Summer term classes begin on July 1st. Late registration is still available for some classes.

FAQ Page

Teacher Artwork by Krist Miha

  1. 1 General School FAQ [ show questions ]
  1. 2 Individual Classes FAQ [ show questions ]
  1. 3 Individual Onsite Classes FAQ [ show questions ]
  1. 4 Individual Online Classes FAQ [ show questions ]
  1. 5 Fundamentals Bootcamp FAQ [ show questions ]
  1. 6 Online Concept Art Program FAQ [ show questions ]
  1. 7 AEC Concept Art Program FAQ [ show questions ]
  1. 8 Technical Requirements FAQ [ show questions ]

General School FAQ

What is Cestar Collège - Syn Studio?

Cestar Collège - Syn Studio is a private art school located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada that was founded in 2007. Since its inception, our school's mission has been to provide students of all backgrounds with affordable, high-quality artistic training that will enable them to jumpstart a career in a creative industry such as concept art, illustration and more recently 2D animation.

What is Cestar Collège?

Syn Studio is part of the private Canadian college group, Cestar Collège. For more information about Cestar Collège, please consult this website.

Who are your instructors?

Cestar Collège - Syn Studio’s roster of instructors are working industry professionals who are recognized for their award-winning work in top video games and films, comic books, as well as fine arts and illustration. You can read more about them here.

What are your school policies?

Cestar Collège - Syn Studio’s school policies can be found here.

Do you have drop-in figure drawing sessions with live models?

At this time we do not offer drop-in figure drawing sessions with live models. That being said, we do frequently make posts or share information on live model sessions in Montreal on our social media.

Individual Classes FAQ

What kinds of classes do you offer?

Here at Syn Studio, we offer artistic training that concentrates on exploring technical skills in traditional drawing, illustration and concept art. With the guidance of industry professionals, we teach students how to think through the creative process and how to create intentional designs that evoke specific moods, ideas, and precise concepts to their audience.

While our initial entry-level classes focus primarily on replicating realism through studies, and on developing fundamentals such as anatomy and perspective, as our classes become more advanced we begin exploring broader and broader conceptual and fantastical subjects. There is something to learn at every stage!

How long are these classes?

Each class lasts 10 weeks, and unless otherwise noted, each class lasts 3 hours* with an additional 3 hours recommended for homework assignments per class each week.

*With the exception of Pre-Recorded classes which follow a different format (see below).

Will I receive a certificate after completing a class?

Since our classes (whether they are taken individually, as part of a packaged bundle or in one of our art bootcamps) are offered on a private basis and are not accredited, individuals who have enrolled in these courses do not receive any official certificate or attestation that is recognized by the government after completing their class(es). We do however, give students a digital course completion certificate which simply proves that they have taken the class. These certificates are custom-made for each student, and sent out within a month of the end of their last class.

In what languages are your classes offered?

Most of our classes are offered in English. While some of our teachers may be able to offer some limited amounts of English-French translation, our core material remains in English.

If a class is offered in French, it will be indicated on that class’s information page on our website.

What are the minimum age requirements for registering in an online class?

Please be advised that there could be artistic nudity or otherwise unsuitable content for children in our classes. Students should be 14 years old or older in order to enroll.

What prerequisites do I need in order to attend individual online classes?

As our individual online classes are not accredited, there are no legal or educational prerequisites required to attend them. You simply need to be a minimum of 14 years of age while meeting the minimum artistic requirements of the class or classes you wish to enroll in. These can be verified by looking at the Prerequisites section of each class page on our website.

You may also verify the Minimum Artistic Skill Requirements section of our class pages which display a selection of artwork representing the general base skill you should attain artistically before enrolling in that corresponding class.

I have no portfolio/I am a beginner artist! Can I still sign up for classes?

Of course! If this is the case, it is strongly recommended to pursue our Foundations of Drawing class as a means of building foundational skills and introducing you to art. This will both introduce you to how we operate as a school, and also give us a better understanding of your current level of skill, so you may be able to pursue additional, more advanced classes in the following terms.

After taking this class, you may be interested in signing up for our Fundamentals Bootcamp which can help new artists to further develop essential art skills. The classes have been pre-selected and grouped for optimal progression so students can be introduced to key theory and practices that will build on each other from one term to the next.

How do I determine which classes are suitable for me?

We strongly recommend that you read each class’ prerequisites before signing up for a class. If you require additional information or advice, or you are unsure of which classes to attend and wish to receive guidance, you may send in examples of your recent artworks to [email protected]. We will be happy to suggest classes which will benefit you at your current skill level.

