Course Title: Work with photomedia in creative practice

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2020

Course Code: VART6439C

Course Title: Work with photomedia in creative practice

School: 375T Vocational Design and Social Context

Campus: Brunswick Campus

Program: C5359 - Diploma of Graphic Design

Course Contact: Alistair Briggs

Course Contact Phone: +61 9925 9988

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 Reference traditional and contemporary approaches to the use of photomedia 1.3 Identify relevant technologies and approaches for the development of photomedia projects 1.4 Develop ideas for work through investigation, exploration, discussion and review


2 Experiment with photomedia

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Confirm a command of the basic technical features and capabilities of chosen technologies 2.2 Explore and experiment with particular features of specific technologies, including the potential of combining technologies for particular purposes 2.3 Achieve different effects by extending the capabilities of photomedia technologies 2.4 Refine ideas through a process of experimentation


3 Create and present finished photomedia work

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Fulfil work objectives through manipulation of technologies with increasing skill and confidence 3.2 Challenge and test 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 technologies


4 Evaluate work

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Review work in progress in the context of personal, professional and artistic objectives 4.2 Identify and respond to opportunities for refinement and re-thinking 4.3 Evaluate the work process in terms of its efficiency and effectiveness 4.4 Evaluate finished work in terms of its coherence with the project concept, technical resolution and suitability for the intended purpose

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Learning activities will take place during session activities using industry standard tools and resources. You will complete exercises and industry style projects. You will also be required to undertake independent study and preparation for the sessions.

In session 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 session activities will include:

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

Teaching Schedule

While all course content will be delivered, the order and mode of delivery may change depending on the availability of specialist facilities and equipment. Please check Canvas regularly as any updates will be communicated by your teacher.



Course introduction.

Navigating around the course and infrastructure. Accessing and locating resources. Update your Canvas profile, and use a self-portrait to communicate something about yourself while following technical specifications.

LA1: Canvas Profile


Traditional techniques

In this module, we will begin Assessment Task 1 (AT1). We will have an overview of Photoshop, compositing and the techniques used to make them, both traditional and contemporary. We will also look at the qualities that make for good composites (as opposed to boring or bad ones). You will then research traditional techniques from provided sources, and choose an exemplar image for AT1.



Contemporary examples

Research and summarise how composited images are made in Photoshop. Research the range of quality and exemplars, using social media tools to build a bank of ongoing research for this course (e.g. follow some good practitioners). Chose one exemplar that has all the qualities of good compositing that also has personal appeal or relevance to your own design practice. Enter this into the AT1 document.

AT1: Potential of Photomedia



Before submitting AT1, 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. We will cover selections in Photoshop, different methods of selecting pixels and how to refine selections. In Photoshop, selections are a way to modify isolated groups of pixels. These pixels can be selected by drawing a shape, or chosen based on attributes such as colour or contrast. It’s a core skill in Photoshop.

LA2: Selections


Masks and WHS

In this module we will cover information on Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) as it can relate to graphic designers. This will be part of your assessment for Assessment Task 2. After that, we will look at layer masks in Photoshop. Masks are a core skill for graphic designers working with images, and a fundamental component of compositing images. The key idea behind masks is you can selectively and partially hide parts of a layer. this is done using non-destructive editing. They are crucial for creating a believable composite image.



Non-destructive editing

In this module, we will look at using adjustment layers as part of a flexible workflow – being able to make changes without starting again. This allows for easier editing. This non-destructive editing is an important idea in Photoshop, and one of the focuses of Assessment Task 2. In this module, we will also look at using adjustment layers. The aim of the adjustment layer exercise today is to show you the difference, and get you in the habit of making your adjustments in a way that can be modified and changed. We will also begin AT2b: Complex Mask Composite.

LA3: Non-destructive editing


Complex Masks

In today’s session, we will look at how to mask images with complex edges – like hair, fur or foliage – and how to decontaminate colours on mask edges. Colour contamination is a typical problem that arises when combining two different images together, especially when one has a complex mask. This is when colour or light is still visible in the selected image.

AT2b: Complex Mask Composite peer review


Blend Modes

Blend modes are a way for pixels to interact and change their values. They can be applied to brushes and layers in Photoshop – and even on filters. Blend modes are used in many design software applications. They can lead to all sorts of interesting effects, and are a key part for compositing images effectively. Similar to colour decontamination, a typical problem in compositing is a colour mismatch. Colour matching can be solved in a number of ways. In this session, we will look at three basic methods. Submit AT2b before the next session.

AT2b: Complex Mask Composite

LA4: Blend


Compositing & shadows

You will start the final part of AT2 by creating a composite image, and start with identifying assets and researching achievable standards in contemporary photomedia. You will choose an additional image to include. The trick is to find something interesting that is also achievable in the time you have. The emphasis is on combining the skills covered so far. To create a believable composite, you will add realistic shadows and ensure that the light direction in each image is consistent. This will mean using a non-destructive workflow. Submit a draft before or at the very beginning of the next session.

