Quick games to learn Illustrator tools

A scene from the game about learning to create shapes.

A scene from the game about learning to create shapes.

Getting accustomed to Illustrator’s tools take practice, and it turns out Adobe has helpfully made this more fun with a series of short training games. All of these are focused on fairly simple but essential skills: drawing line segments, drawing shapes, using the Shape Builder tool and using the Pen tool.

These aren’t especially complex games — the full set shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to complete — but they’re a fun way to get familiar with the tools, especially if you need a break from this week’s tutorials.

Week 5: Starting Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator is my favorite of the Adobe programs. I even have this T-shirt with the Align tools.

Illustrator is my favorite of the Adobe programs. I even have this T-shirt with the Align tools.

After finishing up Unit 1 last week, we’re now moving on to Unit 2: Vector Graphics and Adobe Illustrator. The pattern of each unit should start to seem familiar — we’ll start with tutorials to explore the software, then apply those skills and principles from the course readings to create a multimedia project that relates to your course topic. In this unit, you’ll be making a logo.

Illustrator is my favorite of the Adobe programs, and the one I use most frequently in my professional work. So I’m very excited for all of you to try it out! However, this is frequently students’ least-favorite unit in COM210, because Illustrator is less familiar than Photoshop and less intuitive than audio and video editing.

It can be frustrating, and it’s important that you 1) read this week’s readings to understand how vector graphics work and 2) give yourself plenty of time for the tutorials this week.

This Week’s Focus

Week 5 Checklist

❑ Read the course materials listed for Week 5
Download Adobe Illustrator if you are using the free 30-day trial
❑ Complete the Illustrator Tutorials by Friday, Feb. 11, at 11:59 p.m. Don’t wait until the last minute or you won’t get them done!

Due Last Week!

Other Reminders

Week 4: Feedback and Revisions

Welcome to Week 4, which is the final week of Unit 1! This week we’re concluding our work in Photoshop by getting feedback and refining the Narrative Graphic Collage project.

This Week’s Focus

  • By Tuesday you will complete the Feedback Assignment by giving feedback comments to the classmates in your assigned feedback group and evaluating your own work with a self-critique comment. (Note that feedback assignments receive a 20% deduction per day late and after three days receive a zero.)
  • By Friday, you will use that feedback to revise your design for the Final Narrative Graphic Collage.
  • To let you focus on your project, there are no new readings this week.

Week 3 Checklist

❑ Complete the Feedback Assignment by Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 11:59 p.m.
❑ Read through the full project rubric and ask any questions.
❑ Complete your Final Narrative Graphic Collage by Friday, Feb. 5, at 11:59 p.m.
❑ Go to “My Grades” in Blackboard to double-check your submission!
❑ Browse your classmates’ topics and projects with the Student Websites list, and confirm that your blog is listed correctly.

Due Last Week!

Recommended Resources

Here is a list of posts and tutorials I’ve created to help with common questions about Photoshop and the Narrative Graphic Collage Assignment:

Tip: Citing free-to-use images

Photography by Dave Nixen via Flickr

Photograph by Dave Nixen via Flickr

Many of you are using our course list of Image Resources and other resources to find free-to-use images for your Narrative Graphic Collage. We do not require you to follow a particular style of citation, but the following information must be clearly included:

  1. where you found the image
  2. who created it or owns the copyright
  3. how you know you have the right to use it
  4. a direct link to the image and its license information

You can include this information in your written post. For example, I might write:

I found the image at the top of this post by searching “photographer sunset” on Flickr. It was taken by Dave Nixen in 2012 and is labeled with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license, which allows me to share and adapt the image as long as it’s attributed correctly and isn’t being used for commercial purposes.

Or, you can include this information in a list of citations. For example, you may include all image citations at the end of your post:

Image Citations
“Rough Water Shot” (waves image) by Dave Nixen, 2012. Shared on Flickr.com with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license. https://flic.kr/p/b8X77B

If you are using images you found with Google using the license search feature, you must click through and get the link for the image that confirms its free-to-use license.

You must click through to make sure the image page includes information verifying the license.

You must click through to make sure the image page includes information verifying the license.

We're in luck! This photo's page clearly shows that it's labeled at Public Domain and free to use.

We’re in luck! This photo’s page clearly shows that it’s labeled at Public Domain and free to use.

Powerful example of Gestalt principles

An image from an advertising campaign designed by Matt Hubbard for Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.

An image from an advertising campaign designed by Matt Hubbard for CJFE.

I recently came across this award-winning advertising campaign that’s an excellent example of Gestalt Theory, which can be a bit tricky to understand when you first read about it. As it says in our course reading on Unity and Gestalt Theory:

“A central concept of Gestalt Theory is that our mind seeks patterns and tends to group visual elements to establish a unified whole. According to this theory, when we see an image consisting of numerous elements, our mind forms an impression that is derived from the individual objects, but has a separate meaning based on the unified whole.”

These ads were designed by Matt Hubbard for an organization called Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. These are images of journalism gear, such as audio recorders, camera lenses, tripods and microphones. But because of the way those components are arranged, our eye first sees a weapon from the unified whole. The double meaning makes the arrangement interesting to us and visually reinforces the slogan “Information is Ammunition.” Additionally, the composition is eye-catching because of the contrast between dark and light.