Course Title: Work with photomedia in creative practice

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2019

Course Code: VART6439C

Course Title: Work with photomedia in creative practice

School: 320T Architecture & Urban Design

Campus: Brunswick Campus

Program: C5359 - Diploma of Graphic Design

Course Contact: Alistair Briggs

Course Contact Phone: +61 9925 9446

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Leigh Milward

Nominal Hours: 55

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

None required.

Course Description

In this course you will develop the skills and knowledge required to work with photomedia in creative practice. You will explore and apply a range of techniques, equipment and materials required to use photomedia in graphic work.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUAACD512 Work with photomedia in creative practice


1 Explore the potential of photomedia in own work

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Research the potential of photomedia in own work using appropriate sources of information
1.2 Consider intellectual property and other legislative requirements relevant to research and development of photomedia ideas
1.3 Examine traditional and contemporary ways photomedia is used
1.4 Identify appropriate digital, traditional or experimental tools and methods for the development of photomedia projects
1.5 Develop ideas for work using investigation, discussion and review


2 Experiment with photomedia

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Use the basic technical features and capabilities of chosen tools effectively
2.2 Explore and experiment with particular features of specific tools, including the potential for combining them for particular purposes
2.3 Achieve different effects by extending the capabilities of digital, traditional or experimental photomedia tools
2.4 Refine ideas through a process of experimentation


3 Create and present finished photomedia work

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Manipulate tools with increasing skill and confidence to fulfil work objectives 3.2 Critically assess technical and conceptual aspects of the work during the development process
3.3 Complete technical requirements for integration of photomedia with other media
3.4 Finalise images and files using appropriate protocols
3.5 Apply safe work practices for chosen photomedia tools and equipment


4 Evaluate work

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Review work in progress from personal, professional and artistic perspectives
4.2 Identify and respond to opportunities for refinement and review
4.3 Evaluate the work process in terms of its efficiency
4.4 Evaluate finished work in terms of its consistency with the project concept, technical resolution and suitability for the intended purpose

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Learning activities will take place in a studio and computer laboratory using industry standard tools and resources. You will complete exercises and industry style projects. You will also be required to undertake independent study.

In class activities will include:

  • demonstrations and presentations by teacher
  • peer teaching and class presentations
  • group discussion
  • review and revision
  • peer learning
  • teacher directed group activities/projects
  • ‘workshopping’ of student projects including peer/lecturer feedback

Out of class activities will include:

  • independent project based work
  • online tutorials and activities
  • independent research
  • studio practice
  • review and revision

Teaching Schedule


Key Learning Activities and/or Assessment Tasks


Week 1

Course introduction. Navigating around the course and infrastructure. Accessing and locating resources. Update your Canvas profile, and use a self-portrait to communicate something.

Activity 1: Update your canvas profile

Week 2

In this session, we will introduce some key concepts for studying in this course, and get a start on the first project. Part of project 1 is recording and discussing your research findings, and an important part of this is referencing sources of information. For this project, we will start with a simple way of referencing. This session will also cover the anatomy of Photoshop, and efficiency in navigation.


Week 3

An excursion to the Swanston St library, find an image for Project 1, scan and write it up. You will also borrow a couple of items, and use one for show and tell next week. Students will also assist each other and compare their findings in small groups. Students will also borrow a text that relates to their own interest in graphic design, and informally discuss it the following session.

Excursion to Swanston St campus library

Week 4

Show and tell; in small groups, show and discuss your borrowed text. Photomedia example 2 review. Before submitting, you will check it against a checklist to make sure it has all the required content. Check references and writing in a peer review, then submit Project 1. In the second half the session, we will cover selections in Photoshop, different methods of selecting pixels and how to refine selections. Compositing and editing images begins with selecting parts of images to combine or adjust.

Project 1 due

Week 5

Masks are a core skill for graphic designers working with images, and a fundamental component of compositing images. They require practice, and there are many (many, many) different techniques available, and a few that require mastery. This includes mastering the brush tool and some shortcuts that will help with your efficiency. Project 2: Masks and Composites begins this week. Basic masking techniques in Adobe Photoshop. Retouching methods and apply skills to restore a photograph.


Week 6

Practice is necessary to get good at masking. This week's session will be dedicated to this practice. We will look at a few different methods of masking a layer. You can use the Select and Mask dialogue, but this is not always helpful. At the end of the session, choose your best-masked image from the last two weeks for submission. You will need to get a peer to check it, and it needs to meet the minimum standard in the assignment rubric.

Project 2: Mask due

Week 7

So far you have looked at isolation and cutting out pixels in order to combine them. Blend modes are a way for pixels to interact and change their values. This can lead to all sorts of interesting effects, and is a key technique for compositing images effectively. During this session you will combine masks and other layers to integrate images and explore the features of blend modes.


Week 8

Complex masks, blending modes. In this session, we will look at more complex masks and different methods for complex selections and masking. We will look at a range of techniques from simple to complex. Read through Project 2: Composite for homework.

Project 2: Blend Modes due

Week 9

We will start with a peer check of your complex mask before submitting it. Then we will look at techniques begin combining blending modes in masks, and colour matching assets when making composite images. You will start the final part of Project 2 by creating a composite image, and start with identifying assets, researching standards in contemporary photomedia and create a few sketches of your concepts. Please make sure you bring in some drawing materials for this session.

