Digital Foundations: Introduction to Media Design with the Adobe Creative Cloud - Revised Edition
Copyright Year: 2017
Publisher: Open Oregon Educational Resources
Conditions of Use
The content of this book covers a great deal of design methodology as it pertains to the use of the Adobe Creative Cloud software. Given that it is an introduction, I believe that it does a good job of introducing many skills need to create a... read more
The content of this book covers a great deal of design methodology as it pertains to the use of the Adobe Creative Cloud software. Given that it is an introduction, I believe that it does a good job of introducing many skills need to create a foundation for design students to become "explorative" in the software. There is so much functionality in the vastness of the Adobe products and keeping the feeling of be overwhelmed at-bay is important in providing students with a sense of proficiency so that they can confidently build on their skills, beyond the exercises outlined in the book. Every designer uses the software in somewhat different ways, but the development, writing and organization of this book offers an approachable methodology that students can understand, without over explaining.
I went through each exercise and followed the directions as they were written, trying not to rely on my own knowledge of the software (as best one can do that). I was pleased to discover that each exercise was easily understood and provided accurate and complete instructions with good visuals to support the tasks and direction toward a successful result.
One drawback to this type of textbook is the constant evolution of the software products and interface. The Adobe products are constantly being updated and the user interface is modified as these changes occur. There will be a significant challenge in keeping the content "fresh", especially with so many visual screen captures that show examples from the numerous tools and modal dialog modules that illustrate the features and input elements of the software. As long as the others review the content when a new release of the software is made available, any significant changes can be addressed.
This book does a good job using accessible language that does not require prior experience or vocabulary building as it pertains to the terminology of design software. There is quite a lot of contextual information that accompanies new information as the exercises become more challenging and the content delves deeper into design proficiency and concepts.
I purposely worked through the text in a non-linear way in order to assess the use of terminology and the framework of the exercises. I saw no variance in the presentation of the concepts and content. Of course, the latter chapters did rely on learning from previous chapters as subsequent skills were built upon prior learning in the early chapters.
One of the best aspects of the book was how multimedia resources were linked to web resources and condensed book chapters. This helped in creating a feeling that the content was accessible, especially concerning the volume of information that the book addresses. It felt like each chapter was digestible and manageable when isolated in these web-based modules. Consistency was clear as each section provided recognizable tools and resources with each new content chapter. Because the text addresses many different tasks and targeted outcomes, I feel that it could be reorganized with specific goals and outcomes based on the instructors' need for developing their students' skills and curriculum path.
The topics make sense and provide a structured environment for the content. I feel like this text could be used within a course as a guided process or as a stand-alone resource to supplement the study of the topic.
I did not notice any issues. The links to web resources from the PDF version were all accessible without any problems or difficulty in viewing, reading or interacting with the content.
I found no grammatical errors.
I identified no issues of equity as the content pertains to race, ethnicity or backgrounds.
I look forward to implementing this text into my curriculum for both my Introduction to Graphic Design course and my Design in Motion: Intro to Motion Graphics course. It will work very well as a guided resource in the graphic design course and a supplemental resource for the motion design course, for those students who do not have experience with the software and design backgrounds.
Digital Foundations is an excellent introductory text exploring the visual, theoretical, and historical contexts of digital media design. The text investigates digital media design practices using popular, industry software Adobe Creative Cloud... read more
Digital Foundations is an excellent introductory text exploring the visual, theoretical, and historical contexts of digital media design. The text investigates digital media design practices using popular, industry software Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) and Bauhaus design theory. The list of contents at the front of the text provides a clear overview of topics covered. I suggest adding a glossary/index of the digital media design terms and Adobe software technical terms to the text.
The text provides accurate examples of the history, processes, and theory of digital media design. It appears that 2017 was the last update to the text. While the core functionality of the Adobe CC suite of software tools may not change dramatically from year to year, the software is updated annually. To avoid confusion, it would be helpful to students to update the text each year to keep current with new software features and interface layout.
Digital Foundations does a good job providing students with historical and aesthetical examples of media design that should stand the test of time. The digital media design examples using Adobe CC provide students with a general set of digital design principles that should continue be relevant. However, because Adobe’s CC software is updated every year, it would be beneficial and easy to update the text annually or semi-annually to incorporate new software updates. Perhaps a future version could include a chapter on digital animation?
Digital Foundations is written clearly in an easy to understand style of prose that students will feel comfortable reading. To help provide clarity and context, the text uses historical references and practical visual examples to reinforce concepts outlined in the book.
