CD224 Digital Imaging and Narrative


  • Prerequisite: CD124 Vector Graphics
  • Date & Time: Wednesday 3:10 pm - 6 pm
  • Classroom: Marvin Feldman Center Room 511
  • Semester: Spring 2018
  • Professor: Christie Shin
  • Email:
  • Office: D317
  • Phone: 212-217-5651
  • Office Hours: Monday 3pm–4pm, Tuesday 2pm–3pm, Wednesday 2pm–3pm, Thursday 2pm–3pm
  • Class Website:
  • Class Website: CT&D website
  • Class google drive: SP18_CD224

Course Description:

This course explores the various methods and purposes of creating digital composites with bitmap graphics using Photoshop. The lecture starts with basic photo manipulations including collage and color corrections. It continues with the use of different selection tools, layers, and masks. Students will learn nondestructive ways of editing in bitmap graphics by utilizing adjustment layers, smart objects, and smart filters. This class will also introduce the core concepts and disciplines of digital storytelling such as sequence, keyframes, frame mobility, the idea of infinite canvas, and understanding of timeline. The fundamental knowledge of print and screen-based file preparation including resolutions, dimensions, and output formats will be addressed thoroughly.

Student Learning Outcomes:

    Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
  1. understand the principles and processes of bitmap imagery
  2. demonstrate an intermediate level of proficiency in the bitmap imagery program
  3. apply fundamental visual design concepts to create digital image composites
  4. analyze and evaluate digital imagery with visual storytelling
  5. develop, design, concept, and create digital image composites and image sequences


  • In-class workshop: Self-portrait (5%)
  • Project 1: A digital composite for an article (20%)
  • Project 2: Storytelling a phrase, saying, proverb, or idiom in 6 steps (25%)
  • Project 3: Shakespeare in motion (30%)

Unit/Area of Study:



Visual communication, digital composite, deconstruction vs. reconstruction, destructive vs. non-destructive editing

Week 1-4 (4 lecture/8 studio hours)

Project 1 : A digital composite for an article


The project is to create a single frame digital composite for a newspaper/magazine article. Students will learn how to create a compelling message using a combination of photographs and other visual graphics.


The goal of this project is to learn how to visually communicate and deliver a message effectively through digital composition.


Students choose one from two articles provided by the professor.

  1. Select an article for your digital composite
  2. Read an article and write one sentence defining what you would like to focus on. It can be the core message or a part of a story from the article
  3. Sketch your concept and find image resources for your digital composite. You can do an online search, scan images… etc. It is highly recommended you take photos with your own camera. Please make sure all of your images are hi-resolution
  4. Compose your digital illustration in Photoshop
Duration of the project:

3 weeks



Smart object, visual narration, sequence, keyframe, master-storyboard, and frame mobility

Week 5-9 (5 lecture/10 studio hours)

Project 2: Storytelling using a phrase, saying, proverb, or idiom in 6 steps


This project is to create visual storytelling in sequence. Students choose a phrase, saying, proverb, or idiom and communicate it in 6 steps. They must visualize the message in 6 keyframes using only images. All the frames must have a consistent tone of voice in terms of the look and feel of the visual style.


The goal of this project is to storytell a message using multiple keyframes. Students will have a better understanding of the fundamental concepts and techniques of storytelling such as sequence, masterboard, keyframe, and frame mobility.


A phrase, saying, proverb, or idiom.

  1. Choose a phrase saying, proverb, or idiom
  2. Storyboard: break down the message/concept into 6 scenes in sequence
  3. Add descriptions and keywords for each frame on the storyboard
  4. Work on the visuals and styles
  5. Complete the storyboard with style frames
  6. Create an animatic in Photoshop
Duration of the project:

4 weeks



Digital storytelling, timeline, sequence, animatic, and the idea of infinite canvas

Week 10-14 (5 lecture/10 studio hours)

Project 3: Shakespeare in Motion


This project leads to the next level of visual storytelling building on concepts and skills learned from the previous projects. Fundamental motion design concepts are introduced to enhance visual communication. The project begins by visualizing a story in 6 main scenes (keyframes), and continues by them into time-based sequences using Photoshop’s timeline.
Students can approach this project with multi keyframes, a master storyboard, or a panoramic scene. Then, students will frame the sequences (key-framing) and create cohesive storytelling digital composites in motion.


The goal of this project is to learn time-based storytelling methods through multi-frame scenes. Students will first complete a set of keyframe compositions, and then turn them to a simple motion piece using Photoshop’s timeline. Students will have basic understanding of time-based design fundamentals and principles including the concept of the infinite canvas and dynamic ways in visualizing a concept. In addition, students will learn how to work with complex layer structures.


Shakespeare plays, either an overall theme or a specific message.

  1. Choose one of Shakespeare’s plays. Summarize an overall theme and come up with a specific message you would like to communicate
  2. Visualize it in the form of a storyboard with your own unique visual language (interpretation) and aesthetics
  3. Create a dynamic and effective visual communication piece
Duration of the project:

5 weeks


  • 80% Projects (In-class workshop: 5%, Project 1: 20%, Project 2: 25%, Project 3: 30%)
  • 20% Class participation and professionalism

Department Policies:

Attendance is not optional. If you are going to miss a class, you must contact the instructor via telephone or email ASAP. If a class is missed, it is your responsibility to get information regarding missed assignments and lectures from one of you classmates.

