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Tips for Getting Great Winter Landscape Photos

written by Georgia Schumacher 18 February 2015

Do you love snow-covered mountains and icy lakes? Spring will be here before we know it, and, for those of you in colder climates, there may only be a few weeks left to capture this breathtaking winter beauty.

Winter landscape photography can be fun and rewarding, but can also bring a unique set of challenges. These challenges include the need to find contrast and patterns in a snow-covered setting, to use appropriate exposure levels, and to protect yourself and your equipment from cold, snow, and dampness.

1. Expose Snow Correctly

Snowy landscapes are difficult to photograph well. In an attempt to avoid overexposure, camera settings often reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor, resulting in snow that looks drab and gray. Adding +1/3 or +2/3 exposure compensation forces the camera to let in more light, bringing the snow back to pure white, which can be very effective in high-contrast winter scenes.

2. Look for Contrasts and Patterns

Photos of winter landscapes need more than snow to make them interesting. Look for dark elements that contrast with the whiteness of the snow, such as evening shadows or the bare skeletons of trees, and include them in your composition. Also, keep an eye out for interesting patterns, such as criss-crossing branches, rocky features, rough tree bark, and long shadows, which can add texture to your photos. Landscape photography classes can teach you how to compose images to highlight the most interesting elements of a scene.

3. Stay Warm and Comfortable

You’re unlikely to take your best photographs if you are shivering and your fingers are numb with cold. Wrapping yourself up in gloves, a hat, and sturdy boots before heading out reduces the risk that you will have to cut your photography session short due to extreme cold. If you’re driving in snowy conditions to reach the perfect shooting location, bring a charged mobile phone, blankets, water, and snacks in case you break down and need to call for help.

4. Protect Your Equipment

Rapid transitions between very cold and warm environments can cause condensation to build up in your photography equipment. When you come in from a winter shoot, wrap your gear in a towel so that condensation can be absorbed as the equipment gradually warms to room temperature. This simple step protects your camera equipment from the harmful effects of moisture so that it will stay in good working condition for many seasons to come.

Interested in studying photography? Explore our photography programs!

How to Find Gifts for Your Fellow Creatives

written by Georgia Schumacher 10 February 2015

GiftSearching for the perfect gift is always challenging, but adding a little creativity into the overall process makes it much more enjoyable. From modern online tools to tried-and-true investigative techniques, it's easy to select a meaningful present for the artist in your life.

Helpful Shopping Strategies

Plenty of methods allow you to brainstorm gift ideas, and many apps make it easy to narrow down gifts by interest and even personality type. The days of wandering throughout the mall helplessly are over thanks to the following strategies.

Peruse Blogs: Blogs are the magazines of the internet, and they can provide major insight into your recipient's wish list. Check out the ones he or she frequents for product listings or insightful reviews.

Shop Small: Some of the best customized gifts are found at local boutiques and gift shops, and they're worth visiting to get an idea of possibilities. Shopping small is an excellent way to support your community and local business owners as well (many of whom are artists themselves).

Get Personal: Gifts.com allows you to narrow products by gender, age and interests. Simply choose the most applicable trait that relates to your intended recipient, and let the site show you page after page of options. In addition, stores like Uncommon Goods provide filtering tools that let you narrow gifts based on hobbies and pursuits.

Employ a Decoy: If all else fails, lovingly trick your gift recipient into helping you "shop" for someone else -- say, someone who has a lot of the same interests as he or she. You can always get some useful information through this technique, and it's a great way to avoid a gifting disappointment in the making.

Creative Gift Suggestions

Leave those boring gift cards to the amateurs, and score bonus points by thinking outside the traditional gift box.

DIY: What's more meaningful between two artsy types than a do-it-yourself gift? Whether it's a classic painting or handmade jewelry for Valentine's Day, that personalized touch makes any gift more memorable and cherished. A handwritten card is a sweet accompaniment.

