Tuesday, June 14, 2016



Tonal Scale

Common problems that are addressed by adjusting the tonal scale are as follows:
1. The image is too hot when the white areas are “blown out”, or there are no image details in the highlights.
2. The image is murky when there is not enough contrast between the darkest black value and the lightest white value.
3. The image displays a colorcast when there is evidence of a hue in areas that should be neutral gray or white.
4. The middle gray area of the image is too dark or too light, which usually corresponds (especially) to the skin tones being too dark or light.

Examine this first photo from 1826 entitledView from the Window at Le Gras, Nicéphore Niépce
Exposure times were a LOT longer in the early days of photography.  Silver halide crystals that constrict to create an "exposure" hand't fully been developed.  People would have to sit still for very long amounts of time to have a portrait made.   This particular photo took 8 hours to expose.  It exhibits a very high contrast and limited tonal range. 
Migrant Mother, Dorothea Lange, 1936. Silver gelatin print.
This photograph was commissioned by the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Florence Owens Thompson looks towards the future with worry, as her children bury their heads into her shoulders. The FSA was part of The New Deal, a set of programs initiated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to stimulate and revitalize weak economies from 1933 – 1938. The FSA hired photographers, such as Lange, Walker Evans and Marion Post Wolcott to document America after the Great Depression. Notice how the range of tonal values expresses the details in Florence’s face and the blanket on her lap.

Part 1--Downloading images to the computer. 
To send images from the storage device within the camera to the computer, a camera is connected to the computer via a USB cable. Alternatively, a card reader can be used to connect the memory card to the computer and read it like a small hard drive (similar to a jump drive).
If you connect your camera to the computer through the USB cable, then you will use an application to read the images. On a Mac, iPhoto may automatically launch.  It will read the images and place them in a folder.  Alternatively, you can create folders and drag the files into that folder manually if you prefer.  I, personally, like bringing the photos into folders, which I can open in Bridge (then in camera raw) to edit. Then organize based on size.  I shoot in raw.  You might want to save images into your folder in 300dpi and 72dpi folders for print and for web. 

Part 2--Making minor adjustments 
Download the following image to your desktop:

1. open the a purple flower by Fred Benenson in Photoshop.  
2. Whenever an image is scanned or captured digitally, the process of digitizing a three dimensional reality into a two dimensional file results in a loss of contrast. Unsharp Mask is a filter that is commonly used to compensate for this loss. Click Filters > Unsharp Mask. 
This filter looks at edge areas where there is contrast and increases the contrast of those pixels. Be sure that the preview button in the Unsharp Mask dialog box is checked. 
Look at the image while clicking on the preview button. Un-checking the preview button displays the “before state” and checking the preview button reveals what the image will look like after the filter is applied. There are no set rules, but the guiding relationship is between the settings in this dialog box and file size. 
The larger the file size, the larger you will set the threshold, radius and amount. With smaller file sizes (anything less than 30 megs) you will probably leave the threshold at 0, the radius lower than 1.0 and adjust the percentage by eye between 20 and 250 percent. You will know when you’ve gone too far, the increased contrast will result in an image that looks pixilated and forced. Applying this filter should produce a minor modification.
If the image needs to be rotated or cropped, you can do that now. 

it is a good idea to check the Image Size also (Image>Image Size) to evaluate the resolution settings. Ask yourself, at what size do I plan to print this image? If the resolution is too low (many digital cameras record very large images, but the resolution is set at 72 dpi), be sure to uncheck “Resample Image” before adjusting the resolution to a higher number. You should see that as the value of the resolution (measured in dots per inch) increases, the width and height of the file decreases and the amount of pixel information (in the top boxes, which should be grayed-out) remains the same. If all of this is not happening for you, and you are trying to increase the resolution of the file, something is wrong! Our image has a resolution of 240 dpi, so it is unnecessary to change.