Do I have to take all of the classes in order and follow their level requirements?

The levels indicated on each class page (such as Level 1, or Level 2) indicate the level of technical difficulty and knowledge required to fully-benefit from and excel in that class. A higher level indicates a more advanced course, but this is not a required step-by-step class curriculum to follow, especially if you have taken art classes elsewhere.

Students may also enroll in classes from different levels during the same term, so long as they meet class prerequisites in terms of skill level and experience. If in doubt, you can send us your portfolio for review and assessment at [email protected]

Why have the class selections changed from previous terms?

Each term, our class list changes according to teacher availability. While many of our core fundamental classes are nearly guaranteed to return every session, some of our more advanced classes may shift and change depending on multiple factors. Many of our classes do return in following terms. If you wish to pursue a specific class that is not available to you on the term of your choice, feel free to reach out to us to request our best suggestion of an alternate class to take for that term. By discussing this one on one with you, we will ensure that you obtain the best possible experience with us in terms of your artistic development.

On our class page, you will see classes offered in future terms; some may already have a schedule that is already confirmed by the teacher and are available for registration. Others which do not yet have their schedules confirmed will have a button allowing you to reserve your spot in a future term. In these reserved classes, an email will be sent out to you a week before registration opens on the website. If you are still interested at that time, we can send you a PayPal payment request if you wish to sign up early.

What are your early and regular registration periods?

Our early and regular registration periods correspond to different registration periods in which our classes go from their discounted prices (in our early registration period) to full-price (during our regular registration period). We recommend signing up as soon as possible as our courses are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

How do I sign up for classes?

If you wish to sign up for individual classes, you simply need to visit our Online Art Classes webpage, and then click on the thumbnail of the class(es) that you are interested in. Once on that class page, you can click on “Register Now” (after selecting your desired section from the drop-down menu if multiple ones are available). This will add the class to your cart. After you have added all of your desired classes, you must click on “Complete your Enrollment” on our cart page in order to proceed to payment and checkout. You will then have the option to pay with either a credit card or Visa debit card.

Can I sign up for multiple individual classes in one term?

If you are looking to participate in multiple online classes, you may enroll in up to 5 classes per term. Once you have added 3 or more classes to your cart, the corresponding discounts will be automatically applied.

What are mentorship-style classes?

Classes at Syn Studio are typically 3 hours in length as they are meant to accommodate up to 20 students. If a class does not meet a minimum number of enrolled students, then some of our class' duration are subject to change (to either 1.5 hours or 2 hours) depending on the number of enrolled students.

These shorter class formats (offered up to a maximum of 6 students for the 2-hour format) are conducted with more of a personalized mentorship style, allowing students to have more time devoted to their assignments' critiques and the ability to ask more questions in class, while still maintaining all of the theory and planned curriculum for the regular class length.

What are class bundles?

When purchased in groups of 3, 4 and 5, in addition to receiving discounts on your purchase, you will have free access to that term’s webinar.

Ultimately, this option is our most-beneficial option for those seeking rapid development and intensive training in their art. As it is a time-intensive commitment, you’ll be among the most passionate and committed of students during that term!

What will my schedule look like?

Schedules can change depending on when classes are offered that term and how many classes a student enrolls in. Please verify the class schedules of each of the classes that you are interested in enrolling.

Can I maintain a part time or full time job while attending online classes?

A full term lasts 10 weeks, and unless otherwise noted, each class lasts 3 hours with an additional 3 hours (minimum) recommended for homework assignments per class each week. This can become a much bigger commitment when signing up for 3, 4 or 5 classes.

Can I register for more than one term?

You may take up to 5 classes per term if you are enrolling in individual courses. For options which span multiple terms, please refer to our Animation Bootcamp and Fundamentals Bootcamp sections.

How can I pay with Paypal?

If you wish to pay via PayPal, please reach out to us at [email protected] and inform us of which class(es) you wish to purchase. We will then create a custom PayPal payment request for you to complete your purchase.

Do your classes still qualify for the Canada Training Credit?

Unfortunately, as the government has changed certain requirements, our classes are no longer qualified to be claimed for the Canada Training Credit as they are offered online on a private basis and are not in fact certified by the Minister of Employment and Social Development. Please consult the following link from the Canadian Government official website for further information on the Canada training credit (CTC).

Do you offer grants or scholarships?

