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Jim Krause | Classes | P354 Program Graphics & Animation

Week 2

Announcements & Agenda:

  • Today (Tuesday) is the last chance to register for Prague or Ecuador.
  • Share homework & Review Burrows & Wood reading, aesthetics & color
  • Photoshop Odds & Ends
  • Aspect Ratios
  • Mixing Images & Image Processing
  • Scanning
  • In-class exercises: outputting for non-square formats, merging two images, making & managing selections

On Turning in Homework:

  • For the best grade, follow the assignment criteria & turn in on time
  • Getting the message across is #1 priority. Is all the info there? A promo for a TV show or event should have a hook (appealing reason to watch/attend), program title, time, place/network/venue, etc.
  • Did you put the principles of CRAP to work?
  • Use white/negative space - Us the safe text area for this and don't "crowd" important foreground elements. Do elements have room to "breathe"?

Pretest Qs

  • What are the pixel dimensions of 720p video?
    • 1280x720
  • What are the pixel dimensions and precise frame rate of 1080i TV?
    • 1920x1080 29.97
  • What is an adjustment layer?
    • A non-destructive image editing and effects layer that affects all layers below it.
  • What is an alpha channel?
    • It's similar, but not a color channel. It's a channel that describes transparency (opacity) of an image.
  • Assume you will be animating a company logo. They've offered you either a bitmap or vector version. Which should you use and why?
    • Vector, because you can scale it up without pixilation/scaling artifacts.



Burrows & Wood reading (review of chapter 10 from Television Production Disciplines and Techniques)

Three fundamental aspects of pictorial design:

  1. Balance and Mass
  2. Lines and angles
  3. Tone and color

Balance and Mass

Symmetrical verses asymmetrical balance.

Symmetrical balance

Asymmetrical balance

Symmetrical balance is rigid and formal

Asymmetrical balance usually is more interesting and dynamic- resulting in a more fluid and creative mood, while just as balanced aesthetically.

A heavy weight in the bottom tends to give more stability and security.

More mass at the top results in a feeling of uneasiness and suspense.

Lines and Angles

  • Horizontal lines are restful, inactive and stable.
  • Vertical lines suggest solemnity, dignity and dominance. Diagonal lines represent action, movement and impermanence.
  • Curved lines imply change, beauty, grace and flowing movement. An upward flowing curve suggests freedom and openness. A downward, open curve has more of a feeling of pressure and restriction.

Tone and Color

  • Light tones result in a delicate, cheerful, happy or trivial feeling.
  • Dark tones result in a heavy, somber, serious and forceful feeling.

Tone affects balance

A dark tone carries more mass, weighs more and can be used to balance a larger mass that is light in color or tone.

A dark mass at the top of a picture tends to induce a heavy unnatural feeling of entrapment and depression, while a darker tone at the bottom gives it a more stable base.

A lighter tone or color at the top gives more of a feeling of solidarity and normalcy.


Hues are subjectively classified as warm (reds and yellows) or cool (blues and greens)

Warmer colors tend to be heavier than cool colors.

In addition to balance, mass, and color:

Depth - Is there a sense of Z-space? Are we looking at a something flat or into a 3-dimensional space? Light is often a good indicator and more tangible in 3-dimensional space.

Embedded Style - Do the colors, font choices, visual motifs, tie into the message or the purpose?

Robin Williams recap

  • Contrast - Draw attention to the message (not away frrom it)
  • Repetition - Repeat visual motifs, colors,
  • Alignment - Use alignment to bring order from chaos
  • Proximity - Place related elements together

LOOK and CREATE - Practice trying to recreate the looks of graphics you find pleasing.

Playing with Color

On-line color mixers:

Photoshop tour (continued)

Be sure you know how to do the following:

  • Copy a layer
  • Delete a layer
  • Group layers:
    • Link & unlink multiple layers
    • Create folders
  • Adjust a layer's brightness, hue & saturation
  • Adjust a layer's opacity
  • Rename layers (You can either Click the layer's title or Change the layer properties by right, or control clicking the layer)
  • Apply layer styles (double click on the layer, but not the name)
  • Create editable & rendered text
  • Rasterize vector objects
  • Resizing (Hold down the shift key while dragging the corner to maintain aspect ratio)
  • Edit -> transform -> scale, rotate, etc.
  • Apply a filter to a selection or layer
  • Make a selection with the Magic Wand tool (tolerance setting)
  • Select a brush/eraser and modify its size and feather
  • Use the clone tool
  • Change the pixel aspect ratio (Under "View" menu)
  • History - Cmd+Z is go back one (undo). Option+Cmd+Z will continue stepping back.

