Music Scorpion, archival print on semi-gloss, 2013 by Teresa Yuanjun Li

Intermediate Digital Imaging:
Fall 2014
ARTS 2040-01  

Credits: 4
Prerequisite: ARTS-1020 Media Studio Imaging or permission of instructor
Tuesday/Thursday 6:00 -7:50, with extended studios  
West Hall 214 Digital Imaging Studio (home studio)
West Hall 415 Advanced Graphics Production Studio (for high end printing)

Kathleen Ruiz, abd, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Integrated Arts
office: West Hall 314c
office hours: Thursdays 10:00am to 12:00pm by appointment
(please use sign up board on office door WH 314c or email )

Intermediate Digital Imaging is a second level studio projects course exploring the use of digital technologies for augmenting and expanding creative thought in making visual art. The interplay between the observer, the observed, and the process of observation is explored. Concepts in modes of expression, contemporary issues, history/theory, and technique are interwoven through a series of short studies that explore: surveillance, hyperrealism in high dynamic range photography, panorama, personal geographies /maps of the imagination, future spaces/future places, and media fusion in virtual & ephemeral images. Emphasis is placed on creativity, critical thinking, and conceptual and aesthetic decision making relating to expressive content. The final work is a project that uses the potency of visual art and installation to activate public spaces. Students complete a web portfolio of all studies and projects.

Innovation and experimentation are highly encouraged as we discover, explore, and investigate digital imaging as a tool, as a medium, and beyond, dialoging with the physical world, using in-depth photographic, raster and vector imaging techniques, archival printing, and fusion media. Students expand their understanding of contemporary digital arts practice through readings, short lectures/discussions, and critiques.

Goals: To develop creative ability and depth of expression using raster and vector based imaging, photographic, mixed media, and emerging genres. To heighten awareness and study of the interplay between the observed, the observer, and the process of observation and apply technical/aesthetic knowledge in the completion of a series of visual art projects, culminating in a creative student directed final project.

Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a deeper creative ability and depth of expression using digital imaging, emerging, and mixed media art making methodologies.

2. Understand and articulate more fully the interplay between the observer, the observed, and the process of observation.

3. Develop applied technical/aesthetic knowledge in the completion of a series of visual art projects, culminating in a creative student directed final project.

4. Examine the work of several artists, theoreticians, and institutions who engage in digital and mixed media art creation.

5. Design and plan a detailed artist statement document which expounds upon individual concepts, processes, creative exploration, technical experimentation and documented references for the final project.

6. Compare, contrast, describe and critique the strengths and weaknesses of their own artwork and that of their fellow classmates relating to formal, aesthetic, and content attributes.

7. Successfully articulate informed, philosophically and socially aware ideas relating to art, technology, and culture as demonstrated in class discussions
and critiques and in short written reaction papers to the relevant readings and events.


Course Assessment Measures & Grading Criteria:
These outcomes will be evaluated in a series of short study projects at the intermediate level that include studies in digital photography, raster, & vector based imaging, digital painting/drawing, and emerging genres. Students will produce two and three dimensional works utilizing digital output, high end archival digital printing, mid-range digital printing, installation and experimental methodologies. Students must demonstrate satisfactory achievement of course objectives through fulfillment of course projects and by contributing to class discussions and critiques

The short studies include the following: 46% total in the following increments:

* Surveillance: photo essay 9.17%
* Hyperrealism: HDR High Dynamic Range Photography 9.17%
* Panorama (VR, print, mixed media, or experimental techniques) 9.17%
* Personal Geographies/Maps of the Imagination (in vector or raster based imaging in 2 or 3d or mixed media) 9.17%
* Future Spaces/Future Places using biomimicry montage/collage; 9.17%
* Fusion Media in Virtual & Ephemeral Images: experiments in using a range of multimedia, blended/augmented reality experiments; (optional)

The final project is a purposeful installation work in Art Activating Public Spaces 39%

Participation in class, critiques & reading reaction papers 15%


A final web portfolio of all perfected works is handed in on DVD on the last day of class for final grading purposes.

Adherence to deadlines is expected. It is the individual student's responsibility to keep track of deadlines and to present the work to the class and instructor on the specified dates. 15% per day will be subtracted from late assignments not previously discussed with the instructor.