Part 3--Understanding the Histogram
1. Click on Image > Mode > Grayscale to convert the image from RGB color mode to Grayscale. (Click OK through the "Discard Color Information" dialog box.) Save the file as flower_gray.psd.
2. Click Window > Histogram. 
The overall graph displays the amount information within the image (y-axis) at the various levels of gray from black (on the left side of the x-axis) to white (the right side of the x-axis). There are 255 levels of gray in any 8-bit image. Consumer scanners and digital cameras capture 8-bit images. There are professional scanners and cameras that capture 16-bit images, yielding more options for adjusting the tonal range; but for the beginning digital media student, we will remain focused on 8-bit images.
Does the histogram start and end at the beginning (dark values) and end (light values) of the x-axis? This would mean that there actually exists image information in the darkest shadow areas and the lightest highlight areas. If the graph seems to end before the edges of the box containing the histogram, the graph is “clipped” and there is no information at one (or both) end(s) of the spectrum. There is probably a noticeable lack of contrast in the image if the graph is clipped.
Where on the x-axis of the graph is most of the image information stored? In other words, where are the spikes in the graph? This should make sense in terms of how dark or light the overall image appears.
 Does the histogram have any gaps where information does not exist? This means that there is no image information in areas where gray values between black and white are expected. This is usually a result of “over-tweaking” an image with tonal adjustments, as opposed to something that will be noticeable from a scan or digital camera capture. Sometimes this is a reasonable result of increasing contrast in an image, especially when certain areas are particularly hot (bright or blown out highlights).
Adjusting the histogram with the use of Levels or Curves
Click Image > Adjustments > Levels, which is used to control tonal adjustments specifically in the shadow and highlight areas, and a histogram dialogue box will appear. 
Tonal manipulations occur as a result of adjusting the numbers associated with each slider. If the objective is to make the image look abstract through high contrast, push the sliders towards each other. If the objective is to make the image seem true to life, the sliders should be used carefully. Adjust the sliders to your taste and click OK. Adjusting with Curves-Click Image > Adjustments > Curves. Once again, the histogram is presented in the Curves dialog box. Curves, like Levels, can be used to adjust the tonal scale within the image.djust each of the red, green, and blue graphs so that there is image information where the deepest shadows and lightest highlights appear. To do this, start by using the pull-down Channel menu from within the Curves dialog box to select “Red” (CMD+1). Use the input sliders on the left and right sides to move the edges of the endpoints of the line graph to the point where image information exists. Use the pull-down Channel menu to select “Green”Use the pull-down Channel menu to select “Blue”, and adjust.   Click OK. Adjusting the Curves (or Levels, either palette could have been used for this last exercise) manually for each color channel produces a better result than simply doing this one time for the composite RGB channel.

Targeting Saturation Levels

Click Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Use the pull-down palette on the word, "Master," to work specifically on the magenta areas of the image.Use the Saturation and Lightness sliders to modify the image.   

Working in Selective color. Image/adjustments/selective color.

Use the Saturation and Lightness sliders to modify the image.


Homework- create a surreal image (at least 2 images authored). Your document should be (11x17) (300dpi).  Research an artist that works in Surrealism. write a one page double spaced/12pt. font review discussing their work.  Include an image. Text should be one page, one page should include images, for a total of two pages. 

Surreal collage green from Thomas Everett Green


A simple way to cut out hair in Photoshop

A far more difficult, but also great way to cut out those hard to select areas. 

Drop shadow effects.   This can also be done by copying the layer, then taking the duplicate down to grayscale (b/w and gray values) then using the "edit+transform" functions and "skew" or "distort" (or "warp" if you are placing the shadow on a multi-faceted surface).

Friday, June 10, 2016

Poster resources

Outside assignment:

You will choose from one of the following:

1. Create your own favorite movie design,  11X17 (1/8 inch bleed, CMYK, 300 dpi.) 

2. Or do online research and find a contest to enter your typographical poster design.    The poster must have type of some sort to qualify.   

One site I have found that generally has a nice list of contests is:


Here are some other links to poster design competitions.  Most of these are free. 






Sunday, June 5, 2016

P_001_Bauhaus and Art Deco Design

In lieu of doing research, please read and watch the following.   (20 minutes total)

Bauhaus and Art Deco are two movements that happened in the earlier part of the twentieth century. A lot was going on in this time period.  The Industrial Revolution had swept across the country causing the uprise of city centers, manufacturing, factories, steel productions, and railroads (which shipped everything everywhere creating nationwide commerce).   Art had shifted too.   Have a look

Art Deco or Deco, is an influential visual arts design style that first appeared in France just before World War I and began flourishing internationally in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s before its popularity waned after World War II.