Unfortunately, since our individual classes are private, unaccredited, nor recognized by the government, it is not possible to apply for loans or bursaries in Quebec. For other provinces and countries, you are invited to conduct your own research on funding opportunities for private schooling.

Otherwise, Syn Studio does not offer scholarships or financial aid, and at this time, we are unable to accept funds paid through a third party; you would need to secure private funding that's paid directly to you, such as a bursary or a bank loan.

The class I wanted to take is now full! What can I do?

As we near the start of a term, many of our classes become full as spots are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In order to retain a small-class experience for our students, and to ensure that each student gets adequate attention, we offer limited space within our online classrooms. Classes that are fully booked have their price and purchase button removed on our website.

If you would like to be added to our waiting list for classes that have filled up , we strongly suggest visiting the pages of the classes you are interested in, and selecting “NOTIFY ME WHEN THIS CLASS BECOMES AVAILABLE.” After doing so, if a spot should become available in one of these classes before the second lesson of the term takes place, we will notify you via email.
We offer video recordings of previous lessons, and so you will be able to catch up even after having missed the first live class.

If you would like to potentially join the class in a future term, you can join our Newsletter to be notified when we open registrations for each future term intake.

Can you reserve a spot in a class for me?

Our individual classes are offered on a first-come first-serve basis, and we cannot reserve a spot for a student in a class without payment. However, if a class for an upcoming term is posted on the website, then it is possible to register early for the course. You can also join our newsletter to be notified when the following seasonal term’s classes become available.

Do you currently offer onsite classes?

You may view our current selection of onsite classes for this upcoming term here on our website. Please also consult our “Individual Onsite Classes FAQ” below for more information.

Individual Onsite Classes FAQ

What do you offer in your individual onsite classes?

Our individual onsite classes will take place in a physical classroom or atelier space in Montreal with an instructor teaching, providing demonstrations, answering questions and making corrections to student assignments. Each class will last 3 hours and take place once a week.

Why are the prices of your individual onsite classes listed in CAD (Canadian Dollars)?

Since they take place onsite in Montreal, our individual onsite classes are priced in CAD.

Where are your individual onsite classes located?

The locations of our onsite classes can be found on this page of our website.

Individual Online Classes FAQ

What do you offer in your online classes?

Our standard online classes are conducted via live-streamed videos of teachers offering both lectures and demonstrations. During these live classes, students are able to interact with teachers by asking them questions through live chats and audio (if equipped with a microphone).

In addition to this, video recordings of each class are made available online, so they can be rewatched at later times for review and practice. Students who are unable to attend live classes will be able to ask their teachers questions and submit their homework online. All of this allows for greater flexibility when creating your schedule!

Overall, we want to recreate the same experience that you would have on-site; the artistic growth and success of our students continue to be our top priority.

What are your “Pre-Recorded classes with Live feedback”?

Some of our classes are available in a special “pre-recorded” format. This format style offers pre-recorded classes which contain theory and demonstrations following a set class curriculum. Individual class recordings are uploaded a week before their live feedback session.

These live sessions happen once per week at the same time so students have the opportunity to ask the teachers questions regarding the pre-recorded class or the homework. These live feedback sessions are smaller, containing a maximum of 10 students. Live feedback sessions are also recorded so students can watch them later at their own pace. Students also have access to Moodle to ask their teacher questions, which then will be answered in class.

What are “Video Access Only” classes?

Some of our classes are available in a special “Video Access Only” format. Students purchasing Video Access Only will be able to access recordings of live classes as the course progresses throughout the term. While students will not be able to receive direct feedback from the teacher of that class, they will have access to the lectures, lessons, assignments, brush packs, and any additional free materials that their teacher may include in their lessons.

What if my personal schedule does not align with the class’ schedule, or I think I might miss a few lessons?

Each of our live-streamed classes are recorded, and then uploaded to a private showcase roughly 48 hours after the class has taken place. Students can re-watch recorded class lectures for up to one month after the final online class takes place, providing them ample opportunity to catch up on any missed lectures.

How long will I have access to my class recordings?

Students will have access to their class recordings for an additional 3 months after their term has ended. They will, however, have permanent access to their class Moodle pages indefinitely so they may look back at posts and comments.

I am an international student outside of Canada; can I still sign up for online classes?

Yes, our online classes can be accessed worldwide! As long as you have a stable internet connection, you would be able to attend our live-streamed classes, or even access the class recordings if your timezone differs too greatly from the class schedule. Class assignments can be submitted at any point before the start of your next class. Your teacher will provide feedback during the follow-up class, which you can watch via the class recording, which ensures that you receive details even if you are unable to attend the livestream. [email protected]

Why are your prices listed in USD (US Dollars)?