The text is internally consistent with the presentation of content. Each chapter uses the same format: an introduction to the topic followed by historical references and examples, and the practical application of the concepts discussed using Adobe CC.
Digital Foundations can be divided into smaller readings and read both linearly and non-linearly. Chapters can be easily reorganized to fit instructors lecture schedule.
The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion. The electronic versions of the book provide links to easily skip over topics when necessary.
The links in the PDF and online version of the text provide clear navigational support to readers. Images are clear and enhance the visual learning process.
There are very few grammatical errors in the text.
Digital Foundations uses a Western (Bauhaus) perspective to communicate design practice and theory without sounding culturally insensitive.
The book is well written and organized for students interested in learning the foundations and major concepts in digital media design. There are few books that combine the visual, theoretical, and historical frameworks of digital media design with contemporary studio practices. Additionally, this is great resource for art and design students on a budget. Perhaps a future version could include a chapter on digital animation?
This text is a good, comprehensive introductory review of Adobe’s three main tools, Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. It frames all three of these tools in a good mix of art history (the Bauhaus), design theory and computer operating systems.... read more
This text is a good, comprehensive introductory review of Adobe’s three main tools, Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. It frames all three of these tools in a good mix of art history (the Bauhaus), design theory and computer operating systems. This makes the book not just about a “tool”, rather it integrates and builds on other fundamental courses students may be taking and does a good job of preparing them for more advance classes.
Overall the text accurately reflects tools, process and history. There are some areas where further fact checking, and careful review of wording would be helpful to ensure student understands the concepts. Annual review and updating, would be beneficial as, though the text states that it focuses on core tools that do not change from version to version, this is not completely accurate. Tools do vary over time and the chapter assignments require that students be able to locate the required tools and menu items.
Overall the content of the book is current. It is written in such a way that it will maintain relevance for some time with only minor edits. However, being a software focused book, it is important for the instructor to remind students that there could be steps in chapter work that reference tools or menu items that have changed. I have found it useful to remind my students that it’s not always the steps that matter but getting from point A to point B as in most adobe software, there are multiple ways to approach a given process.
The text is written in a clear and easily understood structure. When jargon is used, it is appropriate and explained so that students do not get lost in terminology. The instructions for each chapter assignments are clear and concise, structured as steps with visuals to add clarity. Chapter files are also provided for students to use so that they can follow along with the same files used in the text which adds clarity to the process.
The text is consistent in how it presents the content. Each chapter starts with an overview and introduction of what the chapter goals are. These are framed both in art history and theory which are then followed by chapter exercises to help reinforce these ideas.
The content is organized into chapters which do build upon each other. However due to the content in each section, it is not always possible to restructure or re-organize the content into a different sequence. This may be done to an extent within each software application, but not necessarily overall as there are references to earlier content/chapters in each section.
Overall the organization is structured well, however the first chapter mixes art history, design theory, file structures and Illustrator tools. These tools seem to be a bit advance compared to where students start in the following chapter and may be better suited elsewhere in the section related to Illustrator.
Overall the interface works well. There are not issues while viewing online, however when downloading the PDF version there are some odd breaks in content from page to page, with rather large areas of empty space that could be better utilized. Navigating through the content in terms of internal and external links work well to help students get to the desired content.
The text has very little grammatical issues. Just a couple of items here and there in the book but it doesn’t have an impact on readability or understanding.
This text utilizes examples of the Bauhaus and therefore has a decidedly Western approach to Design theory and practice. Aside from using the pronoun of “her” throughout, there is not much done to include other ethnicities and cultural ideas around art and design which could provide additional insight and approaches to the subject.
I reviewed the Online version. A comprehensive guide for the entry-level student. Student gets a thorough basic instruction on a mix of brief historical information to what they will be learning and how it relates to what they will be doing,... read more
I reviewed the Online version. A comprehensive guide for the entry-level student. Student gets a thorough basic instruction on a mix of brief historical information to what they will be learning and how it relates to what they will be doing, along with color theory, Principles and elements of design while learning to use Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. The step by step approach works well for beginners and leaves no room for getting lost. The table of contents to the left is helpful but might not be easy to find if this platform is new to a student. The ability of choosing the different formats of readability (Online, PDF, KINDLE, E-Pub, MOBI) was a great plus.
