Fundamentals of Environment Design | CG Master Academy

Fundamentals of Environment Design

An 8-week course developing fundamental skills used to create appealing environment design for films, games, animation, and illustration

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Develop world building skills

Whether for film, video games, or digital feature animation, this class will focus on what it takes to create a compelling environment from the ground up. We will explore fundamentals such as perspective, drawing, storytelling, painting, creating atmosphere, establishing lighting, and how we can combine all these different elements into a full scene. By the end of this class, students will have the process and structure to give them the confidence they need to create more solid environments.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Photoshop or Painter, Wacom tablet (or equivalent)
Skills level:   Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Digital Painting and Environment Sketching or good drawing and digital painting foundations

Fundamentals of Environment Design WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Here we will take a comprehensive look at the process in which students will paint environments. We will go over the start of designing environments, and we will study fundamental tools and theories in order to create compelling environments. From there, we will establish a process that is comfortable for you and discuss how to think critically when encountering problems.
Because environments can naturally be complicated, it is important that our environments read well graphically. We'll talk about what makes a good graphical image as well as some basic design principles we can use to make our environments interesting. This will include topics like: composition, keeping things in "3's," as well as learning to analyze the masters.
Keep things simple in the beginning! We will discuss some terminology when it comes to environments and build more on design principles, review some perspective terms, and also discuss camera basics. We will then walk through some of the basic steps to create an environment.
We will discuss ways to improve our visual library, which will be important for us in terms of coming up with creative ideas. We will also discuss line, shape, and form. With these three tools, we will be able to create anything in our environments.
Values can be one of the most powerful tools in terms of creating environments and digital paintings. Here we will discuss some lighting terminology to better understand how we can apply them to environments, and we will also discuss some of my favorite go-to brushes and lighting types to use when painting.
Color can be very intimidating but learning how to simplify our color choices is key to making it work. We will break down color into my 4 favorite categories and talk about some of my favorite ways to practice color. We will talk about using photography and how it can be a powerful tool to help us understand color. In addition, we will take a look at some old masters to help give us some guidance for ways we can approach using color.
Now that we will have covered a lot of the basic tools for creating environments, we can now discuss how we balance all the tools at once to paint with more confidence. We will discuss the theory of additive/subtractive painting, painting in a XYZ coordinates system, and ways to add some texture to our paintings.
You now have all the tools to create an environment painting, so now let's just have fun and paint! Our goal here is take whatever idea we may have in our mind and communicate it effectively on the digital canvas.

Take your skills to the next level

Kalen Chock
Michael Morris


April 23rd!

Spring TERM Registration

Feb 8, 2021 - Apr 26, 2021




April 23rd!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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