Beginners Courses

Courses for beginners.

Digital SLR Camera Training

28 October 2017 - 29 October 2017
9 December 2017 - 10 December 2017
10 HOURS
SATURDAY & SUNDAY
11:00 - 17:00
Tutor: 
Tine Bek / Erin Busswood

If you're only using your camera on automatic you're missing out on the real art of photography. This weekend course is about learning to use your digital SLR camera with confidence and skill. Explore aperture, shutter speed and megapixels through to white balance, ISO ratings, histograms and much more! With a blend of technical tuition, demonstration, practical assignments and group discussion, you will discover how to unlock your camera's full potential and take better pictures.

If you don’t have a digital SLR we can often provide one for you - please let us know at time of booking to confirm. You can also use your interchangeable or fixed lens system, mirrorless or rangefinder camera on this course.
Bridge cameras without interchangeable lenses can be used too, but please note that they may not allow the full range of camera controls.

Computer experience is beneficial.

Course Outline

Digital SLR cameras - Throughout this two day course, we will discuss, demonstrate and explore all of the features of your Digital SLR camera from the ground up, so that you will gain the confidence you need when using your Digital SLR camera

DAY ONE: Features of your Digital SLR camera  

Part one: Areas covered include aperture, shutter speed and megapixels through to white balance, ISO ratings, histograms and all the rest. There will be time to ask questions and demonstrate the advantages of each feature, getting to grips with the “how’s” and “why’s” 
 
Part two: After a one hour lunch break, we will put into practise all the features that have been discussed and demonstrated in part one on a walk around town with your cameras. In the late afternoon we will come back to the gallery, learn a little about methods of downloading and viewing photographs, and explore some basic Photoshop tools.
 
DAY TWO: Exercises, Assignments and Review
 
Part one:  Question time. There will be a few formal exercises set up to practise on and time to discuss the elements learned in day one. We will also discuss in more detail the more compositional aspects of photography, and prepare for the afternoons’ assignment.
 
Part two:  After the one hour lunch break, in groups, you will carry out your assignments outside the gallery and be given a time to return with your completed assignments. Assignment presentations, troubleshooting and review. The last half of part two will involve editing and viewing the photographs, open discussions and asking any final questions.

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

 

Waged: 
£175.00
concession: 
£155.00

An Introduction to the Platinum/Palladium Print

18 November 2017 - 19 November 2017
10 HOURS
SATURDAY & SUNDAY
11.00 - 17.00
Tutor: 
Brittonie Fletcher

Photography's birth is typically understood as being in the mid-19th Century and while the term "photography" was coined then, experimentation with optical devices, as well as photochemical properties and reactions has been explored for centuries. 

While digital media's popularity has surpassed mass use of chemical photography (now thought of as "alternative photography") there has been a strong movement to re-embrace these printing practices. This course will introduce you to a beautiful printing process which gained popularity around the turn of the 20th century. 

We will begin with one pre-prepared negative*  and delve into the rich tonal range and process of the Pt/PD print and explore the benefits of marrying contemporary digital technology with this fantastic analogue process. 

The course will: 

  • Include a short history of the process 
  • Guide you through the steps involved in chemical preparation 
  • Enable you to walk in the footsteps of Alfred Stieglitz, Margaret Watkins or F. Holland Day 
  • Guide you in negative preparation, making a negative perfect for the process. 
  • Provide you with comprehensive instructions so that you can make your own prints on your own.

This course is suitable for beginners and experienced photographers wanting to brush up on skills and learn some new tricks. It is also an exciting weekend introduction to Alternative Processes and will provide excellent structure for future exploration and enable you to work confidently on your own creative projects. 

*  Please note: One negative will be prepared for you in advance of the course. Please email a single image file at least 1 week in advance of the course start date. Image file should be 300dpi resolution and approximately 2000 pixels on its longest side. Please email if you have any questions or would prefer to have sample images provided for you. Sample negatives and photogram material will be provided to work with if you do not have your own images.
On Day Two we will create a negative - please bring some images which you might like to work with on a USB or hard drive.

