Visual Communication: FY 2007 Course Descriptions

The following is an ambitious list of Visual Communication courses cautiously recommended to Technical Communications majors at Austin Community College:

The courses highlighted in red are the recommended ones. Check with the department chairpersons for Visual Communication and Technical Communications before enrolling in the advanced courses listed here.

General Graphics

As a technical writer, you will need to handle graphics, but not much more than in the ways covered in ETWR 1374 Graphics for Business, Government and Technical Information. These digital imaging courses go into depth concerning graphics concepts and techniques. If you take one of both of these courses, you won't need ETWR 1374.

ARTC 1402 DIGITAL IMAGING I (4-3-3). Digital imaging using raster image editing and/or image creation software: scanning, resolution, file formats, output devices, color systems, and image-acquisitions.

ARTC 2405 DIGITAL IMAGING II (4-3-3). General principles of digital image processing and electronic painting. Emphasis on bitmapped- or raster-based image marking and the creative aspects of electronic illustration for commercial and fine art applications. A solid introduction to Adobe PhotoshopT with specific attention to practical and artistic techniques including photo-realistic collage, lighting and shadow effects, predictable and controlled use of filters, a proficiency with layers, channels, and palettes, utilizing actions, selection and masking, types effects, and exchange and export of file formats. Prerequisites: ARTC 1402 (Digital Imaging I), ARTC 2305 (??).


These courses are a big supplement to your technical publishing credentials. They focus more on aesthetics of document design whereas ETWR 2472 Books with FrameMaker and ETWR 2476 Books with Word focus on working large chunks of information into a usable book.

ARTC 1413 DIGITAL PUBLISHING I (4-3-3). An introduction to the fundamentals of using the computer as a primary production tool. Topics include an overview of industry standard software for page layout and design, drawing and image manipulation, and various methods of reproduction for print and electronic delivery. An introduction to QuarkXPress and Illustrator, and other tools and skills used to prepare electronic pre-press art for print reproduction with a goal of economy, neatness and faithfulness to the designer's layout or written instructions. Material covered will include graphic terminology, type specification, and evolution of the printed piece from concept to final printed project.

ARTC 2413 DIGITAL PUBLISHING II (4-3-3). Studio art utilizing layout procedures from thumbnails and roughs to final comprehensive and printing. Emphasis on the effective use of a variety of stylistic approaches to visual communication and the development of effective work habits and studio skills. Advanced projects using computer programs InDesignª, Illustrator¨ and PhotoShop¨ with an emphasis on preparing electronic pre-press art for print reproduction, 4-color separation, special effects, stages of the production process, printing economy, and comprehensive application of printing papers. Prerequisites: ARTC 1413 (Digital Publishing I).

ARTC 2448 DIGITAL PUBLISHING III (4-3-3). Advanced electronic publishing using an industry standard page layout software package. In-depth color separations, trapping and advanced techniques for controlling type and graphics. Overview of color schemes, software additions, and preparation of files for printing. Prerequisites: ARTC 1413 (Digital Publishing I) and ARTC 2413 (Project Analysis and Design).

ARTC 2333 PUBLICATION DESIGN (3-2-2). A continuation in the development of skills and advanced knowledge of desktop publishing software, with emphasis on the maintenance of visual continuity in documents for publication. Prerequisites: ARTC 2447 (Design Communication II).

GRPH 1432 ELECTRONIC IMAGING SYSTEM (4-3-3). An introduction to electronic publishing systems, including advantages, disadvantages, and characteristics of these systems. An overview of hardware and software platforms, as well as disk and file formats. Emphasis on procedures for transferring information between different hardware and software platforms. Exploration of characteristics of printers and scanners used in electronic publishing and communication with service bureaus. Prerequisites: GRPH 1422 (??).

ARTC 1427 TYPOGRAPHY (4-3-3). A study of letterforms and typographic concepts as elements of graphic communication. Emphasis on developing a current, practical typographic knowledge based on industry standards. Basic study of hand lettering (calligraphy). The primary letterforms are studied, utilizing various sizes and styles of pens. Emphasis is placed on composing with letters and their applications in cards, posters, books, and other visual presentations. Foundation laid for future study in Typographic Design.

Internet, World Wide Web

As a technical writer, you are likely to have a lot to do with web pages and web sites. These courses provide a lot of skills and concepts that will make you highly marketable. Keep in mind that these courses do not spend much time on XHTML and CSS markup and tags; ETWR 2473 XHTML and CSS for Information Specialists does. To do professional technical-writing work for the web, you need to be very familiar with XHTML and CSS. In IMED 1416, you get a lot of practice with Dreamweaver, of whichever is the industry-leading web design tool; employers look for this qualification.

