Media Assignments



Adobe Illustrator Basics 

Project 1: Artist Trading Card - tablet use, new project, save file, shape tool, pencil, smoothing, stroke and fill, layering, adding/subtracting shapes, gradient, vector vs. raster DUE Wed 9/13


Project 2 Homecoming Logo - pen tool, brush, stroke weight, contrast, text DUE Fri 9/15


Project 3: Cartoon Character - Design a cartoon character based on a PHOTOGRAPH of an animal. Sketch with detail quickly using sighted contour drawing skills. On a separate layer, simplify the sketch. Add personality and emotion to your new character. Add fills. If we have time, we will shade using Flash in a future step. (9/21)


Should animals hold copyright for their art?


Project 4 Environment:  Create an environment in Illustrator (w: 550 px, h:400 px) for you cartoon character based on your chosen homecoming title. Use pattern and texture techniques using your swatches. DUE  9/26


Project 5 Homecoming Flash Animation - Use your cartoon character to introduce a segment for the homecoming video - 5-10 sec animation - DUE 10/4 (no further extensions)

   -if time, add shading and texture techniques learned in class

   -add your character and environment to a timeline on separate layers

   -animate your figure within the environment using simple animation as well as

If time, add embedded animation and/or frame-by-frame animation

-EXTRA - add shading using one method from Help Docs folder in Flash Animation folder in student share 

   -EXTRA - create a second character for your first character to interact with

Project 6 - Choice

Yearbook Cover Design using theme "Akron Is Where the Tiger Is" - use template and read theme power point set up by yearbook editor. If time, apply cross stitch effect to your parts. Method 1  Photoshop-FAST  Photoshop-Slower but better


Library Media Center Mural Plan for Stained Glass using theme Akron, Nature, books.  Use glass samples to create swatches to fill your design. I recommend you use shape fill and/or Live Paint rather than the brush to fill your shapes. You may work from a photo, but NOT someones drawing or glass design or pattern. You can derive inspiration, but do not copy.


Help create Homecoming Video segments - DUE Thursday. AND Independent Video using Premiere


Wed 10/18 - Illustrator Quiz


Project 7: Beginning Photography, Lighting for Portraiture- Special Effects (See Proj 7 folder in student share)

     -basic camera test       Basic Camera Notes        Basic Lighting Notes 

     -Take a series of 5 portrait photos using each of the following techniques. 

     -two-light setting (chiaroscuro w/ backlighting) 

     -low-key lighting


     -well-lit (3 point lighting) (4 point lighting)

     -changing background with green screen (lighting) (Photoshop)


Quiz #2 on basic camera test, camera notes, and Basic Lighting - Thurs 11/9 


Project 8: Halloween Special Effects using Photoshop  (see video samples in Proj 8 folder) - DUE 11/9

-Use each of the following techniques on the photos you took in class. (Proj 7)

-Label photos put in Proj 8 folder: Lastname Technique; ex: Cornell BW Vampire.

-Save files as PSD to keep layers viewable. 

     -adding an interesting background in place of a green screen

     -b&w filter - use non-destructive methods

     -selective color

     -desaturation - and using sponge tool

     -vampire teeth

     -texture for skin 

     - reverse color

     -adding grunge filters to background


     -grunge border 

     -color enhancement

    -gradient vignette and spotlighting 


Project 9: Scary Movie Poster 

     -font selection - dafont, 1001 free fonts

     -effects- layer style 


Project 10 -  Aperture, Depth of Field, Rule of Thirds, and Scale

Series of 5 photos; one of each:

   -Toy using AV setting that shows depth of field and rule of thirds in style of Slinkachu

   -Toy using large depth of field with blurred effect applied in Photoshop

   -Scale using a picture of something large (ex: person), but bringing it to "toy size" using masking, transform, and color effects

   -Aerial view photo to create tilt shift effect in Photoshop

   -Image using bokeh in the background - great bokeh lighting


Project 11 - Narrative Photo Series

Series of 10 + Photos to Tell a Story. Think sequence. Types of stories may include: historical, personal, day in the life, fictional story, childhood story, a story you have written, etc. You may use people or toys to help tell the story. Think creating setting. Use rule of thirds and depth of field in your images. You may experiment with scale, as we did in practice as well. Place photos into a Photoshop collage or Premiere video tmeline with audio.