Inspirational: Artists need their muses, which is why an encouraging present is a wonderful idea to brighten up a home office. Consider quote displays or a cleverly designed teapot to help fuel productivity. Design magazine subscriptions or books, cameras, and record players are excellent choices to inspire, as well.

Decorative: Many great gift ideas center around the home, and these are easily tailored to the recipient based on aesthetic preferences. A wall tapestry, colorful knitted throw or framed art can help spruce up a living space, while scented candles add to a creative atmosphere.

Practical: Creative types have a reputation for keeping things a little messy, so why not help organize a work space with some stylish accessories? Whimsical bookends, unique storage supplies, or a versatile wall organizer can help reduce clutter while adding some visual appeal.

Memorable: Surprise your loved one with an unexpected day of fun. From stargazing with your sweetheart to taking your bestie on a road trip to see his or her favorite band, the experience is something you can share together.

Gift-giving is meant to be enjoyable for both the giver and recipient, and with the help of some planning and personalization, shopping for that artistically-inclined loved one has never been simpler.

You're Invited: February 2015 Student Events

written by Georgia Schumacher 2 February 2015

calendar

There’s a lot going on at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division this month! Register now for these online events and find even more webinars on the Campus Common Events Calendar!

Upcoming February Events

Illustrator Bootcamp 2: Drawing, Color & Type
Tuesday, February 3, 2pm ET
Designed for students in Color Theory and Design Fundamentals. Topics include vector drawing, mixing, and modifying color and using type.

Photoshop Bootcamp 1: Presenting Artwork
Tuesday, February 10, 12pm ET
Designed for students in Observational Drawing and Perspective Drawing. Topics include how to format and present scanned or photographed work in a professional manner, basic workflow, and introduction to Layers.

All About Online Volunteering: A Connections Club
Tuesday, February 10, 7pm ET
Natalie Hruska, the Volunteer Club Advisor, will lead the discussion on how to start volunteering online and connect with organizations looking for help. Attendees are also invited to share their volunteering experiences during the meeting.

Photoshop Bootcamp 2: Basic Designing
Monday, February 16, 6pm ET
Designed for students in Color Theory and Design Fundamentals. Topics include painting, drawing shapes, and manipulating color.

Welcome to Connections Tour
Tuesday, February 17, 7pm ET
Julie Minnaugh, Student Community Manager, will walk you through how to create a profile, network with peers and faculty members, and become involved in your student community via Connections!

AIGA (The Professional Association for Design) Chapter Meeting
Wednesday, February 18, 7pm ET
Guest Presenter, Kristen Ulfer, the Creative Director at the Houston Zoo, will discuss her career in graphic design and share insight into the career field and her experiences designing for the Houston Zoo. Visit the AIGA Organization group in Connections to learn how to become a member of the AIGA Interest Group.

Art Foundations Student Orientation: How to Succeed
Monday, February, 23, 1:30pm ET
Designed for all students taking an Art Foundations (FND) course, this webinar can help you get study tips, learn how to write critiques, and get a jump start with course expectations. Take a guided tour of where and how to get help when you need it.

Kappa Pi First Annual Art Exhibition
Tuesday, February 24, 7pm ET
This event will feature the art of Kappa Pi members. All are welcome to attend! The deadline for submissions from Kappa Pi members is February 11. Selected submissions will also be shared in Connections. See the Connections organization page for details.

Internship webinar picture

Unlocking the Mystery of the Internship
Thursday, February 26, 8:30 pm ET
Presented by the Graphic Design Department, this webinar will help you learn the secrets of finding the right internship that can help you develop your talents and skills.

Register for any of the above events via the Campus Common Events calendar.

Weekly Meetings

Math LIVE!
Held Mondays, Thursdays, & Saturdays.
Each webinar is a 60-minute informal study session with a full-time math faculty member in which you can ask math questions, enrich your grasp on the class material, and gain useful assignment guidance. By attending a Math LIVE! event, you may also be eligible to receive bonus points in your math course.

