Undergraduate Degree




DT8000 Creating Digital Art With Open Source Tools

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: NIL; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To deliver to students a broad practice-led introduction to open source digital creativity tools. To introduce students to the creative potential of source digital creativity tools.


Over the years open source creativity tools have grown in strength and potential to the point where they are often used in place of their commercial counterparts. This lecture and project based course will cover the range of tools that there are on offer and will examine their creative potential. How a range of these tools can be used inside of one workflow will be covered with a view to student developing a degree of self sufficiency in the making of their creative projects. Students will be advised in advance what software to bring and are expected to have laptops capable of serving the needs of this software.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

2 - 6

• What is open source?

- Open source: advantages and disadvantages 

• The many forms of digital art: 

- 2D (bitmap and vector), 3D, time-based, generative etc

• Hardware and software 

- Integration (In / Out)

- Consumer/prosumer/professional hardware tools

• A digital pipeline

- Project management

- Using many tools inside of one workflow


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• The principles of aesthetics

- Balance and consideration of shape, colour, form and movement

• Case studies

- Looking at artists to see what can be learned from them

- All working together: open source creative projects

• The principles of creativity

- The importance of originality and novelty

- Project management


• Final review of assignments

Learning Outcome

The students will have a broad overview of the open source digital creative landscape. In the execution of their digital art projects, the students will be able to make aesthetic and creative decisions to an intermediate level.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 30%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 70% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Studio-based exercises and projects

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments


  1. Akkana Peck, Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional, Apress

  2. Klaus Goelker, GIMP 2 for Photographers: Image Editing with Open Source, Rocky Nook

  3. Dmitry Kirsanov The Book of Inkscape: The Definitive Guide to the Free Graphics Editor, No Starch Press

  4. Jason Van Gumster, Blender For Dummies, John Wiley & Sons