Web output:

If you are focused on web output, you'll likely save your image in one of the three common browser-friendly formats:

  • GIF (limited color but supports transparency and can be animated)
  • JPEG (supports 24-bit color but no transparency)
  • PNG (24-bit color AND transparency)

GIFs are 8-bit so can only contain 256 colors. However they do support alpha channels (transparency). GIFs work great for cutout icons with limited colors and transparent backgrounds (like company logos).

JPEGs support 24-bit color but no alpha channels. So while you can't have a JPEG with a transparent background, they are great for high quality images such as photos.

PNGs support 24-bit color and also alpha channels.

Open the color picker in Photoshop. Note there is a check box in the bottom left hand corner you can select if you want to only see web colors. If you are into HTML coding (E.g. making CSS style sheets) note that the hexadecimal value of the chosen color is displayed near the middle of the window.

Interesting test of web formats- Make a graphic with a nice gradient in it. Save it as a GIF and as a JPEG. What are the differences between the GIF and the JPEG? With the Save as JPEG options on-screen, drag the slider left and right to note the impact of various amounts of compression. A small amount of compression results in a larger file, but of higher quality. A lot of compression results in a smaller file, but of lower quality.


One job of the graphic artist is to be able to create imagery for a variety of different video formats. Before making any graphics or animations, determine what the video format and aspect ratio are. Some video formats use square pixels while others use non-square pixels. Non-square pixels are typically used with anamorphic formats. These are when the image is stretched to fit into a storage medium with a narrower aspect ratio.

Examples of square pixel formats include:

  • Full-raster HDTV codecs, which will either use 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720.

Examples of non-square pixel formats include:

  • NTSC DV (both 4x3 and 16x9 use pixel dimensions of 720 x 480)
  • HDV & XDCam use 1440 x 1080
  • DVCProHD 1080 uses 1280 x 1080

ASPECT RATIOS - HDTV is always produced and delivered in a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. Standard definition television (SDTV) can be either 4 x 3 or 16 x 9. Films can be made in a variety of aspect ratios. Cinemascope (sometimes referred to as Panavision) is 2.35 x 1

  • "Full frame" TV: 4:3 (1.333)
  • Wide screen TV 16:9 (1.778)
  • Cinemascope 2.35:1 (2.35)

Fortunately Photoshop has easy-to-use presets for most common formats. Use these presets whenever you can, as they make your job easier. They will provide the proper pixel dimensions with safe action and safe text guides, put you in the right color mode (RGB), and will display your artwork in the right pixel aspect ratio.

Pixel aspect ratio: Photoshop provides the proper pixel aspect ratio when you create graphics from a template. But Photoshop doesn't always know what to use when opening graphics created in other programs. If the graphic is not displaying properly, change the "Pixel Aspect Ratio" found under the "View" menu.

In-class exercise (2 points):

  • Make a JPEG version of the graphic you made during Week 1 sized for a DVD widescreen menu (This will be 720x480 pixels, anamorphic DV-NTSC widescreen.)
  • Name it after your username. (Mine would be jarkraus.jpg.)
  • Submit it to the proper Canvas assignment (Week 2 in-class: DVD menu).

Thursday -----------------------


Flat materials such as photographs and hand-drawn artwork can be digitized with a scanner. This produces a much higher-quality result than capturing with a digital camera.

Scanners can capture images at a very high resolution, resulting in extremely large files, which can be combersome to animate. It's good practice to scan images into a resolution higher than you need, but not too much larger.

