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242 Digital Art - SYLLABUS

Updated: Mar 27

Koussevitzky Arts Center, Room 116

2024_Digital Skills_BerkshireCC_Sylabus
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Digital art – FAS 242

Intro to Computer Graphics

An introduction to coloring and manipulating images and graphics using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, the industry standard for computer and concept art. Students will be introduced to the basic tools and functions of the programs to create high-impact, professional images in a variety of artistic styles. The course employs a traditional fine-art approach to image coloring and rendering. Experience using a Macintosh or Windows-based computer is necessary.

Requirements + Recommendations

Prerequisite: Drawing I

MacBook Pro or Windows-Based w/ Quad Core 16 GB RAM equivalent or better.

Required to have: A hard drive, Sketch/Notebook, your favorite pen.

Class Details





Office Hours

Hunter Hoag


Koussevitzky Arts Center, Room 116

T 3-5pm or upon request M-W

Homework policy

This is rare. If we do work in class, you won’t have to take it home with you. Art takes time though. Please make sure you are spending an adequate amount of time on your projects and make sure you are doing it correctly. Ask me questions! Please send an email if you need a hand, I’d be happy to meet outside of class hours if needed. You are doing the work; I am going to help you find the way.


I believe separating this grade into these three sections is a way for you to completely avoid failing. If you miss two classes, you will still have a great grade. If you still complete the work and score well on the midterm and final. If you avoid every class -hey that’s on you. I will not chase you down. but if you get the work done in a timely fashion and give a reasonable excuse for missing attendance, then you'll probably just barely pass. But that’s also with good midterm and final scores. If you mess up on the midterm, you're going to have a scary grade till the final. just do well in participation and the Final and you're going to do just fine. You still got credit for the midterm. It’s better than no credit.

and if you mess up on the final, there’s a lot of things on it, but it will also be very easy if it’s something you're excited about. You're going to do great. but we need to get the work done. We can have fun when the work is done, but also, make your work fun.

Daily Activities and Class Participation - 30%

In class exercises will be turned in as .zip files. All .psd documents must be in there for a complete grade. I will be opening every document and checking the layers for the outcome. I will examine specific layers if necessary. All of this will reflect on the grade. PLEASE ask questions during class it helps with this grade. Or give a story where design/detail relates to the topic at hand to give other students a different perspective. this grade is recorded the following day. I will note if you are late to class, etc.

Midterm - 20%

In class exercises will be turned in as .zip files. All .psd documents must be in there for a complete grade. I will be opening every document and checking the layers for the outcome. I will examine specific layers if necessary. All of this will reflect on the grade. PLEASE ask questions during class it helps with this grade. Or give a story where design/detail relates to the topic at hand to give other students a different perspective. this grade is recorded the following day. I will note if you are late to class, etc. All notes will be a shared document. We are going to create a collaborative system to ensure notes are taken fairly.

Final - 50%

You can get away with not doing well on the midterm, or not participating correctly if you ace this. But I advise you work hard at everything. I am looking for understanding of the photoshop tools and uses. This assignment is going to have a "real-world" application prompt where you pick a product of some sort, and you design it. I will work out the details to this prompt as the end of the semester comes near. I plan to give you a ton of freedom for this project, I am looking for some creativity, but mostly knowledge of tools.

Attendance Policy

Attendance in this class each week is mandatory. Each of you will have two excused absences at your disposal, after which documentation of some sort will be required. I do ask that you reach out to me via email, ahead of time, if you know that you will be missing class. Any absence after the first two excused absences which is not agreed on beforehand by your instructor will have a negative impact on your final grade. If you are absent on the day of a critique, you will miss out on being critiqued. Of course, I understand that things do happen. If there is an extenuating circumstance that requires you miss multiple classes, please do reach out to me so that we can accommodate your learning experience and keep you in pace with your classmates. For those classes that you do miss, including excused absences, please first reach out to your classmates to find out what it is you missed. I will be available for office hours, if you would prefer to come to me, however, please recognize the fact that you are responsible for keeping up with your own education, and I will not be chasing anyone down to update them on those things that they missed.


Academic Honesty: Please familiarize yourself with the College’s policy on academic conduct here: . You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the academic conduct code and following its policies. Anyone who breaks this code will be reported to the appropriate offices.


Accessibility: Please visit the webpage for BCC’s Disability & Access Services to request any

accommodations you may require: Please make sure to inform me of any needs you have within the first few weeks of class.

Course schedule

Lesson #



Class Type + Grade


1/23/24 # 1

Tutorial/ Participation


1/30/24 # 2

Tutorial/ Participation


2/6/24 # 3

Tutorial/ Participation


2/13/24 # 4

Tutorial/ Participation


2/20/24 # 5

Tutorial/ Participation


2/27/24 # 6 Midterm

Creative Time/ Graded


3/5/24 # 7 Midterm Due B.E.O.C.

Midterms Due By end of Class

Creative Time/ Graded/ Critique


3/12/24 # 8

Tutorial/ Participation



No Class


3/26/24 # 9

Tutorial/ Participation


4/2/24 # 10

Tutorial/ Participation


4/9/24 # 11

Tutorial/ Participation


4/16/24 # 12

Tutorial/ Participation


4/23/24 # 13

Tutorial/ Participation


4/30/24 # 14

Midterm to last class review

Tutorials/ Final Project Work


5/7/24 # 15?

