Fundamentals of Creature Design

A 10 week course where you learn a tools and techniques required to create dynamic, realistic and visually appealing creature concepts from scratch

Teacher Artwork by Jarrard Lee

Teacher Artwork by Jarrard Lee

Fundamentals of Creature Design

Do you lack the ability to design high quality production ready creature concepts for entertainment? Do you wish to create original and convincing creature designs that drive the story-line and strike an immediate chord with the audience? Top concept artists are highly proficient at creating iconic creatures that evoke the desired emotions while integrating seamlessly with the overall art direction. 

In this 10 week course, you will learn a step by step method to create realistic, dynamic and compelling creature concepts from scratch for any movie or video game. At every step, you will receive feedback from the instructor to help refine your creature design process. You will gain expertise in observing and analyzing real world animals like a professional concept artist so you can gather references and use them as inspiration during your creature design process.

You will learn how to properly identify and work with the story and design requirements so you can ideate and design fantastic creatures that are not only visually pleasing but also that fit the narrative and client mandate. You will then learn to create a series of rough silhouette thumbnails so you can explore shape language, generate multiple design ideas and identify the design options that best communicate your creature’s core personality traits. You will gain a thorough understanding of posing so you can establish your creature’s signature pose and lay the groundwork for a jaw-dropping beauty shot. You will then learn to apply photo texturing techniques and refine and polish your image so you can generate stunning and detailed creature concepts and present them in the most appealing and professional manner. Finally you will apply all that you have learned to create a full production-ready creature design deliverables package that meets industry standards.

By the end of this course, you will have learned powerful methods and techniques for creating believable, iconic and original creature concepts for any video game or movie. You will have become proficient at designing creatures that fit design constraints, follow the art direction and wow your client or art director. Furthermore, you will have impressive production-ready creature design in your portfolio that you can be proud of.

  • Course Type Concept Art and Illustration Courses
  • Duration 10 weeks
  • Skill Level Level 3
  • Language English


Saturdays from 10.30 AM to 1.30 PM

Date of first class: January 18th

Duration: 10 weeks


This is a class designed for people who have already taken our Digital Painting course or are proficient with Photoshop.

Required Materials

You need to have a laptop with Photoshop installed and a tablet sensitive to pen pressure (such as a Wacom tablet). Or you need a tablet-computer with Photoshop installed that is sensitive to pen pressure (such as the Cintiq Companion).


In addition, please bring a medium to large sketchbook and pens/pencils.

Course Outline

Week 1:

Learn a powerful time-tested process for creating a believable creature design from scratch. 

Understand how to do first-rate world building and reference gathering so you have a solid foundation for a credible design.

Week 2:

Acquire the skills required to create interesting and readable silhouette sketches, focusing on shape language, so you can iterate and explore multiple ideas and identify the design options that best reveal your creature’s personality.

Week 3:

Become skilled at efficiently creating colour and tonal studies so you can generate multiple variations as you flesh out your creature and push the emotional impact of your design.

Week 4:

Understand how to present your image in the best way to sell your design and make it look appealing. Gain proficiency using custom brushes and basic photo textures and learn how to bring your creature concept to a finished level of quality.

Weeks 5 - 6:

Acquire proficiency using custom shapes, photobashing and other techniques to generate interesting and original creature designs and speed up your workflow as you begin reference gathering and thumbnailing for your final project.

Weeks 7 - 9:

Understand how to apply the most effective methods for refining your creature design and posing your creature so you can generate rough action poses that can be used to thumbnail final designs for an epic beauty shot. 

Gain the skills required to produce a production-ready creature design package of deliverables including a stunning beauty shot where your creature is properly posed and believably integrated into a suitable environment with great lighting and a camera angle that delivers the desired emotional impact.

Week 10:

Learn some cutting-edge post-processing techniques as you add the finishing touches to your beauty shot to bring it to a production level of quality.

Check out the entire outline


Syn Studio offers the highest quality education at the most affordable prices.

This popular class tends to fill up well before the deadline, so register early!

Winter term classes begin on Monday the 13th of Jan. Late registration still available for some classes.

This class is being offered at
$499.00 $430.00
for a limited period of time (save $69!!)

Speak to an advisor

Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 514-998-7625
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