Friday, 16 June 2017

spring term, 2017

As I've mentioned several times I have now finshed my semester and the three course I took. I thought it might be fun to summarize them and have a little look at what I've done! First, though, I just want to say how incredibly lucky I feel to have access to the Swedish educational system, where I can study for free, for as long as I want. It's not something I've even reflected much upon before, but something that becomes obvious when talking with people from other countries. Go Sweden!

OK, so this semester I took three stand-alone courses, Digital image editing and Images and graphic design for the web (bild och grafisk design för webben) at Linneaus University and Vector graphics at Uppsala UniversityLast semester I was introduced to graphic design and typography, this semester the courses were within the same theme, with some overlapping content, but also with a lot of new stuff. I'm obviously not taking part of a set program, but choosing independent courses from different Universities within this field that I find interesting. The total of credits sums up to what would be full-time studies in Sweden.

Digital image editing, 7.5 credits
This course was held by the same teacher as my Typography course last semester, and he continued with much of the same structure on this one. Every month a new "chapter" - or theme - is covered, with short, prerecorded video lectures and several shorter assignments. You have to deliver all of the assignments and you get feedback on each of them. This is a set-up I find really easy to follow, and encourage you to keep up with work and not just wait til last minute. The prerecorded lectures are a good way of feeling like you are actually in contact with a human being, but becomes way more efficient than a live lecture. The content of the course, image editing with focus on using Photoshop, is something I knew a little bit about from before. I have worked with Photoshop every now and then since I was thirteen, but being self-taught, there are just so many things I don't know, and my work-flow has definitely not been optimal. I learned a lot of new features and methods during this course, and as knowing Photoshop is useful if you are an architect this has absolutely been useful.

Here are a few of my assignments in this course:

Program used: Adobe Photoshop CC

Images and graphic design for the web, 7.5 credits
This course was built up in three sections, with three assignments. The first focused on images, editing and adapting for web-use, the second and third on webdesign, HTML and CSS code, ending up in creating two homepages for fictional clients. This course had a different set-up than the first, with all of the assignments and information posted in the beginning of the course, so you pretty much had to work for yourself with very sparse contact with others. There were no video-lectures, and even though we were encouraged to chat with fellow students and teachers on various forums, I never really did.

The first part of the course obviously overlapped a lot with the other course I just described, and even in the second and third part there was (for me) repetition of graphic design and typography principles. But there were also parts that were completely new to me. I have never written code before, but I immediately liked it! I liked the logic and the structure. The second assignment was to create a webpage to spread information about the tiger, where we only had to create CSS style-sheets as the HTML, text and images was provided by the teachers. The third task had us constructing a site for a spa, completely from scratch. I was so proud when I managed to create a webpage that looked pretty much exactly as I had imagined it, not particularly advanced, but looking totally OK. I didn't think I would be able to do that in the beginning of the course!

 As none of these sites are "live" I can't link to them, but here are a few screen-shots of what they look like.

Programs used: Brackets, Adobe Illustrator CC, Adobe Photoshop CC

Vector graphics, 15 credits
Funny thing, two thirds into this course I decided not to finish it. I had waited for feedback from the teacher on the first parts, but never got it, plus I was very busy with the final stages of my other courses. I wasn't very impressed with the set-up of the course, which was similar to the Graphic deisgn for the web-one, but with less reliable feedback and a slightly confusing homepage. I think I might have found all this acceptable if I had been more motivated and not so occupied with my other courses. So, after delivering two out of three assignments I decided to drop the last one. But then, suddenly, I had two days over after delivering in the other courses, so I decided to give it a shot and just hand in something.

The content of this course was how to create illustrations, design and graphic profiles using vector graphics. It also covered some of the basic themes of graphic design, such as basic understanding of colors. I have worked a bit in Illustrator before, and to be honest I don't think I picked up that many new things in this course. The course in graphic design that I took last semester was more informative, but that is mainly because I decided to skip a lot of the exercises in this course. So mostly my fault. Anyway, I picked up a few good ideas on workflow for when designing a graphic profile for a company and it was a good opportunity to improve my Illustrator skills.

Here's a sneak peek on a few things I worked on in this course:

I haven't received my grades for these courses yet, but I have pretty good feeling about the first two. And I am already looking forward to next semester, hopefully the courses I'll be taking then will be equally inspiring and useful as these.

I'll write more in an upcoming post on what my plans are for the foreseeable future, by the way. I have some new thoughts.

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