Thursday 10:10AM-2:15PM, Room 1P-231, Fall 2014

Professor Michael Mandiberg
Michael[d0t]Mandiberg[at]csi.cuny.edu

Office Hours: Thursday 2:30-5:30PM (Please schedule an appointment via email, or in person during class)
Office: Room 224F, ph 982-2555

Course website: 351.00mm.org

Course Description:

From the Handbook

An advanced creative, practical, and theoretical study of digital imaging as it is used in visual communication. Students will enhance their understanding of design and visual practice through thematic digital imaging assignments. Technical topics include advanced features of hardware and software and digital camera use. Theoretical concerns focus on the evolution of digital imagery, digital photography, and representation.

Supplemental

This course will be focused around several interrelated themes theme. The first two assignments are focused on attribution, appropriation and collections of images. The middle assignments are all about impossibilities, fakes and simulations. The first and last assignments are dedicated to work for the greater good. All of this work is directed towards impacts outside of our classroom: assignments will add to Commons based web platforms like Flickr and Wikipedia.

We will use blackboard extensively to carry on discussions outside of class. While the focus of the course is the production of directed creative work, there are theoretical and historical readings that will help ground your creative work in a context.

Goals and Requirements:

Learning Goals

Course Requirements:

Course Prerequisite:

COM 250 and 251.

Materials and Texts

Review Text: For review of concepts and skills covered in COM 251, please use the textbook you used in that course (e.g. Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book). You may also use the Digital Foundations book or wiki.
Supplemental Text: Martin Evening, Adobe Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, Focal Press, ISBN 978-0240520285, retail $54.95. You may also use an older (CS4) version.
Materials and Supplies: USB thumb drive (provided)
Laptops:
If you are planning on using a laptop, get it connected to the Wireless network.

Disabilities

If you have a disability that will affect your coursework, please contact the Office of Disability Services in 1P-101; (718) 982.2510, ODS@csi.cuny.edu and notify the instructor within the first two weeks of class to ensure suitable arrangements and a comfortable working environment.

Lab Policy:

Please be aware that technological failures such as printer errors, erased drives, email issues, computer crashes, network failure, viruses, etc. are not emergencies, they are facts of life. You must structure your workflow in anticipation of such scenarios. Backup, backup, backup! You have been warned.

Email Policy

Please consult the syllabus and/or the related assignment before posing questions that may already be addressed there (i.e. due dates, scope, deliverable, etc)

I will not reply to email inquiries regarding course matters (assignment requirements, due dates, exam structure, readings, etc.) that arise from missing class or inattention to the course syllabus. Inquiries requesting clarification will receive replies, though I would strongly prefer these inquiries to be made in class or during office hours.

If your question will take more than two minutes or two sentences to answer, it's not a question, it's a discussion topic. Please bring the topic up in class, or I would be happy to discuss it with you during my office hours.

Emails will not be answered immediately or in the depth that they would in-person. Consequently, they are not the most productive way to communicate with me for matters that require more than a sentence or two to resolve.

Read this post on Design Educator for more on writing a good email


Grading Criteria:

We will be covering a great deal of information at a fast pace, so attendance is a strong determinant of your grade: without attending you will not have the knowledge necessary to successfully complete your assignments, as you will have missed thematic and technical lectures, as well as the presentation of class assignments. Furthermore, College of Staten Island Attendance Policy states that after more than 8 hours of absence (15 percent of the course meeting time) you will be assigned a WU (withdrew unofficially).

Repeated tardiness will be cause for grade reduction: first tardiness is excused, all others result in a 1 point deduction. Perfect attendance will be rewarded with 3 extra credit points. If you know that you will be absent on a date that a project is due, you may submit your work before the deadline or arrange to have another student submit work for you.

Projects are due on the assigned date, at the beginning of class. NO EXCEPTIONS. Each day it is late your grade will be reduced one incremental letter grade. Assignments will not be accepted after one week from the date due without prior approval from the professor.

You are required to revise projects by the date indicated in the syllabus. Finished projects turned in on time will be assigned the grade for the revised project; projects that were incomplete at the original due date will be assigned an average of the two grades.

