Music Technology + Digital Audio Production Students Extend Learning Beyond the Classroom Via Blog

Students in Philip Sorrentino’s CE 1907 Music Technology + Digital Audio Production course on Thursday evenings this fall are participating in a simple inspirational blog created specifically for the course.

Part of the students’ weekly assignment is to post “inspiration” to the blog.  Content centers around what the students have been listening to over the week or what has caught their ear.  Each week’s class session begins with a review and critique of the songs that have been posted.   Philip also posts content that is relevant and interesting as resource material for the students.

Check out the students’ blog and leave a comment to encourage them!

Learn more about Philip Sorrentino and his course by following these links| | | Music Technology + Digital Audio Production

Interactive Timeline of Logo Design

A designer just shared this interactive website of logo design – it allows you to scroll through decades, click on  iterations of brand logos over time, search by product area, read about the concepts behind the work,  learn about the designers, comment, get some trivia, vote and more.

And since we’ve recently lost Steve Jobs, I thought I’d share some info from the site regarding the iconic Apple logo history.

“We don’t have a good language to talk about this kind of thing. In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer… but to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation,” said Steve Jobs

1998 Apple Logo

Check out this interview with Apple Logo designer Rob Janoff.

The site is rich with resources, history and inspiration.  Here are a few samples:

1850 Procter and Gamble logo

1996 Adidas logo

1976 Adidas logo

Even Superman needs a logo!

And because I can’t post about logo design without mentioning Paul Rand and Milton Glaser:

“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” – Paul Rand

“To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.” – Milton Glaser

So much more here: – happy clicking!

TEDxPhilly Event (The City) – Tue Nov 8

I know you love the TED talks online – check out this event in Philly to carry on the TED spirit:

TED X Philly: The City

TEDxPhilly is a unique, one-day multi-disciplinary conference, which will examine vast interpretations of the theme: The City.

Engaging speakers, performers, participants and exhibitors will converge to deconstruct, decipher and explore some of the greatest challenges, innovations, concepts and realities that shape and are shaped by the city and its inhabitants.  Designer, artists and creative thinkers are key to the TED point-of-view!

Organizers of the event are calling all change-agents to attend.

Philadelphians will assemble to share ideas that matter, and hopefully, turn those ideas into actionable outcomes after the event. The audience is as important as the presenters and will reflect the many passionate, motivated, and hard-working individuals who are part of the broader community of Philadelphia.  Cities have languages unto themselves – built from points of intersection where disparate nodes converge and emerge from collective stories of times past, present and future.

Temple Performing Arts Center in  Philadelphia
November 8th, 2011

9:00 am -6:00 pm
Registration required, $100.

10 Great Adobe InDesign Tutorials

Masters of the Adobe software suite often lean towards graphic design or web development. When creating documents for print this can easily be transcribed in both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. However, Adobe InDesign allows you to create entire projects such as a magazines, online e-books, cover pages, flyers, etc. But most people just haven’t had the time to learn how to utilize these features!

If you are feeling bold, check out the showcase collection below. I put together 25 beginner-intermediate level tutorials which will get you more familiar with InDesign. Once you understand what can be accomplished it may change your entire workflow!

Business Card Design

Magazine Cover with InDesign

InDesign: Creating PDF Forms

How to Mirror a Layout

Creating an Interactive Portfolio with InDesign CS3

Bleed and Layering Master Pages

Magazine Design (Part 1 of 3)

Preparing for Print Services

Creating Compound Frames

Writing an Effective Book Document


Philly Photo Day is coming up on Friday, October 28th! Everyone in Philadelphia is invited to take a picture of anything you like as long as it’s taken on the 28th within the city limits. You’ll have until October 31st to select your favorite picture and upload it onto the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center’s website (uploading details to come).

Then on November 10th, from 6-9pm, join PPAC at the Philly Photo Day Opening Reception. Every single picture they receive will be printed and hung for exhibition in their space at 1400 N American St. Reprints of all the images will be available for $25.

The Night Market

Digital Photography I – Fall 2011 : Assignment One – Night Market Scavenger Hunt

On the very first night of class, Rosi Dispensa‘s, Digital Photo I class took off into the dark of a fall Philly night to shoot the Night Market – a roving street fair celebrating the city’s ethnic restaurants, gourmet food trucks and coolest neighborhoods – ideal subject matter for photographers on the hunt for the unique, peculiar or exciting.

Transportation_Debbie Lerman

The night market is a street fair celebrating the city’s ethnic restaurants, gourmet food trucks and cool neighborhoods. This night market took place in Chinatown.

