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T354 - Week 2


  • Review homework & look at samples
  • Aesthetics & color
  • Photoshop Odds & Ends
  • Aspect Ratios
  • Mixing Images & Image Processing
  • Scanning
  • In-class exercises: output for DV, merging two images, making & managing selections

Short Homework/Classroom assignment review

  • Please make a folder called your username in the Resources/Week2/ folder. Place a copy of your homework (make sure it is called "analysis") inside your folder.
  • Remember to follow assignment criteria and check the web site if you have any questions.
  • When making graphics, always keep the message crystal clear. For instance if you are going to design a graphic to promote a TV show, you need to include all the necessary info. Hook (appealing reason to watch), show title, time, etc.
  • Remember the safe text area and not to "crowd" important foreground elements. Do they have room to "breathe"? (enough space around the edges)
  • Good, bad & average samples: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8

Burrows & Wood reading

(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:

Understand difference between symmetrical balance and 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
An unbalanced picture can result if care is not taken to position the asymmetrical elements with respect to their weight and mass. Temporarily this may be desired.

(The parallel in music is the V7 chord wanting to resolve to a I or tonic chord. In terms of animation, this might be the start of movement to a balanced layout)

Heavy weight in the bottom tends to give more stability and security.
If the top of the picture contains more mass than the bottom, the result is 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 feeling that is heavy, somber, serious and forceful.

Tone also 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.
To go further we can examine graphics with two more aspects:

1. Texture
2. Depth

Both of these imply 3-dimensional characteristics.
Texture might be a coarse burlap or fine sandstone
Depth shows us that we aren’t looking at something flat- but something that occupies 3D space. Lines or shapes that converge towards the horizon can provide the illusion of depth. Drop shadow under text or objects can present the illusion of depth.

Robin Williams recap

  • Contrast
  • Repetition
  • Alignment
  • Proximity


LOOK and CREATE - To get better at graphics you need to start critically looking at commercial graphics and animations.

A writer needs to write every day in order to hone his or her craft and build a body of work. You need to do the same. As often as you can, make graphics and save them into an archive. Share them with people whose opinion’s you trust, refine them, and look at them on a TV monitor.

Graphics always look crisp on a computer monitor. The trick is making them look good when encoded to video. Overly saturated colors (especially reds) will bleed into surrounding areas. Photoshop's NTSC filter (found under video) will help.

Color Systems

Review additive & subtractive color systems:

Additive Color - RGB

The RGB system can reproduce almost all visible colors by adding varying amounts of Red, Green and Blue light. Because the system uses combined quantities of light to make colors, it is called the additive color system. This is the system used by television, computer monitors and lighting designers.
The primary colors, (or light sources) are Red, Green and Blue

Subtractive Color - CMYK

In the subtractive color system, colors are determined or created by varying amounts of inks or pigment.

A little physics: The color of an object is determined by the colors of light it absorbs and the colors of light it reflects. When white light falls on a red object, the object appears red because its surface subtracts (absorbs) all colors of light except red.

The light that is absorbed (subtracted) is transformed into heat. This explains why a black object, which absorbs all of the colors of light hitting it, gets much hotter in sunlight than a white object, which reflects all colors.

In theory, if you were to mix equal amounts of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow ink you would get black. But because of the impurities in the ink we'd end up with something resembling mud. That's why black ink is used. (The letter K is used for black because B could be confused for blue.) So in the subtractive color system, the primary colors (think inks) are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

The two systems together

The two color systems work in opposite ways, but are connected. If you look at a color wheel, you’ll see that Cyan, Magenta & Yellow can be found directly between Red, Green and Blue. Colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel are said to be complimentary. If you look directly opposite R, G or B, you’ll find a complimentary C, M or Y.

Open color wheel graphic along with on-line examples

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 "image" menu)
  • History

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
  • JPG
  • PNG

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.

Aspect Ratios and Square pixels vs. non-square pixels

One job of the graphic artist is to be able to create and transform graphics for a variety of different video editing systems. Before making any graphics or animations, it's important to know the video system or format is and what the aspect ratio is. Some video systems or codecs use square pixels while others use non-square pixels.

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:

  • Any NTSC DV-based video, which uses pixel dimensions of 720 x 480
  • HDV 1080 uses 1440 x 1080
  • DVCProHD 1080 uses 1280 x 1080

HDTV programs are always produced in a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. However, standard definition television (SDTV) can use either 4 x 3 or 16 x 9.