Scale:

Online & Offline Participation 10 points
Help out up to 10 bonus points
Flickr to Wikipedia 5 points
Collections 7 points
Impossible Spaces 8 points
Digital Readymades 10 points
Frankensteins 10 points
Perfection 10 points
Accumulation 15 points
Final project 25 points

Academic Integrity, Plagiarism, and Cheating

Integrity is fundamental to the academic enterprise. It is violated by such acts as borrowing or purchasing assignments (including but not limited to term papers, essays, and reports) and other written assignments, using concealed notes or crib sheets during examinations, copying the work of others and submitting it as one’s own, and misappropriating the knowledge of others. The sources from which one derives one’s ideas, statements, terms, and data, including Internet sources, must be fully and specifically acknowledged in the appropriate form; failure to do so, intentionally or unintentionally, constitutes plagiarism.

Violations of academic integrity will result in failure for an assignment or failure in a course and in disciplinary actions with penalties such as suspension or dismissal from the College. More information on the CUNY policies on Academic Integrity can be found here.

Project Summaries

 

Ambient Assignment: Help Out (up to 10 bonus points):

Patrol Sparked.com's Non Profit section for ways to contribute, and post your activity back to blackboard.

Assignment 1: Flickr to Wikipedia (5 points):

You will find an appropriately Creative Commons licensed image on Flickr and import it into Wikimedia Commons, and place it onto at least one Wikipedia Page for which it could help illustrate.

Assignment 2: Collections, Taxonomies, Specimens (7 points)

Make 2 collections of images that have a symbolic, chromatic, or typological relationship. One collection will be made up found images from Flickr, and the other can be either your own images or images found inside Flickr.

Assignment 3: Impossible Spaces (8 points)

Using photomerge with an understanding of architectural perspective correction, we will photograph and composite one large expansive image of many photographs of a very small space.

Assignment 4: Digital Readymades (10 points)

Make art from found digital materials, by reducing or accumulating, contextualizing or decontextualizing screenshots, and animated gifs.

Assignment 5: Frankensteins (10 points)

Make one body from many parts.

Assignment 6: Perfection (10 points)

Retouch a family photo into magazine-cover-ready perfection. In particular, choose an image whose roughness defines its contextual/historical place, and remove that roughness via retouching and recoloring.

Assignment 7: Accumulation (15 points)

Keeping in mind the history of collage, constructivism, collage, and political protest, you will create a large (16 x 20 inch) collage. This college will achieve its effect via the accumulation of many many parts which you will composite together. We will print this at full size on the large format printer.

Final Project: Wikipedia Illustrations/People's History (25 points)

You will create a series of illustrations. These will either be for Wikipedia, as part of the Wikipedia Illustrated project, or will be for the Just Seeds People's History poster series.

Extra Credit

I will be announcing events/exhibitions/performances/etc in Manhattan throughout the semester. I will award 2 points extra credit for attendance at these events.  You will prove to me that you went by turning in your ticket stub or collecting a press release AND writing a one paragraph review of the event/show. I will give up to 8 points extra credit for this. Also included in this category is attendance at any one of the following museums: MOMA (you get in free), MOMA film (you get in free with your CUNY ID), PS1, The New Museum, The Metropolitan Museum, The Whitney, The Guggenheim, The Cooper Hewitt, The Museum of Arts and Design, or any other major art museum. For those in two of my classes, please note that an individual event/museum can only be 'applied' to your grade in one of these two classes.

Course Outline (Subject to Revision)

 

Week 1. August 28

Thematic introduction to the course: Fakes, Simulations, Forgeries and Impossibilities

Non-graded class assessment/placement exam, and pre-evaluation. Use this file.

Technical Review Part 1: Resolution, file size, resizing, non destructive editing

Discussion and assignment of first project: Flickr to Wikipedia; Images online: searching and sampling


Homework: Project 1, Flickr to Wikipedia

Reading: Digital Foundations Chapter 2, Searching and Sampling http://wiki.digital-foundations.net/index.php?title=Chapter_2_CS6

Review Reading: Digital Foundations or Photoshop CIB on resolution, masks, adjustment layers, Bridge, cropping, file formats and save for web

 

Week 2. September 4

Due: Project 1

In class: Photo Demo, with 3 point lighting, and head shots.

Technical Review Part 2: Bridge, file formats, save for web, cropping, masking, using a digital camera

Tech Demo: Camera Raw. Demo here.


