ARTS-4337 / Digital Photography Course Syllabus – Summer I – 2017 UTRGV School of Art

Posted by: Ping

ARTS-4337 / Digital Photography – Summer I – 2017
Tu-M  8:30 – 11:30 p.m. (Lecture Hours) / 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. (Lighting Studio Hours)
Instructor: Ping Xu
Classroom: HYNU’s VABL (TBA)
(HYNU’s new campus)
Office Hours: by appointment
Phone: 150-219-04919 (mobile # in China)
Course Blog:
Class Meeting Time:
Download the print copy of course syllabus

Catalog Description:

The ARTS-4337 Digital Photography course will introduce the terminology and process of creating images for surreal and conceptual photography. The course will also undertake the personal development of student ability as an image designer and digital photographer to visually communicate their ideas in a creative manner. The effective integration of digital photography and exploration of image manipulation is of particular emphasis in this course.

Description of Instructional Methods:

The structure of the class includes lectures, demonstrations, in-class studio activities, project development, and peer critique. Projects will be assigned and due on the scheduled dates. At the completion of each project, a critique and presentation will be taken place.

Main Area of Study:

  • Photography (Photo-shooting through a DSLR: 10 images without PS retouching)
  • Digital image retouching and manipulation (Surreal Photography: one image through Photoshop and Lightroom)

Course Objectives:

  1. To prepare raw format images for digital photography.
  2. To prepare digital imagery for digital print reproduction technology.
  3. To explore visual languages through a variety of image editing softwares.
  4. To train critical thinking and problem solving skills through digital photography.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Gain an understanding of raw format imagery.
  • Prepare photographic work for visual communication.
  • Know how Lightroom and Photoshop work together to produce stunning images.
  • Grasp current image editing techniques for creating surreal photography.

Student Learning Outcomes for UTRGV’s Graphic Design Majors:

Students who complete the Graphic Design Major are prepared to enter the real world as professional graphic designers or as artists who use the tools and effects of communication art. Student designers are trained to successfully manipulate the components and composition of visual art within a framework of concept

that targets an audience or purpose, whether that target is commercially based or personal. The design program installs technological knowledge, cultural and historical understanding and artistic integrity. To respond critically to works in the arts and humanities. To engage in the creative process or interpretive performance and comprehend the physical and intellectual demands required of the author or visual or performing artist.

Recommended Textbook:
Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers 2015

Trick Photography.pdfBonus Materials.pdf

Recommended Resources & Periodicals:

Recommended Camera & Lens:

Scholastic Integrity:

As members of a community dedicated to Honesty, Integrity and Respect, students are reminded that those who engage in scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and expulsion from the University. Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, plagiarism, and collusion; submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person; taking an examination for another person; any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student; or the attempt to commit such acts. Since scholastic dishonesty harms the individual, all students and the integrity of the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced (Board of Regents Rules and Regulations and UTRGV Academic Integrity Guidelines). All scholastic dishonesty incidents will be reported to the Dean of Students.

Students with Disabilities:  

If you have a documented disability (physical, psychological, learning, or other disability which affects your academic performance) and would like to receive academic accommodations, please inform your instructor and contact Student Accessibility Services to schedule an appointment to initiate services. It is recommended that you schedule an appointment with Student Accessibility Services before classes start. However, accommodations can be provided at any time. Brownsville Campus: Student Accessibility Services is located in Cortez Hall Room 129 and can be contacted by phone at (956) 882-7374 (Voice) or via email at Edinburg Campus:

Student Accessibility Services is located in 108 University Center and can be contacted by phone at (956) 665-7005 (Voice), (956) 665-3840 (Fax), or via email at

Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Violence:  

In accordance with UT System regulations, your instructor is a “responsible employee” for reporting purposes under Title IX regulations and so must report any instance, occurring during a student’s time in college, of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, or sexual harassment about which she/he becomes aware during this course through writing, discussion, or personal disclosure.

More information can be found at, including confidential resources available on campus. The faculty and staff of UTRGV actively strive to provide a learning, working, and living environment that promotes personal integrity, civility, and mutual respect in an environment free from sexual misconduct and discrimination.