Course Outline 

Day 1: 

  • Summary overview of the processes 
  • Explanation of all equipment and chemistry 
  • Relevant chemical Health and Safety 
  • Discussion of different papers and materials 
  • Discussion on environment 
  • Preparing solutions 
  • Chemistry application 
  • Exposing & developing 

Day 2: 

  • Creating the digital negative 
  • Correct mediums for digital negatives 
  • Discussion of Negative density 
  • Preparing the file 
  • Printing 
Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

Waged: 
£165.00
concession: 
£145.00

Eyes Open - Photography for 12-16 yr olds

7 August 2017 - 10 August 2017
16 October 2017 - 19 October 2017
12 HOURS
MONDAY - THURSDAY
11.00 - 14.00
Tutor: 
Morwenna Kearsley

Take your imagination on a journey and experiment with a range of skills including digital photography, photograms, collage and animation.
If you have an interest in photography and visual art and are interested in trying new things, then this course is for you. 
The emphasis is on having fun developing your own visual style and meeting other aspiring young artists.

Course Outline

Day 1:  Eyes Open

In this introductory session, we will think about what makes a great photograph and why. Then we will work out what makes your photographs particular to YOU!

  • You will be introduced to a Digital SLR camera and we will explain the manual settings, fully exploring how to capture light and time in a single image and make the perfect exposure!  
  • Using a series of famous photographs as our guide, we will visit locations near Stills to re-create these images and investigate the successful elements of the photograph’s composition.
  • You will then have the opportunity to make your own, entirely unique set of images.

Day 2:  Back to the Future

Taking the photographic lessons we learned on Day 1, we will further investigate your particular uniqueness as an artist photographer!

  • Travel back in time before the invention of digital cameras and explore the magic of the darkroom.
  • Experiment with a camera-less technique called the Photogram which will allow us to make beautiful images using only paper, objects and our imaginations! 

Day 3: Cut & Paste

Using some of your spare prints from Day 1 & 2, we will explore and create a series of photographic collages.

  • Using cut-out techniques, drawing, painting, embroidery and more, we will transform your previous images into new and exciting works of art.
  • Experiment with making joiners, (a photographic technique made famous by artist David Hockney), where one picture is assembled from several overlapping photographs.

Day 4: Move It!

In this session you will have the chance to experiment with making your photographs move!

  • We will look at previous examples of artists that have used stop-frame-animation or still images to make a narrative film.
  • Develop a short story, and then shoot and edit your mini film using Adobe Premiere.
  • You will also have the option of producing and recording a unique soundtrack.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

concession: 
£120.00

An Introduction to Contemporary Salt Printing

7 October 2017 - 8 October 2017
10 HOURS
SATURDAY & SUNDAY
11:00 - 17:00
Tutor: 
Brittonie Fletcher

Photography's birth is typically understood as being in the mid-19th Century and while the term "photography" was coined then, experimentation with optical devices, as well as photochemical properties and reactions has been explored for centuries. 

While digital media's popularity has surpassed mass use of chemical photography (now thought of as "alternative photography") there has been a strong movement to re-embrace these printing practices. 

Salt printing is one of the earliest photographic techniques still widely practiced today and we will explore how this historic method of printmaking is still relevant for the contemporary photographer.

This course is suitable for beginners and experienced photographers wanting to brush up on skills and learn some new tricks. It is also a perfect weekend introduction to Alternative Processes and will provide excellent structure for future exploration and enable you to work confidently on your own creative projects. 

The course will:

  • Include a short history of the process 
  • Guide you through the steps involved in chemical preparation
  • Enable you to walk in the footsteps of Henry Fox Talbot (credited as the father of photography on paper and negatives) and Julia Margaret Cameron (one of the most notable photographers of the 19th century) to make your own salt prints!
  • Guide you in negative preparation for making a negative perfect for the process.
  • Provide you with comprehensive instructions so that you can make your own prints at home.
Please Note: Sample negatives and photogram material will be provided to work with if you do not have your own.

