Robert Faust Learning Journal

Graphics and Illustration for Educators

Learning Journal - Spring 2018

Week 6 - Reflection on Learning

Final Reflections

This course was very helpful to me. Illustrator is such a tool-rich, powerful piece of software, that it's difficult to sift through to the foundational skills. The projects for this course not only reinforced design principles, but showed valuable skills and gave me opportunities to develop and polish them.

I've come to see that the pen tool is key to Illustrator. In the past, I've avoided the Bezier part of the tool and just clicked my way around objects. The shape builder tool is also a powerful addition to my toolkit. The third tool that I came to appreciate is the clipping mask. Some of those seemingly impossible tasks are made simple with the proper application of these tools.

Illustrator gives teachers and students the opportunity to be creative. To unleash creativity and avoid frustration, some simple skills need to be developed. This course will be a model for sharing Illustrator with my students and colleagues. Thanks for a valuable experience!

Week 5 - Reflection on Learning

Minimal Film Poster

This project took me down some unexpected paths. My original intent was to make the monster, some lab equipment, and perhaps the silhouette of the castle. I thought I'd be able to make a simple monster. Without some facial shading it just didn't look right. I then spent quite a bit of time drawing the monster...leaving little or no time for anything else. It's not the finished product I envisioned, but I'm reasonably pleased with the result.

Even though the original Frankenstein films were in black-and-white...the creature's skin was usually depicted with a greenish tinge in the original posters. I decided to use shades of green and red (complementary colors) for the poster. I used one of the iconic Boris Karloff photos as a model. To get the shades of green on the face I varied opacity. When I added the gradient background, it distorted the colors. I made a solid white background for the creature that brought the colors back to where they belonged.

Week 4 - Reflection on Learning

Typographic Poster

This project proved to be more challenging than expected. The first challenge was choosing the subject matter for the poster...then the actual production. In hindsight, I should have sketched some ideas out in advance. What I did instead was place the eight main pieces of text...then worked on them independently. I've always tried to stick to no more than two typefaces per design, so I developed a bit of facial tic trying something outside my normal sphere of comfort.

I enjoyed learning and deploying some new typographic techniques: multiple strokes (title), warped text (speed), and employing the clipping mask (Q & I). I was a bit befuddled that all the remnants of the clipped image around the Q & I were visible when exporting as a PNG. It looked fine as a PDF and as a JPG (which is what I embedded above).

I'm not thrilled with the design. We'll see how I feel with some fresh eyes in a day or two. I'm not happy with the title...doesn't seem to have enough contrast with the rest of the poster to stand out. As they say...Perfect is the enemy of good (and the enemy of done as well). Cheers!

Week 3 - Reflection on Learning

Four Icons

I chose the classic movie, Citizen Kane, for my icon project. I tried to think of an iconic piece of work that included some strong symbols that would translate well into icons. Citizen Kane seemed a good fit.

The snow-globe with the cabin is the object that Charles Foster Kane is holding as he dies alone in his palatial Xanadu estate—uttering the mysterious word, "Rosebud." The simple cabin hearkens back to his humble beginnings on a poor Colorado ranch. Poor–yet happy–young Charles is sent away by his mother to Chicago to be properly educated under the supervision of Mr. Thatcher.

The second icon is of the ornate gate of Xanadu featuring the "K" monogram. Kane spares no expense in constructing his Xanadu castle on a man-made mountain on the Florida coast. The gate is a symbol of his wealth and power, as well as his separation from the true happiness for which he longs.

The third icon features the scene of Kane's Xanadu estate in silhouette with the single lighted window where Kane spends his last hours. A man of incredible wealth and fame...yet completely alone.

The final icon (spoiler alert!) is of his childhood sled—Rosebud. This man who had everything money could buy, longed for the childhood he lost when his mother signed away the family ranch for the boundless fortune its mineral rights would bring. As the film concludes, the meaning of Kane's final word remains a mystery to investigators, while we the viewers are let in on the secret as Rosebud is incinerated as trash.

Each of the symbols brought its own challenge. I used actual images from the film for all the icons. It was difficult to get realistic perspective for the cabin. The one in the image I used seemed warped by the curvature of the globe. The snow on the roof was a challenge, thankfully, the pen tool came to the rescue. For the background snow on the ground, I aggregated white ellipses with the pathfinder tool. I originally used small dabs with the brush tool as falling snow, but when the icon was scaled, the "flakes" disappeared into the background. I used fewer, more iconic flakes instead.

I simplified the ornate scroll-work on the gate using the pen tool. Cropping to an offset rectangle shape was the biggest challenge here. After a number of stumbling attempts, the clipping mask proved to be the best solution.

For Xanadu castle, I traced the silhouette with the pen tool. The lighted window is considerably larger than the one in the image, but I wanted it to stand out. I used individual lines to make the panes. I had quite a time keeping them from vanishing while grouping and applying the pathfinder tool.

