Contextual and Cultural Referencing - VC.101
The aim of this unit is to encourage an understanding of the social, psychological, cultural, historical and commercial factors which underpin all visual arts theory and practice across the spectrum of subject specialisms. This unit develops learners’ knowledge of the cultural history and social theory which informs current thought and debate across the visual arts. Emphasis is on research and study skills and on learners acquiring source material and knowledge. For this unit learners will need to be familiar with a broad sweep of the historical and cultural developments which inform current thought and debate about art and design in general and their chosen specialism in particular. Also presentation skills will be applied in a practical context. Notebooks and visual diaries should indicate that learners understand and develop information received from lectures and seminars. Oral presentations and illustrated assignments should form part of learners’ practical work and can be linked to practical units.
Digital Media in Art and Design - VC.113
The aim of this unit is to develop learners’ skills with digital media, combined with the ability to translate ideas from research and drawings into computer-aided design work and visuals. Learners should be given the opportunity to develop their in-depth knowledge of software and be able to communicate ideas using a variety of specialist CAD packages. Learners should broaden their awareness of the benefits of using digital media inside and beyond the remit of art and design. The range of devices and software mentioned is not exhaustive and learners are encouraged to research beyond design applications to gain a broader view. The aim is to ensure that learners are familiar with a wide range of essential technology and are able to translate these skills into their own work. As technology develops and moves on, learners must be familiar with current software and emerging trends in digital technology. A creative experimental approach is required to encourage learners to broaden their design work and to understand how digital media can be used in art and design in a variety of situations eg creating and developing images, using text and images, creating documents and creating design work, producing professional standard visuals, concept sheets, design work, environments, enders, fly-throughs, story boards. Learners should be able to use digital media as a tool to produce supporting documents, eg publicity and promotional materials, presentations, professional materials.
Communication with Images - VC.115
This unit requires learners to study visual communication codes used in a variety of situations, cultures and sub cultures. Learners will be expected to recognise the importance of style and genre in visual imagery and to examine the roles of time and sequence in visual communication. Learners will consider elements of effective communication and information dissemination in its broadest sense, from simple juxtapositions, through to the manipulation of texts and images to develop their ability to be understood as a visual communicator. Learners will be encouraged to work on several tasks, introducing communication theories and semiotics, which will combine in practical project work that demonstrates the ability to produce work which communicates intended messages to target audiences. The unit should be supported by the use of traditional mediums and digital technologies enabling learners to develop technical conceptual and critical awareness. A combination of set and selfdirected briefs should be used. Projects should encourage learners to communicate a wide range of meanings and messages to a variety of audiences and in different cultural contexts. Projects should also require learners to produce work incorporating elements of time and sequence, such as comic strips or storyboards. Delivery should include tutor-led presentation and discussion of examples of visual communication drawn from a wide range of sources. Discussion should focus on the potential and limitations of communication through visual imagery in different cultural contexts and should include debate on image and metaphor, as well as headlining, structure and captioning Evidence for this unit will be based on a portfolio of examples generated through practical activity. This will be supported by notes and annotated collections of visual imagery which demonstrate the learner understands the possibilities and limitations of communicating through visual imagery alone. These should make reference to both abstract and descriptive imagery, and to a variety of cultures and sub-cultures. There should also be evidence that the learner has explored the roles of time and sequence in narrative and storytelling through studying time-based media and the production of sequential imagery.
Computer Programming Principles – VC.109
Computers are dependent on the design and creation of software to implement processes that meet user requirements. Programming must address the needs of the user alongside factors such as technical requirements, platforms, cost and access. The user interface requires testing and user acceptance to validate its fitness for purpose. Visual and aural information is used to direct the user through the different stages of using software, towards a desired outcome. In this unit learners can develop understanding and skills in the key principles and concepts of computer programming, as applied in interactive media. The unit focuses on the use of software and operating systems, and how these interrelate. Learners may consider the factors and components of operating systems and software design techniques, and develop personal skills in working through tasks involving programming and testing. Learners should examine the features and areas of application for different programming languages. They can study and develop methodologies to apply formal testing procedures to gauge the effectiveness of their programming work. On completion of the unit learners should be able to produce well-defined, accurate design and code completed in an appropriate medium.