Homework: Project 2, Collections, Taxonomies, Specimens

Reading: Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction or as a PDF here

Tech Demos: Photomerge and Content Aware Fill, Photomerge with lens correction (first 6 minutes, as it gets a little geeky after minute six), Clone tool,

Optional Reading: Photoshop for Photographers Chapter 7, Image Retouching (Cloning, and Patch Tool), (Vanishing Point); Chapter 8 (Photomerge), Lens Correction


Week 3. September 11

Due: Project 2 (collections)

Critique: Project 2

Lecture: Principles of photography and image composition

Tech Demo: Photomerge. Perspective correction, Free transformation

 

Reading: Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction or as a PDF here

Homework: Project 3, Impossible Spaces

 


Week 4. September 18

Due: Project 3, Impossible Spaces

Critique: Project 3

Discussion: Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction or as a PDF here

Lecture: digital readymades

Demo: Animated gifs, Screenshots

 

Homework: Project 4, Readymades

Reading: Lauren Collins, Pixel Perfect: Pascal Dangin’s virtual reality, New Yorker.

 

September 25th: We will not meet at CSI (campus closed)

REQUIRED FIELD TRIP to MoMA, Sept 25th or Sept 27th.

I will be walking you through key modernist & appropriationist works in the permanent collection. I will lead two visits, one during our scheduled class time, September 25th, 11AM - 1PM, and a second Saturday September 27th, 430PM-630PM. I include two options, I know that many of you have fixed schedules, and cannot meet outside of classtime. This visit will replace one of our December sessions.

 

Week 5. October 2

Due: Project 4, Readymades

Discussion: images, bodies, and body image.

Reading: Demos on Select > Color Range. The conventional one. The one from "You Suck At Photoshop" (more on that here).

Reading: For more on quick masks, please see chapter 10 of Digital Foundations. and Chapter 11 of Digital Foundations.


 

Tech Demo: Retouching I: Hiding blemishes. We will use your headshots from our photoshoot.

 

Homework: begin work on Project 5, Perfection

Reading: Demos on Skin Selection and Masking, Glamour Skin Glow, Glamour Portraits


Week 6. October 9

Due: Project 5, Frankensteins

Tech Demo: Retouching II: Stylization


Homework: Finish Project 5

Reading: TBD

 

November 11th Extra Credit Event:

Jeremy Pikser Screening and Lecture
2:30-5:30, Williamson Theater, 1P-111
Write a summary of your takeaways from watching the film and hearing his talk, for up to 4 points extra credit.

Week 7. October 16

Due: Project 6, Perfection

Tech Demo: Compositing workshop, Blend Modes, Sitting things down with shadows, color adjustments for compositing

FIELD TRIP: 1:00 field trip to visit Penelope Umbrico's mural at PS/IS 71, at 1050 Targee St


Homework: Begin work on Project 7, Accumulation

Reading: Susan Sontag, In Plato's Cave (from On Photography) -- note, link takes you to Blackboard site

Reading: reading on History of Dada collage TBD


Week 8. October 23

Tech Demo: Camera RAW

Due: Project 7 Creative Brief

Discussion, Sontag

Homework: start Project 7, Accumulation

Reading: liquify for plastic surgery, Liquify Freeze Mask


Week 9. October 30

Due: Project 7, rough drafts

Tech Demo: Printing Large, color profiles

Homework: Finish Project 6

Reading: “Puppet Masters” a Dialogue between Kenneth Tinkin Hung and Cliff Evans

Reading: Susan Sontag, In Plato's Cave (from On Photography) -- note, link takes you to Blackboard site


Week 10. November 6

Due: Project 7 Accumulation

Critique: Project 7 Accumulation

Discussion: Sontag and Puppet Masters

Assigned: Final project

Homework: revisions to Project 7.

