Category Archives: Graphic Tech Posts


Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 9.39.29 AMInDesign is Adobe’s document creation/editing program, and it is an industry standard application for laying out poster, brochures, magazines, books, and much more. It also works seamlessly with Photoshop and Illustrator, so in this unit, you’ll be combining the 3 programs to create some documents of your own.

For the first part of the unit, you’ll be following along with some videos which show you how to lay out a double sided, three panel brochure. Those are located in Robson213Files/GraphicTech/04_InDesign. You should follow along with the tutorials and create the motorcycle brochure demonstrated; all of the pieces you need to create it are supplied.

Note: the videos were created using an older version of InDesign, so things look a bit different, but all of the same tools and functions exist, so you should have no trouble working with our newer version.

The point of doing this, however, is for you to learn how to create a document on your own. Your real assignment is to use these skills and this knowledge to create a brochure of your choice. Your brochure can be about just about anything (so long as it’s appropriate.) Some ideas that you may wish to use:

  • your favourite store/restaurant/product
  • sports team
  • favourite band/artist
  • Graphic Technology at St. James Collegiate
  • another course/program of your choice
  • St. James Collegiate
  • etc.

Use your creativity along with good design principles (make it C.R.A.P.) and use your newfound knowledge of InDesign to create an interesting, appealing, realistic brochure. Take your time and do a good job!

Practice using legal Creative Commons images for this one. Don’t use Google Images (unless you absolutely have to, and you almost never do.) Use the Creative Commons links provided on my Links page. Some of my favourites:

Whenever you take a creative commons image, you should cite the source (who took the photo and/or where you got it from.)


Image: 'Summer Sound [Large View]' Found on

Image: ‘Summer Sound [Large View]’
Found on

Design your own button!

You have the opportunity to make a couple of different projects that you can take home and wear this semester, and the first one is a button.

Use Photoshop and/or Illustrator to come up with a design, using drawing and/or text tools. You’ll have to show off your skills a bit and demonstrate a real knowledge of the program in your design. I won’t help you much with these, because you should know what you’re doing before beginning, so I would advise you to look back at the tutorials as you see fit.

Your design needs to fit inside of a circle that is 2.625″ – that is the very outside of the circle, but a bit of that will be wrapped around your button, so if you want it to really fit without being bent around, make your design 2.125″.

Have some fun and be creative!

Photoshop Challenge

Last weekend a few of us were here for the provincial Destination Imagination tournament, and it was a pretty fun time.

At the event, we took photos of each team against a green screen, and offered to put them into a new, fun environment.

Here are some photos from last year:

IMG_9691 IMG_9689

Your job is to do something similar with this year’s photos. There is a folder of photos in the shared folder:  Robson213Files/GraphicTech/02_Photoshop/DIPhotos

I DO NOT WANT EVERYONE TO DO THE SAME PHOTOS! Don’t necessarily choose a photo from the top of the list. Browse through the list and find one that you find interesting. Take a look around you to make sure that nobody else is working on that photo.

You are encouraged to do 2 photos, but you can do more for extra credit.

The first step will be to use Camera Raw to adjust the photos. Some of them will need a fair bit of work, but all of them need some adjustment. Make sure they look good before proceeding. “Open Image” when ready to move on to Photoshop.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 9.56.05 AM Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 9.55.05 AM

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 10.07.01 AM

Rewatch the video that showed you how to remove a background using a mask: Robson213Files/GraphicTech/02_Photoshop/10_Masking/

Save your file with “DestinationImaginationTeam1” (and 2, 3, etc.) in your Drive or DropBox folder! (Drop off when complete, not right away!)

Properly name your layers as you go!

Create a layer that is a copy of your photo. I want to see the original underneath your work!

Create a new Layer Mask


Refine the edge

Take your time to paint in new parts of the mask or remove parts

Check to make sure that you haven’t left out any little details (bits of clothes, hair, costumes, etc.). ZOOM IN!

Go online and find an interesting/funny background image. MAKE SURE IT’S HIGH QUALITY (Large Image)! SAVE THAT FILE ONTO YOUR COMPUTER. Open it FROM YOUR COMPUTER (not from the web site!)

Add that file into your Photoshop project as a layer between your mask and the original photo



Move the team around, resize, etc. Crop the photo if you need to.

Save your file, close it, and then move it into your completed work folder for me to take a look at. Make sure you are dropping off a .psd file!


