Computer Art
Jan Dale Koutsky – instructor
768-6481 message phone

The Two Leaf Projects - Part 1 - Introduction to the project

Every project that you will do this quarter will involve aspects of art and technology.
Each project will have artistic goals and technological goals.
For this project you will create two images using the leaf files that are provided for you.

The artistic goals:
· To learn about color theory and creating focal point.
· The first image will be created using analogous colors (explained below).
· The second leaf project will be done using complimentary colors.

The technological goals:
· To begin to learn several aspects of Photoshop such as, copying and pasting, color adjustments, filters, and the layers palette.

The Artistic Goals: Color Theory and Creating a Focal Point

The Basic Color Wheel

Complimentary colors are the colors that are opposite on the color wheel, such as red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple. If you place complimentary colors next to each other they will demand more attention from the viewer’s eye. Here are two examples of complimentary color:

The image on the left has less of a focal point than the one on the right. The image on the left was purposely created to cause your eye to roam around the image. The image on the right was created with the impact of color (orange and blue – complimentary colors) at the center of the composition. This is also the area of the most contrast. Our eye will go to that spot first before starting to roam throughout the who composition. Artists use these tools to create a focal point in their art.

Analogous colors are the colors next to each other on the color wheel. An image comprised of analogous color could be made up of blue tones, or all brown tones. Generally, images that are comprised of analogous colors will be more calming to look at.
Here are two examples of analogous color:

Creating a focal point in your art is accomplished through the use of contrast. Our eye will travel to the spot with the most contrast. Contrast can be created through:
· complimentary color to create a focal point
· analogous color by using darker and lighter tones
· value – black to white range to create a focal point
· composition – using line, shading, etc. to create a focal point

Some images direct the viewer’s eye with lines within a composition. A picture made up of mostly horizontal lines that are interrupted by one object will cause that object to be the focal point. An example would be a single boat out at sea. The horizontal line of the horizon are interrupted by the lines of the single boat. If we were in a forest, looking through the vertical lines of all the tree trunks and one horizontal line showed up of a bear’s back, our eye would catch that difference quickly.


Value will also create a focal point. Value refers to the dark to light factor of a color. If we place black and white right next to each other in a painting, that spot will be the first place our eye travels to. It is the nature of our brain’s processing of our vision to concentrate on an area with the most contrast. Black and white photography is very dependent on value within a photograph. When working in analogous color, it is important to place the most contrasting value with your desired focal point.

Look at the two images below and ask yourself what the main focal point is. How did the artist direct your eye to that spot? One image makes use of analogous color, the other uses complimentary color. The focal points are created by contrast. One with contrast in value (darks and lights), the other’s contrast is created using complimentary color.

Here are some examples of this project created by former students.

Some of these examples only have one leaf image. Please remember that you will be creating two. They will be placed side by side in the end. One will have complimentary colors, the other will have analogous colors.

Now that you have an idea of the project you will be creating, please move on to Part 2 for textbook readings. I tried to narrow the list down to just the most important parts of the book. Part 3 is the step by step instructions for starting the first leaf project, Part 4 covers the second leaf project. Part 5 gives instructions on how to turn in your work. Remember that the worst part of the quarter is right now at the beginning. Your learning curve is the hardest. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will get it over with. I check my e-mail regularly to answer any questions.

Textbook Reading

This course assumes that you do not have previous experience with Photoshop or Illustrator. Some of you may have worked in Photoshop before. If you have, you can use your own reference material when you get stuck. For those of you who are new to Photoshop, below is a list of the most important reading from our textbook. I tried to keep it to the minimal.

This first project will seem quite involved. Your learning curve will be at its highest right now. Learning Photoshop is like learning a foreign language. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will become proficient. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut. Please know that some frustration will be inevitable. It will be necessary to do some tutorials and reading in your textbook before you can ease your learning curve.
Come to class for the demonstrations and one-on-one help. The online students are always welcome to stop in to a class session too. I check my e-mail regularly and I will do my best to help you.

For those of you who attend classes on campus, there is a tutor center. You can sign up for three hours a week with a private tutor for free. You will need to get a form for me to sign that simply verifies that you are enrolled in this class.

Here is a list of the reading necessary in order to get started on the first project.

Required Reading Photoshop CS QuickSteps:

Chapter 1: Stepping into Photoshop

Pg.8 learn to zoom in and out

Pg. 16 good overview of the tools and on to Pg. 18 for learning tool options

Pg. 19 foreground and background colors

Pg. 20 History Palette

Pg. 22 It is important to understand the differences between RGB and CMYK color modes. Photoshop uses RGB, Illustrator uses CMYK. Please read this information to understand additive and subtractive color.

Chapter 2: Creating Importing and Saving Images

Pgs. 25-30 conceptual information on Bitmap (pixels) and vector. Read through this information for conceptual understanding of Photoshop (bitmapped / pixel based) and Illustrator (vector based) graphics programs.

Pg. 38 for saving files and retaining your layers.

Pg. 40 Scanners and digital camera

Chapter 3: Making Selections

The whole trick to Photoshop is isolating the images onto their own layer so that you can easily make changes. To put an image on its own layer it is necessary to select it. This entire chapter will ease your learning curve. Work your way through this entire chapter. Take breaks. Absorb each step. The sooner you work your way through chapter 3, the sooner your frustration will dissipate.

Chapter 4: Using Layers

This is the other half to the necessary tricks covered in Chapter 3. Once an image is selected (chapter 3), and on it's own layer (chapter 4) you are on your way.

Pgs. 65-71 are mandatory

Pg. 73 Gradient masks are a great trick to know. The information starts mid page on page 73 and ends on page 75.

Pg. 80 Blending Modes and Transparency is great to know. Read through pgs. 80-83

Pgs. 85-87 shows a step by step example that you may learn something from.

Chapter 5: Using Paths, Shapes and Painting

Please skip the part on Paths and Shapes. This is vector based information that you will learn in Illustrator.

Pg 95 Do read "Work with Paint"

Pg. 99 Eraser

Pg. 100 Gradient Tool

Pg. 104 Art History Brush is fun to understand and use.

Pg. 106 Filters: Check out some examples here.

Chapter 6: Color Correcting, Retouching and Repairing Images

Pgs. 109-114 Rotate, flip, resize, trim, canvas size - all the basics you need to know.

Pg. 132 Clone Stamp Tool - please familiarize yourself with this tool

Chapter 7: Using Type and Type Effects

Skip for now. We will do type in Illustrator.

Pg. 150 Shows how to put an image inside of text

Chapter 8: Print and Export Images

Pg. 161 Read the box on saving layers. You need to know how to save all those layers you've created.

Chapter 9: Preparing Your Art For the Web

All of you who work with the web will want to read this entire chapter.

Chapter 10: Saving Time with Actions and Automation

Skip this chapter