Course Title: Work with photomedia in creative practice

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 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 composite 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, 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, 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


Dewis, G 2014. The Photoshop Workbook: Professional Retouching and Compositing Tips, Tricks, and Techniques, ebook, Peachpit Press.

Faulkner, A and Chavez, C 2016. Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book (2017 release), ebook, Adobe Press .

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

McClelland, D 2017, Photoshop CC 2017 One-on-One: Fundamentals, Lynda tutorial.

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.

Project 1: Research Photomedia

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

Completing this project allows you to demonstrate Research and Ideas (‘1. Explore the potential of photomedia in own work’ in CUAACD512 Work with photomedia in creative practice).

This assignment has also grading criteria that contribute to the grade for this course. See the rubric.

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.

Show an ability 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.

This assignment also has separate criteria that contributes to your grade for the semester.

Project 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.
Completing this project allows you to demonstrate the course outcomes of Research and Ideas, Evaluate work, Explore and Refine, and Make & Present.

This assignment has also grading criteria that contribute to the grade for this course. 

Submit a folio of four tasks to demonstrate capabilities in compositing, efficiency and use of software skills. Complete four studio tasks that make up this folio. This covers techniques like masking, using blend modes, colour matching and overall considerations when compositing images.

The aim is to build and improve upon the skills for compositing images, culminating in the creation of a composited image, and showing your understanding of the process and requirements.

Project 3: Creative Composite

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

Completing this project allows you to demonstrate the course outcomes of Research and Ideas, Evaluate work, Explore and Refine, Make and Present and OH&S.

This assignment has also grading criteria that contribute to the grade for this course.

Make a creative composite image with the theme of nature. Only use images from, with the exception of minor elements like textures. Document the work. Publish your work to social media and for consideration for publication to Made with Unsplash. To be complete, this documentation must successfully address the criteria in the rubric.

This project must be completed to a satisfactory level to achieve competency in this course. Submit a folio of exercises to demonstrate capabilities in masking and compositing. The aims are:

  • produce a coherent body of photomedia work using well-developed conceptual and technical skills
  • research traditional and contemporary photomedia options for application to own work
  • apply safe work practices for the technologies being used.

At the completion of the course, grading will be offered in addition to, and after, competency based assessment; Project 1 and 2 must be complete and satisfactory to be eligible for grading.

Grades which apply to courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also use graded assessment are:
CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
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 aspect of your 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 for success.



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 Progress

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



When submitting work for assessment you are required to complete a declaration of authorship. This must be done for every summative assessment task. This statement acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications. For non-digital submission use the printed form provided. For digital online submission please use e Submission process.Information regarding the eSubmission process


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

Reasonable adjustment is available and may be applied through the Special Consideration process. 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 overall grade for each assessment task.

The following adjustments for late submission will be made: Work submitted late will be assessed for competency only. Submissions are only permitted during the period that the competency is scheduled.


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. Academic Integrity

Course Overview: Access Course Overview