Ideas Generation and Development - VC 104
This unit introduces a number of idea-generating techniques to demonstrate that creative thinking is a skill that can be continually developed. Evidence of ‘thinking on paper’ may take the form of ‘open-ended’ idea sheets and visual/verbal ‘mind maps’. Learners will be encouraged to originate ideas which fulfil visual communication objectives. Learners will also be required to use mark-making techniques to express their ideas on paper and they should be able to identify the cultural contexts in which their ideas work. Selection, review and development of ideas should be evidenced in sketchbooks, design sheets, humbnails or concept sheets. Learners should be encouraged to research the creation of graphic imagery and digital portfolio and be exposed to a broad cross section of good quality examples. In particular, the study of graphic and visual imagery in relation to different cultural contexts should be wide ranging and eclectic. Their study could include examples from contemporary youth and music culture to which material from other cultures can then be related. A series of progressively developed idea sheets and concept boards could culminate in clearly expressed ideas produced by learners to meet specific communication tasks. Visual communication assignments should be inventive and stimulating, and, where possible, should have topical and/or contemporary cultural relevance. In addition, experimentation and risk taking should be encouraged. Discussion and criticism should concentrate on the potential and interest of ideas and this can be presented separately or in the form of annotations to visual ideas sheets, concept boards and collections of exemplar material.
Visual Communication - VC 106
Learners will be expected to develop an understanding of the role and responsibilities of the artist, designer and craftworker in a commercial context and to acquire the ability to communicate ideas through drawing and other visual techniques and skills. Learners need to engage in integrated research to include analysis of the brief, preparation of initial ideas, market research, investigation and practical exploration into materials, processes and techniques. Learners will need to explore the visual and tactile properties and characteristics of materials. They will also need to investigate contexts and demonstrate the ability to select and interpret research information through design development. This will necessitate practical first-hand experience in manipulating materials to meet requirements of briefs. It is important that a level of practical competence is shown in studio and workshop practice combined with evidence of an awareness of relevant safe working practice. Learners will need to gain a thorough understanding of design practice, relevant legislation, including health and safety, public liability and copyright law. Learners should keep records of all professional practice (meetings, attendance, punctuality, contracts etc) and provide evidence of the correct use of terminology and vocabulary in written and oral presentation. It is important that learners gain a thorough understanding of contemporary professional practice and guest speakers, workshops, visits.
Professional Practice - VC 108
This unit serves to evaluate and assimilate learners’ skills to provide a coherent, creative and professional portfolio of work which can be used for subsequent interviews and presentations. Portfolios will be focused on individual career paths and should be in the most appropriate> format, eg paper based, CD, website, blog, vlog, integrated media. Learners will also prepare for their future, through participation in self-analysis and reflection, recognition of strengths and weaknesses, goal setting, practising interview techniques and making applications for jobs. Learners will be expected to research their intended career path and specific job role in order to be well informed of the strategies and knowledge needed to conduct successful interviews. Opportunities will be given to the development of a business database and the opportunity to formulate a long-term career plan or further study proposal. This will be supported by the creation and production of a self-promotional package, including an updated CV, business cards, web page and other appropriate promotional tools. This unit will allow learners the time to reflect on the previous years of study and to assess their strengths and weaknesses. It will allow evaluation of their own progression, the contribution they have made to their subject and the broader critical debate surrounding their subject. Learners will work in groups to help each other understand their strengths and weaknesses. Tutorials will be conducted throughout the unit with a formal in-house job interview and presentation critique at the end of the unit. The unit should be further enhanced by input from visiting practitioners from a selection of areas within the specialist subject. Learners should be encouraged to contact potential employers for interviews, work shadowing or work placement.
