Digital Sketching for Production

Concept Art and Illustration > Digital Sketching for Production

    Teacher Information

    Christian Robert de Massy is one of the film industry’s best kept secrets. He’s been working for the last 8 years as a freelance concept artist and illustrator on films such as X-Men: Days of Future Past, Snow White and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. All without ever having put any artwork online (until now). He’s known for his incredible speed and the beauty of his environment paintings and he’s a popular teacher here at Syn Studio.

    Course Outline

    Part 1: Perspective

    Weeks 1 to 4:

    Become proficient in using Photoshop to set up perspective grids and draw ellipses and all objects in proper perspective.

    Learn a powerful method to calculate cast shadows so that your scenes can have interesting lighting, mood and drama while maximizing realism.

    Learn advanced perspective so you can represent anything you want from any viewpoint.

    Part 2: Rendering

    Weeks 5 to 7:

    Learn how to render different materials and textures such as chrome, glass, metal, wood and leather so your artwork has believable detail.

    Learn the Half-Way to Black method, developed by legendary concept artist and educator Scott Robertson. With this method, you can create believable environment paintings with accurate values from life or from imagination.

    Gain proficiency in your use of colour so you can create beautiful full colour illustration.


    Part 3: Photorealism

    Weeks 8 to 10:

    Apply all that you have learned in a final set-extension project. You will learn to transform an actual location, using photo-reference, into a concept for film so you can take your rendering to a photo-realistic level.


    Starts Wednesday April 12 and is once a week from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM

    Duration: 10 weeks

    Language: The class is in English but the teacher is bilingual and is happy to answer questions in French.

    You can register at the bottom-left of this page.  This class is full.


    Do you already have basic fundamentals and some ability to work digitally but have trouble using perspective, value and colour to maximum effect in your illustration and concept art? Do you wish to have a better understanding of space, lighting and materials so you can create realistic professional-level artwork? The top illustrators and concept artists all have deep knowledge and skill in these essential fundamentals. In the course, Christian de Massy, veteran concept artist and illustrator, will take you by the hand and guide you on the path to mastery.

    Top concept artists have a thorough understanding of perspective which allows them to create believable spaces. In Digital Sketching for Production, you will quickly review the basics then learn to become proficient in the advanced use of perspective. You will become proficient in constructing perspective grids in Photoshop and draw ellipses in perspective. Additionally, you will learn how perspective interacts with lighting and materials by rendering reflections in perspective and constructing proper cast shadows for maximum realism.

    You will then acquire expertise in the fundamentals of light, shadow and reflectivity. You will improve your visual understanding of the world and learn invaluable techniques for representing that world. You will learn how to render objects of different materials and how to assign values correctly to surfaces so your paintings are fully believable. You will also learn how to use colour effectively as an illustrator. Finally, you will understand the most important technical features of light, surfaces and materials that all concept artists and illustrators need to know.

    Your knowledge of perspective, light and rendering will take a giant leap forward, giving you the ability to create realistic, jaw-dropping paintings both from reference as well as from your imagination!


    This class is for people with some experience in realistic style drawing and painting and basic skill in Photoshop. 
    You should have completed at least some intermediate level drawing class like Analytical Sketching (or have equivalent experience in realistic style drawing and painting: use of proper perspective, proportions, shading and colour). Our Digital Painting course is a recommended co-requisite for this class. 
    You also 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). And you need to have some basic skills in Photoshop and be comfortable drawing and painting in Photoshop and know how to use layers and the basic tools (all things you can learn quickly with free tutorials online).
    Language requirements: The class is in English but the teacher is bilingual and is happy to answer questions in French.


    This is a new course being offered for the first time this semester and is expected to fill up quickly $470. $430.

    The late registration deadline is Wednesday, April 5 at 11:59 PM.


    • Gain mastery in the fundamentals so you can create stunningly realistic digital illustration
    • Learn how to draw and render effectively and efficiently using Photoshop
    • Understand how to leverage your increased knowledge of fundamentals so you can speed up your workflow while creating more credible concept art

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