IMED 1416 WEB PAGE DESIGN I (4-3-3). Instruction in Internet web page design and related graphic design issues including mark-up languages, web sites, Internet access software, and interactive topics. This course introduces the student to the creation of the Internet's Web pages and related design issues. Mark-up languages, Web sites, Internet access software and long-term Web design issues will be addressed. An overview of Interactivity and related topics will be discussed. Prerequisites: ARTC 2305 (??) or ARTC 1402 (Digital Imaging I).

IMED 2415 WEB PAGE DESIGN II (4-3-3). A study of hypertext mark-up language (HTML) and interesting layout techniques for creating and engaging well designed web pages. Emphasis on identifying the target audience and producing a web site according to physical and technical limitations, cultural appearance, and legal issues. A course applying design principles and techniques to concept, theme, development, and Dynamic HTML (DHTML) enhancement of Web sites. Specific attention will be given to color theory, copy writing, animation, JAVA script, cascading style sheets, and the development of a practical and functional graphic interface. A comprehensive use of HTML tags will be used in conjunction with up-to-date authoring software to publish a complete Web site for a corporate identity. Concepts of designing for electronic advertising and promotion will be discussed. Prerequisites: IMED 1416 (Web Page Design I).

IMED 1441 INTERFACE DESIGN (4-3-3). Skill development in the interface design process including selecting interfaces that are meaningful to users and relative to a project's content and delivery system. Emphasis on aesthetic issues such as iconography, screen composition, colors, and typography. This course introduces students to concepts and techniques for creating graphics for interactive multimedia user interfaces. Students will learn the technical implications on graphics for multimedia including file formats, resolution and color models. Aesthetic issues such as iconography, screen composition and the principals of user interface design will be emphasized. Students will practice using the interface design process from flowcharting, to writing design specifications, to creating a body of interface graphics, to authoring a functional interactive interface. Prerequisites: ARTC 1402 (Digital Imaging I).

Multimedia and Multimedia Programing

As a technical writer involved with web projects, you are likely to be involved in projects that require the kinds od skills and concepts covered in these courses.

IMED 1445 INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA I (4-3-3). Exploration of the use of graphics and sound to create time-based interactive multimedia animations using industry standard authoring software. A solid introduction to techniques of the vector-based motion graphics authoring software. Emphasis on practical skills and knowledge in the creation of interactive new-media projects. Students will also gain an understanding of low bandwidth techniques, streaming media, and audio technologies as they study topics in interactive graphics, animation, training applications, presentations, web based applications, and web site design.

IMED 2445 INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA II (4-3-3). Instruction in the use of scripting language to create interactive multimedia projects. Topics include building a user interface, writing script, testing, and debugging. Prerequisites: IMED 1445 (Interactive Multimedia I).

IMED 2451 MULTIMEDIA PROGRAMMING (4-3-3). Advanced topics in multimedia programming including custom scripts for data tracking. Emphasis on developing multimedia programs customized to the client's needs.


This area is just plain old fun. Credentials here might — might — lead you into some very interesting and lucrative work.

ARTC 1474 DESIGNING FOR ANIMATION (4-3-3). Focus is on design aspects for 2D animation which will include character design, background design, use of sound, use of music, and script writing. Specific focus will be on character design and background design with additional study on aesthetic contrast.

ARTV 1211 STORYBOARD (2-1-2). Introduction to the technique of storyboarding including organizing a project's content and arranging it in a visual format. Prerequisites: ARTC 1409 (Basic Illustration).

ARTV 1403 BASIC ANIMATION (4-3-3). Examination of concepts, characters, and storyboards for basic animation production. Emphasis on creating movement and expression utilizing traditional or electronically generated image sequences. An introduction to traditional animation; course includes design, storyboarding, stop-motion and character animation. Gives students a working knowledge of animation techniques necessary to design animated sequences. Prerequisites: ARTC 1409 (Basic Illustration).

ARTV 1441 3D ANIMATION I (4-3-3). Instruction in three-dimensional (3-D) modeling and rendering techniques including lighting, staging, camera, and special effects. Emphasis on 3-D modeling building blocks using primitives to create simple or complex objects. This course introduces and explores three-dimensional animation techniques as used by the multimedia industry today. Story boarding, appropriate stage setting, motion, and production of final renders will be taught. Animated effects such as metamorphosis, explosions, metaballs, and Boolean operations will be demonstrated. Discussions on virtual reality, landscape generators, and necessary hardware for industry compatibility are addressed. Prerequisites: ARTV 1445 (3D Modeling and Rendering I) and ARTV 1403 (Basic Animation).

