Week 9: Unit 3 and Audio Storytelling

After finishing up Unit 2 last week, we’re now halfway through the course and ready to begin Unit 3: Audio Editing and Adobe Audition. This is a big shift from the visual design we focused on during the first half of the semester — many students find audio storytelling to be more fun, but if you’re a visual learner be prepared for a challenge.

Compared to the previous two units, there are fewer tools and techniques to learn in Audition. But that means it’s that much more important to collect high-quality audio and think about how to structure a story, and this week’s chapters provide important concepts, tips and examples. Take time this week to listen through some of the podcasts and radio segments recommended in the Introduction to Audio Storytelling chapter, and you’ll have much stronger ideas for your own audio project.

For this week’s assignment, note that for the third tutorial you’ll need to record several very brief interviews. I’d recommend reading the instructions right away so you can plan ahead for that part even if you don’t start the tutorials until later.

Week 9 Checklist

❑ Complete the Audition Tutorials assignment by Friday
❑ Read the Week 9 materials listed on the Course Schedule

Week 8: Logo Feedback and Final Project Submission…

This week we finish up Unit 2 with peer feedback and the final version of your Logo Project. It’s been great to see your ideas so far! However, there are also some common issues with the logo draft — see if these apply to you:

Not fully scalable. It’s a key characteristic of logos that they can be used very large (think billboards and T-shirts) or very small (think business cards and social media icons). Small text, narrow outlines and borders, and too much complexity all hurt scalability because those details will disappear at small sizes.

Too colorful. Color choice can add meaning to your logo, but too much can look unprofessional and distract from your message. The most iconic logos can be rendered in black-and-white, and this is a good test: Does your logo still make sense without color?

Too timid. Simplicity is a virtue. But stay too safe, and a logo can never be very distinctive. There should still be strength and energy, and make sure to choose elements that uniquely represent you and your topic.

Understanding the Rubric

Final projects in this course are graded to a very high standard, which is balanced by all the other assignments graded for completion. You can find the rubric goals at the end of the assignment, and the full rubric is available in Blackboard. Back in Unit 1 I made an FAQ video explaining the rubric categories, and that still applies now if you want to review.

Week 8 Checklist

❑ Earn your Unit 2 Participation credit if you haven’t already
❑ Complete the Logo Feedback assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday
❑ Submit your blog post for your Final Logo by 11:59 p.m. on Friday

Week 7: Logo Project

If you completed all the Illustrator tutorials, great work! This week you’ll be applying those skills creatively to make your Draft Logo after first sketching your idea. Before you begin, make sure to go through this week’s chapters and read about the characteristics of successful logos so you can stay focused on the final goal.

Week 7 Checklist

❑ Read the course materials listed for Week 7
❑ Complete the Logo Sketch assignment by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday
❑ Submit your blog post for your Draft Logo by 11:59 p.m. on Friday
❑ Take the Unit 2 Quiz in Blackboard by 11:59 p.m. on Friday

Illustrator Games

Still a little confused about Illustrator tools, or looking for a way to refresh your skills? Try out Adobe’s quick Illustrator training games, which are focused on essential tools and skills: drawing line segments, drawing shapes, using the Shape Builder tool and using the Pen tool.

A scene from the game about learning to create shapes.
A scene from the game about learning to create shapes.

Week 6: Starting Unit 2!

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, 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. You’ll be reading about how vector graphics differ from the more familiar raster graphics, the principle of figure-ground, and the history of logos.

Week 6 Checklist

❑ Read the course materials listed for Week 6
Download Adobe Illustrator if you are using it on your own computer
❑ Complete the Illustrator Tutorials by Friday. Don’t wait until the last minute or you won’t get them done!

Due Last Week!

If you have not yet submitted your Final Graphic Design Project, make sure to do this! The final projects for each unit of this course are worth a lot of points. It can be submitted for partial credit through this Wednesday.

Other Reminders

Week 5: Feedback and Critique

Now that you’ve created a draft for your Graphic Design Project, this week you’ll get feedback and make revisions to improve your design. This is the final week of Unit 1 and Photoshop before we move to the next unit.

Feedback groups will be posted on Blackboard Announcements and sent via email today (9/16). Before you provide feedback to your group members, make sure to read this week’s chapter on Constructive Criticism & Feedback in Design to think about the best way to communicate your response to other students’ drafts. Giving useful feedback is one of the most important skills you’ll get to practice in this course.

Week 5 To-Do List

❑ Read the Week 5 reading listed on the course schedule
❑ Complete and submit the Graphic Design Project Feedback assignment by Tuesday
❑ Complete and submit the Final Graphic Design Project by Friday
❑ Earn your Unit 1 Participation Credit by attending your lab section, if you haven’t already (you must attend your lab session once per Unit, and be marked in attendance by your TA, in order to earn this).

Photoshop 1.0

For fun, here’s a video of Photoshop experts attempting to use Photoshop 1.0, which debuted 26 years ago in February 1990.