Art 180: Introduction to Computer Graphics I



    Robert Martin




Class Time

    Monday & Wednesday 10:50 p.m. – 1:20 p.m., FA 226


    Fine Arts 256

Office Hours

    Mondays & Wednesdays 09:50 p.m. – 10:50 p.m.

    Tuesdays & Thursdays  01:20 p.m. – 04:20 p.m.

Suggested Textbooks

Visual Quickstart Guide Photoshop CS4, by Elaine Weinmann

Visual Quickstart Guide Adobe Illustrator CS4 , by Elaine Weinmann

Visual Quickstart Guide InDesign C54, by Elaine Weinmann

Students are strongly encouraged to research design and fine art  techniques, as well as contemporary artist-designer issues at the university and public libraries, galleries, museums and through the Internet.

Course Description

This course will give students an understanding of computer graphics software used to

execute visual communication. We will cover both technical and creative aspects of three

Adobe graphic applications.  They are Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and InDesign.

Course Content

Students will learn basic design principles and design theories for vector and raster imagery, screen vs. printing resolution, photo manipulation, typeface usage, layout, integration of software, color reproduction, and saving and managing files. At the end of this course students will have a solid understanding of software and design theory.

Course Objectives

Develop technical skills in the software applications used to create and produce graphic


Develop projects for your portfolio.

Develop introductory skills for critique by attaining a visual and verbal literacy of graphic

design and typography.

Student Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate an understanding of page layout, vector drawing and raster image software

using the Macintosh operating system to create digital graphic files

Demonstrate the ability to save, transfer, and store digital files in proper formats.

Differentiate and properly utilize vector and raster software programs.

Properly employ multiple input and output devices for digital graphics.

Experiment with a variety of software tools for graphic production.

Create computer graphic imagery using digital software and hardware tools.

Method of Evaluation

Attendance is required at every class.   Absences due to illness, emergency or certain University functions are sometimes necessary but students are responsible for all material covered during their absence.

Projects are the major part of a student’s grade.   Projects will be graded on technique, composition and concept.   All projects will have a deadline; any work received after the deadline will drop one letter grade (from the grade the project would have received, not from and ‘A’) for each class period the work is late.

Methods of Instruction

Regular critiques will be conducted to examine each student’s progress.

Class Participation

Participation in class discussions and attendance at group critiques are mandatory. 

You must be present to present your work.

PowerPoint Presentation Example Screenshot

April 4 – Wednesday

PowerPoint Presentation Workday. Create sketches and select photographs for your surrealistic billboard to be scanned into a PowerPoint presentation.

April 9 – Monday

PowerPoint Presentation Work Day Continued, create sketches for a surrealistic billboard to be scanned into a PowerPoint presentation. Also include photographic digital images in your class presentation.

April 11 – Wednesday

Present surrealistic billboard sketches and digital images to class with PowerPoint.

Source Materials

April 16 – Monday

Present your Graphic Designer Pioneer PowerPoint Presentation.

Adobe Photoshop workday

Lecture on resolution, adjustments, color corrections, color substitutions, and manipulating images, simple retouching. Create a collage using digital photographs and/or scanned items utilizing techniques learned during lectures. You may not include images of yourself or relatives. 


April 18 – Wednesday

Adobe Photoshop Workday

Student Work  |  David Leung

April 23 – Monday

Surrealistic billboard project due on PowerPoint and presentation board.

First Vector Assignment:  Create graphic translations of a photograph using Adobe Illustrator.

First, find a photograph of an architectural detail with typography. You may use any source for imagery. Two excellent sources are Corbis: www.corbis.comand Getty:

Import the photo into Adobe Illustrator, and draw an accurate 6-inch square, vector translation of the image. Match the color of your translation to the original. Next, duplicate your translation two times. On one, utilize a cool color palette, on the second, use a warm color palette.

Vector Translation from Photograph

Warm & Cool Versions

Go to the bottom of page

to view the proper mounting example for your photograph & vector illustration.

All four images must be emailed to me before the deadline.

April 25 – Wednesday

Adobe Illustrator Workday

April 30 – Monday

Adobe Illustrator Workday

May 2 – Wednesday

Adobe Illustrator Workday

May 7 – Monday

First Vector Assignment: Adobe Illustrator Assignment Due on presentation board and PowerPoint.

