ME:120.720 :: Digital Imaging I – Vector Illustration

Course Description

Offered: 1st and 2nd Quarter, 1st Year
Instructors: Jennifer E. Fairman, Associate Professor, Lead Instructor
Ian Suk, Professor
Credits: 3 credit hours

An overview of the technical aspects of digital art production using vector and raster-based digital imaging applications

Course Objectives

  • Understand basic differences/strengths/limitations between vector and raster-based applications.
  • Understand the concepts of varying color bit depth, resolution of files
  • Recognize differences between PPI, LPI, and DPI
  • Understand differences between resolution-independent images vs. resolution-dependent images
  • Understand procedures for size management, storage, input, and output of digital files
  • Develop working knowledge in use of digital imaging applications (Illustrator, Photoshop)
  • Understand processes involved in translating a traditional sketch into a digitally-rendered illustration
  • Understand considerations for scanning traditionally-rendered line, tonal and color artwork
  • Understand considerations/procedures for labeling artwork using vector and raster applications.
  • Understand various options for printing digital files of traditionally and digitally-rendered line, tonal, and color artwork
  • Understand procedures for outputting from digital files


Macintosh/PC computer hardware/software, removable media, scanners, modems, stylus-based input devices, CD-R drives, laser printers, ink-jet printers, and dye-sub printers. Handouts, software manuals, tutorials, and 3rd Party books on various computer topics will be available.

Course Assignments

Students will further develop their skills through class lectures/demonstrations, tutorials and class exercises, including:

  • Scanning a working sketch, convert into vector paths using Live Trace
  • Introduction/tutorial in Illustrator
  • Creating a vector-based illustration with labels
  • Linotronic output of a color-separated Illustrator vector file
  • Introduction/tutorial in Photoshop
  • Scanning traditionally-rendered tonal sketches, as well as final line, tonal and color illustrations
  • Creating a combination traditional/digital continuous-tone illustration with labels
  • Linotronic output of a digital tone file
  • Digitally labeling as well as printing a traditionally-rendered line illustration
  • Creating a digital spot color file

 Course Evaluation

  •  1:1 faculty-student interface
  • Interim class critiques
  • Written critique on final project
  • Review of sketches
  • Final grade


Refer to 1st year calendars and syllabi.

All students with disabilities who require accommodations for this course should contact Catherine L. Will, Disability Services Coordinator for Graduate Biomedical Education ( or 410-614-3781) at their earliest convenience to discuss their specific needs. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive.


Next Course: Digital Imaging II – Raster