Since our classes are offered online, and we have many more students enrolling from international countries, we have chosen to advertise our prices in USD as common currency for our international students. Our payment process will automatically convert international currency to the equivalent price.

It should also be noted that each of our individual classes are priced slightly differently depending on their level and can be verified on the individual class pages. It is important to note that we often offer discounts according to our two registration periods (early and regular).

Any classes which take place onsite such as those from our Concept Art AEC, or on our Onsite Montreal Art Classes have prices listed in Canadian dollars.

What are mentorship-style classes?

Classes at Syn Studio are typically 3 hours in length as they are meant to accommodate up to 20 students. If a class does not meet a minimum number of enrolled students, then some of our class' durations are subject to change (to either 1.5 hours or 2 hours) depending on the number of enrolled students.

These shorter class formats (offered up to a maximum of 6 students for the 2-hour format) are conducted with more of a personalized mentorship style, allowing students to have more time devoted to their assignments' critiques and the ability to ask more questions in class, while still maintaining all of the theory and planned curriculum for the regular class length.

Fundamentals Bootcamp FAQ

What is the Fundamentals Bootcamp?

The Fundamentals Bootcamp is an ideal way for students who are starting on their artistic journey to learn and develop their art fundamentals. The classes have been pre-selected and grouped for optimal progression so students can be introduced to key theory and practices that will build on each other from one term to the next.
In taking the Fundamentals Bootcamp parts I and II, you will build the skills required to create a portfolio that can be used to apply for our Online Concept Art Program.

Is the Fundamentals Bootcamp accredited?

This bootcamp consists of classes that are also available individually and are therefore not accredited.

How long is the Fundamentals Bootcamp? Can I register for more than one term of the Fundamentals Bootcamp?

Students may take either just one term of the Animation Bootcamp (either part I or part II) or enroll in two consecutive terms (both parts I and II).

While we recommend that students enroll in both parts I and II, if you have already developed sufficient skills in the topics covered in Fundamentals Bootcamp part I, you may choose to follow just Fundamentals Bootcamp part II on its own. In this case, you will also be required to submit examples of your artwork once you have registered.

How do I apply to the Fundamentals Bootcamp?

You may sign up for the Fundamentals Bootcamp on this page. Please note that as a minimum, we recommend that students take Foundations of Drawing (or have the equivalent experience) prior to signing up for the Fundamentals Bootcamp.

Online Concept Art Program FAQ

What is the Online Concept Art Program?

Our online Concept Art Program is an intensive online training program meant to help students create an industry-level portfolio that can help them break into concept art. It is entirely accessible online, and allows international students to apply without the need for a Visa or additional charges. A study permit is not required.

Is this program accredited?

This program is non-accredited and is intended to help students build an industry-ready portfolio. Students will benefit from professional training in artistic techniques, workflow optimization, and come to understand what industry-standard expectations are in the world of Concept Art.

How do I apply?

Students will need to submit a portfolio of their best work. Only 25 students will be accepted world-wide per cohort, to ensure a small-class experience and optimal individual attention for each students’ development. We will be accepting submissions once the program is ready for public release. The application form can be found here.

AEC Concept Art Program FAQ

When do I send in my application?

Dates to send in your application will be updated in the Admission Dates and Tuition section of our AEC Concept Art Program page. You have two opportunities to apply for the program for every cohort; the Advanced Portfolio/Application Review and the General Portfolio/Application Review. Each portfolio review has an application fee of $25.00 CAD.

What is the difference between the Advanced Portfolio/Application Review and the Final Portfolio/Application review?

The Advanced Portfolio review and the Final Portfolio review are essentially the same, however, there are advantages to applying for the Advanced Portfolio Review.

For both the Advanced Portfolio/Application Review and the Final Portfolio/Application review, you will submit a digital portfolio to the email address provided in the Application Guide (you receive when you sign up for the admission application form located at the bottom of our Admission Dates and Tuition page). Your portfolio will be reviewed by a concept artist currently working in the industry, and you will receive the feedback from them.

We will only make our final decisions on who will enter the program after the Final Portfolio/Application Review. This means that if you apply for the Advanced Portfolio/Application review, you will have the opportunity to update your portfolio application based on the feedback provided by the concept artist that reviewed your artwork.

