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The Role of Technology in the Studio Art Program

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.  Albert Einstein

Digital Studio, Studio Art Building 016, with 17 iMac work stations, 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB memory, Adobe CS 4, Final Cut Pro 3 Studio

B.F.A.students preparing print works for exhibition in the Digital Print Center, Studio Arts Building 001

The 17 seat Digital Studio, housed in the Studio Arts Building, is a state of the art facility for exploration into 2D, 3D, and 4D imaging, sound, web based works and multimedia projects. Graduate and undergraduate students utilize Macintosh equipment featuring Final Cut Studio 3 and Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium. Available nearby, in the Digital Print Center, are output facilities that include high resolution slide and film scanners, a large format flatbed scanner, and an Epson 24" and 44" archival pigment printer. We also have a 55" cold pressure-sensitive roll laminator for mounting prints to substrates such as Sintra.

Technology has been an integral part of all disciplines within the department for some time. The intent here is to share information about how technology is integrated throughout the Department of Art,  Architecture and Art History.

Our technology based courses are dedicated to the creative application of artistic practice and offer studies in time based, still, and information and communications technology. Within the Department of Art, Architecture and Art History, these practices work in tandem with traditional art practices. We do not treat technology as a separate art form.

Technology Based Courses

ART 297BB Digital Imaging & Silk Screen Printmaking
Screen-printing is one of the most direct ways of creating multiples in color. Students explore creative possibilities for acquiring, editing, and compositing images in Adobe Photoshop CS4 for the purpose of generating film positives to be combined with traditional screen printing processes. This studio class introduces all the techniques necessary to make silkscreen prints including hand-drawn and painted transparencies, photocopies, and separations. Students are encouraged to use the screen print potential to realize prints incorporating concepts from other disciplines such as photography, drawing and painting. This class places an emphasis on healthful printmaking, all inks are water-based and non-toxic.

Art 297DD Digital Media: Time-Based
As an artistic medium, digital video is a very adaptable one: it can be shown on monitors, projected on walls, or integrated into complex installations; it can be streamed online, shown live, or captured on many different types of inexpensive storage media.
This course presents students with the basic skills and concepts used in experimental digital video production through small-scale projects. Students will use industry standard equipment and learn basic digital video production skills within the context of contemporary art practices.
The composition, capturing and editing of moving imagery will be considered from formal, technical, and conceptual vantage points. Basic research areas include: pre-production, color manipulation, compositing, time remapping, optical experiments, motion control and audio production. We will investigate the theme of time (duration, slowness, speed, rhythm) and sound in narrative linear formats and work with applications such as Final Cut Pro 7, Photoshop CS4, QuickTime, Soundtrack Pro, and DVD Studio Pro 4.
Class time will involve a combination of technical presentations, discussions on pertinent issues within the context of the medium, screenings and discussions on contemporary video, work time for projects, and the screening of class projects. Course website...

Art 374 Animation I / Animation II Courses in animation introduce students to contemporary production processes and principles of animation that may be applied within classical 2D, stop frame and digital media time based animation and narrative. An emphasis on experimental, non-commercial applications are central to the pursuit of animation at the undergraduate level.

Art 275 Digital Media: Still Image This course examines the realm of digital image creation and manipulation using primarily Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Dreamweaver. Through demonstrations, creative and technical assignments, students will explore the digital workflow while focusing on the formal concerns of pictorial organization using structured work methods. Artists have always used the technological tools of their times, often expanding the creative use of those tools. Today, archival pigment printing is one of the main areas of investigation in the fine art world. This class will engage in that exploration, and will enable students to utilize digital tools to create archival digital pigment prints. Students will be encouraged to combine the aesthetics of drawing, painting, and photographic practices through the medium of digital prints in order to produce interesting and carefully constructed imagery. Course website...

ART 397i Digital Media: Printmaking This class introduces students to digital imaging as it relates to contemporary photopolymer print practice. While this is a studio course in which we will learn new techniques, the primary focus will be on the photopolymer prints created for this class. Students are encouraged to research and develop themes in their work that give expression to personal ideas and concerns. Students are expected to maintain a sketchbook for drawing and for the development of ideas. Class time will involve a combination of technical presentations, discussions on pertinent issues within the context of the medium, work time for projects, and critiques of class projects.
We will use Mac computers, the imaging software program Adobe Photoshop CS4 as well as digital cameras, flat bed scanners, and large format Epson inkjet printers. There will be in depth tutorials on the making of photopolymer prints. The gravures will be printed in the traditional intaglio method, using a range of traditional archival rag print papers and both black and color inks. Course website...

