What IEM Learnt from ADM Core / Major-PE Modules

11/29/2016

Side note before starting my story: I was offered my second choice - Psychology in NTU, before I appealed to study Information Engineering and Media (under school of Electrical & Electronic Engineering), which ironically was not in my list of choices. Mainly, just because I didn't do a proper research on degrees that NTU offers before applying for a course. I appealed just because I love art and I don't want to give up on Maths and Science (should have study vet but it's too expensive) #lameButTrue #whyPsychologyIsAnotherStory

Anyway, throughout my years in IEM, I have received multiple emails, private messages and face-to-face conversation from freshmen and even IEM juniors asking about different art modules. I guess the title of the art modules in IEM curriculum are not self-explanatory, hence I will briefly explain about the ADM core/major-PE modules I learnt/took from AY2013/14 to AY2016/17. Syllabus may change, different teacher teaches different contents (but around the same), so what I am sharing are just for reference.

Click on the subtitles to view course details provided by School of Art, Design and Media (ADM).
Oh ya, if you would like to know more on each modules, you can click here to check out my media portfolio completed in NTU.

DA1000 Thinking and Communicating Visually I

AY2013/14  |  Year 1 Core  |  A
Technically speaking, DA1000 can be summarized as real-life drawing. This is the fundamental module that trains students to observe tiny details with their eyes, taking note of shadows, measurements and compositions, next using a mixture of mediums to "copy paste" what they see onto their papers.

Students will get to learn about still life drawings, perspective drawings and figure/model drawings. Drawings are in monochromatic (mine in black & white) colour scheme. Medium used will be pencils, pens, charcoal, ink, graphite, calligraphy brushes etc.

This module may sound redundant in an IT course, but it actually acts as a foundation that I found to ease the learnability of the next art modules, which you will read about them soon.

DA2000 Thinking and Communicating Visually II

AY2015/16  |  Year 2 Core |  A+
DA2000 can be summarized as 2D graphic design. In this module, students will learn about drawing principles as well as colour theories. This is where students finally get to use colours to convert abstract ideas onto physical papers.

In my class, I learnt about conveying messages through posters using simplified contents without words. This module was the only art module which I spent hours thinking how to represent an object using only basic shapes, lines, curves and areas. Medium used will be brushes, acrylic paints, markers, crayons, papers, items blah blah. This module is super creative (depending on your teacher).

Frankly speaking, I don't think drawing skills are much needed in this module (besides needing the basic compositions and measurements). It's more important how you communicate a message through your art. Creativity is much needed, and you will be surprise with the different perspectives everyone sees a thing.

DA3000 Thinking and Communicating Visually III

AY2016/17  |  Year 3 Core |  tbc
DA3000 can be summarized as 3D product design. This is the first art module in IEM that uses digital softwares entirely. Autodesk softwares will be taught, where Autodesk Inventor will be the main software used. You will also need to create posters that helps to advertise your product.

This is where you get to implement everything you learnt from the previous 2 art modules. Accurate measurements, colour theories, good creativity and strong logical thinking will be much needed when designing a product that's functional and usable. Knowledge on composition, 2D graphic design and shadows will help you in coming up with the posters. Some people may choose to use Powerpoint to create their posters, but I recommend you to learn up on Photoshop, Illustrator or any other design softwares (since they are useful to know?)

DV2008 Interface Design

AY2016/17  |  Year 4 Major-PE  |  tbc
DV2008 is a major-PE for year  4 IEM students, but a core module for year 2 ADM students majoring in visual communication. This means you will be having ADM students in your class too. This course is about interface design, meaning to design the UI layout of your physical devices or digital applications. You will get to learn about user-centric design principles which improves user experience (UX).

A collaborative project should be completed by the end of the semester. The project is breakdown into 3 different stages (3 assignments) targeting user research, brainstorming process, and finally coming out with actual interface design. You will need to prepare for 2 presentations to sell your product.

By taking up this module, it is expected that you should already learnt how to use a design software to create the interface layouts. Of course you can choose to design directly on a prototyping tool too. Depending on your project choice, you might need to develop a digital prototype application, or create a physical prototype product instead.

For reference, our group has chosen SGBuses to redesign and improve on usability and functionality issues, as well as on the aesthetic appeal.

DM2000 Interactive 1

AY2016/17  |  Year 4 Major-PE |  tbc
DM2000 is a major-PE for year 4 IEM students, but a core module for year 2 ADM students majoring in interactive media. I was so wrong about this module! Initially, I thought this module would be learning about interactive gestures on devices (like what animation / effect / transition after you press this button etc), however to my horror, this module is about developing a physical prototype using Arduino technology, and maybe Processing (if needed).

Yeah, I didn't know that interactive students in ADM learns coding and wiring too, so this was the worst ADM module I ever took, because my coding skills is bad. However, this module should be easy for IEM students who have taken Arduino project as DIP project in year 3 (which I did not as I was on exchange).

For this module, I spent 1000% effort redo-ing my physical prototype 6 times. Plainly because I have no physical experience in designing a product (DA3000 only design product that lives in a digital file). For my project, I designed the casing using Illustrator, laser-cut each pieces and assembled each pieces into a whole product. The process was really tough as measurements must be super accurate for assembly to work.

I learnt a lot from this module, but to be honest, this module is really really really really time-consuming.

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I hope you have a better understanding on the art modules offered by IEM. Hope my post helps you as an IEM junior to decide your final year modules (maximum 2 technical modules from ADM+WKW), or better, helps freshmen to decide if IEM is the right course for you.

Do leave a comment for questions if any! I will be glad to help :)

Cheers!

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