Digital Art I

Art 2050 (LSU) – Digital Art I

ART 2050 is an introduction to digital applications in art. Students learn to navigate Adobe softwares in order to incorporate digital processes in your artwork. We cover vector illustration and digital painting methods, as well as creative photo editing and 2D animation. Through shorter assignments and longer projects, students practice and demonstrate both creative and technical skills as they gain confidence in creative work on the screen. The software used throughout the course are Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and AfterEffects.


Skills Assignments

Throughout the semester we do 5-minute in-class digital sketch exercises together, to encourage students to establish a daily creative practice. Students are also given an introductory assignment before tackling each new software in the larger projects. These assignments allow them to get familiar with program menus and workflows, and practice using new tools and techniques.


Photoshop Masked Assignment

Before their Digital Collage project, students complete the Photoshop Masked assignment. This introduces them to layers, selection tools, and masking, as well as converting between image file formats.

PS Masked – starting image jpg format
PS Masked – ending image example png format


Illustrator Aligned Assignment

Before their Vector Character Design project, students complete the Illustrator Aligned assignment. This introduces them to layers, object grouping, the properties menu, and alignment functions.

Objective: Fill a 10×10 inch artboard with 400 black circles, each 0.125 inches wide, all precisely evenly spaced. Make good use of duplication functions, guides, object grouping, and the Align panel!

Photoshop Bounce Assignment

Before their Animation project, students complete the Photoshop Bounce assignment. This introduces them to 2D timeline animation within the more limited (and now familiar!) Photoshop program, before diving into the more complex AfterEffects software. Students are given a file with the background and ball and are challenged to make a GIF file of the ball bouncing 3 times, adjusting velocity for gravity’s effect, and smooshing on impact. For extra credit, students are invited to add a shadow that changes opacity and size with the ball’s movement.

Photoshop Bounce example 1
Photoshop Bounce example 2

Digital Collage Self-Portrait

In this project, students are challenged to create a collaged self portrait using a variety of digital materials. Each student uses a photo of themselves as the focal point, and includes at least 5 other elements. The other elements must support the concept to express their personality. Using adjustment layers and non-destructive image masking, each student creatively pieces things together. The final piece must show a balance of color, texture, value, and space to create a dynamic composition.

Digital Collage Self-Portrait by Mia Sutherland
Digital Collage Self-Portrait by Emilie Stephenson
Digital Collage Self-Portrait by Carli Theodore
Digital Collage Self-Portrait by Zobia Tariq

Vector Character Design

In this project, students create an original vector-based character using Adobe Illustrator. Using layers, compound paths, object grouping, and shape-building tools, students create individual parts for their character so it can be animated in a later project. This project is particularly geared toward developing confidence in using Bezier and Boolean tools.

Vector Character Design by Xandria Scott-Catoire

Vector Character Design by Zobia Tariq

Vector Character Design by Mia Sutherland


Digital Painting

In this project, students illustrate an original environment using Photoshop painting tools. They explore and experiment with brushes and brush settings, beginning with an underpainting and building form and detail from there, including color and value considerations. Using layers, folders, and Creative Cloud Libraries, students practice good file organization habits as they work. The final environment image is used together with the vector-based character illustration from Project 2 in the final animation project.


2D Animation

In this project, students create a short animation (15–30 seconds long), featuring their vector character from Project 2 and painted environment from Project 3. Using timeline animation in Adobe After Effects, students control which elements move and change, how, and over what time span.

Animation by Reagan Power (compressed from MOV to GIF format for fast web viewing)
Animation by Xandria Scott-Catoire (compressed from MOV to GIF format for fast web viewing)
Animation by Zobia Tariq (compressed from MP4 to GIF format for fast web viewing)
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