Week 0: About this Course

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A gentle introduction to the course ahead with activities designed to introduce you to your tools.

What You'll Need

Equipment required to complete the assignments:

  • Flatbed scanner (week 1 only)
  • SLR camera with interchangeable lens capacity (you will only need the SLR camera for weeks 2 and 3 of the course)
  • 105 macro lens
  • Tripod
  • Camera's software and cable to view images on your computer
  • Device or object you will be photographing (see criteria below)
  • Paper, cloth, fabric, sandpaper, or other materials for backgrounds

Pick an object or a device to scan and photograph throughout the course, using the following criteria:

  • Pick something that you will not tire of; you'll be working with this object or device throughout the course.
  • It should be between 1 cm and 10 cm; no one dimension of the device should be bigger than 10 cm.
  • It should have details, texture (it should not be smooth); although not required, reflective surfaces and moving elements will assist the photographic challenges.
  • We encourage you to use what you're working with in the laboratory, but household items will also work (examples: Watch mechanics, coin, key).


While the tutorials in this course use Photoshop, this is not required, and there are several software alternatives. If you do not already have a photo-editing software, you may want to consider these free and open-source applications.


We've tried it and it works well. Available as a download for Mac or PC, customizable editing tools, accepts a range of file formats. Their website also offers a range of helpful tutorials.


Based on the GIMP technology, with a more limited tool range and optimized for the Mac OS X. Available for download.


Web-based tool that allows upload of your photos or working with online photos, good tool range, and ability to save the modified image to your computer.


Consider and select a device or object that you will photograph throughout the course.

General Guidelines for Your Photos in This Course

  • Capture your camera or scanner images as TIFFs (not JPGs).
  • Use the camera software to adjust camera settings and to download images to your computer.
  • Store your images in a separate folder on your computer (not an intervening photo processing application like iPhoto).

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