ARTV 1445 3D MODELING AND RENDERING I (4-3-3). A studio course in the theory and technique of three-dimensional (3-D) modeling utilizing appropriate software. Topics include the creation and modification of 3-D geometric shapes; and variety of rendering techniques; and use of camera light sources, texture, and surface mapping. This course will concentrate on three-dimensional software for modeling objects and the use of appropriate rendering techniques. Students will learn about the building blocks of three-dimensional modeling using primitive shapes, vertices, edges, surfaces, and polygonal editors to create more complex objects. A variety of rendering techniques using cameras, lighting sources, textures, surface-mapping and algorithmic rendering esoteric will be explored to produce photo-realistic images.

ARTV 1473 DRAWING FOR ANIMATION (4-3-3). Prepare students to take unique and entertaining approach to design, concept, color selection, and overall aesthetics to character and background design and contrast for animation.

ARTV 2401 2D ANIMATION I (4-3-3). Skill development in the use of software to develop storyboards and two-dimensional animation including creating, importing, and sequencing media elements to create multimedia presentation. Emphasis on conceptualization, creativity, and visual aesthetics. A course which takes the student through various aspects of animation using a variety of two-dimensional software. Developing concepts, story boarding, and production of several two-dimensional animations will be accomplished. Students will be introduced to and utilize software for creating special effects and use of plug-in filters. Prerequisites: ARTV 1403 (Basic Animation).

ARTV 2430 2D ANIMATION II (4-3-3). This course will focus on the production of a short animated feature produced in a group situation. Students will write, design, and execute a short feature while experiencing various aspects of a studio environment. Prerequisites: ARTV 1401 (??).

ARTV 2445 3D MODELING AND RENDERING II (4-3-3). A studio course focused on advanced 3-D modeling and rendering techniques using industry standard software. Topics include spline modeling, patch modeling, and other organic modeling techniques. Students will learn advanced use of camera settings, lighting, and surfacing to create detailed environments. Students will also cover advanced topics such as particle and volumetric effects, and setting up a model with weight maps, hierarchies, bones, and constraints. Prerequisites: ARTV 1445 (3D Modeling and Rendering I), ARTC 1402 (Digital Imaging I) and ARTC 1305 (Basic Graphic Design).

ARTV 2451 3D ANIMATION II (4-3-3). Skill development in three-dimensional modeling and rendering techniques using lighting, staging, and special effects for digital output. Emphasis on the production of three-dimensional (3-D) animation as final digital outputting using modeling, rendering, animation and outputting software. A studio course focused on advanced 3D animation techniques using industry standard software. Topics include advanced techniques in morph targets, hierarchal movement, character animation, syncing movement to sound, and effects animation. Students will also learn the role of the camera in animation and story telling. The class focuses on developing animation skills through a series of movement studies, culminating in an animated short. Prerequisites: ARTV 2445 (3D Modeling and Rendering I).

ARTV 2471 3D LIGHTING AND SURFACING (4-3-3). A studio course focused on 3D lighting and surfacing techniques using industry standard software. Topics covered include the relationship between surface and light; the effects of lighting and surfacing on a 3D scene; types of lights and shadows; surface qualities, textures, and mapping; and industry lighting techniques, including recreating real-world lighting. Students will also learn lighting & surface design and workflow management. Prerequisites: ARTC 1445 (??), ARTC 1305 (Basic Graphic Design), and ARTC 1402 (Digital Imaging I).

ARTV 2472 DESIGN FOR 3D (4-3-3). A studio course focused on pre-production skills needed to design strong 3D models, surfaces, lighting, and animation using industry standard software. Topics include: application of the elements and principles of design in 3D; acquiring reference materials; the importance of creating design drawings and technical diagrams to aid in model construction; emotional & psychological values of light, color, and the camera's perspective. Students will create a complete project design for the 3D Project course. Prerequisites: ARTC 1409 (Basic Illustration), ARTC 1305 (Basic Graphic Design), ARTC 1402 (Digital Imaging I) and ARTV 1445 (3D Modeling and Rendering I).

ARTV 2473 CHARACTER DESIGN FOR 2D ANIMATION (4-3-3). A comprehensive course devoted to the development of skills in creating characters for 2D animation that are aesthetically pleasing and are of industry standard. Prerequisites: ARTV 1473 (Drawing for Animation).

GRPH 1459 OBJECT ORIENTED COMPUTER GRAPHICS (4-3-3). Mastery of the tools and transformation options of an industry standard draw program to create complex illustrations and follow them through to the color output stage. Mastery in the use of basic elements of good layout and design principles and use of the capabilities specific to vector (object oriented) drawing software to manipulate both text and graphics with emphasis on the use of bezier curves. Acquisition of images via scanning and the creative use of clip art is included.