A Excellent: consistent effort, timely 4.00 - 3.68
A - 3.67 - 3.34
B + 3.33 - 3.01
B Good: effort, timely 3.00 - 2.68
B - 2.67 - 2.34
C + 2.33 - 2.01
C Satisfactory: some effort, timely 2.00 - 1.68
C - 1.67 - 1.34
D + 1.33 - 1.01
D Passable: little effort 1.00 - .68
F Failure 0.67 – 0

Students will be provided with assessment of their progress at the time of critique. Projects needing further work will be so declared. Students can then perfect the work within the next week to change the grade. If you have any questions at any time about your creative work trajectory or your grades, please speak with your instructor at your earliest convenience. Students receiving less than a grade of B will be informed immediately.


Class Attendance Policy: As an enrolled student, you have made a commitment to this class and your attendance is a significant part of that commitment. Attendance will be taken at every class. An absence is considered excused if the student has informed the course instructor by phone, email or in person before the beginning of the class and the excuse is considered reasonable by the instructor. All students are required to be on time and in attendance for each and every class. Students arriving to class more than 10 minutes late may be counted as absent. Two (2) unexcused absences will result in a reduction of one entire letter grade. Four or more unexcused absences will result in expulsion from the class. Do the readings and tutorials and come prepared to ask questions. Turn work in on time. Contribute to the discussions.




* Helpful Resources and Tools

* Drop Box Information

* Art Sites and Reference Resources



Please attend at least 3 events at EMPAC or the Sanctuary or an approved event elsewhere and write a short critique for each, print, and hand in on the first class after the event.
Click here for a guideline for writing a critique if needed.

The Sanctuary for Independent Media
(Please carpool together if going as The Sanctuary is beyond walking distance from campus.)



Short Study Project 1 due Sept. 2, 4, 9
Surveillance photo essay & text
Project: The idea of photography as a research tool
You will increase your observational skills by looking at how the world looks at you.
Create an original Photo-essay about surveillance in 3 parts: (You must use your own images here.)

1. Observations: due Sept 2
take at least 24 photographs of various types of surveillance you see or are aware of. Reflect on what you photographed and why your gaze or attention was drawn to this particular type of surveillance. Try to become aware of the roles of observer, observed, and the process of observation. Who is looking at whom and why?

2. Statement: Sept 4 Next take a point of view on what you observe. Do you like what you saw.. why? Or are you critical of what you saw…why? Go back to the particular site or sites and take 24 more photographs with either an empathetic or antagonistic eye towards the issue.

3. PDF Photo Essay: due Sept 9
Edit all of the images down into a clear statement piece of 10 images. You can use just straight photography, or you may use photomontage, or text to make a PDF photoessay that expresses your viewpoint.
Some broad examples of straight photo essays are below; however, you are encouraged to use your imagination and be creative with text and treatment!
* the social life of wireless urban spaces

* Photo Essay - American Birding Association
* Situated Technologies Pamphlets

Readings: due Sept 2
* He Served in Silence by Igor Vamos Please write a short reaction paragraph about your views and interpretations.
*  The Panopticon by Jeremy Bentham skim though and see some of the history of surveillance thinking
* The Creative Process  by Alan Hurlbert The Design Concept pgs. 10-15 how to get your creative juices flowing
create a short reaction paper
* Associated tutorials: we have tutorial CDs that can be used to learn at an individualized pace. Please avail yourself of this resource.


Short Study Project 2 due Sept 23
HDR High Dynamic Range Photography: Hyperrealism

Project: After our lecture in class on HDR, take your handout, (found here) camera and tripod out into the field to explore ways of making HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. 

Set your ISO to the lowest value possible, as the HDR technique creates additional noise.

Take a number of shots using Camera Raw (with an accompanying high resolution JPEG) of the same scene. In each shot use the different exposures: -2EV, 0EV, and +2EV. (EV=Exposure Value). Also experiment!
You can use auto-bracketing if your camera has this function: Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) select the Continuous Shooting mode, make sure the camera is set to Aperture Priority, and select exposure increments for bracketing: +2EV, 0EV, -2EV (EV=Exposure Value). (However, if you do not have Auto Bracketing you can exposure manually, but do not change your Aperture as that would change the depth of field of the photos. Simply change your speed: for example if your EV 0 photo taken at 1/60 second with f/8, the lighter one (+2EV) should be shot at 1/15 second with f/8, and the darker one (-2EV) should be shot at 1/250 with f/8.)

