Class notes and projects

Class notes, links, resources and projects.

Class 01 - Introduction

Watch: Tripod Performs at Comedy Festival.


  • watching Google vs. watching TV
  • time shifting
  • video games and relationships

Review the syllabus.

Discuss: black box or black box

Take apart a computer.

Explore OS X and learn some keyboard shortcuts.

Learn how to take screenshots.

Download images from:

Class 02 - Photoshop - Pixels


  • download 10-20 online (digital) images for self-portrait project
  • collect 1 physical (analog) image of your favorite celebrity that is scratched/damaged [you can provide the scratches]

- "Overture" from Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality by Randall Packer & Ken Jordan
- "Chapter 1 & 4" from The Reconfigured Eye by William J. Mitchell

Class 03 - Photoshop - Cosmetic Surgery

DUE: Cosmetic Surgery

Collect 1 physical (analog) image of your favorite celebrity that is scratched/damaged [you can provide the scratches]

For this project you will need to turn in three .psd files:

  1. Scan your image using one of the scanners in the Digital Media Lab. Crop/resize this image so that it is 800x600 at 72dpi. [cosmetic-scan.psd]
  2. To the best of your abilities, repair the scanned image using Photoshop. [cosmetic-repair.psd]
  3. Give your celebrity some cosmetic surgery: play with tools, brushes, filters to transform the original image. [cosmetic-improve.psd]

Class 04 - Photoshop - Self-Portrait

DUE: Self-Portrait

Using a minimum of 10 different images, create a composition that explores collage to make a representation of your self identity. The image should be 800x600 pixels.


  • "Chapter 8: Computer Collage" from The Reconfigured Eye by William J. Mitchell

Class 05 - Photoshop - Propaganda

Assignment: Propaganda

Develop a piece of propaganda and deliver it to your intended audience. For this project you will need to develop both a message and a distribution strategy. The message should involve images and text and should use at least one of the tactics indicated below. Your aim is to influence the opinions of people, rather than impartially providing information. You should design the message with your distribution strategy in mind. Think about your audience. What is the best way to reach them? You can use email, mailboxes, cell phones, walls/bulletin boards, etc., etc. You could choose to spoof a form of propaganda that you have found (please share the original with me) or you could develop your own from scratch.


Propaganda Critic

Wikipedia Propaganda page

Think Again - activist artists

German Propaganda Archive

Propaganda Re-Mix Project

Chinese Propaganda posters

Adbusters Posters

Propaganda is a specific type of message presentation directly aimed at influencing the opinions of people, rather than impartially providing information. You could view advertising as a form of propaganda whereby a company tries to convince a certain demographic to buy their product. The government and other groups use propaganda to encourage/discourage types of behavior (stop smoking, wear seatbelts, be Jewish). Perhaps the most powerful forms of propaganda come in times of war where it is used to created hatred towards a supposed enemy or to try and undermine the enemy's resolve. Propaganda uses various tactics:

Name-calling - The use of names when referring to groups or individuals (usually negative) - commie, fascist, pig, yuppy
Glittering generalities - The use of adjectives to describe in a positive way - Makes the product, event, person sound better then they are.
Euphemisms - Using language that attempts to pacify the audience in order to make an unpleasant reality more palatable. During wartime, civilian casualties are referred to as "collateral damage," and the word "liquidation" is used as a synonym for "murder."

Transfer - A device by which the propagandist carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of something we respect and revere to something he would have us accept.
Testimonial - The use of an important person to testify to the importance of the product, event, or person even if that person may not be an expert in the matter.

Plain Folks - The use of common language "Normal Folk" to describe the product, event or person to make it seem as if its already been accepted by the masses.
Bandwagon - The use of "Everybody's doing it" so you should to.
Fear - By playing on the audience's deep-seated fears, practitioners of this technique hope to redirect attention away from the merits of a particular proposal and toward steps that can be taken to reduce the fear.

Class 06 - HTML - Cut-Up

DUE: Cut-Up

Select an original text[s] or poem[s] (this can be written by you or by another author). Using what you know of HTML and any other means at your disposal (language translation software, the cut-up machine, Google searches, surfing, etc.) create your own cut-up Web page of this original text[s]. You can write your own HTML code and/or use "View Source" to copy & paste code from other websites. Make sure to turn in the original text[s] with your assignment. Remember that the goal of a "cut-up" is not complete randomness, but is rather a means to disrupting conventional linear narrative to arrive at meaningful new connections.