AT2c: Shadows Composite peer review


Refine and improve

Finalise and document the outcome of AT2c. Assesses your own work against technical and creative criteria. Explains the idea. Explain the techniques used. Submit AT2c before the next session.

AT2c: Shadows Composite


Plan & IP

We will look at typical overall adjustments you can make to a composite image to enhance the integration of elements and aid communication (aka composition). Some of these are filters, some are adjustment layers we may not have looked at before. You will create a design rough to plan a composite. In your sketch, you must indicate where each asset from Unsplash will go. One of the big challenges for making composites is finding images that have the correct license for use. For AT3, you need to identify intellectual property issues or legislation that affected this particular assignment.

AT3a: IP and licensing



Submit concept for approval by the start of this session. Start working on the concept only after approval. A peer may be nominated to review the concept against the criteria and play the role of a client who grants approval, and this will be checked by the assessor.

 AT3b: Concept


Experiment and Refine

In this module, you will begin construction of your composite image, based on a well-defined idea, sketch (rough) and assets from Unsplash. The aim is to try and get all the essential elements of your composite together – even if it is a bit loose. Save each different experiment or trial you make to improve the quality of your composite. These experiments will be similar to Overall composition (experiments). You need at least three (3) different experiments or techniques and four (4) images for your report. The aim is to finalise the composite before the next session.




Post your draft to the discussion board, and peer review someone’s draft. The aim is to generate the feedback you need to write a reflection next week, and to show you have reviewed your work in progress. Finalise your composite ready to publish by next week. We will also look at adapting your work for a social media post and making a video of the layers structure.

 AT3c: Review work in progress (discussion board)


Publish and Evaluate

This module is about adapting your work for other formats and publishing. You will use the layer structure of your file and turn it into a video for Instagram. You will also save your file for Instagram, and adapt the file for a multi-image post. You will then use that social media post to submit to a showcase website. Submit the URL and take a screen grab of your entry form.

The evaluation is part of a reflective practice. This means being able to look at your work objectively and identify strengths and areas of improvement. This means you can build upon the successes of your outcome for future projects. Complete the report by writing your final evaluation. 

AT3d: Publish your project

AT3e: Report 


Assessment Week

The aim of this session is to confirm that you have submitted all the evidence required to pass the course. There may be individual appointments with students to discuss updating any previous submissions, as well as confirm all evidence for the semester has been submitted. This process will also continue into week 17 as work is assessed.




Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Kost, J 2019. Photoshop CC 2020 Essential Training: The Basics.

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

Smith, J 2013. Advanced Photoshop CC for Design Professionals Digital Classroom, John Wiley & Sons Inc, New York.

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 assessment tasks. You are required to demonstrate all learning outcomes to a satisfactory standard.

Due dates for assessment tasks dependent on access to specialist facilities and equipment may change. Please check Canvas regularly as any updates will be communicated by your teacher.

Assessment Task 1: Research Photomedia

Due Week 3

Completing this project will show your ability to research and discuss ideas. Find and analyse two examples of creative compositing. The first example is of traditional techniques. The second example is a contemporary, best-practice example of compositing. We will go through what ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ can mean in the studio.

The aim is to identify 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. This will allow you to use academic integrity and show an understanding of copyright and intellectual property (IP) issues.

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

Assessment Task 2: Compositing folio

AT2a WHS: Due Week 5

AT2b peer review: Due Week 7

AT2b Complex Mask Composite Due Week 8

AT2c peer review: Due Week 9

AT2c Shadows Composite: Due Week 10

This assessment will build your capability in using different Photoshop tools and techniques. The aim is to improve your compositing skills through practice and review. You will create two (2) composited images.

  • Complex Mask Composite. Mask a supplied image with complex masking requirements and integrate it into a new image.
  • Shadows Composite. Use compositing techniques to create a new scene to a brief, with a focus on light, shadows and overall integration.

You will show the process and requirements to create them in documentation. Learning activities will support the skills needed to complete the assignment.

You will also demonstrate WHS practices where most of the work is completed (i.e. the classroom, workplace or home office).


Assessment Task 3: Creative Composite

AT3a IP: Due Week 11

AT3b Concept: Due Week 12

AT3c Discussion: Due Week 14

AT3d and AT3e (Publish and Report): Due Week 15

The aim of the task is to demonstrate an ability to create a composite image in response to a brief and supplied theme, show and explain the process, assess your own work against standards and successfully follow IP licencing arrangements and copyright considerations.

The purpose of the composite image is to demonstrate non-destructive editing skills and adapt the file for other purposes (making a video and publishing a social media post).

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

At the completion of the course, you will be assessed for competency. 

CA Competency Achieved 
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 scheduled 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