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

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

Pixel aspect ratio: Photoshop provides the proper pixel aspect display when you create graphics from scratch. But Photoshop doesn't always know what to use when displaying some graphics. (E.g. When you output a still frame from Final Cut Pro.) If the graphic is not displaying properly, change the "Pixel Aspect Ratio" found under the "View" menu.


Digital video editing systems often use the DV codec or some form of the D1 (ITU 601) standard. Both use non-square pixels.

  • DV and standard-definition DVDs use non-square pixel dimensions of 720 x 480. Both 4:3 or 16:9 use the same pixel dimensions- they just use different pixel aspect ratios.
  • HDV (1080i) uses non-square pixel dimensions of 1440 x 1080 (Always 16x9)
  • HD 720 uses square pixel dimensions of 1280 x 720 (Always 16:9) *
  • HD 1080 uses square pixel dimensions of 1920 x 1080 (Always 16:9) *
  • 4K comes in many variants and aspect ratios.
    • Note: Many HD variants use smaller horizontal pixel dimensions (HDV, DVCProHD, etc.) and stretch the image upon output to achieve the full 1920 pixels across. For instance 1080 HDV actually uses 1440 x 1080. 1080 DVCProHD is 1080 x 1280.

When making graphics for TV, first determine the pixel dimensions and pixel-aspect ratio.

In-class exercise (2 points):

  • Make two JPEG versions of the graphic you made during Week 1:
    • One will be sized for a standard-definition DVD menu, called "DVD.jpg"(720x480)
    • One will be sized for HDV, called "HDV.jpg"(1440x1080)
    • Place both JPEG images in your week 2 folder.


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


Printed or hand-drawn images can be input into a computer through a scanner. This produces much higher-quality results than by using a video camera.

Because scanners can capture images at a very high resolution, it's possible to end up with files that are very large- say 50-100 megabytes. These could overwhelm your storage devices and be awkward to move around in After Effects.

For our purposes, resolution is the same as dots per inch, or DPI. This is a value you can set in most scanning software. How high a resolution should you use? 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

1080i HD video is 1920 x 1080 pixels. Imagine you have a 4x6" photo of someone you're featuring in a documentary. It is 4 inches wide and 6 inches tall. You would like it to fill the entire video display. If you scanned the artwork at 100 dpi, it would result in a 400 by 600 image. This isn't quite large enough for the video display. Scanning it at 200 dpi would result in an image measuring 800 x 1200 pixels. 300 dpi would give you 1200 x 1800 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.

The easiest way to get started scanning images for video graphics would be to do the following:

  • Create a template (empty document) in Photoshop sized for your needs. (1080i TV size for exmple.)
  • Scan your image at the appropriate dpi for the artwork. (See above if unsure of the dpi setting use trial and error. I typically start with 200-300 for large images and 300-400 for smaller images.) Scanning an image will create a new file in Photoshop.
  • Copy the image and paste into your template.
    Was it too big or too small? If the image was too small, scan at a higher resolution. If the image was too big, simply scale the layer down in Photoshop.

Once you’ve nudged and sized the image in your Photoshop template, use the “save as” command to save it as a new file. It will be the right size for video and not be too large. Be sure to keep your template intact if you have more images to scan.

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.

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 Exercise (8 points)

  • Create a 16:9 TV 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 JPEG copies of them to your Oncourse/Resources/Week2/"yourfolder"/ named as picture1, picture2, etc.
  • Name your combined graphic "merge". Save a full-size JPEG version of your "merge" in your week 2 folder in Oncourse/Resources/Week2/"yourfolder"/.


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 compressor/decompressor or coder/decoder. It is a specific way to pack and unpack data for storage media. (E.g. JPEG, MP3, DV)
  • 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):

Create two different 1080i TV graphics for a fictitious show, event, cause, or product.
The two graphics should:

  • look different and have different visual styles
  • have the exact same message or purpose (the same text or words)
  • At least one should contain two images seamlessly merged together

For instance, you could make two different versions of a promo. You can use the same images in both if you'd like, or choose entirely different images altogether. Take different artistic approaches with them. One might be organic/natural looking. The other could be high-tech/futuristic. Please make your homework out of your own (original) material. So you can use any photos you've taken or frames from videos you've produced.

You should:

  • Name your two 1920 x 1080 JPEG graphics "graphic1" and "graphic2" (Be sure to keep your original PSD file so you can re-edit the images as needed.)
  • Save them into your Week3 folder.
  • Turn in the original photos/files in a folder called sources
  • Fill out a critique form for each piece


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