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.
For prerequisites to these courses, see Visual Communication.
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 1302 DIGITAL IMAGING I (3-3-3). Digital imaging using raster image editing and/or image creation software: scanning, resolution, file formats, output devices, color systems, and image-acquisitions.
ARTC 2305 DIGITAL IMAGING II (3-3-3). 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.
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 1313 DIGITAL PUBLISHING I (3-3-3). 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 2313 DIGITAL PUBLISHING II (3-3-3). 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 InDesign™, 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.
ARTC 2348 DIGITAL PUBLISHING III (3-3-3). 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.
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.
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 1316, you get a lot of practice with Dreamweaver, of whichever is the industry-leading web design tool; employers look for this qualification.
IMED 1316 WEB PAGE DESIGN I (3-3-3). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.