Introduction to Digital Imaging

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 216

       Course Name: Introduction to Digital Imaging

       Credits: 3 (0 lecture; 6 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ART 115 is recommended

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course surveys production, manipulation and output of photographic images electronically. Students will use photographs to be digitized and put into a computer for manipulation, to create output of images to paper prints. Content includes aesthetics of photographic image manipulation in context of student work and historical perspective. Implication of photographic electronic imaging to legal, moral and social issues discussed and related to commercial and fine arts applications. Adobe Photoshop used as the main software.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the basic principles of resolution and output of electronic imaging.
  2. Produce electronic images from photographs and from images created within the software.
  3. Manipulate photographic images electronically through the use of software, in accord with aesthetic criteria.
  4. Incorporate the principles of aesthetics into the development of each student's style.
  5. Produce quality inkjet prints from electronic images.
  6. Recognize and comply with the moral, legal and social implications of photographic electronic imaging.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Basics
    1. Logging into the Oakton system
    2. Tour of the Photoshop interface
    3. Getting around in the operating system to locate, open and save files
    4. Getting around in an image file: zoom tool, hand tool, menu options, and navigator palette
    5. Cropping photos
  2. Adjustment of Brightness and Contrast in a Photo
    1. Automatic corrections
    2. Manual corrections with Levels
    3. Understanding the Histogram
    4. Using “Shadow and Highlight”
    5. Understanding three color channels in images
  3. Basic Color Adjustment
    1. Hue, saturation, and brightness
    2. Variations
    3. Auto color
    4. Hue and saturation adjustment
    5. Color balance adjustment
  4. Scanning, File Size, Resolution and Printing
    1. File formats
    2. File size
    3. Resolution and how it affects file size and print quality
    4. Scanning and printing for optimum quality
    5. Digital camera cards and card reader
    6. Digital camera setting and file size/print quality
    7. Cropping and straightening scanned images
  5. Selections and Layers
    1. Isolating an image element – Selections
    2. Layers
    3. Making quality Selections
  6. File Browser and File Organization
  7. Filter Fest
    1. Unsharp Mask filter for sharpening photographs
    2. Painterly effects with filter combos
    3. Background effects
    4. Photo edge effects
    5. Wild effects with filters
  8. Text Tools and Effects
    1. Basic typography
    2. Fonts, point size and style
    3. Layer styles
    4. Clipping groups
  9. Layer Masking for Advanced Image Compositing
  10. Painting and Restoration
    1. Using brushes for painting
    2. Using brushes for retouching
    3. Combining filters, layer masks, and painting tools
    4. Colorizing a grayscale photo or re-colorizing a color photo
  11. Advanced Image Correction with Adjustment Layers
    1. Selective correction using layer mask
    2. Threshold adjustment layer for more scientific correction
    3. More on Levels
    4. Introduction to Curves
  12. Patterns and Texture
    1. Create your own by hand
    2. Paint with a pattern using the pattern stamp tool
    3. Automatic pattern maker
  13. Advanced Layer Styles
    1. Collect recipes
    2. Create your own from scratch
    3. Using the Fill% slider
  14. Vector Shapes and the Pen Tool
    1. Using Presets
    2. Creating your own shapes
    3. Enhancing shapes with layer styles
    4. Using the Pen Tool for Selection

VII.  Methods of Instruction

This course will be presented using a combination of lectures, slide presentations and the use of the school's computer work stations.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Produce 12 mounted and finished images.
  2. Participate in regular and final critiques.
  3. Take two quizzes and a final exam.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. Sourcebook: Adobe Photoshop – One on One, by Deke McClelland.
  2. USB jump (or Flash) drive
  3. Mount board and Museum grade white 11 x 14” board for matting
  4. Glossy ink jet photo paper

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

The final grade will be based upon the following elements and their weights
  1. Quizzes = 20%
  2. Regular critiques = 40%
  3. Final critique = 30%
  4. Final exam = 10%
Quizzes and exam will include both multiple choice items and “hands on” questions.  

The critiques offer the student the opportunity to show and discuss their work with the instructor and the class. This gives each student important feedback on the work presented. At each regular critique, the work presented must matted. At the final critique, students will present all of the work from the entire semester in matted format. Each student will also create a pdf slide show of their work to be displayed on-screen.

XI.   Other Course Information

Please note:
Some of the activities, lectures and assignments in this class may include imagery that is controversial, uncomfortable, shocking, has nudity, and personally unpopular to one's beliefs. If a student objects to this practice, he/she is encouraged to discuss with the instructor early in the semester alternative ways of completing course requirements.

Attendance is required at all critiques and quizzes. Lab hours will be posted, and open lab time will be provided for students.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.