Second Vector Assignment:  Logo Project with Adobe Illustrator

Search for photographs to be used with “live trace”. This vector image will be used in combination with typography to develop a logo for a fictitious company.  This class project must be presented on PowerPoint and presentation board.

Logo Project

You must use live trace on a photograph and you should mount a black and white version of your project.

Copyright Information


May 9 – Wednesday

Present Logo Project sketches to class

May 14 – Monday

Logo Workday

May 16 – Wednesday

Logo Workday

May 21 – Monday

Logo Workday

May 23 – Wednesday

Logo Project Due on presentation board and PowerPoint.

Final Class Assignment:  Adobe InDesign book cover style sheet project

Integrate your images and provided text in InDesign. This project must be mounted on presentation board and presented with PowerPoint.

Book Cover Assignment

inDesign Book Cover Template

Redesign Jenny Holzer’s book cover.

You must have 3 sketches by May 20.

back flap

back cover

front cover

front flap


Text Information

Back Flap Text

Some Other Guggenheim Museum Publications

Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography by Jennifer Blessing with Carole-Anne Tyler, Sarah Wilson,Nancy Spector, and Judith Halberstam, and Picture essay by Lyle Ashton Harris

232 pages with 141 full-color reproductions

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

by Nancy Spector

248 pages with 174 full-color reproductions

Rebecca  Horn

by Germano Celant, Nancy Spector, Giuliana Bruno, and Katharina Schmidt

350 pages with 250 full-color and 100 black-and-white reproductions

Art of The Guggenheim Museum and Its Collection

by Thomas Krens and the curators of the Guggenheim Museum

348 pages with 165 full-color and go black-and-white reproductions

Distributed by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.100 Fifth Avenue New York, New York 10011

Spine & Cover Text


Diane Waldman


Front Flap Text

JENNY HOLZER by Diane Waldman

144 pages with 64 full-color

and 17 black-and-white reproductions

Jenny Holzer has been at the forefront of American art since the early 1980's gaining widespread recognition when texts from her Truisms series appeared on a vast electronic advertising board overlooking Times Square. Throughout her career, Holzer has intrigued audiences by placing her provocative messages in unexpected contexts,including posters, metal plaques, stone benches, electronic signs,television spots, and Web sites. Her canny melding of the mediums of mass Culture with an unadorned, emphatic language is perfectly attuned to an age of advertising slogans, headlines, and sound bites. Yet despite the very public nature of much of her work, Holzer has also created more intimate pieces for display in galleries and museums. Her Stunning Installation at the 1990 Venice Biennale was awarded first prize and brought the artist international acclaim,proving that Holzer's art is equally compelling wherever it is shown in a setting calculated to reach the masses or in the most rarefied art spaces.

This revised and greatly expanded edition of the book originally published on the occasion of Holzer's celebrated exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum In 1989 is a comprehensive document of the artist's career. A complete collection of the artist's writings, LIP to and including her 1996 text for a monument in Erlauf, Austria, is accompanied by color photography of the entire range of Holzer's installations and projects. In an insightful essay and a lively interview with the artist, Diane Waldman traces the history of Holzer's series of writings and the varied environments in which they have appeared. The volume is rounded off with a chronology,exhibition history, and bibliography.

This template can be downloaded at the bottom of page

Class Schedule

April 2 – Monday

Introduction to Graphic Design Theory and PowerPoint Presentation.

Research and design a short presentation about a graphic design pioneer. Search out biographical information, as well as a minimum of 3 pictorial examples of their work.  I am looking for information about why this person is considered a design pioneer.  Be sure to cite your sources.  All preliminary sketches, photographic concepts and final presentations of all software assignments must be presented to the class via PowerPoint.  Your class PowerPoint preliminary billboard assignment with sketches and photographic samples are due April 11.  Your graphic designer presentation day is April 16.   The final version of your surrealistic billboard is due on PowerPoint and a 15 x 20 inch gray, black or white presentation board April 23. If you do not hand deliver or email me your Power Point presentations before the due date, your project will be late and reduced by one letter grade. 