Deco is a very dramatic style that emphasizes geometric forms: spheres, polygons, rectangles, trapezoids, zigzags, chevrons, and sunburst motifs. Elements are often arranged in symmetrical patterns. Modern materials, such as aluminum, stainless steel, Bakelite, chrome, and plastics, are frequently used. Stained glass, inlays, and lacquer are also common. Colors tend to be vivid and high contrast

The second of these two movements centered around an actual school called the Bauhaus.  The Bauhaus, similar in aesthetic to the Art Deco movement is also characterized by a simplistic, modern, and slightly industrial feel.    It's impact on architecture, typography, graphic design, and furniture design are still highly relevant, even today... almost 100 years later.  It could be said that the mid-century modern building that we are sitting in was in many ways influence by bauhaus as well.

PROJECT 1: Search the internet (Google Images)  for medium to large images depicting "Bauhaus" and "Art Deco" styles, or use images I've uploaded to the slideshare powerpoint (embedded below).  Find one symmetrical image for each art movement, find one asymmetrical image for each movement, for a total of FOUR images. You will recreate two of the four images of your liking using shapes in Illustrator.  As you finish these, you will need to save an Adobe illustrator,  .Ai version and a jpg version to be handed in. Create a folder on your desktop.  Name it "lastname_firstname_week1" then place your illustrator files in the folder, the jpegs you "export" from illustrator, and also the images that you used for inspiration.   You will place the file on the server when the server is created for our classroom.  Until then, please save all files to a thumb drive. 

For this project, you will be using shapes, shape builder, and gradient tools.  You are free to manipulate shapes using the direct seletion tool when necessary.   Please do not "draw" shapes using pen or pencil tools, and please do not put "strokes" around these shapes, unless it is in the original design.  Try and recreate the images just as we did with the Egon Shiele "In Class" assignment. 

If at all possible, please try to make your illustrator files 11x17 (tabloid) with an 1/8th (.125) inch bleed.  I realize that working with other images, sometime the formatting will not fit our exact print sizes.  But, we might want to print these out and place them down in the hallways for your peers and other potential future students to see. 

digital_foundations_P_01_Deco from Thomas Everett Green

HOMEWORK:   After you finish your Deco/Bauhaus Designs,

Please WATCH the following tutorials on the basics of the Pen and Pencil tools. We will do some exercises in class tomorrow using these tools.  If you have Illustrator available to you at your house and you want to play with these tools, by all means.  But, if you don't, we will get practice in class before we begin on the next project.

And Finally,  there is the new Curvature pen tool  (MY FAVORITE!!!) which is super easy to use when drawing curvy lines.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Welcome to Digital Foundations

Illustrator_Tools, Tips, Tricks.... and more.

Each day we are going to work with specific tools and create designs based on the execution of said tools.   This will give you a bit of practice and a good overview of the Adobe Suite.    Further, it will expand your knowledge of 2D design and digital graphics.  We will be working on Mac computers.  One of the great assets of our college is the technology/equipment we have.   It's truly vital that you respect the equipment as these are a great benefit to you. 

1. Introduction to Macs

You may or may have never worked with Mac before.    Here is a list of keyboard shortcuts that could be helpful.  You don't need to memorize all these, but look them over.  You will learn and use most of these in time.  One thing we need to do now so you are getting the optimum experience with Adobe is set our back button under preferences. 

 2. Introduction to the Adobe Illustrator workspace

 (photo from Adobe Illustrator Classroom in a Book) 

--Here is a chart with some illustrator shortcuts.  You do not need to try and memorize all these.  Just have a quick glance at these, and know they are here. We will go over most commonly used shortcuts and eventually you will develop a "vocabulary" of these.  I am just leaving these here for reference.  Once again, you do not need to try and memorize these.  (please note: if you use PC vs. Mac, many of the shortcuts are exactly the same, but with the substitution of the "Control" key for "Command.) 

3. Please watch (at least) one or both of the following videos.  In an effort to spend more time working on the projects in class where I can assist you and critique production/make suggestions.  I will be pushing my presentations to you digitally through video tutorials I will record, or sourced online tutorials.   The benefit is you will be able to go/stop at your own pace, and have a permanent "file" you can refer back to for taking notes, if you forget something or just for general reference.   It is absolutely crucial that you watch the videos.  Most everything I do not present myself will be sourced from certified Adobe Experts and certified Adobe Evangelist Terry White.   While I highly encourage using tutorials as you learn and grow in digital art making, there are some really lame videos out there.  So, be mindful of that. 

