Assignments & lessons 226

Assignments:  16 original photos in 8 categories
Lessons:  10 lessons in Photoshop editing
EC:  Google motion graphics chart;  Adobe gallery; slices; WordPress plug-ins,  other techniques.

Portfolio Web site

All assignments and lessons must be displayed on your portfolio (WordPress or Weebly or other CMS) web site. Be sure that the photo gallery is easy to find using your menu.  

  1. Grades for the Web site start at W1.
  2. Create a controlled menu on your web site.
  3. Create and upload a photo for your header.  You can do this by finding header image under appearances in your WordPress theme. Find the exact dimensions needed (my theme on this page has 990 w by 180 h).  Use the Photoshop information window, switch it to pixels, and use the cropping tool to get the exact dimensions needed.
  4. (More assignments to be posted here)


Display 16 original photos on your web site, taken by you during this semester, at least one each in the following categories:

  1. People around campus, moving in for fall semester   — Possibly use SP on your digital camera.
  2. Portrait of a person — Use portrait setting on your digital camera. Extra credit:  Use controlled lighting with one of the light kits.
  3. Children, animals or pets — Try to tell a simple story.
  4. Landscape  — Portrait of the New River, for example.  Use Landscape setting on digital camera, tripod, and experiment with extended shutter speeds.
  5. Sports event  — Get close, use a fast shutter.  Be sure people are a big part of the frame of your shot. Move the camera with the action to keep the foreground in focus.   Use “Shutter priority”  SP setting on your camera.
  6. Architecture  – Use the Photoshop grid warp adjustment for tall buildilngs.
  7. Atmosphere / Abstract — Look for a pattern or something unusual in the things you see everyday.  May need to use Night setting, Aperture priority. Think of Paul Strand’s approaches.
  8. Emulate the artist — Shoot in the style of a famous photographer.  

EC: News events on campus submitted to student or professional media.   Not just photos, but also names and context of photos.

How these are graded:  

— Submitted on time:
At least one from each category is due during the first 8 weeks. By Sept. 18,  you should have A1 displayed.  By Sept. 25, you should have  A2 done;  and so on.  This will take us through early November.  Penalty for late submissions is one letter grade per week.

— Aesthetics:
Subject should be appropriate for assignment
Theme is emphasized within the frame
Composition is balanced; rule of thirds, etc.
Proportions are p dynamic

— Technical issues:
Light and colors are level and balanced
Cropping is appropriate
Pixel depth is 72 ppi
File size is no more than 500K, and file is optimized as a compressed jpg

Class exercises:

E1 – Three versions of the same image — Take a photo with your own camera and display small (under 200k), medium (under 750 k) and large (over 1mb) versions on your web site.  Label these E1a, E1b, E1c.  Check as you save the versions under image/image size in Photoshop.
E2 – Process and display a public domain image  — Locate a .tiff type file from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division.  Download it to your desktop and open it in Photoshop.  Check the  (top menu) image / image size. Change it to   72 pixels per inch and 5 x 7 proportions. Now  file / “Save for web”   and select  jpg format.  The file size should be less than 250 k.  Post to your wordpress page as E2.

Ex 3 – by Devin Jones

E3 – Adjust image exposure  — Use this  photo of Dublin. The problem is that the beautiful sunset overshadows the kiss at the foot of the bridge.  Use Image / Adjustments / Levels   or  Image / Adjustments / Shadow – Highlight   to correct this. Or, you can use the magic wand tool to separate the dark areas and place them on a different layer, and then adjust the levels on that layer.

E4 – Clone tool, cropping, resizing —  E4 photo will come from the FSA collection at the Library of Congress.  Use appropriate tools to prepare the photo for web display.  Use the “clone” tool to expand or fill in areas.   When you display the photo on your web site, include all relevant cutline information.


E4 example – Tulare County, Farm Security Administration (FSA) camp. Migrant mother and child at doorway of steel shelter. By Dorothea Lange, 1939.

E5 – Canvas size, layers, select tools, gradient tool — L4 photo is provided. This exercise is based on a hypothetical situation in which you need to create the cover of a magazine and this photo is the best you have from the Great Balloon Race.

  1. Download the balloon photo and open it in Photoshop.
  2. Rotate the canvas
  3. Invert (change from negative to positive)   Image / Adjustments / Invert
  4. Crop to basic image
  5. Use “magic wand” to get rid of sky / background
  6. – select sky and delete (probably have to do this a dozen times to get it all.


    E5 balloon

  7. – you should have empty space there now.
  8. Expand Image / Canvas size to  8 w and 12 h.
  9. Using the layer pallet, create another layer underneath the balloon image.  Call it “sky.”
  10. Using the Gradient tool, create a blue to white gradient on the sky layer.
  11. Using the text tool, write your magazine’s title in the space across the top. It could be anything you like (as long as its clean).
  12. Save the basic .psd photo on your desktop.
  13. Save for web and devices as a .jpg when you are done. This will flatten all your layers, so dont do that before you do step 13.
E6- Photo fixes and touchups —   (See Adobe Help pages for more information)
  1. Red Eye 1  — Click on this Wikimedia commons photo and fix using the red eye tool
  2. Healing Brush — Click on this photo and use healing tools to fix it up.
  3. Save for web and turn in on your wordpress page.
E7 – Layer mask  —
  1. Use filters, layers and knockouts to create a different look for this photo:

    E7 exercise (with thanks to Uncle Walter)

E8  Layer Comps
  1. Create a set of layer “comps” (comprehensives) for an advertising or news design presentation.

E9  — Clipping mask 

  1. Create a text layer and a layer you want to show through the text.
  2. Put the show-thru layer above the text layer, then right click (or Mac control-click) to pull up layer menu.  Chose “Create Layer Mask.”
  3. Move the show-thru layer with the move tool (first tool on the toolbar) to get it where you want it.

E10 – Animated gif

  1. Create an animation 728 x 90 leaderboard as per Internet Advertising Bureau standards.
  2. Use Photoshop and create a new 728 (w) by 90 (h) image.
  3. Use Photoshop animation effects for both a moving object and fading texts.
  4. Display on your website with a link to some other website.


Your final project should involve a dozen photos in one topic area assembled with the idea of telling a visual story.  These would be assembled in a slideshow or InDesign layout.

Extra credit

EC1 High Dynamic Range 

  1. Create an HDR photo out of three simultaneous (or near simultaneous) digital photos with highly bracketed exposures.  You will need a tripod and an advanced digital camera.
  2. This Lesson can also double for any of your assignment categories.


  1. Create a time-lapse video using a camera with an intervalometer.