Convert Drawings to Vector (chapter 6)

Chapter 6 in the 1 on 1 Fundamentals video course shows you how to take a drawn and scanned piece of artwork, trace it, clean it up, and work with it as paths and a vector image. Work through the videos and complete the butterfly example. Once you’ve completed that, I’d like you to apply these concepts to a piece of artwork of your own design/choosing.

I’d love it if you could draw and scan your own art. I, however, can not draw, and you don’t even want to see me try, so I would have to cheat a bit, so you can too. I have a pile of classic colouring books (most of them from way back in the stone ages when I was a kid!) that you can use to practice scanning in some artwork and working with it.

I’ll help you with getting your drawing/choice onto the computer (but you’ll have to remember the valuable advice about what works best) and you’ll do the rest. Trace the art, clean up any ‘noise’ and simplify the paths to make the vector more manageable. I want to see the original file, so as in the movies, keep your scanned art as a layer that is turned off underneath your vector.

Later on we’ll work on colouring in your new vector art.

STJATA Billboard Contest

Our teachers’ union, StJATA is hosting a billboard design contest, where you can win $100 cash!

Billboard Design Contest:

To all St.James-Assiniboia School Division High Schools,
Re: Billboard Design Contest, open to all students of the St.James-Assiniboia School Division

Following our very successful logo design contest of 2012, StJATA is pleased to announce our Billboard Design Contest. Students of our school division are invited to design a billboard that will be used by StJATA in their yearly advertising strategy.

The billboard must contain the following elements:

  1. the StJATA logo (see attachment)
  2. the StJATA contact information

    b. c. 204-888-1314

  3. an original slogan
  4. a graphic design of your choice (photograph, drawing, painting, etc)

In addition:

  1. The design must be submitted in “pdf” form.
  2. It must fit an 8 ft wide by 4 ft tall foam board.

Completed billboard designs must be submitted by April 30th, 2014.
An honorarium of $100.00 will be awarded to the designer(s) of the chosen billboard.

Communications Committee St.JATA

Include: St. JATA Logo

Samples of your competition:

tumblr_n0ztczdnYq1t5y86yo1_1280 tumblr_n0zvoiVJWm1tt4ebho4_1280 tumblr_n1avl580K31rtjxf0o1_1280 tumblr_n1ctwykIEp1t6vpc4o1_1280 tumblr_n1ctwykIEp1t6vpc4o2_1280 tumblr_n1ctwykIEp1t6vpc4o3_1280 tumblr_n1iamb2muq1t5yas1o1_1280 tumblr_n1ibevjvl11rtjxf0o1_1280 tumblr_n1k4ni86TX1t6vpc4o1_1280 tumblr_n1m2yjsUcn1s0t8a7o3_1280 tumblr_n2smo4UKrD1s0t8a7o1_1280 tumblr_n28k6eGIEa1tuidhco1_1280 tumblr_n177n3lTyt1t5y2jwo1_1280 On the Road

Get Started with Illustrator

In the video below, you will learn 10 things that beginners want to know about Illustrator. I think this is a great introduction to a lot of the important concepts in Illustrator

Your assignment:

  • Make a list of the 10 things that beginners want to know. Add in the “bonus” tips that are thrown in (not part of the 10.)
  • Use the tools & techniques demonstrated to create the items in the video (yin/yang, arrows, banners, etc.)
  • Knowing how to trace an image and turn it into a vector is very important. Use your logo from the first assignment, create a new simple logo, or find a high quality logo on the Internet (Jets, Nike, Coke, etc.) and trace it to turn it into vector art. Drop off a copy of the original raster/bitmap file and your new vector (.ai) file. Make sure that they are labelled so that I can figure out which is which.

Major Photoshop Project – Magazine Cover

On the Cover of the Rollin’ Stone…

This is your big moment. Your big break. Your momma’s gonna be so proud. You’ve finally made it to the cover of your favourite magazine! Your job is to design the cover.

While you don’t necessarily have to appear on it, you are going to design the cover of a magazine. You will use all of your knowledge of Photoshop and the C.R.A.P. principles to create a cover that is appealing, interesting, and organized. You will have to explain how/where/why you used those!

You may use any appropriate magazine (sorry boys, no Playboy) and any appropriate content on your cover. You should have fun with this and be creative.

You can model your cover after an actual magazine (People, GQ, Cosmo, Sports Illustrated, or your favourite skateboarding/gaming/computer magazine, etc.) DO NOT COPY AN EXISTING COVER! Your job is to design your own, not just take an existing cover and put your photo on the front!