Attendance Policy:

Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes and may be dropped from the course for excessive absences. UTRGV’s attendance policy excuses students from attending class if they are participating in officially sponsored university activities, such as athletics; for observance of religious holy days; or for military service. Students should contact the instructor in advance of the excused absence and arrange to make up missed work or examinations.

Tardiness Policy:

A tardy means you are being late over 5 minutes when you clock in. Tardiness is not tolerated in this class. Three tardies will be counted as an absence. A tardy or an absence on a critique/presentation day will result in a grade reduction for that project.

Effort Policy:

Students are expected to keep track of their performance throughout the semester, and seek guidance from available sources (including the instructor) if their performance drops below satisfactory levels. Unprepared, late to class, and/or non-participating students will receive a reduced project grade when applicable.

Back-up Policy:

In order to preventing unexpected file damages or disk errors, please back up your important files such as your final project files and your package folder in two different locations/disks. It’s unacceptable that a project delay due to above situations. Another data loss prevention is using Time Machine.

Grading Policy:

Student works will be assessed for creativity, presentation, and content value, based on professional standards. In determining students’ grade of the course, the consideration is given to the following areas: Attitude, attendance, constructive participation, development of concepts, aptness of thought, originality, composition, construction, curiosity, tenacity, inventiveness, presentation, and technical proficiency in working those assigned projects. The final grade of the course will be the sum of the project scores divided by the quantity number of projects.

Performance Levels (apply to each project):

Excellence_90 – lOO [A]

Presents extremely imaginative idea and shows excellent technical/pre- sentation skills. The project may also go well above and beyond the parameters of the exercise. Solid class discussions and critique involvement are also involved.

Above Average_80 – 90 [B]

Completes a solid overall development with original thought through the process of project developments. It also shows good design incite and work ethic. Regular participation in class discussions and peer critiques are also maintained.

Average_70 – 79 [C]

Meets the parameters of the problem, but does not exhibit originality or may be presented in a condition or manner that does not effectively communi-cate the goals of the exercise or in essence lacks proper execution.

Weak_60 – 69 [D]

Unacceptable_0 – 59 [F]

Point or Grade Deduction:

Three point deduction will be occurred for the grade of a single project by each unexcused absence during the period of project.

One letter deduction will be occurred for the grade of a single project:

• an absence on a critique/presentation day

• an one day delay of the project

Course Drops:

According to UTRGV policy, students may drop any class without penalty earning a grade of DR until the official drop date. Following that date, students must be assigned a letter grade and can no longer drop the class. Students considering dropping the class should be aware of the “3-peat rule” and the “6-drop” rule so they can recognize how dropped classes may affect their academic success. The 6-drop rule refers to Texas law that dictates that undergraduate students may not drop more than six courses during their undergraduate career. Courses dropped at other Texas public higher education institutions will count toward the six-course drop limit. The 3-peat rule refers to additional fees charged to students who take the same class for the third time.

Course Evaluation:

Students are required to complete an ONLINE evaluation of this course, accessed through your UTRGV account (; you will be contacted through email with further instructions.

Supplies & Materials:

  • Recommended books_available on Amazon
  • Notebook/Sketch Book/Pen/Marker
  • Digital Camera (rent/borrow, or purchase if applicable)
  • Two 32 GB Memory Card & Card Reader
  • Disks for back-up/transportation purposes, please choose one or more of the following options):
    – 32GB USB Drive
    – DVD-R Disks
    – External Hard Drive


  1. Raw Format Images
  2. AF Mode vs. Manual Mode
  3. Aperture Priority vs. Shutter Priority
  4. Depth of Field
  5. ISO & Flash
  6. Landscape / Surreal Landscape
  7. Portrait / Surreal Portrait
  8. Trick Photography and Special Effects
  9. Photoshop CC
  10. Lightroom CC
  11. Photo Retoucing and Image Design
  12. Digital Make Up


  • Adobe Photoshop CC 2017
  • Adobe Lightroom CC 2017

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