical reflection on practice through peer discussion and critique online.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

In addition to the online resources you will need to access the current or last version of Adobe Photoshop (NOT Photoshop Elements). QuickTime and Acrobat Reader software are required to access the learning support materials. These will be supplied on the supporting DVD of the course text for both Macintosh and PC platforms. The images and movies that support the minor activities will also be provided to you via the supporting DVD that is available with the prescribed text.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities.

Assessment in this course has two components:

  • Weekly activities
  • Major assignment

Please refer to Part B of the course guide for further information on assessment.

‘If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
An assessment charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies and procedures which are described and referenced in a single document.