Course Outline

Day 1:

  • Summary overview of the process
  • Explanation of all equipment and chemistry
  • Relevant chemical Health and Safety
  • Discussion of different papers and materials 
  • Paper ‘sizing’
  • Paper Negatives
  • Preparing solutions
  • Chemistry application 
  • Exposing & developing

Day 2:  

  • Creating the digital negative
  • Correct mediums for digital negatives
  • Discussion of Negative density
  • Preparing the file
  • Printing
Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

Waged: 
£165.00
concession: 
£145.00
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Darkroom Photography: Intro to Colour Photography

25 November 2017 - 26 November 2017
10 HOURS
SATURDAY & SUNDAY
11.00 - 17.00
Tutor: 
Caroline Douglas

This course will introduce you to the beautiful world of colour analogue photography. Taking as a starting point the work of contemporary photographic artists working with colour, we will discuss and explore theory as well as developing core skills essential for the capture and printing of your own colour images.

You will learn how to correctly expose colour negative film and learn more about the characteristics of different types of film and the effects that they can have on an image. Within Stills’ darkrooms you will learn how to process your colour film by hand and print high quality analogue C-Type prints.

By the end of the course you will have:

  • Learned more about colour theory and have a knowledge of contemporary artists working with colour photography
  • Learned to process your own colour film
  • Experimented with a variety of specialised darkroom printing techniques 
  • Printed contact sheets and a collection of colour photographs
  • Feel confident in a colour darkroom using specialist equipment
Course Outline

Day 1: 

Morning - Colour Theory, Inspiration and Refresher for SLR Camera Controls

During the morning we will be looking at contemporary photographers and artists that have used colour to inform their practice in specific ways. We will look at the ways in which colour revolutionized the artworld and vernacular photography. We will also look at basic colour theory, exploring which colours compliment each other and why. We will also refresh basic camera controls, load cameras and head out to the streets to shoot a roll of film.

Aims of morning session:

  • to have more of an understanding of the history of colour photography and its impact on contemporary photographers and artists.
  • to understand basic colour theory
  • to feel confident with your SLR camera

Afternoon - Colour Film Processing

During this session, you will learn how to hand process your colour film. We will discuss the loading of the tank and the preparation of the machine to ensure correct processing temperature. We will look at different film types, why you may want to use them and the range of effects that can be produced. 

   Aims of afternoon session:

  • to learn how to process your own colour film
  • to be familiar with all the equipment used in colour film processing
  • to cut and store your negatives correctly
  • to discuss and compare different film types and their effects

Day 2

Morning - Introducing the Colour Darkroom and Contact Sheets

You will be introduced to Stills’ colour darkooms and become familiarized with the range of equipment you will be using. You will be taught how to set up your darkroom for printing, how the colour print processor works and how to print a contact sheet for viewing your negatives.

Aim of morning session:

  • to feel comfortable using a colour darkroom
  • to know how to use all the equipment correctly
  • to make a colour analogue contact sheet

Afternoon - Printing

In the afternoon you will be expected to make a series of final C-Type prints. You will be shown techniques to improve your printing skills and produce the images you desire. This last session will allow you time to print with some one-to-one attention. We will discuss some printing techniques to help you get the most from your negatives. We will also have time at the end of the day to look back on all the work produced over the course and discuss it in relation to theory we learnt at the beginning.

Aims of afternoon session:

  • to be confident in the colour darkroom
  • to produce high quality C-Type prints

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

Waged: 
£165.00
concession: 
£145.00
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Project Day: Digital Workflow (with Adobe Lightroom CC)

18 November 2017
5 HOURS
SATURDAY
11:00 - 17:00
Tutor: 
Kat Gollock

Adobe Lightroom helps solve two of the main problems that afflict digital photographers: how to organize all of the files, and how to edit them without spending all of your spare time at a computer screen. 

Lightroom is a convenient and flexible programme that helps you to organise and sift your photographs into collections, and also gives access to a powerful set of tools that edit, enhance and export your pictures. You can use intuitive pre-set tools, you can create your own favourite adjustments, you can edit large numbers of images with one click of a mouse, and you can fine-tune your image-editing by selectively working on parts of a picture. And you can experiment, secure in the knowledge that you are working in a non-destructive environment, and that your pictures are safe.