Please select one of the graphic designers listed below:

Saul Bass, Herbert Bayer, Lester Beall, Josef Muller-Brockmann, Neville Brody, Alexey Brodovitch, David Carson, Ivan Chermayeff (Chermayeff+Geismar) Sheila Levrant DeBretteville, Milton Glaser, April Greiman, Armin Hoffman, Chip Kid, Herb Lubalin, Alvin Lustig, Herbert Matter, PauiRand, Paula Scher, Bradbury Thompson, Jan Tschichold, Massimo Vigneiii, Wolfgang Weingart, Tadanori Yokoo, Rudy Vanderians + Zuzana Licko (Emigre)

May 28 – Monday

Memorial Day

Campus Closed

May 30 – Wednesday

Adobe In Design Workday

June 4 – Monday

Adobe In Design Workday

June 6 – Wednesday

Adobe In Design Workday

June 11 - Monday (Final Exam Day) 4:20 – 6:50 p.m. FA 226

Final Assignment due on presentation board and PowerPoint. . If you do not hand deliver or email me your Power Point presentation before the final exam, your project will be late and reduced by one letter grade. 


Safety Requirements:

Safety goggles

Work gloves

Dust mask

Grading Rubric

All projects will be averaged on a 4-point scale.  All projects are due at the end of class.

A        4.00

You went beyond all expectations

A-       3.67

Your craftsmanship is exceptional

B+      3.33

You met all expectations, but did not push the boundaries

B        3.00

You did a very good job, but did not follow all directions

B-       2.67

You did not show mastery of skills and craftsmanship

C+      2.33

You did just enough to get by

C        2.00

You did minimum requirements necessary

C-        1.67

Your assignment shows poor craftsmanship

D+       1.33

You did not meet the lesson objectives

D        1.00

You did not follow directions

D-       0.67

Projects lacks understanding of drawing principles

F        0.00

No project – no grade


An incomplete grade is only assigned if you miss

no more than 2 class days

Other Requirements:

Storage devices (USB Flash Drives, Portable Hard Drive)

CDRW or CDR for turning in projects

9x 12-sketch book

Spiral Notebook for notes

Pencils and eraser

50 Knife with #11 Blades

Four 15 x 20" presentation board (black or grey)

Ruler (24")

Tracing Paper (14 x 17)

Super 77 Spray Adhesive  (spray mount MUST be used outside)

You can purchase most of these items from the University Book Store. Other items may be found at your local Computer Stores, Dick Blicks, Utrecht, and or Michaels Art Supply. Please save receipts for your purchases in the case you need to return something to the art supply store.

Toxic Materials

Do not use spray paint, toxic glue, fixative, or any hazardous chemicals in the studio.  There is no adequate ventilation for these kinds of dangerous fumes. If you have to use hazardous materials, do so outdoors so that you have adequate ventilation. Read container labels- be informed of how dangerous and environmentally irresponsible some of these products are, be healthy, and consider the health of others who have to breathe the air you might pollute.

Clean up after yourself: Failure to be responsible for areas that you work in will affect your grade.

Any projects or materials left in the Studio after the end of the quarter will be thrown away.

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities cannot be denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under educational programs and activities in accordance with the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended and any applicable state laws. Students have a right to an individualized assessment of documentation; timely delivery of services that have been approved by OSD and consistent with the letter of Approved Support Services provided to the student; confidentiality; and prompt equitable investigation and resolution of complaints.

Office of Students with Disabilities Location

Student Affairs Building

Room 115

Phone 323.343.6429

Fax 323.343.3139


American Disabilities Act

Cal State LA seeks to comply fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students requesting accommodations based on a disability must be registered with the Office for Equity and Diversity in Administration 606, (323) 343-3040 or (TDD): (323) 343-3270.

Writing and Plagiarism. 

Plagiarism is a direct violation of intellectual and academic honesty. While it exists in many forms, all plagiarisms refer to the same act: representing somebody else's words or ideas as one's own. The most extreme forms of plagiarism are a paper written by another person, a paper obtained from a commercial source, or a paper made up of passages copied word for word without acknowledgment. But paraphrasing authors' ideas or quoting even limited portions of their texts without proper citation is also an act of plagiarism. Even putting someone else's ideas into one's own words without acknowledgment may be plagiarism. In any of its forms, plagiarism cannot be tolerated in an academic community. It may constitute grounds for a failing grade, probation, suspension, or expulsion.