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Visual Literacy

final: semester 1

by JuliannaKunstler.com

    Note for teachers: you can change or remove the assignments' titles in the Master pages.

As a result of the 1st semester you will collect a portfolio of all assignments and projects that you worked on. You will be able to redo the projects that you think can be done better.

Part of the visual literacy culture is PRESENTATION. You should be proud of your work and share this concept with other. Presentation is a very important selling point for designers. Think of it as your Resume.

Things you’ll have to do:

  1. Check that you have all assignments completed. Finish or redo some of them if needed.
  2. Set up good lighting for picture taking.
  3. Take photographs of all assignments that were not done digitally. Pay attention to the edges – make sure they are straight. Take multiple shots.
  4. Edit images in Photoshop: crop, resize, enhance colors and contrasts, etc. Save all images in one folder.
  5. Arrange your images in InDesign. Use the above Portfolio Template. Add text next to images with assignment description and the ideas that you tried to communicate through your design. (Full sentences, check spelling).
  6. Email me a copy of your portfolio in a PDF format.

include in your portfolio:

selection tools

selection tools

Matching shapes. Layers in Photoshop.

matching shapes

layer opacity

double exposure

Imagine this! Photoshop creative assignment. Basic layer techniques.

imagine this!

aesop fables




my name is...


typography 1

portrait typography

typography portrait


contrast: life or death


portfolio photos

Take photographs of the above assignments.

Set up a good lighting conditions for quality images - no shadows, no glare, etc.

Pay attention to the edges – make sure they are straight. Tilt your camera/phone to ensure the project's edges are parallel to the viewfinder edges.

Take multiple shots if needed to choose the best one later.

Transfer the images onto computer.

Place all images into a new folder.

Name the folder "final".

Open the folder.

Click twice on file's name to highlight it.

Type in a new descriptive name.

Make sure you keep the file's extension.

Rename the rest of the files.

editing images

Right-click on an image.

Choose: Open with > Adobe Photoshop .

1. crop

Find the Tool Panel on the left side.

Choose Crop tool.

Click and drag around your artwork.

Most likely the edges will not be perfectly straight. It's OK. You can cut off some of it.

Hit ENTER/RETURN to apply the cropping action.

2. resize

Resize your image to reduce the file size.

In the menu bar (at the top of the page) go to:

Image > Image Size

At the Document Size settings - make sure the height and the width are linked. This way the image will not get distorted when you change one of the dimensions.

Change the biggest dimension to 8 inches.

The other value will get automatically adjusted.

Click OK.

3. adjust contrast

This step is optional.

If you decide to enhance the contrast of your photograph - go to (menu bar):

Image > Adjustments > Levels

Click Auto

Click OK.

4. save

Save the file. File > Save.

If the JPEG Options window pops up - click OK.

Repeat the steps 1 - 4 with the rest of the images.

What if...?

What if you want to cut a square image?

Hold SHIFT button on your keyboard as you're dragging the cropping box.

Don't forget to hit ENTER at the end to apply the change.

What if the image is tilted and does not perfectly fit the cropping box?

Place the cursor at a corner and rotate the image to fit the box.


What if the photograph displays your artwork upside down?

Go to the menu bar (at the top):

Image > Image Rotation > 180

What if the photograph has a landscape view, but your artwork requires a portrait view?

Go to the menu bar:

Image > Image Rotation > 90 CW (clockwise)


Image > Image Rotation > 90 CCW (counter- clockwise) - as shown here.

What if the straight lines are not that straight?

That happens due to the camera lens distortion.

It's an easy fix, but there are a few steps you need to follow.

See below.

step 1

You need to unlock the image layer (called Background) in the Layers Panel.

If you do not see the Layers Panel - go to the menu bar:

Window > Layers

Double-click on the Background layer.

A new Layer window will pop up.

Just click OK.

step 2

Go to the menu bar:

Edit > Transform > Distort

Drag and reposition individual corners of the bounding box to ensure the image is straighten out.


step 3

To ensure the image is being properly saved - you need to lock the layer again (convert Layer 0 back to Background layer).

In the menu bar:

Layer > Flatten Image

Then: File > Save.

What if straight lines in your artwork are distorted into curves?

1. Start with repeating step 1 from the above tutorial - unlock Background layer by double-clicking on it.

2. Then go to the menu bar:

Edit > Transform > Warp

3. The image becomes almost "liquid" and you will be able to pull the areas by dragging any part of the image inside the bounding box.

Pull the areas that need to be fixed.

4. Hit ENTER

5. Lock the layer back. (Layer > Flatten Image).

6. File > Save.

Review images

Before the next step - make sure all images have been edited, renamed, and saved in the same folder.

Putting it all together

Download the portfolio template.

Important: Save the file into your "final" folder.

Open the file.

This is what the page 1 of the template looks like when you open it in Adobe InDesign.

Start with typing in your name.

In the Tools Panel (on the left) choose the Type tool.

In the upper right corner of page 1 - there is an empty text box for you to type your name.

Click inside the box and start typing.

File > Save.

Choose the Selection tool from the Tools Panel (Black Arrow).

Blue rectangles with an "X" inside are image holders.

This is where you are going to place your photographs.

The images are not physically placed inside these holders, but are linked to them - that's why it is important to keep all images and attached files in the same folder.

You need to select an Image holder to place an image inside.

Click on the box with the Selection tool.

To place an image into an Image Holder:

File > Place

Navigate to your folder.

Choose the corresponding image file.

Click OK.

The Image holder will display only a part of the image.

It is like a window - it shows only what is seen through it.

Remember, the images are set to have the biggest dimension to 8", the Image Holder is 4"x3" - that means we need to resize the images to fit the layout.

With the image still selected (orange bounding box around it) - go to the Options bar (at the top left:

Find Width (W) and Height (H) settings. make sure they are linked.

Change the biggest dimension to 4 inches.

The other dimension will adjust itself.

The image is placed.

If you placed a vertical image and need to adjust the Image Holder itself - deselect it (click outside the image), then click once on it again to reselect.

Use the bounding box elements to resize it.

You can place 2 or more images for one assignment. All you have to do is to duplicate image holders, resize them to fit your layout, and place images inside.

If you need to adjust the Text Holders (on the right side and below) - use the same Selection tool, select a box and resize it.

To enter text to the Text holders next to each image - choose Type tool from the Tools Panel.

Start typing.

Below is the list of topics I want you to include in your reflection.

The two text holders are linked, so after you run out of space in the first one - text will flow into the bottom box.

Complete the rest of the assignments.

include into assignment description:

  • What message did you attempt to convey in this assignment?
  • What visual tools did you use?
  • If you had to redo this assignment - what would you do differently?
  • Which part of the assignment you consider a success?

for color wheel and collage:

  • What materials did you use?
  • How the choice of materials affected your work on the assignment?
  • Did you achieve the desired effect?

For "Documentary photo" assignment:

  • Place your final story
  • Use the original and the illustration images

When you are done with placing images and completing the captions - proof read it and do spell check:

Edit > Spelling > Check Spelling

File > Save

Export the InDesign file as a PDF:

File > Export

Save it in the same folder as your other portfolio files.

Close the file.

One last thing to do:

Email me the PDF version of your portfolio final.

You are done!