Digital Video Post-Production and Editing - VC 110
This unit gives learners opportunities to develop products from conception, through the production phases to the export of a final product. The products made in this unit range from experimental, factual, fictional, narrative, non-narrative, art and client led. Learners will need to consider designing for very different uses, for example on small handheld devices, through to cinema screens or other large-scale projection. Learners have the opportunity to be exceptionally creative. During production and postproduction the technical skills that can be developed are highly specialised and focused. The nature of this unit means that it is possible that the production phase of the product to be created through the collaboration of a small team, in this instance, individual contributions must be evidenced. This unit allows learners to gain a deeper understanding of the application of industry standard communication, equipment and software. Learners should follow working practices of industry professionals. Learners are required to create a product that is fit for purpose and which meets professional expectations.
Interactive Media Design & Prototyping - VC.201
Managing an interactive media project, whether for education, training, or entertainment purposes, requires careful consideration of the various elements. In working through this unit learners will gain knowledge and skills in assessing intended users’ needs as well as producing an interactive media prototype, from concept through to completion. Through research and practice learners identify users’ needs and use this information to inform their design work and content. Learners’ design work should include the structure, interaction and components of the interface. A physiological approach should be encouraged, to give learners a broad understanding of the potential use of colour, metaphors and navigational systems. Concept designs may be provided in the form of sketches, notes, scripts, flow diagrams, charts, screen designs, storyboards, animatics, visual and audio materials. Learners should develop their prototype designs through exploration of software prototyping tools and techniques. Learners should reflect on how screen design should show consistency, organisation and prioritisation of information, and how they can ensure usability and the appropriate use of colour and text. Learners should consider the overall aesthetic appeal of their design work, and strive for innovation and creativity. Learners may conclude the unit by evaluating the strength of their design work and the prototype in meeting the needs of the intended users.
Sound Production & Editing - VC.205
In this unit learners will further develop knowledge of the factors influencing sound design and production for interactive media products. Research skills should be applied to developing a working knowledge of sound in use. The scope of potential applications is wide ranging and continues to develop further as technology enables sound quality to be improved through faster processing times and more efficient devices. The different functions of sound and its specific relationship to visuals should also be explored. Learners should be encouraged to adopt an active experimental approach, in order to broaden their thinking and creativity in this area. Learners may need to demonstrate a variety of research methods, and should involve themselves in discussions with tutors, professional practitioners and peer groups. Through research, learners should be encouraged to develop their skills of critical analysis and to acquire an understanding of the background issues of successful and creative sound usage. Learners should be encouraged to experiment in their own work so they may develop a deeper understanding of digital editing software and exercise their creativity and editing skills. In studying this unit learners should develop their awareness of sound-related issues such as genre, form and audio cohesion, and their.
Computer Interface Design Principles - VC.207
Human computer interface designs are linked with design for both interactive media presentations and online documentation. The continued growth in web-based and digital entertainment provides challenges for the designer in creating interfaces that are fit for purpose and visually engaging. In this unit learners can develop concept designs in the form of sketches, notes, scripts, flow diagrams, charts, screen designs, storyboards, animatics, visual and audio materials. Storyboards can be used to visualise sequential information, such as screen designs, animation sequences showing key frames, or video sequences. Learners can develop personal ideas for screen designs, addressing areas such as consistency, organisation and prioritisation of information, as well as usability and appropriate use of colour and text. Learners may demonstrate their understanding and skills through any effective combination of audio feedback, music or speech, visual feedback, animation and video. Other factors addressed should include aesthetic appeal, innovation and creative thought. Learners will select and decide an appropriate use of colour, animation, screen metaphor, navigational devices, visual and audio feedback, according to end-user needs. Through this unit learners should gain a broader understanding of the psychology, the principles and the practice of user interface design.
3D Computer Modelling and Animation - VC 205 (Elective)
The unit supports learners in visualising and designing three-dimensional space and object forms that exist within it. An appreciation of the requirements and applications of computer modelling and animation in commercial contexts may be used to inform learner’s development of personal animation work. Learners will consider the technical requirements for producing and distributing digital animation effectively. Learners should gain a working knowledge of 3D computer modeling and animation software, through applying techniques in their own animation work. Research elements of the unit allow learners to review the work of 3D computer artists. Learners should develop creative responses to a set or self-generated brief, through exploring the potential offered by digital animation. Whilst the technical requirements of this field are demanding, learners should also be encouraged to reflect on creative approaches. Learners should work though stages such as visualisation and identifying technical requirements for scenes and models. Animation is a dynamic process and learners may need to explore alternative approaches to be able to realise their creative intentions.
