You’re Invited: March Student Events

written by Georgia Schumacher 6 March 2015


There’s never a dull moment at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division! Register now for these online events and find even more webinars on the Campus Common Events Calendar!

Upcoming March Events

Online Library Orientation
Sunday, March 8, 9pm ET
Brand new to the Online Library? We recommend this orientation session, hosted by library staff and introducing everything our Online Library has to offer.

Meet the Program Directors
Thursday, March 12, 7pm ET and Saturday, March 14, 12pm ET
Come meet the Hotel & Restaurant Management and Culinary Management Program Directors – Gaye Warren & Seth Selke -- in an open call in townhall forum! Feel free to introduce yourself and discuss anything that’s on your mind, concerns, questions, and ideas regarding your program experience including any Portfolio concerns.

eBooks in the Online Library
Sunday, March 15, 9pm ET
Attend this session to find out how to search, read, save, and download eBooks. The Art Institutes Online Library offers over 150,000 eBooks on a variety of subjects including culinary arts, technology, web design, fashion and more.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Chef Certification!
Thursday, March 19, 7pm ET
Join us for a presentation by faculty member Chef Collen Engle, CEC (Certified Executive Chef) and CCE (Certified Culinary Educator), to learn more about what is American Culinary Federation chef certification, the different levels available, what it represents, and how to achieve it. This workshop will also discuss the cost and the time needed to achieve certification.

Image and Video Collections in the Online Library
Thursday, March 19, 7pm ET
Become skilled at searching and selecting images, as well as printing, saving, and reviewing copyright information. Attend this workshop to learn how to get the most out of AP Images, Graphic Stock, Image Quest, and VideoBlocks. Learn how to access and download royalty free stock images, royalty free stock footage and motion backgrounds.

Sound and Audio Collections in the Online Library
Saturday, March 21, 2pm ET
Need royalty-free stock footage, sound effects, or production music for your school project? This workshop will show you how to search for and find these resources, and discuss how you can use these resources legally and ethically.

Web Design Q&A
Thursday, March 26, 8:30pm ET
Our Q&A Student Webinars are intended to provide greater insight and support in three key areas: Portfolio Prep, Freelance & Internships, and Web Design. Content and general discussion will be directed to Graphic Design/Digital Design students, but faculty members and students from other programs are welcome.

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.

The Mad Professor's Drawing Room - Live Online with Nina Stanley
Held Sundays at 3pm ET, Wednesdays at 5pm ET and Fridays at 12pm ET
Login to your computer, put on your headset and take part in an open studio with faculty member Nina Stanley! Spend the first 20 minutes drawing short gestures, then work on a “long pose” for another 45 minutes or so. Come for the whole time or just for a little bit – the choice is yours!

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

Remember, you can register for all of these events and find pre-recorded events on the Events page in the Campus Common!

To request disability related accommodations for a virtual event please contact the event organizer in advance at

Hell of A Good Time

written by Student 20 February 2015

Jay HaneyBy Guest Blogger, Johnathon Haney
Bachelor of Science, Media Arts & Animation Student
International Game Developers Association member
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division

Saints Row IV: Gat Out of Hell, Deep Silver/Volition, Game Review

The Saints Row series started off as a Grand Theft Auto clone in its first two installments. But it’s since carved out its own unique niche by embracing the crazy.

Indeed, Saints Row IV went completely over the top in this regard, making references to everything from The Matrix and They Live to Streets of Rage and Metal Gear Solid. If you came for a serious storyline or gameplay that was a Mt. Everest of difficulty, you’re in the wrong spot. If anything, the Gat Out of Hell downloadable content (DLC) campaign takes the nuttiness of the main game to its logical conclusion.

The story is its usual state of thin: because the President of the United States (the main player character in Saints Row IV) has caused more death and destruction than any other human in history, the devil has decided to marry him to his daughter, Jezebel. After the devil snatches the President via a Ouija board at a birthday party for Kinzie Kensington (don’t ask), longtime right-hand man/hardcore thug Johnny Gat “persuades” the Ouija board to send him after his boss. The birthday girl herself, an ex-FBI agent, plays the birthday card to come along for the ride.

So what does this version of Hell look like? Well, it looks remarkably like a small portion of Steelport from the two previous main games, albeit with infernal trimmings. Husks of the damned wander the streets, demons patrol in monster trucks with police lights, and Shakespeare (yes, that Shakespeare) DJs a nightclub called the Tempest. There’s also a few old friends from previous games that you’ll run into…I’ll let you discover those on your own.

Like Saints Row IV, you do have your own set of powers, which in this case are powered by Lucifer’s cracked halo. A word of caution: while there is a resemblance to the powers of the main game, they operate in a completely different fashion here. This is especially true for the flying, where you have to learn how to soar on singed angel wings to get around.

There are plenty of infernal twists on the weaponry but the best has to be the Seven Deadly Weapons. Modeled on the Seven Deadly Sins, each of these are true to their vice, be it the armed recliner that is Armchair-Mageddon or the hideously expensive submachine gun called the Diamond Sting. Each of these Easter egg weapons can be found in an appropriate venue if you look for them.

To be fair, the main story is way too brief, even with the game’s leveling up mechanic of Satan’s Wrath. If a player just follows the main story path, they’ll be done within two hours easy. Still, there are 3 things to keep in mind with that caveat. First, it’s a freaking DLC, people! You want the next full game, wait with the rest of us. Second, the story cutscenes themselves are outrageously funny. Some details are glossed over courtesy of storybook narration provided by Jane Austen (again, don’t ask) but there is a musical sequence worthy of Mel Brooks or Matt Groening that could literally be called the Little Mermaid from Hell. It’s hard to get angry at a game that cracks those kinds of jokes.

Finally, there is just so much to do above and beyond the main story, be it the flying races that are Hellblazing, shaving off a few thousand years of damnation for husks with Torment Fraud, taking over teleportation spots at the Marshaling Grounds or knocking Tri-Omega frat boys into portals with Pledge Rush. The main story doesn’t even cover a tenth of these activities, so there’s plenty to explore.

All in all, if you’re looking for a twist on what you loved in Saints Row IV, this is the game for you…at least until we see Saints Row V!

The information and opinions expressed and/or any artwork displayed herein represent the independent opinions and ideas of the individual faculty, student and/or staff and do not represent the opinions or ideas of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division.

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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 11 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: 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


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!