Terry White-How to Get Started with Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator CC Tutorial for beginners

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Syllabus_Summer 2016

FD170 - Digital Foundations
Mon-Fri. 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.  Mac Lab 1

Thomas Everett Green • Spring 2016
Office hours: Weekdays 11:30-1200 or 3:30-4:00 after class
Or by appointment: email tgreen@mca.edu
Cell: call or text 615-474-6511

Course Description
Digital Foundations is an introduction to the basics of understanding digital procedures and improving one’s visual skills and conceptual development through the use of digital production tools. This course will include the fundamental visual design principles in conjunction with non-traditional way of working via digital methods.

Course Objectives
- To familiarize students with the methods of digital production tools while developing their visual design skills.
- Re-enforce fundamental visual design principles.

- Build a stronger digital basics skill set.

- Enhance ability to use digital methods to develop layout compositions
-       Develop an understanding of digital terminology and vocabulary.
Professional Practice Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course:

Outcome 4-Students will demonstrate the ability to (digitally) document their work.

Outcome 6-Students will demonstrate basic computer/software literacy applicable to their field.

Outcome 9-Students will demonstrate the ability to research to stay current in their field.  *due to the brevity of the summer session, you will mostly research images and aesthetics of modern design movements -vs- writing papers on design. 

Outcome 10-Students will demonstrate development of a professional web presence.

 Overview of materials and methods used, including utilizing traditional visual design principles and Mac OS.
Introductory Design History and visual topics--including symmetry, line art, tonal scale, elements of motion, and color—will be introduced to the pupil alongside digital art processes.
Class demonstrations, use of software and hardware tools.
Class discussions and critiques.
You will be required to record and keep notes. 
(I recommend you do this on the class blog you will be keeping, but a journal is acceptable)

ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY: Going to class is the single most important thing you can do to contribute to your success in college.
More than three absences (for any reason) will result in failure of the class.  This class meets twice each day, so if you cannot make the morning portion of class for some reason, you should attend the afternoon portion of the class.  Each day counts as two class periods, so the student will have the opportunity to attend (or miss) two classes each day.  I will be keeping attendance in the morning and afternoon.     If you are unable to come to either portion of the class, or are going to be late, a text or email is appreciated.  Also, if you miss class--check the blog.  Oftentimes, it will have pertinent information and tutorials on the same utilities we will be covering in class.  3 tardies (10 minutes or more) will result in one absence. Participation in class discussions and critiques is expected.

-       Cell phone calls, texting and headphones are not allowed in class.
-       No Facebook, emailing, IMing, or personal web surfing while in class unless specifically requested for an assignment. Failure to follow this policy will result in removal from the class for the rest of the period and accrual of one full absence.

-       Disrespect and disruptiveness will not be tolerated.
-       Please do not talk while the instructor is speaking.  This is disruptive to other class members and causes confusion in your instructor's feeble mind. 

    Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students with a special learning need are encouraged to let their instructor know at the beginning of the course. Reasonable accommodations (such as extended time for exams, readers, scribes, and interpreters) are provided on an individual basis as determined by documented need. It is the student’s responsibility to provide authorized documentation to Student Affairs or Achievement Center Support Staff as early in the semester as possible.

Course Content and Title IX Reporting
Students should be aware that information disclosed to faculty (whether through assignments or as a personal disclosure) that indicate experiencing sexual harassment, abuse, or violence while a student at Memphis College of Art, requires that your instructor as a “mandatory reporter” disclose this information to Student Affairs staff to ensure students’ safety and welfare are addressed. Student Affairs staff will contact you, and/or those involved, to make you aware of accommodations, remedies, and resources available at Memphis College of Art.

School and Class Policies 
The faculty will not tolerate academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) in any form. Please refer to the Student Handbook for detailed information on this and other school policies. Ignorance of the policies listed in this syllabus or in the Student Handbook does not constitute a valid defense for failure to follow said policies. 