Project Design, Implementation and Evaluation - VC 202
This unit gives learners opportunities to develop skills in decision making, problem solving and communication, integrated with the skills and knowledge developed in many of the other units within the programme to complete a realistic project. The unit requires learners to select, plan, implement and evaluate a project and present the outcomes, in terms of the process and the product of the project. It also allows learners to develop the ability to work individually and/or with others, within a defined timescale and given constraints to produce an acceptable and viable solution to an agreed brief. If this is a group project, each member of the team must be clear about their responsibilities at the start of the project and supervisors must ensure that everyone is accountable for each aspect of the work and makes a contribution to the end result. Learners must work under the supervision of programme tutors or work-based managers.
Interactive Media Teamwork - VC 204
With the ever-increasing demand for interactive media on the web, in education and industry learners studying in this field should have an awareness of the needs of different user groups, and how an interactive media product is developed. Learners will design for ease of understanding and for users’ needs. In this unit learners will initiate a live project through interaction with clients. The project may require learners to work with others from areas such as computing, audio/video, media, and possibly commission other experts. Users’ needs should be defined through first-hand enquiry, observation and questionnaires. Observations, evaluations, team meetings and user feedback should be recorded by video (or audio where video is not appropriate) or as written minutes. Managing an interactive media project, whether for education, training or entertainment purposes, requires careful consideration of the various elements. Learners should demonstrate the ability to work with others and adopt specific roles within a development team. Learners should be able to track a budget, manage a production schedule and interact with clients professionally. Presentation and persuasion techniques are practised using video feedback and discussion. All development team meetings, evaluations, usability trials, client meetings and outcomes from these events must be documented and provided as evidence in a report or presentation. This unit will provide an understanding of the various forms of intellectual property rights (for example copyright, patent and trademark) and will enable learners to investigate and understand how these rights are created, protected, acquired and exploited.
Critical Study in Art and Design - VC 207
This unit gives learners an opportunity to investigate selected references within the context of their own work, through encouraging independent selection and analysis of historical, contextual and contemporary sources. Learners will be encouraged to investigate factors which determine cultural and creative influences in art and design. These will not only include the influences of artists and designers, but also the social, aesthetic, technological, ecological and economic global forces which can shape modern thinking and direction. The unit will investigate textual analysis and historical understanding in the context of contemporary art and design practice. Learners will be encouraged to use this analysis to develop an understanding of themselves and their work within their selected areas of interest. Debate and discussion will form an important part of this unit, with learners working in small study groups as well as independently. Learners will be expected to show a high level of personal initiative and an inquisitive mind to meet the unit outcomes. Study should complement learners’ chosen vocational routes and lead to self-awareness from a historical, contemporary and commercial perspective. Formal delivery should concentrate on research and presentation skills followed by systematic seminars and tutorial sessions on a group or individual basis.
Managing a Creative Business - VC.203
This unit focuses on understanding different types of business and essential basic business administration for employees, freelance and self-employed professionals in the art and design sector. This core understanding should be contextualised and made more relevant to learners through live briefs, working with a client or an enterprise project. It can be delivered as one project or a series of live briefs which develop confidence in working with clients and of working as a professional. Learners should investigate different types of business models and relate this to creative industries. They should also demonstrate that they understand the nature of freelance work and modes of employment particular to art and design, eg hot desking, freelance, short-term contracts, fixed-term contracts, self-employment, agency working. Learners should be able to research, plan and produce outcomes for an enterprise project or live assignment and if this is done as group work or teamwork, each learner must demonstrate they have played an active and measurable role in the project and submit independent work. Their participation, success and understanding can be measured through their evaluation of the project and evaluation of the extent to which business skills are relevant to success as a creative practitioner.