Computer Graphics is certainly a standout class, as it teaches students a wide variety of skills that no other course can.
In an average English or Algebra class, you may not need what you are learning until years from now.
In Computer Graphics, however, the students can utilize the things they learn instantly, employing advanced techniques to make art, animations, and videos.
The class is taught by Tom Sullivan, who has over 20 years of experience with software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects.
“We developed the course back in about 2000. The software has changed quite a bit since then, and what we can do in the class has changed quite a bit,” said Sullivan. As available software has evolved over the years, so has the scope of the class.
There are now four different semester-long sequential courses that students can take within Computer Graphics.
Students start out in Graphics 1, learning the basics of Photoshop and Illustrator, both programs with powerful capabilities to edit photos and create stunning images.
“It gives students a good introduction to digital photography, painting, illustration, and hopefully designing stuff for a lot of different purposes, whether it’s fashion design, 2D design, or architecture,” said Sullivan.
The more ambitious students can move on to Graphics 2, 3, or even 4. Each class is a semester long, so Sullivan offers up to two years of computer graphics instruction for those who want it.
Graphics 2 focuses more on animating with Photoshop and Adobe Flash.
“It’s where you start to get into animation and video editing and more advanced camera work,” said Sullivan.
Graphics 3 takes the class’s video aspect to the next level with After Effects, a program that can be used to add impressive special effects to videos.
“Graphics 3 is all special effects and video editing only, so there’s a lot of longer-term projects,” said Sullivan.
Finally, the Graphics 4 class mostly deals with 3D animation.
Sullivan said, “We now have a lot of really great high-end software to do things we haven’t done before.” Some of that software includes Maya, Google Sketchup, and 3D Studio Max.
Each class gets progressively more advanced, so there is something for all students, from the beginners to the more experienced.
“I try to let kids have a ton of options, so they get to pick the types of creative projects they want to make,” said Sullivan.
“Everybody can be successful in this if they find the right niche,” said Sullivan. He recommends the class to anyone with an interest in digital art or editing, whether they are experienced or beginners.
Although Computer Graphics classes do not count as visual or performing arts classes, they are electives that are open for anyone who wants to become more experienced in digital art, web design, animation, or videos.