Digi 3: Proj 1:  Classy Cupid Logo/ FB Header (Logo=Illustrator, Header=choice of digi media) in place of Projects 1 & 2


Digi 3: Proj 2: Cartoon and animation, or design for yearbook cover or pages in theme, LMC fish tank mosaic idea, or individual project idea (develop plan)



Project 12 - Movie Trailer, Commercial, or Everyday Action in Film Genre

You can work in teams from 1-4 people. Develop a movie trailer for a film that exists...or should exist, a commercial, or an everyday activity with the flair of a film genre. Use a variety of shot types and camera movements, with a minimum of 20 shots sequenced.  Use audio that fits your film style. Give proper attribution to all roles and borrowed material within your trailer. Notes due Wed 1/3, Storyboard due 1/5, Filming 1/8 to 1/12, Editing DUE 1/19

Video Shots/ Sizes Links: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Video Shots Film: Sizes, Video 2, Video 2, Movements

Formula for making a movie trailer: Link , Wiki

Good Trailers: Sleeper, Alien, Watchmen, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Psycho

Storyboarding: Easy

Final Exam Review: 1, 2

Digi 1 Final Exam - Wed 1/17

Digi 3: Proj 6

Marissa - Plant design; Moon/ galaxy drawing

Corey- Movie Trailer; Photo narrative series 

Bill - Logo/ Watercolor effect; Painting over photo on Photoshop

Caroline - Holocaust Reource Center Contest, fox drawing





Past Projects

Camera Borrowing Agreement - DUE Fri 9/8 

Adobe Illustrator - Personal Minimalist Avatar - using tablet, basic drawing tools - pen, pencil, smoothing, correcting, stroke, fill, arrange - DUE 9/9


Adobe Illustrator - Safety Sign -basic shape, line and stroke tools DUE 9/14


Adobe Illustrator - Homecoming Logo - more advanced drawing - pen tool, sub-selection  DUE 9/16



Adobe Illustrator - Stained glass design - using Live Paint, creating pattern swatches, and stroke weight - DUE 9/28




Design for Perry's Ice Cream Case - group project DUE 10/14 (tentative) - use the Perry's vector graphic and size/ proportion map to plan an ice cream case wrap design...include some of the key phrases; may work in teams to develop this...



08- Multiples of Me, basic camera technique: tripod, focus, zoom, self-timer;  Photoshop: layers & masking


09- Floating & Ghosts- 3 methods- throwing cloth, opacity, ladder and mask- DUE 11/10



10- Fill your head Sample   

12- Portraiture: High key, Low Key, Chiaroscuro, Well-lit using 4 point lighting system. Intro to Fashion Phototagraphy; Create a magazine cover


13- Animals, Transformation, and Translocation

         a) Take 5 well-exposed, clear photos of an animal or multiple animals. Use a variety of techniques and styles: ex: Portrait, animal

          in  action, with props, with people, close-up, strange angles, etc. Experiment with ISO and Tv settings to adjust speed and lighting.

         Ten Tips for Photographing Animals 

         b) Create an animal transformation. Use at least one of your own photos for the final. Use layers, transformation tools, masking, and cloning.


         c) Translocation- place an animal in a new and different/ unexpected location. Add color filters to make the photos look like they are one unified image. Add shadows as needed to improve the illusion. create cast shadows



14-  Reflection Photography - create 5 photos that feature reflection. At least one photo should be a naturally occurring reflection (in water, window, mirror, reflective surface.) At least one should be something experimental. At least one should be a fabricated reflection.

three ways to tell if an image is modified  ethics in editing  11 food "tricks"

reflection in mirrored surface   water reflections  another water reflection  water ripples   



16 - 3D Printed Project: You have a choice of software to explore and learn: Tinkercad (online), Sketchup (very architectral- tutorials), and Meshmixer (more sculptural and smooth- manual, tutorials). You will then create your own product using the software. Some of the best projects may be printed using our new 3D printer. 



Past Stuff 

Digital Media 2 Assignments 

Adobe Premiere Practice - create a sample slideshow with 20+ photos, sound file/ music, transitions, and a title/credits - DUE Wed 3/16


Stop Frame Animation Video - individually or as a team; Samples:  Stop Motion Explained, Claymation How-To,  Top Ten Stop Motion Animations, Western Spaghetti,  The Marker Maker, Animator Vs. Animation, Game Over, Tony vs Paul, Monty Python Lego,



Narrative Video/ Music Video - DUE 5/26  individually or as a team - create a 3-5 minute film that in some way tells a story (using actors, animals, inanimate objects, symbolism, etc.), in this film you will use a variety of shot types (sizes, camera movements) in 3-5 second clips that are assembled to tell your story; Edited film will include title, credits, smooth transitions/ cuts, good audio, and will be exported.