Food_Vikas Raykar

Students were responsible for finding and photographing the following subjects:

  • People
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Shapes, Lines or Patterns

For this assignment students were asked to use the automatic settings on their digital cameras. The camera would decide the proper exposure and need for flash, while students focused on the composition and subject matter. The instructor wasn’t looking for beautifully exposed images but rather interesting and creative interpretations of a subject.

Food_Maggie Echenique

The assignment will be graded pass/fail. In order to pass, students must submit four images to the group Flickr page by the deadline.

Chinatown Night Market_Jeffrey Cox


  • Minimum of 10 photographs of each subject
  • Most successful image from each subject to be uploaded to the class Flickr group Digital Photography – Continuing Studies – The University of the Arts no later than midnight Wednesday, October 12.
  • Images should be labeled as follows: subject matter followed by student’s last name, ex. Food_Dispensa.

Shapes_Patty K







Camera Shopping 101

The start of every semester sees an abundance of new photography students enrolled in classes. Many of these students contact the CE office to ask the same question- how do I know which DSLR to buy? I thought it would be a good idea to address this question as a blog posting as there are an increasing array of DSLR’s on the market + students  have a real choice ahead of them.

Here are a few factors to consider when looking for a DSLR:

1. Price – a good place to start when thinking about buying a DSLR is obviously price. DSLRs price range in price from some quite affordable deals at the lower end to extremely high prices at the professional end. Set yourself a budget for your purchase early on but make sure that you keep in mind that you’ll need to consider other costs of owning one including:

Sticker Shock?

  • Lenses (some deals offer ‘kit lenses’ but you should consider upgrading – see below for more on this)
  • Batteries (all models will come with one but if you are traveling you might need a spare)
  • Memory Cards (some models come with one but most are inadequate in terms of size. Even if you’re lucky enough to have one included you’ll probably want to upgrade to at least a 1 gigabyte card).
  • Filters (at the least you’ll want to get a UV filter for each lens you purchase – but you might also want to consider other types also).
  • Extended Warrantees (there’s a variety of opinions on whether they’re good or not – but they’re worth considering)

2. What will You use it For? – when you head into a camera store to purchase any type of question the first thing most sales people will ask you what type of photography you want to do. It is well worth asking yourself this question up front as it will help you think through the type of features and accessories you’ll need.

Will this be a general purpose camera for recording ‘life’? Are you wanting to travel with the camera? Is it for sports photography? Macro Photography? Low Light Photography? Make a realistic list of the type of photography you will use it for (note I said ‘realistic’ – it’s easy to dream of all kinds of things you’ll photograph – but in reality most of us only do half what we think we will).

3. Size – DSLRs are all more sizeable than compact point and shoot cameras but there is a fair bit of variation in size between them also. Some photographers don’t mind carrying around weighty gear but if you’re going to use it for on the go photography (travel) then small and light models can be very handy.

4. Previous Gear – the attractive thing about DSLRs is that in many cases they are compatible with some of the gear you might already have.

This is particularly the case for lenses. The chances are that if you have a film SLR that your lenses might well be compatible with a DSLR made by the same manufacturer. Don’t assume that all lenses will be compatible (particularly older gear) but it’s well worth asking the question as it could save you considerable money.If you have a point and shoot camera you might also want to look at the type of memory card that it takes as some models of DSLRs could also be compatible with them. This probably won’t be a major consideration as memory cards are considerably cheaper than they used to be but it could be a factor to consider.

5. Resolution – ‘how many megapixels does it have’ is a question that is often one of the first to be asked about a new camera. While I think ‘megapixels’ are sometimes over emphasised (more is not always best) it is a question to consider as DSLRs come with a wide range of megapixel ratings. Megapixels come into play as you consider how you’ll use your images. If you’re looking to print enlargements then more can be good – if you’re just going to print in small sizes or use them for e-mailing friends then it’s not so crucial.

6. Sensor Size – Another related question to consider is how big the image sensor is. The term ‘crop factor’ comes up when you talk about image sensor size – I’ll upack this further in a future article as it’s perhaps a little complicated for the scope of this one. In general a larger sensor has some advantages over a smaller one (although there are costs too). But I’ll unpack this in a future post (stay tuned).

7. Future Upgrades – will you be in a position to upgrade your camera again in the foreseeable future? While entry level DSLRs are attractively priced they tend to date more quickly than higher end models and you run the risk of growing out of them as your expertise grows and you thirst for more professional features. Ask yourself some questions about your current level of expertise in photography and whether you’re the type of person who learns how to master something and then wants to go to a higher model that gives you more control and features. It’s a difficult question but you might find it’s worthwhile to pay a little more in the short term for a model that you can grow into.

