Welcome to DSP

Hello students of DSP. It is very nice to be teaching ART201 again, the course I initially designed for the Visual Communications (Design) program. Since that time, DSP has been added to the foundation skill-sets in which all Art majors are expected to be proficient. We will be covering a ton of information about design (elements and principles), software (the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of software, html and possibly tickling some initial 2D animation) and a range of creative process that will help designers and artists to find and pin down that creative muse.

It will seem overwhelming and daunting, but don’t freak out. We will get over the learning curve and you will soon be producing art and design work using your newly acquired super-powers.  Use them only for good.

Read the next few posts (both from January 2018 – don’t worry about any of the posts from last spring 2017). See you in a couple of weeks.


Hardware and software

As you are subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud… here are some things to be aware of. The Adobe software is memory, processor, and storage intensive. If your computer only has 4GB of Random Access Memory (RAM), you are going to have problems. 8GB is minimum and 16 – 32 GB is better. For storage (Hard Drive space), you will need at least 500GB if not 1TB.

Backing is a major issue you need to address from the start. Are you going to back up your computer/files to an external hard drive or to a Cloud drive. If you are backing up to an external drive you will need a 1TB or bigger drive. Backing up to the Cloud is a matter of how much space you buy with whatever supplier (Google, Amazon, iCloud, etc…). Do something to protect the files you create.

Working with the Adobe software on under-equipped hardware is very slow and frustrating. So, upgrade existing hardware or buy new hardware, souped up to run this design-based, memory, storage and processor hungry software.

First assignment

OK, Get subscribed to lynda.com. You can do the monthly subscription (not the annual – unless you really like Lynda and plan to use it beyond this class). I just checked, You get 30 day free trial to Lynda.com, I don’t see any discounts for students on the site.

You are going to begin watching the essential training videos for Adobe CC Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I want you to get into each video far enough to familiarize yourself with the three different (yet very similar) work space interfaces. I find having the software open and doing the things going on in the video while it plays is useful. I stop and rewind quite a bit too. But, everybody works/learns differently.

There are only five computers in the lab, so get subscribed to Adobe CC too and get it installed on your computers and bring them to class to work on (or you can also after the demos, go into OP1210 Beta Computer lab and work there – if/when I cut you loose).

If you are getting frustrated and/or overwhelmed at any point during the semester, please feel free to stop by and talk. My door is always open and there is a ton of information to cram into our noggins and the potential for getting frustrated is high. I know, I’ve been there and done that.

html coding

Hi guys, sorry I didn’t get this posted yesterday. This week… be reading and coding chapter 4 (Creating a simple page) and chapter 5 (Marking up text). Feel free to work ahead of my weekly chapter schedule if you have done and know this stuff already or if it is easy and making sense. Again, take notes on what you have read and use them as the means to apply the coding to a webpage. You will remember all this information if you write it down or key it in somewhere. Remember, use a simple text editor to do this, not an html editor yet. There are no shortcuts with a simple text editor and you will have to actually learn the html tags doing it this way.

I will be assigning some more in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop in the next couple of class periods.


Proof newsletter

Hi guys, OK, I want an initial duplex printed, folded proof (print an 11 x 17 b/w proof and fold in half) of your newsletter on Monday, March 6. The big color printer in OP1224 is capable of duplex printing on an 11 x 17 sheet of paper. Also, a reminder to be reading in Chapters 1,2 and 3 in the Learning Web Design Book. These chapters contain lead-in general info that will give you background for the next set of doing things chapters. So, read them over mid-term break. We will start integrating web coding (using a simple text editor) into the assignment rotation after midterm. Again, you can also use Lynda.com and w3schools.com for web coding tutorials and information.

Things to do from today.

OK, I went over several things today. I showed you how to straighten up a photograph of some art in the gallery using transform/distort in Photoshop. I showed you also how to use the Clone Stamp tool to retouch damage on a photograph and I went over the printing to a .ps file and Distilling to a .pdf file in InDesign again. Also in InDeign, I showed you how to package an InDesign document with links and fonts for transport and opening on a different computer. I totally ignored Illustrator today. Try doing all of these things I showed you today and be ready to ask questions on Weds about them if you have problems.

I want a laser printout (8.5 x 11 Letter) of your Jack and Jill Photoshop assignment at the start of class on Weds. Save from Photoshop as a .tif and use InDesign to make the .ps/.pdf to print to the laser printer. You will need to add money to your Print Audit account if you haven’t already done so to print to the OP1224 laser printer.

Find a damaged photo (or, use the one I worked with today) and retouch out all the damage in the photograph as best you can with your existing Photoshop skills – primarily using the clone stamp tool and whatever other tool(s) you think might work in restoring the image. Your options are to use pixels from other areas in the image, adjust the pixels (lightness/darkness, hue, saturation, etc..), or make new pixels (this option is the most difficult). You have until Friday for that one (I want retouched image laser printed on Friday at the start of class).

Remember to save anything you have done in the last couple of weeks (as a .jpg) and upload to your blog and start posting. I like reading your trials and tribulations.

.ps to .pdf

In the near future you may encounter problems submitting your print job to the inkjet printer in OP1250 (OP Output) The problem typically is due to the file size of the pdf you are making. The .pdf is too large (larger than 48 MB in size). Yes, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator have the “Save As” to .pdf option and InDesign has the “Export” option, but these paths to a .pdf do not by default compress the file size of the .pdf. You need to adjust the .pdf presets as you “Save As” (a pdf dialog box should pop up) in Photoshop and Illustrator and/or click on the “Adobe PDF Presets prior to “Export” and adjust the presets to lower the file size. In the dialog box, select the “Smallest File Size” present, then click on the “Compression” option in the left column of the dialog box. Resize from 100 ppi to 150 ppi in the Color and Grayscale Images options then click “Save” or “Export”

The best process for creating a small file size pdf is to “Print” to a .ps (Postscript) file and use Acrobat Distiller, distill the .ps file to a .pdf – using the “Standard” preset. This process will typically take a 60 to 80 MB .psd file and creates a 1.2 to 1.8 MB .pdf. I will go over this again in class tomorrow. Print the job and in the Print dialog box, select Postscript Printer instead of an actual printer and make sure you select the Acrobat 9 PPD (Postscript Page Description). Walk through all the options and choose the appropriate settings as you normally would do if printing to an actual printer. When you click the print button, the software will “print” the data to a file (make sure you know where you are sending the .ps file). Drag and drop the .ps file into Acrobat Distiller and it will crunch your. ps file and make you a .pdf. Now you now have the most reliable .pdf you can make.

Too bad this process is no longer supported by Adobe or Apple. We had to hack the computers and set them up to do this. If you want to be able to do this on your own Mac, see me. I can show you how.