The "cut-up" is a technique created by Brion Gysin and made famous by the writer William Burroughs. In one approach, a page of text is cut down the middle and then across the middle to create 4 sections. These sections are then rearranged to create a new page. The method has its roots in collage and randomness, approaches to visual art that were initially embraced by the surrealists. In many ways Burroughs' approach to writing can be considered a precursor to hypertext, non-linear narrative and computer-based multimedia storytelling. We actually experience the "cut-up" in many aspects of our daily routine such as when we channel hop between television stations or when we "surf" the Internet. Burroughs argued that the cut-up is not just randomness for the sake of randomness, but a means to discovering unexpected associations between words and ideas. In this way it can be thought of as a valuable tool in many disciplines.

The Cut-Up Machine

Babel Fish Translation

Dialect Translation - search for your own!

Mark Napier

Class 07 - HTML - False Identity

DUE: False Identity

Develop a false or fictional identity. Create a website (3 page minimum) for this identity that acts as a dating profile (who are you, what are you looking for in an ideal mate, what are your interests). Your web site should use only "shared" or found images and should incorporate links to external sites.


In Sherry Turkle's chapter "Identity Crisis" she discusses how the ability for people to easily create multiple online personae challenges our notion of fixed identities. In the past, a strong identity was associated with stability and clear boundaries. But Turkle argues that in today's world, this concept is being replaced by a notion that celebrates flexibility and mutability. She suggests that the "home page" is a compelling manifestation of "new notions of identity as multiple yet coherent". When working on this assignment, consider your own online identity. What are the freedoms and risks associated with your online life? Are there things that are safer and easier to explore online rather than in RL [real life]?


Basic HTML tags

Web Color Codes:

Web sites:

Class 08 - Animation - Exquisite Corps

DUE: Exquisite corpse

For this assignment you should create 3 separate animated GIF files that when stacked on top of each other create the complete body of a person - or - creature - or - animal - or - thing - or - robot. The 3 images should portray the head, torso and legs of your "being". Each file should have dimensions 300 pixels wide by 200 pixels tall. Save each body part both as a .psd file and "Save optimized as" a .gif file. You should turn in:

head.psd, head.gif
body.psd, body.gif
legs.psd, legs.gif

Animations attract attention and can enliven a web page design. Animation techniques can include motion, zooming, fading [in or out], spinning, color changes, selective revealing and more.

Exquisite corpse is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. It is a technique invented by Surrealists in 1925, and is based on an old parlor game called Consequences in which players wrote in turn on a sheet of paper, folded it to conceal part of the writing, and then passed it to the next player for a further contribution. Later, perhaps inspired by children's books in which the pages were cut into thirds, the top third pages showing the head of a person or animal, the middle third the torso, and the bottom third the legs, the game was adapted to drawing and collage.


Do a Google search for "animated gif" to find many archives of free images.
under issues select "Font Cockpit" and "Fun Fun Fun"

Class 09 - Dreamweaver - portfolio

In class

  • layout continued
  • navigation, architecture, sitemaps
  • imagemaps
  • rollovers

DUE: Personal Portfolio

Using Dreamweaver create a personal portfolio website for the projects you've completed so far in class. You can design the website anyway you like, but it should include the following elements:

  • A homepage with some basic information about you and what this website is for, this file should be called "index.html".
  • Six additional pages, 1 for each of the previous projects - include a title and brief description about your project [cosmetic surgery, self-portrait, propaganda, cut-up, false identity, and exquisite corps] *note - for cut-up and false identity you can simply link to the pages you've already made
  • Navigation - every page should have links to every other page

!! Important !! - Don't remove any files from your original projects folders - instead, duplicate any files that you need for your portfolio. (ie you should still have your original files in your folders for project 1, project 2, etc.)

References: - a great directory of innovative web design for inspiration

Class 10 - Sound

In Class

  • basic concepts - sampling rate, frequency, file formats
  • how to capture/record/digitize/download audio & sounds [Audio Hijack Pro]
  • basic sound editing, loops, and FX [Garage Band]


‚ÄúSitemap‚Äù - Develop a sitemap and 1 page written proposal for your final project

Class 11 - Video

In class

  • basic concepts - frame rate, aspect ratio, CODECs, file formats
  • how to capture/record/digitize/download video
  • basic editing, effects, transitions, audio [iMovie]


Photoshop layouts

Class 12 - Open Lab

Work on your final project in class

Class 13 - Final Class

  • in class critique of final projects
  • wrap-up and what comes next! Flash teaser [brief tour]