Art 397 Sound in Art Increasingly, visual artists have turned to sound as a viable and powerful artistic medium.  This course focuses on the evolution of sound art from the early 20th Century to the present, covering such areas as sound poetry, musique concrète, sound sculpture, sound installations, soundscape compositions, and turntablism. A survey of recent works by sound artists are presented. Students complete three sound art pieces during the semester.

Art 397 Information Design is a course designed to go beyond the confines of a tradition Graphic Design course and is part of the university wide Capstone Program in Technology. Students are exposed to both the theory and the practice of information design. We will focus on developing each student's visual sense, including how context determines the information designer's visual vocabulary, how that vocabulary is then applied, and how the end-user is likely to interpret the information. Much of the semester will consist of direct hands-on experience with creating a variety of visual forms. We will also collect and analyze existing examples of information design, both good and bad.

Projects and Themes Include:
Information Design I: Exploring information design forms

Charts and Diagram: Learning to communicate data

Text and Image: Learning to design an informational poster

Maps: Learning to communicate spatial data

Instructions: Learn to teach a process

Visualizing Complex Information: Learning to visualize multiple streams of data

Art 497 Information Design II This course is an introduction to historic and contemporary information design principles and practices. With in-class exercises and studios, as well as notebook work outside of class, students will build a more informed understanding of the connections between content, context, meaning, and representation. We will develop personal and group brainstorming skills, learn to integrate imaginative practice with planning and creation, and explore the process of bringing your design project from notebook sketch to final prototype.

Projects and Themes Include:

Information Design I: Exploring information design forms:

Symbol, Context and Meaning: Researching and presenting a symbol or icon

Time, Sequence & Story: Creating a narrative based on personal folklore

Interactivity, Usability and Collaboration: Creating an interactive presentation

Art 497N Advanced Digital Media This advanced course prepares qualified students to test for certification as an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop CS4 or as an Apple Certified Pro user of Final Cut Pro 6. Pre-requisite for this class is Art297CC or Art 397N.

Art 720/740 Graduate Block Course
All current graduate students have up to date portfolio Website's online and maintain a current PowerPoint presentation documenting their creative activities.

Digital Print Center

The Digital Print Center is located within the new Studio Arts Building. The mission of the Center is to provide large format archival digital printing and support to faculty, students and staff of the Department of Art, Architecture and Art History and the University community. Printing is done on a Epson 7600 24” and a Epson 9880 44" printer using Epson UltraChrome inks and Epson UltraChrome K3 inks.

The Certificate in Film Studies

The Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies offers a certificate to undergraduate students as a complement to their academic major. Any undergraduate formally enrolled at the University may apply to this program, which provides a coherent course of study in film and video as contemporary art forms. Film Studies offers between thirty and forty courses each semester that explore the dynamics of screen representation in topics including media and culture; race, nation, and ethnicity; gender and sexuality; film styles and genres; production and distribution; and technology and new media. Since the program began in 1991, Film Studies graduates have used the Certificate to compete successfully for admission to prestigious film schools and graduate programs; for positions in film and video production; for employment in film and video distribution and exhibition, in digital and new media; and as editors, producers, actors, and independent filmmakers.

About IT at UMass Amherst

The goal of the IT Program is to enable any interested student to confidently employ IT, and to secure an intellectual platform from which to develop capacity to innovate, using IT in his or her field. At base, the point of the program is to combine the myriad strengths of this great university to expand knowledge in information technology. We believe that the precise requirements for an appropriate IT education should vary across disciplines and students. However, promoting this tailored IT fluency for all students is increasingly important and will favorably affect the intellectual, social, and economic base of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Microsoft IT Showcase School: The University of Massachusetts was named the 1st Microsoft IT Showcase School. At a recent visit to campus, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that UMass Amherst is named its first IT Showcase School in the nation. The Showcase School Program seeks to recognize those institutions of higher learning that have demonstrated leadership teaching with and about information technology and help them share that knowledge and experience broadly. Ballmer cited the IT Minor as one of the campus initiatives he is excited about, calling it "phenomenal."

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