Environment Design : Syn Studio Art School in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Environment Design

    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

    In this class, students will have the opportunity to learn from expert concept artist Christian Robert de Massy about refining techniques to create convincing and well-rendered environments.

    Week 1: Learn all about the interfaces: Thumbnailing in digital format.

    Week 2:  Use digital tools for important composition and color planning.

    Week 3 and 4: Gain experience with brushes, textures, shapes and important Photoshop layer adjustments.

    Week 5: Landscape planning: all about achieving depth and mass.

    Week 6: Harmonizing foreground and background elements.

    Week 7: Compelling techniques on re-lighting, finishing and filtering.

    Week 8: Cityscapes - learn the importance of using mass and shape to imply complexity.

    Week 9: Create amazing atmosphere and haze without losing details.

    Week 10: Add final polish to your works and share invaluable insights and feedback.


    Starts Wednesday April 12th and is once a week from 2 PM to 5 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.



    In this course, you will learn how to create stunning environment illustrations starting with the process of brainstorming and moving toward a finished image. Emphasis will be placed on strong compositions and tonal values, as well as dramatic lighting and depth. You will learn to find imaginative solutions to the challenges of solid picture making. The goal is to unlock the imagination and use the process of illustration to create fantastical worlds by combining right-brained thinking with time-tested painting techniques. You can also bring in your own illustrations for critique and draw-over correction. Laptop and tablet required.


    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 and basic painting courses (or have equivalent experience in realistic style drawing and painting: use of proper perspective, proportions, shading and colour). If you do not have the required skill in drawing and painting, it is suggested that you take our Foundations of Painting class and Urban Sketching in Perspective.

    This is a class designed for people who have already taken our Digital Painting course or have equivalent experience (you are comfortable painting in Photoshop).

    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). 

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


    This is one of our most popular classes and tends to fill up well before the deadline. $470  $430. 

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


    • Understand the best methods and techniques for designing landscapes and cityscapes
    • Learn to avoid the 3 critical mistakes which diminish the impact of your environment
    • Master the art of creating atmosphere and haze without losing details

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