Downloadable files came in Zip format and worked well. Content is well thought-out and presented. Video’s did accomplish what they set out to do however, when thinking of Design itself and proximity being a element, I would suggest moving the videos closer to the actual exercise. Content Information was accurate.
Updating videos and exercises to correspond with 2019-2021 versions of software. These programs are highly dynamic and are constantly being upgraded. Beginner Students sometimes have a hard time following along and finding tools and such if the examples are from legacy programs due to newer features/shortcuts/change in option locations etc.
Well written and easy to read considering all the program terminology.
Was pretty consistent for the most part which makes learning a new program easier and helpful. Great for online reading. Book is exclusive for Mac Users, however the blurb about “if you’re a PC user just substitute “Command” with the “Ctrl” key. The book might benefit to also substitute “Return” with “Enter” key or even throughout the book perhaps adding the PC alternative in parenthesis.
Each chapter is fairly short reading. File exercises are very useful and accessible within different areas of the chapters and the videos are very helpful for today’s students who’s attention span is about 10-15 minutes total at one time. The inserted note sections for added exploration of topics are a plus.
It was a bit confusing at first as to how to read through the chapters but then realized the links to the pages were at the very bottom of the page within the “red footer”, Perhaps making them a bit more prominent and easily seen. Today’s student, if they don’t see or understand what they are to do within 2.5 seconds, they start to get frustrated and end up spending too much time searching than learning. It chronologically works and flows well for the most part, starting with the introduction with art history, web searches (creative commons etc.), design elements, color theory, leading to illustrator, then Photoshop, Scanning, saving for web and digital output and finally InDesign using spreads.
Quick video reviews/summaries of steps, tips on how to use software tools to complete exercises, etc. , however it might be more effective if the video was on its actual corresponding exercise page (e.g. chapter 1, the video along with the exercise files should be at beginning of 1.3 Exercise 3, right after the example of the completed image. This will eliminate the potential of skipping over the important reading and it will also eliminate the potential to forget what they have seen on the video by the time they get to the exercise.
Some errors that need a good proofreading.
Overall great online book for beginners. It's surprisingly quite thorough yet maintaining short chunks of readable information so not to overwhelm the reader.
The book is quite comprehensive. The interspersing of fine art with digital terms/vocabulary and software techniques (demonstrating tools with steps and technical aspects, such as shortcuts, use of mouse/keyboard) is very effective. Important... read more
The book is quite comprehensive. The interspersing of fine art with digital terms/vocabulary and software techniques (demonstrating tools with steps and technical aspects, such as shortcuts, use of mouse/keyboard) is very effective. Important technical information is provided, such as file formats, saving/exporting for different purposes and platforms, scanning, printing/outputting, etc. It also successfully offers a framework and historical perspective with theories and relevant concepts: Bauhaus, art history, famous artists, iconic works (in paint, sculpture, photo), design principles, Gestalt psychology, type styles and uses, color theory, photography, etc.
The book is accurate and error-free, for the most part. There is a lot of information, some of which changes rapidly due to advances in technology. In terms of concepts, a couple of areas were confusing and could have been explained better with more details (i.e. Symmetry and Gestalt).
This book is relevant in a number of ways, but mainly with technology and tools usage in Adobe.
There is no ambiguity as to what each chapter contains, since there are clear labels and the order of information presented in the book is logical. Aside from some clarification in terms of several concepts, it is very clear and straightforward.
It has a consistent style of chapters and their contents throughout. The framework is logical and content is easy to access. The reader can jump into any chapter and feel like they are still reading the same book. There is similar amount of information in each chapter and section, with visual examples, explanations, and exercises.
The modular aspects in terms of sections are helpful for the reader to learn different concepts and techniques since it "chunks" information (as previously stated, it is organized well and easy to navigate).
The book is organized well and enjoyable to read and learn from The online text is easy to follow and labeled well (chapter headings and sub-headings (sections). It is logical in its plan, construction, and execution.
The book's interface is easy to navigate, with the arrows on the bottom of each page to advance to the next sections or step back/rewind. Images are the right size (not too large or small) and represent the content in the text well. It has a "how-to" style with visual examples, screen grabs, screencasts, and written explanations for learners to practice with software tools and see how it is done. Links to resources and downloadable files are provided, which is very helpful.
The spelling and grammar are very good, and there were no errors or issues with wording or typos. The book reads well and isn't overburdened with unnecessary text.
There is no insensitivity displayed in the text, primarily due to the nature of the subject matter. It is accessible to all and has a welcoming, inclusive, and encouraging overall message.