This practical one-day course will introduce you to the principles of file organisation and image-editing, giving you the knowledge and confidence to choose when to work with this convenient and flexible programme, and whether or not you need the full power of Photoshop Creative Suite. Sample picture files will be provided for you to work with, or you can bring a selection of your own. If you work in RAW, please also bring JPEGs on a memory stick, external hard drive or cloud storage such as Dropbox. 

Course Outline

You will get to know the Lightroom layout and workspace, importing a set of files into the catalogue and starting to organise the files into collections, and adding useful file information. You will explore the opportunities for viewing and aids for analysing the pictures. You will start to use the convenient quick develop editing tools.

We will explore the digital image-editing workflow. The usual flow is to correct and optimise before we enhance, interpret or exaggerate. The basic areas to consider are cropping, cloning, colour and tone. Taking each in turn, we will correct and clean up the pictures in a measurable and controllable way. We will investigate techniques to control digital noise, colour distortions and lens corrections. We will work on individual files and also start applying corrections to batches. We will create and apply pre-set corrections.

Having corrected and optimised the picture files, we can start interpreting, enhancing and exaggerating – the fun part of image-editing. We can try colour to black-and-white conversions, using the many pre-sets to guide; we can selectively boost or restrain colours; we can add grain and textures, vignettes and split tones; we can mix and match these effects and create and save our own favourite effects. We can apply adjustment effects to selected picture areas. 

Image editing is all good fun, but how do we know where to start? Or when to stop? We’ll have a look at some photographic styles and techniques from photography’s rich history to give us some ideas and then try to replicate them. We will discuss ways of using the programme and the technology to develop photographic projects. And we will look at how Lightroom can help us to export those projects as books, prints and slideshows. 

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

 

Waged: 
£69.00
concession: 
£59.00
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Video Compositing with Adobe After Effects CC

31 October 2017 - 5 December 2017
18 HOURS
TUESDAY
18.00 - 21.00
Tutor: 
Andrew Mckelvey

Adobe After Effects CC is the industry leader in video compositing software, offering an exciting and versatile array of applications for the creation of professional moving image work. On this course you will learn a range of visual effects and animation techniques, working between Photoshop and After Effects to create videos which explore text based motion graphics, character animation, green-screen compositing, 3D landscapes, motion tracking and lots more in-between. Alongside technical exercises the tutor will screen and discuss relevant artists, designers and filmmakers, providing both the technical skills and inspiration to create your own professional motion graphics work, filmic special effects or experimental artists video. Computer experience is required.  

Course Outline

Week 1

This week we will create a short video that combines text, still image and video layers. Through this exercise you will learn how to:

  • Navigate the workspace on After Effects
  • Set up a project and select a video format
  • Introduce video to the timeline and split layers
  • Change the position and scale of layers
  • Introduce basic text
  • Use selections in Photoshop to create a still image composition 
  • Import this composition into After Effects to create a composite video   

Week 2:

This week we will look at basic animation techniques. Through a series of exercises, you will learn how to:  

  • Use Photoshop to great multi-layered elements for animation
  • Import these Photoshop elements into After Effects 
  • Work with key-frames and interpolation
  • Add motion blur
  • Duplicate and pre-compose animated elements
  • Create a parallax effect to give the illusion of depth 
  • Apply blending modes 
  • Work with the puppet tool to create moving joints for an animated character

Week 3:

This week we will look at converting 2D photographs into a 3D virtual space to provide depth and movement. Through a series of exercises, you will learn how to: 

  • Convert a 2D image into a 3D space.
  • Set up a multi-layered diorama in Photoshop 
  • Import this into After Effects and position the layers within 3D space 
  • Create an animated camera move through 3D space 
  • Apply depth of field 

Week 4:

This week we will look at working with green-screen compositing to place a live action figure within an animated backdrop. Through a series of exercises, you will learn how to: 