Lecture: Final Project Assigned

Reading: TBD

Homework: work on Final Project


Week 11. November 13

Due: Creative Brief for final project

Due: Project 7 Accumulation revisions, any further revisions to projects 3-6

Critique: discussion of briefs

Workperiod

Homework: work on Final Project


Week 12. November 20

Due: first two WP Illustrated/People's History roughs

Desk Critique: roughs


Homework: 2 finished drafts Final Project


NO CLASS, November 27th (Thanksgiving)

 

Week 13. December 4

Due: first 2 WP Illustrations, second two WP Illustrated/People's History roughs

Desk Critique: finished drafts and roughs


Week 14. December 11

We will not meet; class replaced by MoMA field trip


Final Period. December 18

Due: Final Project, both WP Illustrated/People's History final

Critique: Final Project

 

 

Projects

 

 

Ambient Assignment: Help Out (up to 10 extra credit points):

Sparked.com has a section for Not For Profit (NFP) organizations to solicit micro-volunteers to help them with a range of specialized tasks. One of the things they ask help for involves the kind of expertise you have, including design, imaging, web design, and social networking consultation. Your job is to create an account and patrol Sparked for ways to contribute. This is beneficial to you as well, as you have the potential to create materials suitable for a portfolio. While you may not be able to complete the entirety of the task they are requesting help for, (I believe they have to select your response for you to do further work,) you can provide help by these smaller contributions

You should keep an eye out to identify suitable requests that the class as a whole could attempt. If your proposal is selected, you should create the materials and designs.

Post all of your activity back to blackboard.

At the end of the semester, you will post a self-evaluation of your work on Sparked.com to the blackboard site, identifying your contributions, and the ways in which those contributions have impacted the design problem proposed by the organizations.

 

Assignment 1: Flickr to Wikipedia (5 points):

You will find an appropriately Creative Commons licensed image on Flickr (CC BY or CC BY-SA) and import it into Wikimedia Commons, and place it onto at least one Wikipedia Page for which it could help illustrate. Choose a subject in the field of design, digital media, and new media art OR Staten Island history and geography. For example, you could find a photograph of Lynn Hershman Leeson or her work on Flickr, and add it to the Wikimedia Commons, and then include that on her Wikipedia page; or you could add photographs of the CSI campus to the page about CSI. Except, because this is the demonstration example, you can't use John Maeda or CSI, but you can start by looking at one of these lists of new media artists, contemporary artists, designers, fashion designers. You will have to do a significant amount of research for this project, many of these will be dead ends, but this is part of the research process.

By the end of this project you should be able to:

Procedure

1. Learn a little bit about Free Culture:

2. Find a freely licensed image

3. Move that image from Flickr (or another source) to the Wikimedia Commons

 

4. Add that image to at least one Wikipedia page

5. Post these links to blackboard forum:

6. Watch that page on Wikipedia and on Wikimedia Commons. To watch the page, click the star at the top right. More on watching pages here.

7. Return to the page and image in a six hours and again after a week, and note any changes.

8. Return to the page periodically during the class, and again at the end of the class. At the end of class you can write a short description of any events that happened to the image or the page during this time which will be considered for extra credit. These may include the removal of your image from the WP page or the WMC entirely, the inclusion of your image on other WP pages, or edits to your image or the text caption.

 


Assignment 2: Collections, Taxonomies, Specimens (7 points)

Make 2 collections of at least 16 images each. Each collection should share one symbolic, chromatic, or typological theme, and the two collections should also bear some relationship to each other.

One of the sets must be found images from Flickr or another source of freely licensed images. The other set can either be found images from Flickr, etc OR your own images.

You will turn in two 6" x 6" files at print resolution (300 DPI) saved as .jpg or .png. Please use guides and masks to corretly space out your images. You may chose to have a white border between your images, or have the images run in to one another. Precision is important: your images should all be the same size, and if you have to correct this slightly, you should use masks, rather than erase. You should not have any images that are incorrectly resized and thus lose their correct proportions.

 

Some strategies and themes you might consider:

By the end of this project you should be able to:

Image Sources

Examples


Assignment 3: Impossible Spaces (8 points)

Use image merge to create a composite image of an interior space that shows you more than the eye can see.

 

Assignment 4: Digital Readymades (10 points)

Make art from found digital materials, by reducing or accumulating, contextualizing or decontextualizing screenshots, and animated gifs.

Less is more. Think about the meaning.

 

Tools:

Examples:

Further reading:


Assignment 5: Frankensteins (8 points)

Your assignment is to create a frankenstein body. You are to join at least 5 different bodies or body parts to form one larger body. This assignment is open ended to allow you to explore and be creative. Your goal is to create a work that clearly is unreal, rather than a work that hides its falseness.