This is a very good book! I particularly like the merging of fine art examples and concepts, with the practical art and design aspects (i.e. Mondrian's art and grid structures/systems). There is a correlation with art/design examples and their purpose and meanings, combined with the creation of designs and graphics using Adobe. While learning concepts, students are seeing examples and making it on their own, so they can better understand the process and make connections to see relevance. Students are not just asked to make a collage, but WHY. Art examples are presented, and then ways to create it on the computer with selections and masks are shown. This is a pattern used throughout the book, which is rather effective and a creative approach to teaching digital media.
Subject coverage is comprehensive for an intro-level course - it would be useful to have an index in particular, as terms are defined fairly thoroughly throughout. read more
Subject coverage is comprehensive for an intro-level course - it would be useful to have an index in particular, as terms are defined fairly thoroughly throughout.
Found text to be factually accurate.
Authors emphasize Adobe CS as the tool, and skills are forefronted - refreshing and lasting relevance!
Love that this book starts with the metaphor of digital interfaces - this step is too often skipped and is central to foundational understandings of digital production.
Very helpful and makes the work approachable.
The text is subdivided in a useful way - could be adapted easily.
Following the book front to back makes the most sense for a beginner, but jumping around is also supported by a clear organization structure.
The PDF could use some fine-tuning, but overall the interface is good.
Small errors throughout. Would recommend especially making sure introduction materials are flawless, as it's the first impression of the book.
Authors exercise cultural sensitivity throughout.
I appreciate that the working files are linked and video walkthroughs are provided right in the book. This makes so much sense and is such a resource, particularly for online courses.
The author’s execute the idea of mixing the aesthetics of art and design history with learning the basics of Adobe Creative Cloud software. The book teaches with step-by-step images, text, video and practices. It provides good content for students... read more
The author’s execute the idea of mixing the aesthetics of art and design history with learning the basics of Adobe Creative Cloud software. The book teaches with step-by-step images, text, video and practices. It provides good content for students needing to find copyright free images and it does a nice job of teaching the consistency of the Adobe CC interface. There is no index or glossary, but a detailed linkable table of contents is included that works well for the step-by-step teaching method employed.
Proper credits and permissions given throughout. The writing is well done and I saw no errors or bias. I reviewed the digital pdf version and found no issues with downloading the work files or viewing the videos for the exercises (I did a random sample not every link). The videos are well done and presented the basic functions as promised in the introduction.
Software texts are difficult to keep current. This book is usable though it covers CC 2017 and the current CC can vary up to 2020. The text does allow for updates.
The technical terminology is appropriate for the subject and level of the student the book is designed to help.
Terminology is consistent and appropriate for the learning level. It took a few chapters to understand the framework.
The text utilizes easy to use chunks of information broken into reading, watching and practicing. Because the book is a pdf, I was able to make notes and highlight areas of interest.
The flow is a bit confusing at first. As I continued, the consistency of the chapters helped me understand to download the files first, watch the video, read the text and then do the exercises. Would it be good to explain this upfront?
I reviewed the digital pdf version and found no issues with downloading the work files or viewing the videos for the exercises (I did a random sample and not every link). The videos are well done and present the basic functions as promised in the introduction. It is a straightforward, linear format and thus easy to follow. The links outside the content will require maintenance.
Instructions are difficult to write and the writing is well done. I saw no issues with grammar. There are good visual examples. Some will require updating as the software updates but the CC interface rarely sees drastic changes.
There are no issues with sensitivity.
A good basic introduction to Adobe CC that also introduces some art and design history through practice. The instructional writing is particularly well done.
The text covers a wide-range of topics useful for the introductory-level student; yet the organizational structure of the chapters provides a quick review for intermediate and advanced students. It includes a breadth of vocabulary relevant to... read more
The text covers a wide-range of topics useful for the introductory-level student; yet the organizational structure of the chapters provides a quick review for intermediate and advanced students. It includes a breadth of vocabulary relevant to basic design principals, file and workflow management, and contemporary digital imaging techniques. The lessons utilized many of the most needed tools in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator while integrating the elements of art and principals of design.
The vocabulary was accurate and relevant to the exercises. Each lesson’s instructions were detailed and the workflow was logical.
The title of this book indicates that it is most useful for an introductory-level student. As digital imaging becomes more complex, intermediate and advanced students would need a detailed methodology. However, the chapters cover dependable digital techniques and tools.
