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State University of New York

Introduction to Computational Arts: Visual Arts

State University of New York via Coursera

This course may be unavailable.


In this 5-week course we’ll introduce the fundamentals of computational arts–covering basic programming, simple image processing and elementary sound recording. This class has been taught for seventeen years at Stony Brook University, and is an accessible introduction to combining arts and computing.

We will cover Photoshop CS5 and GIMP, which is a free open-source tool offering the same functionality as Photoshop. Whether you have access to one or the other, you will learn how to create and manipulate digital images, and most importantly, you will become comfortable enough to expand on what you learn here, after the end of our course.

You will complete both technical assignments and artistic projects, and learn how to participate in an aesthetic critique. You will be exposed to historical works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries which will offer you a context for your artistic endeavors.

Peer review is integral to the success of this class; we will also teach you how to give constructive criticism. By the end of the 5 weeks you should have a strong foundation on how to use computers for image manipulation, and expression of your artistic ideas.

Additionally, you’ll create an online portfolio of your digital art projects, and be able to communicate ideas about art.  

Each week you’ll watch two video series - one on the theory and one on the practice. There will be technical assignments and artistic projects which will be peer reviewed. We’re looking forward to working with you.


Introduction to Computational Arts: Visuals

(Spring 2014)

Consortium for Digital Arts & Technology (CDACT)

Stony Brook University and Coursera



Dr. Margaret Schedel and Catherine Katsafouros

Course Description

This multidisciplinary production class serves as an introduction to, and exploration of electronic media in the arts. Lectures will cover concepts and presentations of artists working in various capacities with computers, as well as tutorials on specific software packages.


No prerequisites or prior knowledge needed. Familiarity with computers is helpful but not necessary.

Course Requirements

    • Internet connection

    • Windows or Apple computer

    • Ability to install software on your machine (admin account)

    • Visual arts software: You may use either

        • Photoshop:

        • or Gimp:

    • Digication e-Portfolio account (links and details will be provided)

Course Learning Outcomes

Learners who successfully complete this course will have learned basic skills in Photoshop or Gimp. Throughout the 5-week course, students will learn to give critical feedback to their peers about technical and artistic matters through a grounding in the history of technology and the arts. A digital portfolio will showcase your work from this course.

Visual Arts Outcomes:

    1. Create, edit, manipulate digital images using the basic functions of visual arts software

    2. Demonstrate creative/conceptual awareness of visual design through peer critique

    3. Produce artistic images using software

Textbook & Course Materials

Required Text: No required texts

Optional Texts:

Art of the Digital Age

by Bruce Wands

ISBN-13: 978-0500286296

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Taught by

Margaret Schedel and



5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

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  • Aana

    Aana completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

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