Contrast and surprise are going to be key tools for this; for example, instead of putting a normal-bodied celebrity onto the body of a thinner model in a way that looks realistic, flip the situation start with an normal to overweight body, and composite a model's head and/or arms/legs onto that body. Engage with contrasting body types, skin colors, genders, ages, etc.

You can also aim for impossibility and surreality, by adding too many limbs, eyes, or fingers or by turning human forms into non-human outputs. For example, imagine a hand with hands at the end of each of those fingers (and hands at the end of those fingers...?) Or imagine that same idea of hands coming out of hands as a tree. Or turn it upside down and make a spider out of it.

In all of this, I want you to think about the meaning of the image you are creating. What is its thesis? What is it saying?

You will turn in a 10 x 16 inch phaser print on 11 x 17 paper at the start of class, printed at 300 DPI. You will upload to blackboard a jpg saved at 1200px wide, and turn in a full res psd at the start of class. The PSD will need to be at least 300 DPI. Please pay close attention to these specifications.

Technical resources
For demos on Select > Color Range see: The conventional one or the one from "You Suck At Photoshop" (more on that here). For more on quick masks, please see chapter 10 of Digital Foundations. and Chapter 11 of Digital Foundations.

Visual References
focused on unintentional frankensteins and other misrepresentations of reality

 

Assignment 6: Perfection (10 points)

Retouch a family photo into magazine-cover-ready perfection. In particular, choose an image whose roughness defines its contextual/historical place, and remove that roughness via retouching and recoloring.

You will use all of the retouching tricks you have learned, in order to make the image more "perfect" than reality. You will use the following: spot healing brush, healing brush, color correction and enhancement, hue/saturation, blend modes, liquify. The Facial Scrub and Foundation Makeup tutorials may be useful. You will want to use the techniques described in the "glamour glow" tutorial and the corresponding skin selection tutorial, as well as eye color adjustment techniques. The 1940s black and white portrait tutorial will be useful, if only for its pseudo-depth-of-field trick from the blurred background.

Print the image at the same dimensions as the original image, with the original image set side by side in a "before and after" format. Upload a 1000px wide jpg to blackboard.


Assignment 7: Accumulation (15 points)

Keeping in mind the history of collage, constructivism, collage, and political protest, you will create a large (16 x 20 inch) collage. Your theme for this project is open, under the general category of fakes, forgeries, and lies.

This college will achieve its effect via the accumulation of many many parts which you will composite together. We will print this at full size on the large format printer.

You will make a creative brief, with a description of the work, what it aims to achieve, with a sketch and sample images. Take Ryan Trecartin's brief as an example to work from. Your creative brief, with all of your source images is due next week. A draft composition is due the following week, uploaded to blackboard at 1200px wide and placed on the instructor machine as a full resolution.psd. The following week the final prints are due.

Some of the visual references to improvise upon include:

Dada / Hannah Hoch (Image 1, Image 2)

John Heartfield

Richard Hamilton

The Beatles, St. Pepper's album cover art

Martha Rosler (Image 1 and Image 2 from Vietnam War era, Image 3 from 1970's feminism, Image 4 and Image 5 from Iraq/Afghanistan War)

Barbara Kruger (image search)

Cliff Evans, Road to Mount Weather (Video and Stills)

Kenneth Tin-kin Hung

Olia Lialina One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Photo Op

Rashaad Newsom


 

Final Project: Wikipedia Illustrations/People's History (25 points)

You will be completing two illustrations for the Wikipedia Illustrated project OR for Just Seed's "Celebrate People's History"

Due November 14- Blackboard post with a creative briefs on the your first chosen articles/events. For WP: The brief must include the quotes from each article, a sketchbook or photoshop draft and the set of freely licensed images to be reused. For PH: The brief must include must include a summary of the event/person/etc, a sketchbook or photoshop draft and the images/sources you plan on using in the work.

In class November 21-

Desk crit on creative briefs. You will choose one of the two articles to work on, and spend the rest of class period, and the following week:

Off week, Thanksgiving:

Begin the process with a second illustration, iterating through the process again, choosing a topic, and preparing a creative brief for both of it (with the qutoes and images)

December 5: First WP/PH work is due, roughs for the second one is due.

December 12: Final Critique on both

 

 


 

 

Courses

Digital Imaging II

Projects