International Game Developers Association (IGDA)
IGDA meetings weekly on Wednesday at 9pm ET. Learn more here about IGDA meetings and why all students interested in game design are encouraged to join!

In Case You Missed It

The Student Activities Night was Wednesday, January 21, and included presenters from the following groups:

• Online Volunteer Club
• American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Interest Group
• Student Photographic Society
• International Game Developers Association (IGDA)
• Graphic Design Group
• National Technical Honor Society
• Kappa Pi International Honorary Art Fraternity

View the event recording now!

Introducing Our Portfolio Gallery (And 5 Reasons to Start Using It Today!)

written by Georgia Schumacher 27 January 2015

We’re excited to announce that The Art Institutes has partnered with Behance - the largest online portfolio site - to create a dynamic new portfolio gallery. As a student or an alum, you’ll now have the opportunity to share your work with one another, with clients, and with potential employers on one easy-to-access platform.

Portfolio site

Here are 5 great reasons to create a profile on the site and use it regularly to post your work in progress and completed projects!

1. Gain Exposure for Your Work

After putting so much time and effort into your pieces, you owe it to yourself to give your work the exposure it deserves. Gain a following by uploading your work to the site to let everyone see what you’re capable of creating!

2. Connect with Potential Employers

Your creative talents can take you far in life, so join the site to showcase these skills to potential employers. Hiring managers, recruiters, and potential clients are checking out the works of art on display, so don’t miss your chance to get discovered.

3. See What Your Peers are Doing

A lot of very talented people teach at, currently attend, and have graduated from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division. Check out the amazing pieces created by these members of your creative community and get inspired by the incredible works they’ve produced.

4. Manage Your Online Portfolio

It’s important to keep your online presence up-to-date, but with so many different places to upload your work, this task can be daunting. Combat this by managing your online portfolio here and syncing it with your other existing accounts on sites like LinkedIn.

5. Get in Touch with Other Creatives

Whether you’re looking for someone to partner with on a project or simply want advice from an established professional, use the site to contact students and alumni with any questions you have about their work, creative inspirations, or getting started in a particular industry.

Ready to get started with the new Art Institutes Portfolio Gallery? Sign up here and get to work!

Save the Date - The 2015 Commencement Ceremony

written by Georgia Schumacher 23 January 2015

Attention graduating class - your big day is almost here! The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division commencement will be hosted on Friday, June 19, 2015, at 12:00 PM at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, 4141 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh President George Sebolt as well as the deans, the department chairs, and faculty members will lead the procession into the auditorium to the accompaniment of Pomp & Circumstance.

Please mark your calendars, and note that an email invitation will be sent out in March with more information for all pending graduates and those who graduated during the 2014-2015 school year.

Everyone is invited

Tickets are not needed for entry, so you may bring as many guests as you’d like to the ceremony. Spread the word to your friends and family now, so everyone can make the necessary arrangements to attend!

A call for student speakers

We are also looking for prospective graduates to deliver the student address for the June 2015 Commencement. If you’re interested in delivering the commencement address, please email a copy of your speech to Jeff Braun at jbraun@aii.edu by Friday, May 22, 2015.

Can't make it to Pittsburgh?

Don’t miss the chance to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished! If you won’t be able to travel to Pittsburgh for graduation, you can still participate in your own local campus commencement ceremony. Please contact your Academic Counselor for details.

Get social

As graduation approaches and your excitement builds, don’t forget to tag your relevant Instagram photos, Facebook posts, and tweets with #AiGrad!

11 Apps to Try This Month

written by Georgia Schumacher 15 January 2015

Person using phoneThe world of technology has created numerous platforms for artists to practice their craft and share their work through social media.

Mobile apps offer limitless potential for those who aspire to broaden their skill sets, and these 12 apps -- most of which are available at no cost-- are all worth a look.