(You can also experiment with taking only one Raw image of the same scene and compare the amount of shadow or highlight detail after processing. Using one image will have much less richness of details.)

Bring the images into Photoshop File > Automate > Merge to HDR
 (or an HDR program such as Photomatix  or  Dynamic Photo-HDR).
Tone Map In Photoshop (Image > Mode > choose either 8-bit or 16-bit) or in Phtomatix or Dynamic Photo-HDR.
Utilize the techniques learned to help you express your message through a mood or tone. 

Create at least 15 excellent HDR images that utilize the technique and software for creative impact. Experiment with different subjects, objects, environments, landscapes, sky scapes, lighting conditions (outdoor/indoor/studio). Show the works on the large monitors in class and we will select one image to print on the Epson 9800 archival printer.

technical readings and research about HDR
* Associated tutorials


Short Study Project 3 due Oct 7                                              MIDTERM EVALUATIONS (please upload all work to class dropbox)
Panorama (QTVR, print, mixed media, experimental techniques)

Project: Using the idea and technique of panorama, tell a story or narrative through the use of various photographic and/or graphic elements, object scans, textures, etc. which work together to give visual form to your ideas. Text can be used, either incorporated as part of the image or as captions. Print your work on the large format printer at the VCC or on the Epson 9800 archival printer in sizes that utilize panoramic vision. You could instead create a virtual panorama a VR panorama. Experiment with ideas including polar panoramas, cycloramas, or encompassing diorama. You can use straight photography or digital and/or physical photomontage, collage or assemblage techniques. Discover new forms of panoramic vision!

 Readings: Due Sept 30
* Techniques of the Observer by Jonathan Crary
create a short reaction paper
* Associated tutorials


Short Study Project 4 due Oct 28                                   
Personal Geographies: Maps of the Imagination
(vector or raster based imaging/2 or 3d mixed media)

Create a map which shows your relationship to your world, your experiences and your personal journey using either vector based imagery, raster imagery, 3dimensional objects in assemblage or any combination thereof. This can be a “true map” or an imaginative expressive map, but it should aim for an understanding the world around us and our place in it.

Readings: Due Oct 21
* Cartography of Excess
create a short reaction paper
* Associated tutorials


Short Study Project 5 due Nov 11
Future Spaces/Future Places (bio mimicry montage/collage)

Project: Using biomimicry visualize new futures. Extensive observing (and photographing) nature and then proposing a potential solution to a perplexing problem. A great exercise that might turn up some real-life technical solutions that are self-sustainable and not harmful! Create 4 original, interrelated sequential level designs, maps, or set designs which tell a story by creating a background or landscape upon which some kind of action could take place.  Pay careful attention to color, lighting, texture, symbolism, allegory. You can use any digital process or application as well as scanned objects (such as crumpled paper, sticks, leaves, etc.), or digital paintings or textures to create an imaginary landscape. Project or print the resulting works.

 Readings: Due Oct 28
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature

 By Janine M. Benyus pages 1-32

create a short reaction paper
* Personal Research readings
* Associated tutorials


Short Study Project 6 optional or can be used as studies toward the final project
Fusion Media in Virtual & Ephemeral Images:
(using a range of multimedia, blended/augmented reality/ QR code art experiments)

Project: Experiment with blended reality techniques such as QR coding, augmented reality, etc. to  explore the ways you can communicate an issue or idea you are passionate about. You may use any combination of media (print, audio, video/film/IT digital/cellphone) in conjunction with the blended reality experiment.

* Simulations by Jean Baudrillard
* Baudrillard and Hollywood: subverting the mechanism of control and The Matrix by Jim Rovira
create a short reaction paper
* Personal Research readings
* Associated tutorials


Final Project due Dec 2
Art Activating Public Spaces

Project: Activating public spaces with digital images, installations, and art delivery systems

Final Project pre-REVIEWS: Nov 18

Artist Statement & Digital Ideograph –

The artist statement and digital ideograph begin the development of your individual ideas and starts the trajectory towards the final project. It utilizes the techniques, theory and history learned in class and in individual research. It is, in essence, a digital ideograph of your art delivery system in action, virtually. Create a web page that illuminates your idea and its location in terms of what you want to reconstruct in it. Photograph the exact location and then digitally create your ideas within it. You are required to articulate your final project in an artist statement of from one to two paragraphs whereby your concept, methodology and at least 5 bibliographic references/influences are stated.