8. Other Features

Most DSLRs have a large array of features that will probably overwhelm and confuse you at first as you compare them with one another. All have basic features like the ability to use aperture and shutter priority, auto or manual focus etc but there’s also a lot of variation in what is or isn’t offered. Here are some of the more common features that you might want to consider:

  • Burst Mode – the ability to shoot a burst of images quickly by just holding down the shutter release – great for sports and action photography. DSLRs vary both in the number of frames that they can shoot per second as well as how many images they can shoot in a single burst.
  • Maximum Shutter Speed – most DSLRs will have a decent range of speeds available to you but some will have some pretty impressive top speeds which will be very useful if you’re into sports or action photography.
  • ISO Ratings – Similarly, most DSLRs will offer a good range of ISO settings but some take it to the next level which is useful in low light photography.
  • LCD Size – It’s amazing how much difference half an inch can make when viewing images on your cameras LCD. I noticed this recently when testing a camera with a 2.5 inch screen after using my own 1.8 inch one. While it might not change the way you shoot photos (people tend to use viewfinders at this level to frame shots) it certainly can be nice to view your shots on a larger screen.
  • Anti Shake – in the past few weeks a range of new DSLRs have been announced by manufacturers in the lead up to the Christmas rush. One of the features that is featuring more and more in them is anti shake technology. While it’s been common to get ‘image stabilisation’ technology in lenses the idea of it being built into camera bodies is something that is attractive.
  • Dust Protection – another feature that has started appearing in the latest round of cameras is image sensor dust protection (and in some cases self cleaning for image sensors) – something that will help alleviate a lot of frustration that many DSLR photographers have. To this point this is a feature that is mainly on lower end DSLRs but it’s bound to appear on new professional models also.
  • Connectivity – Getting photos out of your DSLR and into a computer or printer generally happens these days via USB but some people like FireWire and/or Wireless.
  • Semi-Auto Modes – As with point and shoot cameras – many DSLRs (especially lower end ones) come with an array of shooting modes. These generally include ‘portrait’, ‘sports’, ‘night’ etc. If you rely upon these modes on your point and shoot you may well use them on your DSLR too. Higher end DSLRs often don’t have them.
  • Flash – Generally professional grade DSLRs don’t offer built in flash and just have a hotshoe while entry level DSLRs include a built in flash.

Below is a list of the top Digital SLR’s for beginners. I recommend doing research online to find the best price + checking out the camera in a store before you buy. Make certain the camera is a good weight + you can access all the features easily.

1. Canon EOS Rebel XS (1000D)

This is a flexi type of camera. Fits so right for first time DSLR users or would even do best for those veterans in photography. Of course, when you have a Digital SLR, it is expected that you get an awesome for the quality of images that you take with it. But it goes with a good deal of features. For sure you’d want a camera that’s fast, light and user friendly… you’ve got those qualities on this camera.

Its features includes a 10.1 Megapixel CMOS Sensor, it also has a large 2.5 inches for an LCD Display plus Canon’s EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, a DIGIC III image processor, Live View, Auto Lighting Optimizer, ISO Range 100-1600 and a 7-point Wide Area Autofocus Sensor..
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2. Canon EOS Rebel T3 (1100D)

Another user-friendly DSLR where you can just aim and shoot for that perfect image. The performance of its autofocus, the speed and the high quality of image you’re looking for in a DSLR will be found here. You may just take amazing photos in no time with its variation of basic shooting modes. While this camera is for beginners which lacks the specifications that those advanced photographers are looking for, the T3′s price is low although but its video mode is a bonus! It’s able to capture video clips over HD 720p plus an HDMI port to get to attach your camera to a television for playback.
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Its features include a 12.2 Megapixel Sensor, a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000, can capture 3 photos per second, with an ISO Range of 100 to 6400, Viewfinder has a 95% Coverage, weighs 495g and with a built in flash.

3. Canon EOS Rebel T2i (550D)

What a beginner is looking for is a good camera that’s easy to use. Even when this type of DSLR is a bit expensive for beginners, it offers a good deal of functions you will never regret. Yes, it’s a lot different from the EOS 1000D. This can do a lot of things for your photography dreams! this has the highest resolution for APS-C sensor and it also has a full HD Movie modem containing manual controls plus a bright control layout. You would need good lenses also RAW files however so you could get the full blast from your EOS 550 D.

Its features include an 18 Megapixel sensor, can manage 3.7fps, ISO Rate is from 100 up to 6400 although quality is as good until ISO 3200 with the Viewfinder’s 95% Coverage. For you to be able to adjust the LCD display, it has the Quick Control screen.

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4. Nikon D3000

After a good look at a few Canon DSLRs, we take a peek at Nikon’s D3000 where it gives you a very nice and even sharp photos because of its lenses being one of the best. Its function is just like Canon’s EOS 1000D. Handy since it’s small, light too and just as easy to use. Easy to understand and there are built-in picture-taking tips plus one of those inexpensive DSLRs.