Camera Shots Worksheet

Shot Types More Shot Types   Cut Ins vs Cutaways  Dolly Zoom  Cinematic Techniques


Storyboard   Examples  How To   Making a Boring Storyboard Better

Storyboard Blank 






Past Assignments: 

Video Game Design

Tutorials 1-10 Stagecast DUE 1/29

Develop 2+ characters, multiple "obstacle" characters, and 2+ backdrops- upload to Stagecast by Thurs 2/11 

Insert settings, obstacles, and characters (including different "animations" of main character) by Fri 2/26

Develop basic rules by Fri 3/4


Digital Media 1 Assignments

See samples in student share final project folders.


Photoshop notes


FINAL EXAM Thurs 1/21 


Painting Over your Photography in Photoshop- DUE Fri 1/22 - see folder for samples

-use a variety of tools on a new layer over your photo: brush, bucket, gradient, blending modes, make/use variety of brush types


Painting with Photoshop - see speed painting examples - independent painting idea- extra project if complete with all required




Past Work: 




Adobe Illustrator - Mandala - creating brushes and gradients - DUE 9/21





Dia de Los Muertos- drawing on a photo w/ Photoshop basics - use the following concepts/tools: layers, naming layers, duplicte and transform tools, brush, fill, gradient, eraser, smudge tool, creating custom brushes, drawing tablet 


Shepherd Fairey-style portrait - can be a celebrity, person you know, or self - using filters and drawing effects and a wide variety of custom brushes to develop texture.


Also, complete an artwork in this style that explains an issue that is dear to you (world news, local, injustice, political, social, etc.)


Discuss copyright and this very famous legal case. 


Quiz #3- Photoshop basics, Dia de los Muertos, Shepard Fairey - Wed 12/16 



Dispersion Technique: Learn how to capture a person in action and then create dispersion effect; Camera Setting: Tv; Photoshop: Masking and Brushes - DUE Fri 1/15


Each year, faculty members approach me about assigning students a digital media project as an alternative to a formal written paper. Often their first thought is a video, but project ideas have also involved academic posters and podcasts. When it is designed well, a digital media assignment can be an excellent learning activity for students. This article provides a summary of best practices, some ideas for projects, and a list of resources to get you started.

Best Practices

  1. Start with the end in mind – first identify learning goals for both content (your subject) and process (media production). What do you want students to be able to do as a result of the project? Make sure the project is clearly aligned with your course goals.
  2. Decide how to assess work – create a rubric based on learning goals; here’s an example. Imagine yourself viewing a project; what are you looking for in terms of content, production value, and length? Here’s a grid that will help you think about media quality.
  3. Create one yourself – personally go through the process of developing a project to get a sense of how to use the technology and much work is involved. Your project doesn’t have to serve as a model for students — in fact, it probably shouldn’t.
  4. Estimate the time involved – how long will students take to learn the technology, then capture and edit the media? If you are adept with technology, then double the amount of time you took. Students will also have to plan, do research, visit a site, write a script… Make sure the time investment is appropriate for the project’s value in your course.
  5. Line up tools – identify the necessary hardware (cameras, recorders, etc.) and software (desktop or web-based). Pick the easiest tools you can find, then ensure that students have access to them. They probably won’t all have phones that can shoot HD video. Will there be any cost for items like media, a website account, or printing?
  6. Line up support – find out where students can turn for help locally, whether it’s the IT help desk, library, or media resource center. If you must rely on web-based help, make sure comprehensive tutorials and documentation are available.
  7. Practice first – assign a low-stakes task where students use the technology to do something simple. This should get many of the questions and details out of the way before they embark on the larger project. You may also learn which students are the most technically capable.
  8. Public or private? Let students know right away if projects are to be shared beyond the classroom. Copyrights are a concern where work will be posted online or viewed in a public space. To protect privacy online, students can use fake names and decline to give out email addresses. Students may also need releases from people they record or photograph.
  9. Provide milestones – create check-in points between the day you assign the project and the day it’s due. Milestones might include a topic, outline, storyboard, soundtrack, rough draft, and peer feedback. Identifying dates and sticking to them will help students avoid procrastination, which can be fatal with this type of project.

Project Ideas

Resources for Faculty

Tip o’ the hat to Patty Payette at Louisville for the POD Conference session that inspired this article.

Image credit: Flickr photo by Pacific Southwest Region US Fish & Wildlife Service



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