What resolution / DPI should I scan in? It depends on several factors:

  • The size of the original image
  • The pixel dimensions of the video codec the images will be used in (E.g. 1920 x 1080)
  • The size of the image when displayed via the video codec

Imagine you have a 6x4" photo of something you'd like to use in a documentary. You'd like this 6x4" photo to fill the entire screen of 1080i HD video (1920 x 1080 pixels). Scanning the artwork at 100 dpi would result in a 600 by 400 image- not quite large enough to fill the screen. Scanning it at 200 dpi would result in an image measuring 1200 x 800 pixels. 400 dpi would give you 2400 x 1600 pixels. This is much closer to what you need.

So when scanning always consider the size of the artwork and how large it needs to be displayed within the screen.

Notes on seamlessly merging images:

In order to realistically combine images it's important that they are similar in terms of color, tonal balance and exposure. The angle of perspective should match as well as the angle and quality of light (E.g. key light).

In class tutorial: Merging two images

You can use the IU/UITS Photoshop tutorial files, which you can download from:

If you don't have stuffit to extract the above files, here are the two we need:

Make sure you try out various selection tools:

  • Lasso
  • Magnetic Lasso
  • Quick Selection
  • Magic Wand

Quick Mask Mode is key for refining selections.

Select and Mask (used to be Refine Edges) is a useful tool for refining selections.

A few keyboard shortcuts to remember:

  • Command + = Zoom In
  • Command - = Zoom Out
  • Spacebar = Hand Tool (move work area around)
  • Command - D = Deselect
  • Holding Shift will add to your selection
  • Holding Option will remove from your selection
  • X will swap foreground and background colors

In-Class "Merge" Exercise (8 points)

  • Create a 16:9 TV PNG graphic (1920 x 1080) made up of two images seamlessly merged together. 
  • Find two images you wish to merge together. Consider lighting, shadow, reflection, etc.
  • Please save the source images to a folder called "Your IU "sources". Zip/Compress this folder and upload it to this assignment.
  • Save the PSD file you are working on (for future use) and output ("Save as") a PNG graphic to turn in.
  • Name your PNG graphic "merge" and upload it to the appropriate Canvas assignment.


Week 2 Vocabulary:

  • Bit Depth: (Color depth or pixel depth) is the amount of color information in an image file. The more bit depth, the more colors you can reproduce.
      • 8-bit - 256 colors
      • 16 bit - thousands of colors
      • 24-bit - 16.7 million colors
    • A three-color RGB channel actually consists of 3 separate 8-bit channels. When you add an alpha channel (another 8 bits) it adds up to a 32 bit image
  • Codec - short for coder/decoder (or compressor/decompressor). It is a specific way to pack and unpack data for storage media. (E.g. JPEG, MP3, DV)
  • CRAP - Know what it stands for! Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity
  • Landscape oriented - Visual pieces that are wider than they are tall (like a movie screen)
  • Portrait oriented - Visual pieces that are taller than they are wide.
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio - mathematical ratio of pixel width to pixel height. 1920x1080 & 1280x720 are both square pixel formats. DV & HDV are both non-square pixel aspect formats.
  • Rasterize - Rasterizing takes vector objects and converts them into pixels or bitmaps. If you rasterize a text layer so that you can apply effects, you will no longer be able to edit it as text.
    • One of my favorite ways to rasterize layers in Photoshop is to create a new (empty) layer below the one I want to rasterize. Then I merge the layer I want to rasterize down into the empty one.

Homework (due by the start of next week's lab):

Pick a real or fictitious show, event, cause, or product to promote. (Callout meeting for your club, an upcoming concert, an art opening, etc.)

Create two different 1920 x 1080 sized TV graphics to promote your event, concert, show, etc. Be sure to take totally different artistic approaches with your two graphics. One might have an organic/natural looking feel to it. The other could look high-tech, shiney, and futuristic. Please make your homework out of your own (original) material. Consider using a few of your existing photos or taking a few new ones. You could even use a frame from one of the videos you've produced.

The two graphics should:

  • look different and have different visual styles
  • have the exact same (obvious) message/purpose
  • at least one of your graphics should contain two images seamlessly merged together

Naming & Turning in:

  • Name your two 1920 x 1080 JPEG graphics "yourIUloginID_1" and "yourIUloginID_2" (Be sure to keep your original PSD file so you can re-edit the images when needed.)
  • Take your source images and place them in a folder called "sources". Zip/Compress this folder and turn it in to Canvas along with your 2 JPEG graphics.


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