  • Students are required to attend all classes, be on time, and remain for the entire class.
  • Students who are absent for 3 classes will receive a grade of "F."
  • Student who arrives 10 minutes after the start of the class will be considered late
  • 2 late occurrences = one absence
  • A student who arrives over 1 hour late or not returning from the break will be consider absent from the class
  • An excused absence is still considered an absence

Week 1 1/31/2018 Wed


1. Introduction of class, syllabus, projects, class website, google drive

2. Lecture

- What is digital composite?
- Deconstruction vs. Reconstruction
- What is visual storytelling?
- Introduction to Project 1
- Introduction of the bitmap graphics (resolution, file size, file formats, etc.)
- Overview of Photoshop interface and features
- Silhouetting methods using selection and eraser tools

3. In-class workshop

- Self-portrait: 1 hour show and tell project (5%)

4. Next week

- Creative brief (format: word doc, google doc, pdf, etc.)
1) The title of a chosen article
2) Your message–a core concept/focal point that you will create for your digital composite (one sentence – typed)
3) Three idea sketches based on your concept
4) Visual research (visual assets, moodboard, collection of visual styles, etc.)

Week 2 2/7/2018 Wed

P1 W2

Review students’ creative brief and develop a direction

1. Lecture

- Destructive vs. Non-destructive
- Understanding masks
- Digital composite with blending mode

2. In-class workshop

- Selections and layers
- Quick selection tool and layer mask
- Gradient layer mask

3. Next week

- 1st draft in Photoshop

Week 3 2/14/2018 Wed

P1 W3

Review students’ work-in-progress

1. Lecture

- Digital composite with multiple images
- Transformation
- Clipping mask
- Adjustment vs. adjustment layers

2. Next week

- Printout your digital composite on 11 by 17 inches
- Submit your PSD file with layers in the google drive
- Submit your project info including your name, article name, and your one sentence concept/message (word doc, google doc or pdf).

Week 4 2/21/2018 Wed


1. Lecture

- Introduction to Project 2: Storytelling a phrase, saying, proverb, or idiom in 6 steps

2. In-class workshop

- Choose a phrase saying, proverb, or idiom
- Storyboard: break down the message/concept into 6 scenes in sequence
- Add descriptions and keywords each frame on the storyboard

3. Next week

- Completed storyboard (1st draft)
- A style frame in Photoshop
- Photo research

Week 5 2/28/2018 Wed

P2 W1

Review students’ storyboard and develop a direction

1. Lecture

- Retouch
- Controlling affected layers

2. Next week

- First draft (6 Keyframes) in Photoshop

------ 2018 International Conference: Design Principles & Practices: Class Canceled. (March 5-9)------

Week 6 3/7/2018 Wed

P2 W2

1. Assignment

- Submit your first draft in the google drive

2. Next week

- Second draft (6 Keyframes) in Photoshop

Week 8 3/14/2018 Wed

P2 W3

Review students’ work-in-progress

1. Lecture

- Smart filters
- Layer styles
- Blending modes

2. Next week

- Storyboard due

Week 8 3/21/2018 Wed


* Please submit your psd storyboard in the google drive before the class starts.

1. Lecture

- Smart object
- Smart object instances
- Smart filter

2. In-class workshop

- Create a basic animatic
- Storyboard preparation in InDesign (place Photoshop files in InDesign and export as PDF for the presentation)

3. Next week

- Prepare your PDF presentation including your name, your one sentence concept, 6 keyframes on a storyboard, and 6 full size keyframes. (7 page pdf in total, 1280 x 720 px @72ppi)
- Submit all layered PSD files and the animated gif file in the google drive

------ Spring break (March 26-April 1)------

Week 9 4/4/2018 Wed


1. In-class workshop

- Introduction to Project 3: Shakespeare in Motion

2. In-class workshop

- Survey on Shakespeare's plays

3. Next week

- Creative brief
1) A chosen play
2) Define a concept – a message that you would like to communicate visually (one sentence – typed)
3) Draft a storyboard with descriptions and keywords based on your concept. A title of a play is on the last keyframe
4) Visual research
5) A style frame in Photoshop

Week 10 4/11/2018 Wed

P3 W1

Review students’ concept and storyboard draft

1. Lecture

- Smart object practical use

2. In-class workshop

- Defining keyframes

3. Next week

- First draft (6 keyframes) in Photoshop

Week 11 4/18/2018 Wed

P3 W2

Review students’ work-in-progress

1. Lecture

- Concept of a mater-storyboard
- Concept of defining keyframes
- Concept of frame mobility
- Concept of infinite canvas
- Relationship between a stage and camera move
- Camera viewfinder
- Timeline introduction

2. Next week

- Second draft (6 keyframes) in Photoshop

Week 12 4/25/2018 Wed

P3 W3

Review students’ work-in-progress

1. Lecture

- Introduction to Photoshop timeline
- Animatic: sequence

2. In-class workshop

- Storyboard due

Week 13 5/2/2018 Wed


* Please submit your psd storyboard in the google drive before the class starts.

1. Lecture

- Animatic: frame mobility

2. In-class workshop

- Create a master psd file and connect at least two keyframes using the timeline in Photoshop

Week 14 5/9/2018 Wed

P3 W5

Review students’ work-in-progress

1. Next week

Please submit all the required files (1, 2, 3) in the google drive before the class starts.
1) Your InDesign “Package Folder”
* Please remember your InDesign document size is 1280 pixels x 720 pixels.
2) Your master psd file with timeline (if you used any sound, you must submit the sound clip as well)
3) .mp4 movie

Week 15 5/16/2018 Wed


Keep and backup all the exercises and projects that you have done throughout the semester! You must submit all your projects for the final grade no later than the last day of class (Week 15)