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 construct perspective grids. Learn how to effectively represent planes in perspective so you can draw objects from a variety of angles.

    Acquire the skills required to calculate cast shadows so that your scenes can have interesting lighting, mood and drama while maximizing realism.

    Gain proficiency in mirroring planes, curves and simple objects

    Learn basics of SketchUp and set up a few a basic lighting passes to export to Photoshop so you can have realistic lighting in your scene.

    Part 2: Rendering

    Weeks 5 to 7:

    Understand how to translate colours into values, work with multiple light sources and use line weight and hatching effectively so you can create beautiful illustrations of any object.

    Learn how to render different materials and textures such as chrome, glass, metal, wood and leather and apply them to components of your artwork to give it 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.

    Part 3: Photorealism

    Weeks 8 to 10:

    Take your skills to the next level through the final set-extension project. You will learn to transform an actual location, using photo-reference into a concept for film. You will understand how to adjusting the lighting, balance your colours and integrate vehicles in proper perspective so you can create photo-realistic concept art.


    Section A) starts Tuesday April 9th and is once a week from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM - English - Christian Robert de Massy

    Section B) starts Tuesday April 9th and is once a week from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM - English - Christian Robert de Massy

    Duration: 10 weeks

    Language: English

    You can register at the bottom-left of this page.


    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 Robert 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 class, offered again due to popular demand, is expected to fill up quickly. $470  $430

    The Late Registration Deadline is Wednesday the 3rd of April at 11:59 PM

    Choose your section


    • 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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