Dec 2

The actual project manifested as an original (billboard, large poster series, drive by car art, aerial art, photo projection, data projection, etc.) art system device that carries your message to those who may not have the opportunity to see your work inside a normal gallery environment. Your work must be realized physically and you must photograph the work in the site for inclusion in your final project CD web site file.


Readings: (Due Nov 18)

Critical Issues in Public Art: Content, Context, and Controversy  by  Harriet F. Seni, & Sally Webster, eds.

create a short reaction paper


Critical Issues in Public Art: Phillips Temporality and Public Art  by Harriet F. Seni, & Sally Webster, eds.

create a short reaction paper

* Associated tutorials

Browse: browse through and see other artists and ideas you are interested in:
* New Media Art by Mark Tribe
* Imagery-in-the-21st-Century



Web Portfolio due Dec 3 6:30pm (in my office)
Project: Web portfolio & documentation: create a simple website that features all of your perfected works and documentation of works in situ. This will be used for final grading.

* Associated tutorials


Class Schedule:

Week 1 Aug 26, 28
* Introduction to the course,
* Lecture & discussion overview on digital imaging, the power of images, “truth” and images 
* See best works to date and articulate aspirations
* Technique overview on composition, form, perspective, light, color, proportion, motion
* Lecture & discussion on Surveillance

Week 2 Sept 2, 4
* Review & discussion of short study projects: Surveillance part 1
* Technique overview: working in Camera Raw, Image file formats
* Review & discussion of short study projects: Surveillance part 2
* Technique overview: Rembrandt, butterfly, edge and other lighting techniques in portrait photography 
* studio practice in lighting the subject (bring in cameras, tripods, lighting kits)

Week 3 Sept 9
* Critiques of short study projects: Surveillance Photo Essays
* Technique overview: handouts on studio set ups: going off automatic: using aperture, shutter and ISO
* studio practice in tabletop photography with objects using Aperture/ Shutter / ISO. 
Practice being able to demonstrate in your studies an understanding of:
~ Aperture (Av), lens and subject distance to show depth of field 
~ Time Value (Tv) Shutter priority in freezing action or in blurring action
~ Manual 
(Bring in cameras, tripods, lighting kits, a collection of small objects, and one that moves or a ball)

Week 4 Sept 16
* Lecture & discussion on High Dynamic Range photography and how these lighting techniques are used in games, cinema, ads, and beyond) 
* Technique overview: HDR photography (distribute HDR technique handouts) 
* Field studies in HDR landscape photography 
* studio practice in HDR AEB (Auto Exposure Balance) with continuous shooting, lowest ISO & less grain possible, Raw, 
 (Bring in cameras & tripods)

Week 5 Sept 23
* Critiques of short study projects: HDR
* Technique overview: printing & high end archival printing on multiple substrates (archival printing class reserved for Sept 24, 25 & Oct 8, 9 for class exhibition installing Oct 21, opening Oct 22, de-install Nov 4)
* Discussion of the Techniques of the Observer by Jonathan Crary and contemporary viewing techniques and begin discussion on Panorama
* studio practice (Bring in all images for review and approval for archival printing)

Week 6 Sept 30
* Lecture & discussion on Panorama, Cyclorama, VR, Oculus Rift,  Immersion, Caves, Polar Panorama, HDR & Panorama, Stereo Imaging
* Technique overview: panorama, stitching, content aware selection tools 
* studio practice panorama (Bring in cameras & tripods, images for panorama)

Week 7 Oct 7
* Critiques of short study projects: Panoramas
(please ensure all perfected work is in your drop box)

Week 8 Oct 14 off (Institute schedule follows a Monday schedule)

Week 9 Oct 21
* Lecture & discussion on Cartography & Mapping in art and industry in 2 and 3 D, Brian Holms’ “Cartography of Excess”, Assemblage
* Technique overview: vector imaging, assemblage 
* studio practice (Bring in various maps, globes, objects and materials to help you chart your map)

