Course Spotlight: Graphic Principles 2

This month we’re spotlighting Full Sail’s Digital Arts & Design bachelor’s degree program, focusing on the courses that make up the backbone of the curriculum that students learn across its 20 months.

Full Sail’s Digital Arts & Design program is a fast-paced 20 months that covers the foundations of design, and according to Course Director Amy Williams, it’s in Graphic Principles 2 when things really get kicked up a notch. After starting to learn the fundamental principles of design in the first few months of the program, students take on the basics of Photoshop (Graphic Principles) and in this more advanced Graphic Principles 2 course, they continue to sharpen those skills and work on new assignments almost every single day.

graphic principles 2 -valerie derleth digital painting“Not only am I hitting them with a tough program (Photoshop), but on top of that, they’re continuing to sharpen their design and artistic skills,” says Amy. “It’s a much faster pace in Graphic Principles 2. It starts to get tougher for the students when it comes to time management.”

According to Amy, it’s important that these classes are taken early on in the program, as Photoshop is a vital part of the Digital Arts & Design curriculum. Graphic Principles 2 is one of the students’ final “Foundation” classes, and while they likely won’t be complete Photoshop experts at the end of the course, they are expected to know the basics.

“We don’t go too in-depth, but the course does give students a little bit of a taste of what’s coming up, like Motion Graphics and 3D Arts.” says Amy.

Besides a series of video tutorials and two exams on Photoshop, the class is a pretty steady flow of hands-on assignments. Highlights include using Photoshop to design a custom drop cap, create a Google Doodle logo, make a map of design influences, and create a unique monster image by digitally painting over a piece of existing work.

The final assignment of the course is a group project: teams roll the “Invention Dice,” and from the combination of words they roll, they must come up with an invention, then create a mood board, conceptualize and sketch of the product, and design a brand and logo for it. The project culminates with a final presentation in front of the class.

graphic principles 2-invention dice

Sketches from the planning phase of a recent Invention Dice Final Project.

“The project has been a really good learning experience for everybody,” says Amy. “It’s an amalgam of everything they’ve learned, and students have to get together and make each other responsible for each other’s work. Instead of me grading them, we’re grading each other. It’s really good for their social skills.”

Students leave Graphic Principles 2 with a basic knowledge of Photoshop and design, the ability to solve creative visual problems and communicate their ideas for their intended audience, and an idea of the type of work they’ll soon be faced with.

“My biggest goal is to not only help students learn Photoshop, but to help them adapt,” says Amy. “The course is a good bridge between the worlds of art and digital.”