Middle School Digital Art and Design

Course Overview

Units at a glance

What do you think of when you hear the words digital art? Did you think about the last photo you took? It was probably taken with a digital camera, or even your phone. How did you share the picture with your friends and family? Do you ever make changes to pictures you see or take, whether by hand or on the computer? Sometimes adding funny pictures, words, or drawings to your sibling’s or friend’s face is the best part! All of these are part of the growing eld of digital art and design. Discover what it means to be a digital artist or designer — who knows, it could be your dream job!

Can you feel it? You are getting ready to become one in a long line of great artists. You are going to learn to be a photographer. Through the lens of your camera, you will capture the world around you. Click! A picture of you and your best friend. Click! A snapshot of your puppy sleeping in the sun. Click! A photo of your apartment building against a cloudless blue sky. When you shoot a picture, you capture a moment in time and preserve it for others. Studying the art of photography in this unit will teach you how to take a beautiful picture, to really make a work of art. Famous photographer Ansel Adams once said, “I hope that my work will encourage self-expression in others and stimulate the search for beauty and creative excitement in the world around us.” We hope this unit inspires the same kind of “creative excitement” in you!

Where is digital art around you? On the wrapper of the burger from your favorite take out place? Rolling across your computer screen as you search the web? In the special effects of your favorite movie? Today, digital art is everywhere. But we are not the first society to value art. That tradition dates back to the Stone Age! Both 2D and 3D art play an important role in the artistic forms of the past and present. In fact, today’s digital artists often need to know how to move back and forth between these two types of art. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways for artists to think about space in both dimensions. Are you ready to learn some of their techniques?

When you get advertisements in your mailbox, do you look at the products to see if there is something you like? The graphic artist who designed the flier certainly hopes you do! Graphic design combines the power of text and pictures to create persuasive images that communicate a specific message. It is used in advertising, entertainment, and politics. There are many ways in which art and language work together to educate and inform us. Sometimes that information provides important life-saving safety instructions, other times it is as simple as letting you know that your favorite restaurant has a new flavor of milkshake. One thing is for sure though—graphic art has a lot to say!

Have you ever stopped to count how many times you see animation in a day? Animation isn’t only in movies and cartoons. It’s in video games, interactive websites, smartphone interfaces, and so much more. If you stop and think about it, you’ll likely be surprised by how much animation is in your day. Although animation started off simply, it has become a big part of popular culture. But don’t blink! The animation industry is changing faster than the speed of motion in an animated short. However, with the right skills and mindset, you could become an innovator in this evolving art field!

Whether it’s in the background of a commercial, a dog barking on a television program, the squealing sound of tires during a movie, or a song streamed from your phone, we experience music—and the work of digital artists—every day. How often have you turned on your television or clicked open a music app just to have something playing in the background while you read, study, or do chores? Music is definitely part of our everyday lives, having evolved over time due to technology and our changing tastes. Like other forms of art, music tells us a lot about what is currently happening in society. When it comes to the digital arts, sound is another important piece of the puzzle.

What makes a piece of art famous? What do critics think about when they are deciding if something is good or not? You’ll explore these questions and more as you learn how to think like an art critic. Artists have their own process when they are creating art, and they spend a lot of time expressing their ideas. Next, it’s the critic’s turn to decide how well the artist has done their job. Fortunately, critics have a set of standards that they use when viewing art, and you can use them too. After all, part of appreciating art is knowing what to look for when you are standing in front of it. This can also help you make your own art the best that it can be!

Think about your favorite piece of art. What colors did the artist use? Are they bright and bold to catch your attention? Or are they pale and soothing? A mixture of both? The artist probably thought a lot about color since it is one of the most important tools that artists have. Artists can also mix different types of art or materials to make a new work. Maybe they add 3D elements to a painting. Or perhaps they project a lm onto a wall behind a sculpture as part of an exhibit. There is no end to the ways in which elements of art can be combined for innovative work! If you have a talent for this, include it in your portfolio. This sample of your work will be an important part of pursuing your career in the digital arts!

Course Highlights

Explore digital art career paths.
Create your own digital art.
Learn how digital art evolved into what it is today.
Appreciate how technology influences the arts.

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