  • Work with the Keylight filter 
  • Adjust colour balance and tone 
  • Composite the figure against an animated background 
  • Introduce shadows and highlights 
  • Use the green-screen figure to create a silhouette 

Week 5:

This week we will look at applying masks to footage to create cutouts, as well as exploring different applications for effects. Through a series of exercises, you will learn how to:

  • Work with masks 
  • Use the Roto-mask tool 
  • Apply time re-mapping 
  • Work with ‘Particle Playground’ and similar effects

Week 6: 

This week we will look at working with the paint panel to create animated drawings, as well as using motion tracking to attach a text element to a moving point within a video clip. Finally, we will cover how to output your final project, adding sound effects and applying a basic edit. Through a series of exercises, you will learn how to:

  • Create text based motion graphics (kinetic typography)
  • Apply motion tracking to live action footage
  • Render your project 
  • Add sound to your video

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

 

Waged: 
£199.00
concession: 
£179.00
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Photographic Image Editing (with Adobe Photoshop CC)

30 September 2017 - 1 October 2017
2 December 2017 - 3 December 2017
10 HOURS
SATURDAY & SUNDAY
11:00 - 17:00

Adobe Photoshop is the ultimate tool for editing photographic images for professionals and non-professionals alike. It is the industry-standard package for photographers, picture editors, web designers, visual artists and designers.

For many users its power and versatility can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know where to start and when to stop.

This two-day course is geared towards both beginners and intermediate users of Adobe Photoshop who want a confidence-building overview of the programme and a methodical and logical approach to the vast array of tools it offers.

It is relaxed and informal, but squeezes a lot into the two days, giving participants the knowledge and the confidence to make more effective and informed choices. The aim is to cover the basic principles and tools of photographic image-editing. These tools, techniques and principles are common to many image-editing programmes and are transferrable to applications such as Photoshop Elements, Aperture, Lightroom, GIMP, and other image editors.

Picture files will be provided for you to work with, or you can bring selection of your own. If you work in RAW, please also bring JPEGs on a memory stick, external hard drive or cloud storage such as Dropbox. 

Course Outline

Day 1: Introduction and discussion of participants’ Photoshop experience followed by an introduction to the Mac workspace, the Photoshop workspace and the Bridge. We will use Bridge to browse, preview and open files. We will look at some of the technical issues of handling picture files such as file types, sizes, digital tonal levels and colour channels – it’s dry stuff but helps avoid tears at a later date. Once the technicalities are out of the way we start correcting images using the crop, clone, colour and tone techniques. We will be developing techniques for non-destructive editing, and will start to use layers to protect the image from damage.

In the afternoon, we will look more closely at two tools – the curves and the levels adjustment layers, which between them can fulfil most of your editing requirements. We will also begin to look at techniques for localised tonal control by using a layer mask.

Day 2: We will recap a little, before continuing to work with layer masks and brushes to selectively correct and enhance images. To further control our effects we will start to use selection tools. This leads into using selections to combine images and make composites. 

If time and pace allows, we often cover monochrome conversions, noise reduction, lens correction, sharpening and RAW file editing, with the hidden powers of Adobe Camera Raw. 

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

 

Waged: 
£155.00
concession: 
£135.00
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Digital SLR Photography (Friday)

10 November 2017 - 8 December 2017
12 HOURS
FRIDAY
11.00 - 14.00
Tutor: 
Tine Bek / Erin Busswood

Master the camera and post processing skills required to produce an end result that matches your creative vision and expectations. This practical and fun course enables participants to fully explore the essential camera and Photoshop skills you need to produce stunning digital photographs. Over four engaging and empowering sessions, it will help you harness your creative potential. De-mystify the technical jargon and unlock your DSLR camera’s full potential. Learn Photoshop from a photographer’s perspective and the essential skills you need to really make your images shine.

If you don’t have a digital SLR we can often provide one for you - please let us know at time of booking to confirm. You can also use your interchangeable or fixed lens system, mirrorless or rangefinder camera on this course.
Bridge cameras without interchangeable lenses can be used too, but please note that they may not allow the full range of camera controls.

