Fundamentals of Design | CG Master Academy

Fundamentals of Design

An 8-week course focused on the elements of design and developing strong technical skills along with an eye for successful design

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Solid foundations for successful design

Design pertains to nearly everything. From composition and lighting to the shapes of our characters to the vehicles they travel in. As artists, creatives, and designers, we need to be responsible for all these aspects. Good design involves proper planning and organizing, in addition to having the knowledge of good visual design principles to construct it. Over the next 8 weeks, there will be lectures on all core design principles as well as discussion of the techniques and approaches of implementing them. Along the way we will learn to create our own style guide, become our own art directors, and design some world building, propagating our design aesthetics.


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 equivalent), Wacom tablet or equivalent
Skills level:   Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Perspective (recommended); Dynamic Sketching 2

Fundamentals of Design WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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A look at the design process, thinking forms and function. We look at how unity binds and holds a cohesive design together. The demonstration and assignment involves deconstructing the complex and building from simplification.
Apply labels and defining design parameters, then use such labels to design basic props, applying the additive and subtractive transformations. These all tie into the core concepts of shape design. The demonstration and assignment covers shape design from cues students will be tasked with creating 3 pages of designs using based off primitive shapes.
Focuses on the importance of research and reference. The design principles discussed are scale and proportion. The demonstration starts our course-long discussion of selecting a mini project and designing a building exterior for our story.
Shapes are brought up again in a lecture on style and designing guides to work with our selected project. Then we look at balance and rhythm and how these elements are tools to arrange compositions and sequences. For the demonstration and assignment proportion we will look at creating props for our environment world from week 3.
The key principle examined is emphasis and focal points. How to make our designs stand out and “pop!” and what questions should we consider asking ourselves to design scenes that have narrative in their structures. The demonstration portion shows creating a scene from multiple design references in addition to utilizing our style guides.
Illusion of space is explored as well as the techniques used for balanced lighting on narrative designs. Devices for depth are explored in a lecture showcases the different tonal keys through examples of movie stills and master paintings. The demonstration and assignment portion cover mid-range tonal paintings and pushing for specific narratives.
Mind mapping: creating an organized list of items based on function and story cues for design details. Pattern and texture and then examined in bringing our details to life. The demonstration and assignment video shows student’s techniques utilized sketching for production as we design an interior setting to our world.
After a brief recap, this week will focus on vehicle and prop design. We will apply all techniques from last weeks to build strong shapes, silhouettes, proportion, curves, line, horizontal vs vertical precision vs spontaneity, contour vs gesture lines into your designs.

Unleashing your creativity

Tyler Edlin
Anastasia Shiyankova


April 19th!

Spring TERM Registration

Feb 8, 2021 - Apr 26, 2021




April 19th!

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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