Its features include a 10.2 Megapixel sensor, 18-55mm VR (vibration Reduction) zoom for its lens, with its 11-point autofocus system, ISO Ranges from 100-1600, Viewfinder size is 95% Coverage. Its battery lasts until ts 550th shot.

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5. Pentax K-x

If you have gotten across the K200D, one of Pentax’ best DSLRs, you would surely have a blast with the K-x since it has replaced the ranking of the latter. It also has the same features with K2000/K-m and the K-7 with its compact size and the ability to use AA batteries, plus its 11-point AF System not to mention its PRIME II imaging engine. It can also select an active AF-Point which isn’t still displayed in its viewfinder.

Its features include a 12.4 Megapixel APS-C-format CMOS sensor, its maximum shutter speed is 1/6000th, 720p HD video of 24 fps, ISO range is from 200-6400. There is a
the revised version of its shutter mechanism that enables you to speed up taking photos at its highest.

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6. Nikon D90

It’s a photographer’s pride to have a high-end camera even when just starting on the field. It becomes rewarding aside from the fact that it is also user-friendly having the retouching options, costs and weighs less than a D300. This becomes the replacement of the D80.

Its features include a 12.9 Megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor, Movie capture that ranges up to 1280x720p plus 24fps, ISO range is from 200-3200, Viewfinder size is 36% frame coverage and also has a 72 Thumbnail and calendar view in its playback.

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7. Nikon D5000

You may have been wanting an attractive yet accessible camera even when you’re just beginning to swivel through the world of Photography. Two words Nikon uses to describe this models: Inexpensive and Simplified. For sure when you’re trying to make your way through Photography, you could be looking for these two qualities. Well, there are plenty. It’s up to you to level them up according to their features and sometimes, base them on how appealing and how light they are.

For this DSLR type, its features include a 12.9 Megapixel DX-format CMOS Sensor, a 2.7″ tilt and swivel LCD Monitor, Captures Movie too up to 1280x720p with 24 fps, Battery has increased capacity, ISO Range is from 200-3200, it has the Control of Active D-Lighting Intensity plus 11 AF Points with 3D Tracking and 95% of Viewfinder Coverage.

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8. Samsung GX-1S

A different manufacturer offers a good quality for a DSLR too. Samsung having made a name too in the brands of cameras has this light and very compact way to your Photography dreams. It only weighs 505g and note that this is Samsung’s first DSLR released in 2006.

Its features include a 6 Megapixel CCD, with 11 Point Autofocus, ISO Range from 200-3200, Shutter speed is from 30 to 1/4000 sec, Viewfinder coverage is 95% frame, Mountable lenses on this DSLR would be all Pentax DSLR lens and the Schneider Kreuznack D-Xenon lens system too.

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9. Sony Alpha A290

Another cool way through Photography is Sony’s DSLR-A290. Just like the others, it is really easy to use even when you’re using a DSLR for the very first time. It also has its inviting design that allows one to be very comfortable in handling such device not to mention its easy-to-understand and pretty clear Graphic Display and Help Guide.

Its features also include a 14.2 Megapixel Sensor, 9 Point Autofocus, ISO Range is from 100-3200, shutter speed the same with that of the Samsung GX-1S, with a built-in flash, 95% Viewfinder coverage, weighs 456g and the most affordable DSLR from Sony.
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10. Olympus E-3

There is indeed a competition of Digital SLRs in the market and one of those competing is the Olympus E-3 after its release of the E-1. Another high-end yet beginner-friendly camera. With its new sensor, plus the live view and faster continuous shooting and bigger buffer than that of the E-1.

Its features include a 10 Megapixel Sensor, an 11 Point Autofocus, has a built-in pop-up flash, ISO Range from 100-3200, Shutter Speed is 1/8000 sec and weighs 800g.

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Are you an artist, designer or performer with a hidden passion for visual arts? Would you like hundreds of people to see your work, and, better yet, be able to take it home and show friends and family?

The Office of Admission can make it happen. We’re looking for designs for buttons to give as a special keepsake to prospective students when they tour UArts. Who better to create this unique gift than our own student artists?

Designs can be anything – a pattern, a scene, a phrase, a photo. The only criteria is to make it fun, make it eye-catching, make it YOU. The Office of Admission will select the eight best designs to be made into buttons and distributed to students who visit the school. Students will be notified if their designs are chosen, and will receive several samples of their work.

Submission guidelines

  • Specifications – Round, 1”
  • Submissions should be sent as JPEG files to the Office of Admission at with the subject line “Button Design.”
  • One submission per student, please
  • Please include your name, contact information, major and year. This project is open to students in the College of Art, Media and Design and the College of Performing Arts.
  • Deadline: October 21, 2011