Computer experience is beneficial.

**Please note there will be a week break during the Nov/Dec dates, with no course on Friday 17 November.**

Course Outline

Week 1: Camera. 

You will be guided through the manual settings of your Digital SLR camera, fully exploring how to capture light and time in a single image. Learn how to generate accurate exposures through aperture and shutter speed control, and how to read digital histograms of the results. Understand and feel confident using ISO and colour balance settings, focus modes and depth of field, and how/when to apply them creatively.

Assignment: You will be given a project to be presented in the final week 

Week 2: Creating. 

Put into practice all the camera features discussed and demonstrated in Week 1 on a walk around town. You will then return to the gallery for a demonstration of Photoshop techniques. 

Week 3: Composition. 

After some time to practice editing images in photoshop, Week 3 will introduce you to photographic composition, history and appreciation.

Week 4: Critique 

Continue applying relevant editing techniques learnt during the course to the images shot for your personal project. On completion, the group will have an informal and supportive presentation of their work, with technical and critical feedback provided by the tutor and peers. 

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

 

Waged: 
£155.00
concession: 
£135.00
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Design Layouts and Graphics for Print (Adobe InDesign & Illustrator CC)

12 October 2017 - 30 November 2017
24 HOURS
THURSDAY
18.00 - 21.00
Tutor: 
Martin Elden

Gain a grounding in commercial design techniques, creating layouts and graphics to achieve stylish creative outcomes. Use the skills and techniques learned in this practical, design-led course to improve your portfolio or personally devised print project from annual reports to magazine layouts.

Course Outline

WEEK 01 (Introduction)

Introduction to the development of layout, graphics and design by looking at a brief history of print design through to contemporary work and designers. Analyse and understand what creates great spreads.

Introducing InDesign:

  • Pre-planning
  • Tools and panels
  • Creating a document
  • Working with a document

Create a poster from supplied elements in a step-by-step led tutorial giving you hands on experience of the software.

Revision and assignment.

WEEK 02  (InDesign - Getting to grips with type)

Working with InDesign editing capabilities:

  • Changing fonts, sizes
  • Type on paths
  • Text wrapping
  • Using glyphs
  • Loading fonts

Make alterations to your existing poster incorporating this weeks features. Discussing personal projects.

Revision and assignment.

WEEK 03  (Introducing Illustrator)

Further look into illustration in design and layout. Making the decisions between using illustration, photography or combinations. Understanding vector images.

  • Tools and panels
  • Creating a document
  • Pasteboard
  • Creating shapes
  • Introduction to vector images
  • We will create a vector based image that will be incorporated into our created poster.
  • Planning personal projects.

Revision and assignment

WEEK 04  (InDesign - Grids)

Theory behind grid management

  • Using and changing margins, columns and gutters 
  • Master pages
  • Pagination (printers pairs etc)
  • Start your personal project.

Personal project

WEEK 05  (Colour Theory)

InDesign and Illustrator

  • Looking at swatches
  • Adding and mixing colours
  • Working with tints and gradients 
  • Working with transparency
  • Work on personal project.

Personal project

WEEK 06  (Digital Drawing - Line Theory)

Illustrator

  • Drawing with lines and curved paths 
  • Learning about Bezier points
  • Curves and corner anchor points
  • Brushes and effects
  • Work on personal project.

Personal project

WEEK 07  (Design Tweaks)

InDesign and Illustrator

  • Creating bespoke type
  • Troubleshooting software issues
  • Work on personal project.

Personal project

WEEK 08  (Preparing for Export)

InDesign and Illustrator

  • Understanding linked images
  • CMYK over RGB
  • Preparing your document for print
  • Understanding Preflight and collecting your project for print
  • Creating PDF’s
  • Work on personal project.

Personal project

Courses are open to all individuals aged 16 and over. We cannot accept bookings for participants under this age.

Book Now  or call us on 0131 622 6200.

Please read our cancellation policy before booking

Waged: 
£225.00
concession: 
£199.00
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