Project 2: Complex mask due

Week 10

Compositing (continued). Finalise your documentation, or at least make sure you have the material to compile. A peer review of your work in progress, and it is a requirement to discuss your work with others.


Week 11

Project 2 submission. Project 3 introduction.

Ideation techniques. Research. Gather resources, including comparative examples and analyse them. Sketch an idea based on located resources. Explore example images.

Project 2 Shadows due.

Week 12

Meetings with candidates to confirm competency has been achieved in this course. Graded project. Project 3: Employ ideation techniques. Research. Gather resources, including comparative examples and analyse them. Sketch an idea based on located resources.


Week 13

Use a draft to sharpen your idea and increase its visual impact. Conduct a range of experiments with tools and filters and analyse them for effectiveness. Project 3 progress draft due

Peer review due. It is a requirement to discuss your work with peers and assessor.

Week 14

Experiment with photomedia. Evaluate work. Focus on technical areas. Refine and prepare for submission.


Week 15

Evaluate work. Submit Project 3. Present finished photomedia work. Publish work online. Submit documentation.

Project 3 due

Week 16

No formal session due to public holiday, but take this opportunity to back-up your work from the semester and check that all work has been submitted and assessed (or is in the process of being assessed). There will be appointments with individual students this week, and this may need to happen outside of the timetabled course hours, or contact may be made via Canvas or email.


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Burroughs, X and Mandiberg, M 2018. Digital Foundations: Introduction to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Cloud, Revised Edition, viewed 22 June 2019, .

Kost, J 2018. Photoshop CC 2019 Essential Training: The Basics, viewed 22 June 2019, .

Leonard, N and Ambrose, G 2012. Basics Graphic Design 02 : Design Research : Investigation for Successful Creative Solutions. AVA Publishing.

Other Resources

Prescribed Texts

There are no compulsory prescribed texts in this course. This course has recommended books listed under ‘References’

You are advised to look at the Learning Hub at myRMIT site for ongoing updated information. A range of learning resources and references are provided throughout the year.

You will require a personal storage device and tools as outlined in tool kit list.

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems and access to specialised facilities and relevant software. You will also have access to the library resources.

Amongst the library’s electronic resources is the ability to access for online tutorials and lessons. You may be given these tutorials (and other resources) to supplement your classroom learning. The University Library has extensive resources for Design students. The Library has produced a subject guide that includes quality online and print resources for your studies. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help via your Liaison Librarian

Overview of Assessment

Assessment tasks will require you demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills through practical projects working to a deadline and written reports. The assessment tasks include:
Design Projects
An assessment charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.

Assessment Tasks

This course has 3 projects. You are required to demonstrate all learning outcomes to a satisfactory standard.

Assessment Task 1: Research Photomedia

Completing this project allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of how to research and discuss ideas by finding and analysing two examples of creative compositing; one made using traditional techniques and one example of current best practice in Photoshop.

We will go through what ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ can mean in the studio. You will show academic integrity by referencing. You will compile your findings and analysis in a presentation document.

The aim is to get you familiar with the qualities of good composited images. The ability to know the difference between good and bad examples helps your own practice. Another aim is to get you familiar with how to acknowledge the work of others in your own work and study and demonstrate an understanding of Copyright and IP issues related to photomedia.

 This assignment must be completed to a satisfactory level to achieve competency in this course.

Assessment Task 2: Compositing folio

This project is second of three assessment tasks you need to complete satisfactorily, in order to be deemed competent for this unit.

This assessment is designed to build your capability in using different Photoshop tools to achieve various visual effects. The aim is to improve upon the skills for compositing images through practice and peer review; culminating in the creation of four (4) composited images and demonstrated understanding of the process and requirements for using Photoshop tools to create them.

All four pieces must be completed to a satisfactory level to complete the assessment task.

Assessment Task 3: Creative Composite

Create a composited image that communicates an idea, feeling or story using assets from a supplied repository of appropriate Creative Commons licensed or public domain images. The theme will be supplied. Part of the challenge is to interpret this in a creative way. To be complete, this documentation must successfully address the criteria in the rubric. The aim is to demonstrate an ability to create a composite image in response to a brief, show and explain the process (as you might for a co-worker or client), assess your own work, and acknowledge the work of others.

 This assignment must be completed to a satisfactory level to achieve competency in this course.

At the completion of the course, you will be graded as 

CAG Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for Assessment

Assessment Matrix

An assessment matrix demonstrating alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency is available from the course contact person (stated above).

Other Information

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that you attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

Feedback - You will receive verbal and written feedback by teacher on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.
Student feedback at RMIT

Student Progress 
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. Student progress policy

Special Consideration Policy, Late Submission & Extensions
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level.
If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension.
Pick the following link for details on applying for Special consideration 
Any student seeking an extension, should aim at doing so a minimum of 2 days before the deadline. Work submitted late and without an extension at any point will incur late penalties in accordance with university policy.
If you require an extension you must complete an extension form with evidence supporting your application and hand this to your instructor. Further links - Application for extension of time

On Time Submission and Impact of Late Submission 
On time submission is an important factor in your assessment. Employability skills are embedded in all courses and these include Planning & Organising and Self-management. For this reason, late work impacts on your competency assessment. 
Submissions that are assessed as Not Satisfactory can be re-submitted once and this is only permitted during the period that the competency is scheduled.

Cover Sheet for Submissions 
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications. Submission cover sheet

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism - RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity

Course Overview: Access Course Overview