Becoming a Better Artist | CG Master Academy

Becoming a Better Artist

An 8-week course breaking down and discussing critical knowledge, techniques, and creative approaches needed to create strong artistic foundations

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Create a strong foundation

Learn the basics of art as well as the subtle details and differences in techniques and approaches. Rob Chang breaks down each principle, idea, and theory in visual communication in an organized, step-by-step manner. This way you can understand each layer as you go. Artists at any skill level can benefit from this discussion and become a better artist. *Note: Please visit for the full course description | The course format is custom per instructor preference (see format description below) | At the end of this course, you'll have the opportunity to join a Student Alumni lounge set-up and hosted by the instructor.


Course Format:   Custom | Instructor responses for Assignments & Q&A's will take place in the class forum.
Lecture Type:   Instructor provides extensive written lecture material | Pre-recorded videos are supplemental to the notes
Feedback:   Written feedback
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Weekly assignments
Q&A:   n/a
Materials:   Photoshop (or equivalent), sketchbook, paper, pencils, pens, brushes; any graphics tablet similar to the Wacom line of products, or touchscreen stylus with comparable technology and performance
Skills level:   Beginner
Prerequisites:   None

Becoming a Better Artist WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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In the first week, students will learn about the heart of an image—what makes some images evocative and exciting while others uninspired and lifeless. Students will learn to understand different types of images such as visualization, decorative, straightforward and abstract narratives, and subcategories like voyeuristic, exhibitive, simple action, and cause & effect. Students will also learn the different purposes each serves, and learn to utilize the same storytelling techniques that good fiction writers use to make their images more compelling and entertaining. The complex subject of taste will also be analyzed and discussed, bringing to light both practical and philosophical issues that all artists must face during their artistic existence. Week one will also demonstrate how students can inject life and personality into images of inanimate objects and scenes containing cars, products, and interiors, thus turning sterile images of artificial objects into expressive ones with emotional resonance.
Effective composition is something that eludes many artists. Week two will cover various aspects of composition, such as dividing up a space, choosing focal areas, uses of variations, selective detail, overlapping, framing, balance, repetition, diagonals, contrast, negative space, leading the eye, spatial depth, etc. Perspective, camera angles, and focal lengths will also be explored to further enhance and strengthen students' ability to construct effective compositions. Other topics also covered include accidental distractions and manipulation of the horizon, how to create emotional intimacy with effective choice of composition, how to establish the desired psychic distance between the viewer and your characters, and how to create visual drama by using uncommon camera angles appropriately.
Lighting is one of the most powerful tools for establishing the mood of an image, and it is also responsible for the sense of dimensionality in images. In week three, students will be exploring the various ways to design and construct lighting setups (dramatic, soft, low key, high key, 3-point lighting, and beyond) and learn about light quality, light type, light direction, and how to utilize them to portray different types of moods and atmosphere. The relationship between light and shadow, and the complexities of ambient light and bounced light will also be covered, as well as the varying light behaviors in relation to surface properties and viewing angles, how light fall-off behaves when considering distance vs. angle, and how light sources appear in various conditions.
Color theory is a very complex subject, and by deconstructing the technical and artistic reasons behind color choices, students will gain insight into how colors can be deployed for specific creative effects, and how to determine the appropriate colors to use in any given situation. Students will learn about color temperature, the effects of chroma, color relativity, color contrast, color emotion, and the laws of physics that play a vital role in understanding the nature of color—such as mixtures of colored light sources and how various colors behave under different colored lights. In addition, students will also learn about the common mistakes that artists make when dealing with colors, how to avoid those mistakes, and how they can be bolder with colors and use them in unconventional ways to achieve unexpected and refreshing results.
Week five will cover the topic that stumps many artists as much as colors do: the surface treatment. Students will explore important aspects of surface treatment such as how to depict weight, distance, size, and lighting with just contour lines; various painting techniques and brushwork such as bristle marks, impastos, splatters, dry brush/scumbling, stamping, washes, scribbling, etc; when to use smudging/blending and when not to; how to avoid the dreaded “smudge-a-titus” syndrome; understanding the differences between traditional mediums vs. digital and how to utilize them each effectively. Other topics include: edge dynamics, creating textures quickly and creatively, brushwork, selective detail, speed painting, and more.
Week six will deal with iconic shapes, psychological and physiological analysis of expressive body language and facial expressions, the complexities of multi-layered emotions, when to exaggerate or pull back an expression/pose, and part two of the complex matter of taste that focuses on the dangers of unchecked self-indulgence. Students will also dive into the sophisticated subject of stylization and the wide range of possibilities, understanding the building blocks of visual vocabulary, and learn to create the right stylization for any given project (anime, realism, comic book, etc), as well as learn about the detriment of inappropriate stylization and the negative impact it has on intellectual properties. The matter of aesthetics will also be discussed, covering the inner workings of both masculine and feminine beauty, and the various considerations that artists must be aware of when dealing with aesthetics--such as personal biases, cultural biases, and global standards.
Week seven will cover cautionary advice that will help steer students away from common pitfalls that many artists often fall victim to--both emotional/personal ones as well as career-related ones. Students will learn to troubleshoot their own work without always relying on external help, learn creative philosophies and why they matter in one’s artistic growth, and see the critical things students must do in order to become better artists: including a comprehensive strategy guide for learning, practicing, and growing in the most effective way possible that will take anyone from total beginner all the way to advanced professional, while avoiding wasting years of precious time when using ineffective methods and being a victim of bad habits.
The final week is for revisions and improvements to students’ final projects—an opportunity for students to implement changes to their work after receiving critique and feedback. Week eight is vital, as students will discover just how much they have absorbed throughout the course, where their work has improved, and what areas they must continue to work hard on. At the end of week eight, Rob will assess the students and do his best to make sure that they have learned all they need in order to become self-reliant, so they will be able to continue on their own after the workshop and achieve their individual goals.

Your journey starts here

Rob Chang is an artist, writer/director, composer/songwriter, and photographer. He has worked for clients such as Sirius Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, Malibu Graphics, Innovation, Red Orb, 3DO, Z-Axis, iWin, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and more. His titles include Panzer Cops, Robotech:Invid Wars, Avenue-X, Prince of Persia 3D, Battletanx: Global Assault, Dave Mirra's Freestyle BMX 1&2, Risk, Battleship: Fleet Command, Polly Pride, Spiderman 3, Surf's Up, and much more.


January 25th!

Spring TERM Registration

Feb 8, 2021 - Apr 26, 2021




January 25th!

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

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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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