Grading Policy 
Grades will be determined by:

1. On time attendance and participation in discussions and critiques.
2. Ability to develop skills and technique.

3. Quality of craftsmanship.
4. Creativity and Concepts.
5. Adherence to guidelines set forth with each assignment. 

Late assignments will be accepted up to one week and will result in a grade reduction of one full letter grade; assignments turned in later than one week will count as a zero.

Final letter grade definitions (pluses and minuses are used to allow greater subtlety in comparative judgments):
- As close as humanly possible to perfection in the fulfillment of the objectives of this course; it implies great effort and great success in all aspects of the class. It is rare that this grade is awarded.
- The person earning this grade has worked very hard; has pushed him/herself to go beyond the fulfillment of each problem and has shown extraordinary advances in technical and conceptual skills.
- The student earning a C completed all assignments, had a positive attitude, worked hard, showed growth in skills and thinking, participated in critiques and discussions, and successfully fulfilled the requirements of the course, in general. This is the average level of achievement for all studio courses.
- This grade indicates that the student has obvious difficulties with basic skills and concepts and/or trouble in fulfilling the requirements of the class because of excess lateness, absence, or some other reason.
- This grade indicates a severe problem in one or more of the following categories: lack of interest and/or seriousness of purpose, ineptitude in basic skills, lack of understanding of concepts, terrible craftsmanship, failure to complete assignments, bad attitude, excessive lateness or absence.

Individual assignment grade definitions:
- Excellent. Assignment is completely and creatively fulfilled. No significant problems.
- All aspects of assignment are completely fulfilled and well done. Some problems remain to be solved.
- Work fulfills the requirements of the assignment to the letter and is generally successful. Work is completely finished. Craftsmanship is good.
- Assignment is not yet completely finished or has obvious technical or conceptual flaws.
- Unacceptable in technique or craft or concept (or any combination of these).

- Assignment not handed in. This assignment may not be re-worked.

Materials and Supplies
Required materials and supplies include the following:

USB Jump drive ( at least 4G or larger), or other digital storage device (Save all of your files on this drive.)
Sketchbook--available at the art store on campus *you may use a sketchbook that you already have, as most of the "drawing" in this class will be worked out digitally. 
Drawing and writing implements (pencils, pens, markers).

Print Card – available at the business office.
Digital camera (10mp or higher) You do not necessarily need to own a digital camera, but you will need to have regular access to one. A digital camera has become a necessity for artists. A digital camera is one of the best tools for recording visual information quickly, accurately, and cheaply.  Please see me if you have issues with this. 

You must receive copyright permission for all non-public domain media used in projects. (Music, film footage, etc.) Public domain material can be found at http://www.publicdomain.org/ and http://www. creativecommons.org. Visit American University’s Center for Social Media Website for detailed information regarding the difference between rights infringement and fair use.

Related online texts

EPA Mandate
Memphis College of Art students and faculty are required to follow the standards detailed in the “EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Materials Handling Protocols—September 2007”

Class timeline: This class will cover approximately 5 weeks of Illustrator, 5 weeks of Photoshop, 2 weeks of InDesign, and 2 weeks of web presence, and possibly a very brief introduction to video editing and/or animated gifs.   The following is meant as a rough guideline and may be changed in the event of inclement weather or at the instructor’s discretion.   Because this summer class is everyday, homework will be less than general 6 hours which I assign during the school year.  Expect some changes in schedule to accommodate for more involved projects. Amendments will be posted to class blog and discussed in the class.

Day One: Syllabus, Intro, Quiz. Symmetry/Assymmetry-
-Bauhaus and Art Deco-Egon Shiele Interpretation/Bauhaus
Day Two: Pen/Line ToolCopywright/Fair Use Man vs. nature
Day Three: Color- Illustrator
Day Four and Five: Gradient and Mesh Tools- Portrait-Illustrator
Day Five Font—Grid and Typography-Illustrator  
Day Six- Introduction to photoshop_Still life
Day Seven- Scanograms
Day Eight- Scale and Digital Collage_Surrealism
Day Nine- Exquisite Corpse
Day Ten-Typography (again) Photoshop-Poster
Day 11 Intro to In Design_Brochure/Magazine
Day 12 Logos, Branding and Websites-Developing a web presence
Day 13 Video and/or animated gif
Day 14  Printing and work on Presentations
Day 15 Presentations/Final prints

*Note, there is a small amount of leeway allotted for continuation on project due dates.