1. Loop

Art and design students who'd like to play with animation will adore Loop. The app allows users to create animations and GIFs with frame duplication, specialized tools and sketching capabilities.
Cost: $0.99

2. 2Do

This application certainly lives up to its name by keeping you on top of that hectic and never-ending to-do list. Manage projects, notes, and deadlines with its helpful interface and timely notifications.
Cost: $0

3. Brushes

Convenient and fun, this mobile painting application gives you access to a brush and canvas any time and anywhere with the availability of your iPad.
Cost: $0.

4. Glitche

This innovative app allows you to transform ordinary pictures into pixelated artwork that you can easily turn into shareable GIFs.
Cost: $0.99

5. Artsy

This app earns its reputation for being "the art world in your pocket." Much like Pinterest, Artsy allows you to browse or keyword search artwork to constantly discover new concepts, genres and emerging talents.
Cost: $0

6. Popplet

Popplet is ideal for brainstorming your way through the creative process either individually or as part of a team. Concept maps can be shared among fellow students along with images, comments, and feedback.
Cost: $0

7. ScatterBrain

Let's face it: creative types aren't exactly known for their organizational prowess. Fortunately, ScatterBrain allows you to label and search important dates, deadlines, and notes.
Cost: $0.99

8. Tayasui Sketches

This artsy app affords users an interface with watercolor, charcoal, architecture and illustration features for a broad spectrum of possibilities.
Cost: $0

9. Penultimate

Creative writers and busy students alike will enjoy this note-taking app that saves notes in a searchable database and artfully depicts your unique penmanship for a personalized touch.
Cost: $0

10. Keezy

Musicians can create melodies on the go with this handy app that allows you to record, save, and mix sounds.
Cost: $0

11. The Art Institutes App

Our mobile app, available on the App Store and Google Play, makes it easier than ever to access your classroom on the go, and also helps you to stay on top of important dates and information!
Cost: $0

8 Steps to Overcoming Your Fear of Failure in 2015

written by Georgia Schumacher 12 January 2015

Overcoming Fear on Tightrope

2015 is here, and whether you are currently pursuing a creative arts career or interested in taking this path, you probably have set related goals for the New Year. Perhaps you want to start a freelance photography business. Maybe you want to put together a stellar portfolio website. Possibly, you've decided to continue your education and expand your current knowledge and skills. Whatever it is, don't let your fear get in the way.

The fear of failure destroys focus and cripples talent. Don't defeat yourself by succumbing to it. There's a light at the end of the tunnel of perseverance: success!

1. Imagine your success

Wash that fear away by first envisioning your resolution coming true. Picture completing the kitchen you wish to design. Imagine that comic strip finished and ready for publishing. Get it in your mind that your goals can be achieved by imagining your success.

2. Get to work

You may think you lack what it takes to complete the task, but don't let that fear of failure stop you from trying. Take action, start working, and see what happens.

3. Take risks

Don't be afraid to take a risk or try something new. It could open more opportunities for and even lead to new and improved goals. You never know how high you can fly if you don't take risks.

4. Understand failure is inevitable

Nearly every person fails sometime on their road to success. Realize that you may hit a few speed bumps or you may have to start over once or twice. Just know that failure doesn't mean you can't reach the destination. It only means that there's still work to do.

5. View failure as a learning opportunity

When you fail, try to see what you need to fix, where you need to improve, and what you need to learn. This important data will help you do better next time.

6. Stay determined

Stay determined and persistent. Don't lose sight of the end goal of success.

7. Get help

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Maybe others see things differently and can provide the insight that will lead to a breakthrough.

8. Fail until you succeed

Keep working at it and go through these steps until you reach your goal. Success won't be instantaneous. Rather, it's a result of working hard, accepting failure, and making changes, until you finally get it right. Keep moving forward and you will eventually arrive at success.

By the Numbers: The Class of 2014

written by Georgia Schumacher 8 January 2015

At the start of every New Year, it’s always worthwhile to reflect on and celebrate what you accomplished last year. Last year, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division had a lot to celebrate—including 1,394 graduates!