Throughout each lesson, the text integrates key vocabulary words and their definitions. A visual emphasis for these words, such as bolding or including an index, would be helpful in reinforcing the elements and principals of design alongside digital processes. The lesson instructions are clear and succinct.
Each chapter offers a brief overview of major art and design movements as it relates to the lesson plan. The text has concise explanations on the methodology of digital imaging, and includes screen shots to supplement instructions. Videos are included in several chapters, but not throughout the entire text.
The content of each chapter is clearly outlined. The topics and lesson plans are easily manageable to learn on a daily-basis and organized in a manner supportive of self-study.
The chapters are structured to introduce a significant art and design movement as a foundation to learning a digital imaging technique. Lessons build upon the previous chapter’s topics, but each are separate enough for all levels of experience to browse the chapters as a quick reference or review.
Reading the layout of the EPUB version in Apple Books can be stymied at times. Most of the text is left aligned, but sometimes it is justified, causing large gaps between words. Additionally, some headers appear at the bottom of the previous page as a disconnected, lone phrase. The online and PDF versions are cohesive, but the traditional lateral format is replaced by a vertical, downward structure that narrows the reader’s angle of view.
No significant grammatical errors were noted.
Given the wide breadth of topics, the text was inclusive.
This text is written by artist-educators and fills the gap of a much-needed perspective in teaching software within the context of art and design. There is a strong emphasis on establishing proper workflow and file management. The authors were mindful to include historical and contemporary references in the arts, and were inclusive to some photographic methods. Consistent use of the elements and principals of design are a plus.
While the book covers a great deal and includes some good post-chapter key words, it should include an index with important design words and also sections based on particular applications (e.g., Photoshop, then some of the main things someone... read more
While the book covers a great deal and includes some good post-chapter key words, it should include an index with important design words and also sections based on particular applications (e.g., Photoshop, then some of the main things someone might do with it). Also, if the title remains media design, it seems like that would warrant more moving images, which it doesn't cover in as great as detail. I would recommend removing the word from the title.
Very clear throughout.
It's always hard to pick relevant design example,s but they chose timeless bauhaus ones and also show a penchant for good current designs that will age well.
Very well written and accessible, especially considering all the jargon associated with learning software.
Some places use bold for steps to follow while others don't. I'd recommend using the bold format.
Very well done. And the associated exercise files help as well.
It takes a beginner logically through the process, from finding material and editing/designing it to exporting it for users.
Some of the images could be clearer (e.g., p. 16 and p. 49).
Very solid for the most part. Unless within double quotation marks, single quotation marks should not be used (ala p. 21). Some inconsistencies also exist in putting the period inside ending double quotation marks (it should be inside).
They do an excellent job broadening the representative scope from the base of Bauhaus images
While it says up front it will use Mac commands and provides a "translation" for PC users, the book nonetheless uses features exclusive to the Mac (such as the finder feature, folder naming, etc.) that do not necessarily translate as easy for PC users not familiar with Mac functionality, so some extra help might be needed if used in a class with a dedicated PC lab. The book is very helpful and provides a very accessible way for students to practice and master a wide variety of design within various Creative Cloud elements.
Table of Contents
- Part I. Chapter 1: The Metaphor of Using Graphics Applications
- Part II. Chapter 2: Searching and Sampling - Becoming an Expert Web User
- Part III. Chapter 3: Symmetry
- Part IV. Chapter 4: Type on a Grid
- Part V. Chapter 5: Color Theory & Basic Shapes
- Part VI. Chapter 6: Line Art and Flat Graphics
- Part VII. Chapter 7: Scanning
- Part VIII. Chapter 8: Tonal Scale
- Part IX. Chapter 9: Layering and Collage
- Part X. Chapter 10: Repetition and Cloning
- Part XI. Chapter 11: Non-Destructive Editing
- Part XII. Chapter 12: Getting It Out - Digital Output for Web
- Part XIII. Chapter 13: Multiple Pages: Unity
- Part XIV. Chapter 14: Two-Page Spreads
About the Book
Digital Foundations uses formal exercises of the Bauhaus to teach the Adobe Creative Suite. All students of digital design and production—whether learning in a classroom or on their own—need to understand the basic principles of design in order to implement them using current software. Far too often design is left out of books that teach software for the trade and academic markets. Consequently, the design software training exercise is often a lost opportunity for visual learning. This revised edition updates the original text for use with Adobe Creative Cloud 2017 software.
About the Contributors