Rosebud proved to be the simplest to make. I traced one runner then copied, pasted, and enlarged the copy. I used the pen tool to trace the body of the sled. All-in-all, an excellent project that forced me to get better with a variety of Illustrator tools.

Week 2 - Reflection on Learning


This assignment would have been more fun with a better face. When you've got a face for radio...it's tough to spend the better part of an hour working with it in fine detail. I took the photo while my hair was a bit wet. Normally it looks more like Bob Ross. The artist's licence allowed me to add a little fullness for old time's sake.

Kevin's tutorial was awesome. I learned many techniques that will be useful in other projects. The Shape Builder Tool is such an amazing time-saver. I was also struck at how the use of a few polygon tools could be used come up with a quick representation of the face. Having worked with software since the earliest days of Illustrator, somehow I managed to not get to know it until a year or so ago. I think it is the start of a beautiful friendship.

Week 1 - Reflection on Learning


I enjoyed the Video for Educators course so much, I decided I would jump into another right away. I've dabbled in graphic design a bit, using some software I don't even recall...others I do...like MacDraw, PhotoImpact, Photoshop, ClarisWorks, Fireworks, GIMP, Inkscape, and finally Illustrator. Having cut my teeth with bitmap software, learning the ins and outs of vector graphics has been a bit of a challenge. I'm always expecting Photoshop-like tools to be available, and that's just not the case.

We recently got a drone for our video/photography classes. I'm in the process of training some students to be drone pilots to start capturing some photos and videos for projects.

I'm not particularly proud of this badge. I pumped it out in a hurry since end-of-quarter responsibilities ate up my free time. I hadn't tried to make a ribbon before, so that was one new technique I learned. The drone icon is from thenounproject.org

Video for Educators

Learning Journal - Winter 2018

Week 6 - Reflection on Learning

The Video for Educators class has been a great benefit to me as an instructor. I've edited video, but had never taken the time to become comfortable with Premiere Pro. Video will certainly have an increased presence in my teaching.

I enjoyed checking out the work of other students in the class very much. It served to stimulate ideas for projects and exposed me to skills I wasn't previously aware of. This format was perfect for me as a teacher-learner. I was able to make all but one of the live sessions. The one I missed I was able to view the recording which was able to bring me up to speed. The amount of work expected each week was just right and the buffer for getting caught up at the end was greatly appreciated.

This was my first course through Adobe Education Exchange. It won't be my last! Thank you all!

Week 5 - Instructional Video

This short production gave me the opportunity to learn some new skills. I used Camtasia to do the screen capture. I've used Camtasia before, but had never edited the Camtasia video in Premiere Pro. Camtasia is pretty straight forward, it's a little on pricey side, but since my school already had a subscription, it seemed the logical choice.

I also worked with animating text for the first time in Premiere Pro. I had gotten to be quite proficient in Macromedia Flash (yes...I'm old) then Adobe Flash, so the idea of keyframes and timelines was not new to me. It took me a quick YouTube search to find the techniques (duh...click the stopwatch) then it was fairly straightforward (although it did take 20 minutes to create a 5-second animation).

Week 4

This short clip dealt with building momentum by cutting on action. This sequence was filmed with three cameras. Unfortunately one of the cameras was set to time lapse...so that rendered that footage virtually unusable. I did take some b-roll to use for some cut-in shots. That came in handy.

I was amazed at the amount of time it took to select footage for even a 20-second clip. The editing was also more involved than I expected. I think it does make for a more effective product.

The students in my intro to video class worked with the same media. It was interesting to see the variety of edits they came up with. I've certainly gained a new appreciation for the editing process.

Week 3

I used this project with my beginning video class. I shot the clips in the first 5 minutes of class, explaining the Shot-Reverse Shot technique and the 180-rule. I like the two shot at the beginning (and end), however, it was challenging to position the camera in the optimal position to get the individual shots. The immovable desks made it challenging to frame the shots properly. I'm not particularly pleased with the composition of the shots featuring the actor in the Everlast hoodie. I also forgot to shoot the response to "Who's there?" until later. What was that about a shot list?

I realize now the benefit of working on shorter projects. These short projects give a chance to practice a particular skill, and learn it well—adding another tool to the toolbox for the larger projects to come.

Week 2

I had a great time with this project, but it gave me a new appreciation for the time it takes to select footage for even a 20 second project. Building in intensity was a challenge while keeping enough of the clips to show some of the beauty of the clouds. I appreciated the links to CC licensed video. I found the quality to be much higher than at some other sharing sites, like Flickr for example.

Some new skills I picked up were working with keyframes for the text at the end. The opacity of the letters ramps up from 0% to 46%...then back down to 0% again.

Week 1

I learned a few valuable lessons with this quick project. A big one is the importance of creating a sequence and getting all the settings in place before importing media. On my first attempt I imported the media first. The project then defaulted to the size of the first image...way larger than the 1920 x 1080 I was expecting. Oh well...it gave me a chance to redo the project a second time.

I liked the ability to make Photoshop-like edits within Premiere Pro. I did find that it was not as similar to the Photoshop experience as I would have preferred.

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