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MMEDIA 3PC3 Photo Collage&Composite Image (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Chris Myhr


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 328

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23930


Office Hours: Fridays 10:30-12:30

Course Objectives:

MMEDIA 3PC3 is a hands-on studio production course that will explore the theory and practice of collage and composite image-making (both material and digital) in the context of historical/contemporary art. Students will develop a series of creative projects that will emphasize serious engagement with compelling ideas and themes, as well as independent experimentation, the development of critical awareness, and creative responses to project parameters. Students will be encouraged to challenge and expand on their existing skill sets, and explore personalized approaches in developing a unique and engaging aesthetic sensibility.

Technical demonstrations, workshops, and in-class exercises will provide students with a wide range of versatile approaches and strategies. Studio production and experimentation will be complemented by lectures, readings, and discussions aimed at developing conceptual foundations, and awareness of historical/contemporary discourse.

Students enrolled in this course should be proficient with DSLR photography and Adobe Photoshop. It is highly recommended that Studio Art students complete ART 2DP3 (Digital Practices) before enrolling in this course.

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Outline and articulate creative/research interests in a clear, effective, and professional manner
  • Understand and engage with historical/contemporary movements in digital photography and photomontage/composite imaging
  • Demonstrate and apply an understanding of how meaning is generated through the organization, juxtaposition and manipulation of image and aesthetics 
  • Communicate ideas through complex and nuanced aesthetic gestures and visual language (i.e. motif, metaphor, abstraction)
  • Achieve effective synthesis between ideas, intent, and technical execution
  • Develop and refine creative projects over the three stages of digital imaging (capture, manipulation/refinement, output) 
  • Understand and work effectively with various forms of source imagery and materials (both physical and digital)
  • Work with advanced techniques in Adobe Photoshop and ACR
  • Understand and apply techniques and strategies for large-format print output
  • Actively engage in critical dialogue with peers, and integrate feedback to further develop and refine ideas and creative work

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • External/USB storage drive (Minimum 16GB formatted exFAT or FAT32)
  • DSLR camera (provided by department if required)
  • There is a $75 studio fee required for MMEDIA 3PC3
  • This will cover the cost of professional-quality printing, and other materials necessary for completion of the course
  • Fees must be paid to the School of the Arts office in TSH 414 within the first two weeks of classes.
  • Students with unpaid fees by Week 2 will not have access to printing facilities, and any submitted work will be assigned a zero grade.

Method of Assessment:

Unless otherwise stated, classes will be held in the TSH 206. For more detailed information, consult the Course Schedule below. Be sure to check News items on A2L for weekly updates.

Although time will be allotted for in-class project work, students will also be required to dedicate a minimum of 9 hours/week developing techniques and strategies introduced in the course, conducting independent research, completing assigned projects, and preparing for discussions and presentations. 

Students taking this course will be expected to arrive on-time at the start of each class, and be sufficiently prepared to work on projects and participate in class activities. Attendance is essential in a dedicated studio course. Unexcused absence(s) will have a negative impact on project and final grades. See the “ASSIGNMENTS & LATE PENALTIES” section for details.

Students are expected to demonstrate an attitude of respectful criticality and active engagement at all times, and contribute to a collegial and productive learning environment. Student participation will be based on performance during peer critique/presentation and formal screening/reading response sessions. It is recommended that students read the assessment_proposals_critique.pdf document posted on Avenue to Learn for more details on criteria and expectations.

The use of cellphones, text messaging, and/or social media sites during class time will not be tolerated.

Final grades will be determined through the assessment of studio work, as well as the quality of student contributions to discussion and presentation/feedback sessions. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 15% Project 1 - Due Oct 4 (12:00pm)
  • 15% Project 2 - Due Oct 4 (12:00pm)
  • 20% Project 3 - Due Nov 1 (12:00pm)
  • 30% Project 4 - Due Nov 29 (12:00pm)
  • 20% Participation and Professionalism

Each assigned project will include a description (posted on A2L) outlining overall objectives, specific considerations, submission requirements/formats and deadlines. Student work will be evaluated in terms of:

  • Technical proficiency
  • Conceptual focus and rigour
  • Synthesis and presentation
  • Work ethic and personal investment 
  • Time management, productivity, and project refinement as evidenced throughout studio production process (both in-class and independent)

Successful projects will clearly demonstrate effort and attention to the three key stages of studio production: 

  • Research and planning
  • Experimentation, development and creative problem-solving
  • Refinement and resolution

For more information on the assessment of project work, see the rubric pasted below, and the assessment_proposals_critique.pdf document posted on Avenue to Learn.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignments are designed as frameworks for creative investigation, and will incorporate the techniques and content learned and discussed in class. Students are encouraged to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skill sets. Detailed descriptions of all assignments will be uploaded to Avenue to Learn.

A penalty of 5% per day will be deducted from assignments submitted late, or those not presented in the required format. Assignments will not be accepted after seven days without official documentation (see the MSAF section for details), and will receive a grade of zero. Studio work will be considered late and incomplete if not accompanied by required written work (i.e. project proposals, etc). Late studio and/or written work will not receive detailed verbal/written feedback from instructor and/or peers. Extensions for late work, or accommodations for missed tests or tutorials, will be granted only upon the recommendation of a student's home faculty: please take such requests directly to your home faculty's office. 

Each absence (or early exit) from a scheduled critique session will result in a letter-grade penalty on the overall Participation and Professionalism assessment. Absentees from critique sessions will not receive detailed written feedback from the instructor.

Recommendations/appeals for extensions will not be accepted on or after project due dates, and must be received no later than 48 hours before the deadline.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

The outline below is for orientation purposes only, and is subject to change. Please consult the full and definitive syllabus posted on Avenue to Learn for any potential updates.

Sept 4
Course outline
Orientation (TSH206 and TSH110/115)
Understanding collage/photomontage/compositing
Project 1 and 2 introduction
2D/3D scanning demo

Sept 11
Preliminary scanned images due
History of photo collage/montage
Close-Up/Macro photography and lighting
Photoshop 1
Consultation/Work Session

Sept 18
Preliminary close-up/macro images due
Analog image transfers
Printing digital images
Photoshop 2
Consultation/Work Session

Sept 25
Working with online images
Analog/digital manipulation
Photoshop 3
Consultation/Work Session

Oct 2
Project 3 introduction
Photography for Joiners (best practices)
Consultation/Work Session
In-Progress peer reviews (time-permitting)
Project 1 and 2 due (Oct 4 - 12:00pm)

Oct 9 (Midterm Recess)

Oct 16
Project 1 and 2 Critique (TSH114)

Oct 23
Project 3 source images due
Digital Joiners
Photoshop 4
Consultation/Work Session

Oct 30
Project 4 introduction
Photography for photo-realistic composites (best practices)
Lighting for photo-realistic composites (best practices)
Photoshop 5
Consultation/Work Session
In-Progress peer reviews (time-permitting)
Project 3 due (Nov 1 - 12:00pm)

Nov 6
Project 3 Critique (TSH114)

November 13
Integrating elements for photo-realistic composites
Photoshop 6
Consultation/Work Session

November 20
Advanced finishing for print
Photoshop 7
Consultation/Work Session

November 27
Consultation/Work Session
In-Progress peer reviews (time-permitting)
Project 4 due (Nov 29 - 12:00pm)

December 4
Project 4 Critique (TSH114)

Other Course Information:

If you require special accommodation for learning or have any special needs please let me know of them as soon as possible in order that arrangements can be made. Students with disabilities are encouraged to register with the Centre for Student Development.

The detailed and definitive version of the syllabus will be posted on Avenue to Learn. Students are responsible for consulting this document for the most up-to-date information on scheduled activities, rubrics, etc.

In addition to submitting digital image files of project work, students are required to print finished images on professional-quality inkjet paper for presentation and critique. The department of Studio Art will provide the necessary technical support for this service. 

Images files must be delivered to A2L Assignments by due date specified on project description and in-class. Late submissions will not be printed, and this will impact the project grade.

Cameras and other gear necessary for the completion of projects can be signed-out at the HMC Service Centre (TSH 205A). Please access the following link, and ensure you are familiar with policies, hours of operation, late penalties, etc: