DTC 201: Spring 2021: Major Project #1: Inner Reality

Update: 2/8: a couple of dates have been corrected on the Milestones.


In this assignment, you will use Adobe Photoshop to create a photomontage that applies Dada principles and an image of yourself to convey a concept. You will submit image documentation, as well as a short essay that answers specific questions about your work. Final deliverables are due before class on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, although milestones are due on February 8 and February 15.

See below for:

Detailed Description

Draft of “New York Thoughts” — a sample photomontage.

As reviewed in lectures and web sites, Dada artists repurposed existing works into new works. They aimed to criticize and mock cultural and artistic standards. Often, their work was a protest against war and social ills. A popular Dada visual art style was the photomontage: incorporating multiple real-world images into a single image whose meaning was very different from the original works. This layering of information is not dissimilar to the modern concepts of augmented reality.

In this assignment, you will use Adobe Photoshop to create an image in the style of Dadaists and/or augmented reality. However, it will be contained within, or framed around, a photograph of yourself, whether taken by yourself or a friend/relative. You will then incorporate at least 3 new photographic elements into the image to convey one or more specific thoughts, beliefs, protests, or other messages. You will use masking, blending, and other editing effects in Adobe Photoshop. Your face must remain recognizable, but other aspects of your image may be altered.

Your photomontage images can be photos you have personally taken, or found on any of the “free” online resources listed by the instructor. In all cases, the images must not be watermarked, and the original unedited versions of the images must be included with your project in the shared folder containing your project material.

Learning Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop basics have been introduced in multiple class demos and lab working sessions. You should also work through the series of Adobe Photoshop tutorials provided in class.

Final Deliverables

  • Images: A high-resolution 8.5″ x 11″ photomontage. You will turn in two versions of the image: your working Photoshop (PSD) file with all its layers, and a compressed JPG version exported from Photoshop.
  • Link to your project in your cloud storage: a URL to the shared folder containing your project material: your original files, your working files, and your final files, as described in the organizational guidelines.
  • Documentation: image citations for all images incorporated into your work, using the spreadsheet format reviewed in class.
  • Written essay: a well-written essay of 750 words or more that answers these questions:
    • What specific thoughts are you expressing? Explain how your choice of images in the montage connect to those thoughts.
    • In what way(s) does your photomontage demonstrate Dada influence?
    • What composition guideline(s) did you use in your image?
  • Link to this project in your online portfolio: a URL to the standalone page that features images from this project’s layout.

Or, to put it another way:

  • You will upload 2 files to this assignment via Blackboard:
    1. Your final JPG image, and
    2. Your essay as a Word or PDF document.
  • You will include 3 links in the assignment text box on Blackboard:
    1. The “sharing” link/URL to your main project folder up on cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.), and 
    2. The “sharing” link/URL to your documentation spreadsheet in Google Sheets, and
    3. The link/URL to this project’s page on your online portfolio.

Note: “sharing” links for cloud storage and Google Sheets are not the same as the page URL when you’re looking at them online. You have to select the “Share” feature in your cloud storage and in Google Sheets to find and copy the sharing link.

Milestones & Deadlines

2/8: some corrections and updates are marked in red.

As noted on the course calendar, the project’s Milestones are:

  • Rough drafts of your photomontage should be shared available as JPG files (on your cloud storage) for group critiques via Blackboard Zoom as follows:
    • Milestone #1: bring to class on Tuesday, February 8 9, to be posted shared, and then to critique 2+ classmate’s drafts.
    • Milestone #2: bring to class on Tuesday, February 15 16, to be posted shared, and then to critique 2+ classmate’s drafts.

Final deliverables are due before class on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 via Blackboard.

Grading Considerations

You will be graded on the following aspects:

  • 50%: Your ability to demonstrate Photoshop skills reviewed in class and in tutorials, such as: masks, image layers, adjustment layers, selections, etc.
  • 20%: Your visual design: the application of Dada principles, and use of one or more of the image composition guidelines reviewed in class.
  • 10%: The organization of your documentation, files, and folders according to course guidelines, as well as your online portfolio page.
  • 10%: The quality of your essay.
  • 10%: The quality of your milestones: the draft images you post, and your responses/critiques of classmate’s images.

A baseline 75% C-level project would only include 3-4 images in the photomontage; only roughly combine the images into the photomontage; use limited organization of the document folders and Photoshop layers; submit an essay that is not particularly detailed or thoughtful; post milestone drafts that show minimal effort (especially from draft to draft); and/or write critiques that are not particularly thoughtful.

Your grade would go up by including more images; combining them more skillfully and with more unified style; being very detailed about your documentation, file, and layer organization; submitting an essay that is thoughtful and well-written; posting drafts that show thoughtful improvements; and/or writing thoughtful critiques.