By the Numbers

By the program

In 2014, 77% of our graduates earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, whereas 23% of our graduates earned a certificate or diploma. Below are the top 5 programs with the most graduates:

1. Associate of Science in Graphic Design with 360 graduates
2. Associate of Science in Photography with 217 graduates
3. Associate of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media with 137 graduates
4. Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design with 93 graduates
5. Digital Design Diploma with 88 graduates

By states

While we had graduates from across the United States, the following states accounted for the largest numbers of our students:

1. Pennsylvania (108)
2. California (104)
3. Texas (102)
4. Ohio (94)
5. Florida (73)

By military status

137 of our graduates (almost 10%!) were affiliated with the US military in some manner, including veterans and active duty military members. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division extends our sincerest gratitude for all that these individuals have done for our country!

By age & gender

Last year, around 68% of our graduates were female. Our diverse graduates ranged in age from 19 to 72, with the average age of our 2014 graduates being 35.

What’s next?

Are you a 2014 graduate? Be sure to stay connected on LinkedIn, Ai Alumni Connections, and our social media sites! We’re so excited to hear about everything you accomplish!

Graduating in 2015? The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division will host its Commencement Ceremony Friday, June 19, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Graduates from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division are also eligible to participate in any one of our local campus Commencement ceremonies across the country. Please contact your Career Services Advisor for details.

If you’re considering a creative arts education, request more information today!

See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

7 Tips for Getting Started in the Creative Arts

written by Georgia Schumacher 5 January 2015

ImageryThe New Year has officially arrived! There’s no better time to evaluate your current situation and set goals for the year ahead. If you’ve been dreaming about a career in the creative arts, make 2015 the year you turn your vision into a reality.

Use the following 7 tips to jumpstart your future in the creative arts this year.

1. Volunteer Your Time

Gain valuable experience and help out a great cause by volunteering your services to a charitable organization. Use the work you do for the charity to build your profile and establish a name for yourself. This is also a great way to make valuable connections that could help to advance your career.

2. Join Relevant Professional Associations

Many professional organizations offer discounted memberships to students, so this is your chance to start networking! Join as many relevant organizations as you can and attend their networking mixers, workshops, and other events to build your professional network.

3. Seek Internship Opportunities

An internship is a great way to gain on-the-job experience in your field. Some companies may pay you for your time, while others will not, but the chance to gain real-world experience that you can put on your resume is invaluable. Many companies even extend full-time job offers to interns that make a great impression! Current students can use our Career Resources to get started.

4. Find a Mentor

Is there a seasoned professional in your field that you really admire? If so, ask them to be your mentor. Meet with the person every opportunity you can learn more about becoming successful in the industry and gain useful insights on your work that can help to boost your career. Your mentor can also serve as a valuable connection during your job search.

5. Create a Robust Online Presence

Position yourself as an up-and-coming professional by maintaining a strong online presence. Create a personal website or online portfolio showcasing your work and your unique skillset. Make sure to include your contact information so it’s easy to get in touch with you. Use popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to market yourself and connect with other industry professionals. Students at any of The Art Institutes schools can use Behance to share their work – learn more here.

6. Tailor Applications to Fit Each Specific Job

Go the extra mile when applying for jobs or internships and customize your application to fit each specific position. Try to find the name of the hiring manager to personally address your cover letter, include the exact job title, and explain why your creative skills would be an asset to the organization.

7. Stay True to Yourself

It takes a lot of time and energy to build your personal brand, so don’t be afraid to turn down work that doesn’t align with your values. When you’re just starting out, it can be tempting to take on any project you can get your hands on, but that isn’t necessarily the best approach. It may take a little longer to build the right client base, but patience is a virtue when your professional reputation is at stake.

Happy Holidays!

written by Georgia Schumacher 20 December 2014

Happy Holidays

From all of us at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, we all wish you all a very happy holiday season with family, friends, and loved ones!

Current students, for information about how to participate in the Art Gives Back contest over the holidays, visit the Campus Common.