You will need to use Photoshop tools and techniques you’ve learned in this class. You will have to list/explain which you used.

Create this in Photoshop. Use a file size of 8” x 10.5” and 300 dpi for resolution.


Look at real magazine covers. You can find them online or Mr. Robson has several that you can examine. Look at how things are done on a real magazine, because your job is to make something realistic.

Sketch/plan things out before you start! If you have an idea about your layout, it will be much easier and will save you lots of revision later. Figure out where you can put in those text effects, borders, masks, etc. so that they don’t just look like you slapped them on later.

Think creatively. Have fun with this! It’s ok to use me or other teachers appropriately. Use other students ONLY if they approve! Make as much fun of celebrities and politicians as you want!


USE HIGH QUALITY PICTURES. If you need to search for a photo, use high quality photo sharing sites like the ones listed on my Links page under “Copyright Free Content,” (also listed at the bottom of this post) and take the biggest photos possible. If you absolutely must use Google Images (and there’s almost always a better way – make sure you’re searching for LARGE images and NEVER TAKE A PHOTO FROM THE SEARCH PAGE! EVER!) If you want a picture of yourself or me, USE A CAMERA! I have good cameras. Your computer’s camera is NOT GOOD. PHOTO BOOTH IS A TOY!

TAKE YOUR TIME! A good job cannot be done quickly. Don’t think you’re going to get this done in one day. Take as long as you need to do a good job.

Pay attention to details! Look carefully at your work and ZOOM IN. I will! ASK QUESTIONS! Look up techniques online!


You will need to explain your process, documenting how/where/why you used C.R.A.P. principles and Photoshop tools & techniques. This can be written or presented to me in another way, but it must explain IN DETAIL how you planned this out and executed your design.

School Musical Tickets

If you happen to have your poster complete for the school musical, you also need to design some tickets.

Tickets are $5
Shows are at 7:30
Shows are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (and maybe Friday. I’m a little confused there…)
Different coloured tickets for each show!

The ticket should definitely have the title of the play, the location, and any other information that you think would be good to have on them.

In Photoshop, create a file that is 5.5 inches wide, 2 inches tall, with a resolution of 300 DPI

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 10.49.37 PM

Come up with at least two different designs, and each one should have the file done with 3 different colours/looks.

Have some fun with this. This is an important assignment, so do your best and get these done ASAP.

3 Different Text Effects Assignment

Click on this link  or find your own tutorials to create your name as a text effect. Follow 3 different tutorials to create 3 completely different effects. The purpose of this assignment is for you to better familiarize yourself with Photoshop’s layering system and effects

Save your three Photoshop files to one folder and put that folder in your shared Drive or DropBox folder.

Each text effect file should contain:

– Your name (or other appropriate/suitable text) as the text effect

– A Photoshop file with multiple layers and effects.

– A unique text effect for each file.

– A link to the effect/tutorial you used

Layers and files should be correctly named!


Photoshop Layers Exercises

There is a series of videos in the Robson213Files folder explaining and demonstrating using layers in Photoshop.

Drop off your own samples, and make sure that the FILE NAME REFLECTS the TECHNIQUE. Ex: robsonj_opacity.psd

After viewing those, you should be able to demonstrate the same concepts by using a photo of your own. Use the techniques demonstrated in:

03_Opacity – You are shown how to use the opacity controls to add elements on top of your images. Take a GOOD QUALITY photo and add a texture over top (something that will be obvious even at a decreased opacity, like a brick wall, flower, cloud, stones, sand, water, fabric, etc.). Add some text on top of that (using the “T” – Text – Tool.) Make the text bold/thick enough to see some of the detail inside, and turn down the opacity.

Example: robsonj_opacity.psd


05_NewLayers – You’re shown how to add text, and to apply a coloured background to the text. Use one of your photos and add a similar text box on top of your photo, and turn down the opacity so it blends in a bit

Example: robsonj_newlayers.psd


08_ClippingMask – This shows you how to make a really neat effect by placing an image inside of some text. You can use the same image (as in the movie) or put a different image inside and on top of another image.

Example: robsonj_clippingmask.psd


09_StyleEffects – This movie shows you how to add neat layer styles to make elements really stand out. Again you’ll have to add some text, and another image or layer. Use those style effects to make the new layers really pop out.