Snow-day Make Up

I'd like to meet if you're available. we can take a vote closer to the end of the semester to see what we'd like to do with this time.



FINAL PROJECT/ Presentations

Final Critique

See ya around!


You're Free

Good luck! Please Email, Text, or call to chat about design/computer related things. I'd be happy to chat!

Week 1: Syllabus & Selecting

Let’s chat about the syllabus. We can reshape this to meet the needs of the class. What are your goals and what do you strive to accomplish with this class? Do you have any past graphics experience? Let’s learn the layout & basics of selecting and masking in photoshop. Marquee tools, Lasso, Magic Wand, Object Selector, Etc. Then we'll learn to organize the files we created.

Week 2: Intro To Layer Masks - Masking Hair

Go over possible revise syllabus. We learned to mask last week. Let’s dive a little deeper now and get that masking skill refined to possibly be at an advanced level. Maybe not skill wise, but you’ll have the knowledge to practice and get better to become advanced level. We’re going to be using channels to make this mask, it is a higher contrast workspace to make easier selections.

Week 3: Photo Retouching Fundamentals

We can chat about what we went over last week, make sure everyone understands, and then we can hop into photo retouch basics. Clone stamp, healing brush, spot healing, patch tool, red eye, skin smoothing, blemish and teeth whitening, little bit of content aware. Lets start next week's lesson if we're ahead.

Week 4: Drawing w/ Shapes – Pen Tool

Using Illustrator's shape tools to draw can be an effective way to create smooth paths and predictable results. We can go much further than simply dragging shapes. There are several keyboard shortcuts that can help us create well-formed objects. The Pen Tool is one of the trickiest tools in Illustrator. It's also one of the most fundamental to vector drawing. You need to do your time with the tools to master them.

Week 5: Setting Type – Typography – Midterm

Adobe Illustrator is pretty good at setting type. It's no InDesign, but it can set point type, area type, type on a path and more. What's great, is that you don't always need to draw a box to type. We're going to learn how to make grids and use our rulers as well. Maybe dimension.

Week 6: Midterm Project – Q&A

Midterm is being assigned. Ask all and any questions, I will be doing a week-by-week overview and we can pause and dive into something if needed, or we can plan to review certain topics, let’s chat about it as the time gets closer.

Week 7: Midterms Due - Spring Break

Time to work in class.

Week 8: Content Aware – Color Correction

Content-Aware tools intelligently fill areas of a photo with a seamless background based on the pixels around the area. These tools appear throughout Photoshop. We'll discover the many ways it can be used. We'll explore techniques which take the guesswork out of making color corrections in Photoshop.

Week 9: Transformations

In this lesson, we'll explore the limitless transformation capabilities of Adobe Photoshop; all in a non-destructive workflow.

Week 10: Image Trace – Pixel to vector

Adobe has designed a wonderful workflow for getting a sketch off-paper into vectors in Illustrator. You can even create multiple color versions in a matter of seconds.

Week 11: Gradients Blends & Patterns

Create, edit, and apply gradients & patterns to strokes and fills in Adobe Illustrator.

Week 12: Smart objects

Photoshop mockups are layered files in which you can insert an image of a portfolio piece to show it in its natural environment. This is where we learn about the layers and transformations needed to go into making these mockups look realistic. You get to play around with a few mockups as well.

Week 13: Mockups – Builders – Final Project

Create mockups that you can use to promote your work online or in print. It will be easy to swap out portfolio pieces in your files, thanks to smart objects. We’ll be going over how to make a mockup today, along with the final project that will be a mockup of your own, preferably an advertisement style mock.

Week 14: Midterm to last class review

Let’s go over everything and chat about any topics people may be stuck on. This is a class work time while I lecture. Just like the midterm review, we can plan if needed. Let’s chat about this as the time gets closer.

Week 15: Last Class

Final work time. Let’s chat about the due date and how we are all doing. I’d love to sit and help all of you in this class if needed. Let’s Print!

Week 15: Snow-day Make Up

Fingers crossed we don’t need this day. But it will be used for whatever is missed if we do.

Week 16: Final Project/Assessment

If the work hasn’t been submitted in the last class, let’s submit and print before this class. I will bring in some beverages and snacks, and we’ll do a final critique!

Additional information

You may use images listed below without attribution for your assignments. That said, if your teacher directs you to include attribution, please do so. What the teacher states in class is the law of the land. and can actually be law in the real world, lets practice it.


  • Designing brand identity - Alina Wheeler (5th, preferably the 6th edition)

  • Articulating Design Decisions - Tom Greever

  • Graphic Design the New Basics - Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips

  • Logos that Last - Allan Peters

  • Steal Like an Artist - Austin Kleon

  • Made by James: the Honest Guide to Creativity and Logo Design - James Martin

SVG and Icons

Vector Logos


General Stock Photos


Vintage Stock

Patterns & Textures

Other Resources

Games for Designers


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