Week 10 Oct 28
* Critiques of short study projects: Personal Geographies: Maps of the Imagination
* Lecture & discussion on bio mimicry, art and nature 
* studio practice creating a texture library from nature (Bring in cameras & tripods and items from nature)

Week 11 Nov 4
* review bio-mimicry works in progress
* start discussions about final project ideas
* studio practice experiments in photographing and scanning items from nature 
(Bring in cameras & tripods)

Week 12 Nov 11
* Critiques of short study projects: Bio-mimicry
* Lecture & discussion Art Activating Public Spaces

Week 13 
Nov 18
* Discussion of the reading Critical Issues in Public Art: Content, Context, and Controversy  by  Harriet F. Seni, & Sally Webster* intensive studio & field practice scouting out locations for final projects 
(Bring in cameras & tripods)

Week 14 Nov 25 (Thanksgiving recess after last class on this day) Second to last day of class
* final project pre-reviews

Week 15 Dec 2 Last Day of Class
* Critiques of works in site Final Projects: Art Activating Public Spaces
* photographing documentation of your works in site 
(Bring in cameras & tripods)



Academic Integrity
Trust: Student-teacher relationships are built on trust. For example, students must trust that teachers have made appropriate decisions about the structure and content of the courses they teach, and teachers must trust that the assignments that students turn in are their own. Acts that violate this trust undermine the educational process. The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities defines various forms of Academic Dishonesty and you should make yourself familiar with these. In this class, all assignments that are turned in for a grade must represent the student’s own work. In cases where help was received, or teamwork was allowed, a notation on the assignment should indicate your collaboration. If you have any question concerning this policy before submitting an assignment, please ask for clarification.
Plagiarism: All work produced in this course must be original and created by the student. First infraction will result in a failure for the course and a report to the Office of the Dean.

Class Specific: Collaboration and discussion about class projects is actively encouraged, and is in no way considered cheating. This is a studio course, and personal ownership of information is not deemed to be appropriate. Original work and images are required, except if indicated otherwise. Projects are expected to reflect personal endeavor, but may also be collaborative in nature as long as the collaboration is clearly defined and approved by the professor previously.

Gender-fair language: Because the way we speak and write affects the way we think, everyone in this course is expected to use gender-fair language in all discussions and writing. A guide to gender-fair language is available from the Writing Center and from the Library.

Other Course Specific Information:

Required materials:
* A laptop computer (bring laptops to class every class)
* An active RCS account.
*High capacity external hard drive, or usb drive (minimum 64GB), or approximately 20 dvds
* A camera (preferred: digital, 35 MM DSL, or the new mirrorless cameras, or high end point and shoot with manual overdrive). A variety of cameras can be signed out from the equipment room as well.
* Software for Intermediate Digital Imaging: Adobe CS6 Design Edition (which includes: Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Flash) suggested to purchase, but you can use the mac computers in Studio WH 214 that have this software, or use the VCC North.
* Other materials on a project basis
* Journal: it is highly recommended that you keep a working journal of ideas, drawings, photographs, dream records, etc. which will act a source for your creative process. You should carry this with you at all times to record your creative insights.

Fabrication costs/materials:
You will be making a number of digital prints/manifestations of your work. The costs of digital printing vary, but be prepared to incur approximately $50 to $100 in fabrication/material costs.

Assumed Knowledge and Skills: Awareness of digital imaging and interactivity concepts, skills, and topics in electronic arts from media arts studio classes (ARTS-1020) and/or other personal achievement. These include basic knowledge of formal topics (light, scale, color, composition, form, motion, proportion), scanning; basic raster and vector imaging skills; resolution; ppi; dpi; ability to draw with a digital stylus and understand gesture, point, line, plane; basic digital photography skills; and basic printing skills.

For Issues in Lab: Please contact

Printing: please see Helpful Resources and Tools for much more detail.
For high end archival printing: Location: West Hall-415
This suite contains the Epson Pro 9800 large format archival printer operated by print coordinator available by appointment only. 
please setup appointment with operator Brian Mertik via email at
Documentation and Files | Scheduling | Report a problem Epson9800_RequestForm_SP2012(Open file)

Information on the other printer in WH 415: EPSON STYLUS PHOTO 1400 USER MANUAL (Open file)