What certificate do I obtain from the AEC Concept Art Program?

The certificate given is an Attestation of College Studies (ASC/AEC Attestation of College Studies) and is an internationally recognized professional certification. Receiving the certificate signifies that the student is ready to enter the job market as a concept artist.

As an international student, am I eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit after I complete my studies?

Starting in September 2023, the Quebec government will no longer be offering post graduate work permits for AEC programs, including our AEC Concept Art Program.

Are the classes taught in English?

All classes are taught in English for our AEC Concept Art Program.

How many hours per day do the classes last and how many days per week?

Each term will normally have 5 classes per week. Classes are typically 3 to 5 hours long and classes can be scheduled any day of the week.

Do you offer financial aid or scholarships?

The school itself does not provide financial aid. You can look into student loan programs and bursaries from your home country, however keep in mind that we are not able to accept funds from a third party, so any loans you're qualified for will need to be disbursed directly to you.

Do I need a student visa to attend the school’s AEC Concept Art Program?

Any student who is not a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident or Naturalized Canadian Citizen will need to apply for a CAQ (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) and a Canadian Study permit to be able to attend the Concept Art Diploma Program. If accepted into the program, we will help guide you through the application process.

Is IELTS mandatory for the AEC Concept Art Program?

Syn Studio does not require an IELTS exam for admission into the AEC Concept Art Program. After the General Portfolio review, we will set up zoom interviews with the top applicants and assess their English ability at that point to make sure that the student will be able to understand the lessons provided.

There is a possibility that the Canadian Government will request an IELTS exam during the application process of your Canadian Study Permit however.

Technical Requirements FAQ

What are the technical requirements for your online courses?

Our online classes use Zoom video conference for all of our live sessions. If your class involves Digital Art, you will additionally require a drawing tablet, and a digital art program such as Photoshop (which is the industry standard and the default program used at our school) or an alternative program such as Procreate, Krita, or ClipStudio Paint.

Please note that your instructors can only offer technical training in the programs utilized in their class; they will be unable to offer technical advice specific to other art programs.

What are the minimum hardware requirements?

Processor:

  • 2.2GHz or higher. We recommend an Intel i5/ AMD Ryzen 5 series chip.

Memory:

  • 8GB Ram strongly recommended (as any less risks the chance of Photoshop lagging/crashing) 16GB is better; it is more expensive but most widely-used and recommended in this area/industry. If you are thinking of eventually using 3D software, on top of Photoshop, 16 GB is a must.

Hard drive:

  • Photoshop produces large files and requires a good amount of space; a large hard drive, external hard drive/multiple drives are needed. If purchasing a laptop, we recommend purchasing a laptop with an SSD, as they are quicker and more reliable then formal HDD’s.
  • We also recommend either having a flash drive or external harddrive handy to backup your larger files- you can never be too safe!

Graphics card:

  • Minimum 1GB dedicated video card, 2GB+ dedicated video card recommended.

Windows

  • 2GHz or faster processor with SSE2 support; dual-core processor required.
  • Microsoft Windows 10 (recommended versions 1809, 1903) or Windows 8.1 (Windows 7 not supported); 64-bit versions only (32-bit not supported)
  • 7.4GB of available hard-disk space to install applications; additional 12.4GB to download all optional content (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)

macOS

  • 64-bit multicore Intel processor
  • macOS v10.13 through v10.15
  • 10GB of available hard-disk space to install applications; additional 12.5GB to download all optional content (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)

How do I acquire Photoshop?

If you wish to acquire Photoshop CC, we recommend the Photography Plan which includes both Photoshop and Lightroom but is still cheaper than the plan which only includes Photoshop.

Do I have to use Photoshop?

As you may have seen from the material lists and course descriptions on our website, our digital classes are specifically built around the tools and features of Photoshop. Other painting programs such as Krita, and Clip Studio Paint Pro, could suffice, however, please note that our teachers may not be familiar with these programs and so they will not be able to assist you if you encounter any technical difficulties with these programs. It is up to you to figure out what the equivalent tools and features are in your program.

Please note that the only class which absolutely requires Photoshop is our Intro to Digital Painting course which serves as an introduction to Photoshop as well as introduction to digital painting techniques.

Can I use an iPad Pro?

As stated above, our digital classes are specifically built around the tools and features of Photoshop and students are required to use a laptop (or desktop computer) with Photoshop installed and a graphic tablet with pen pressure sensitivity (such as a Wacom tablet). Otherwise, they can use a tablet-computer hybrid with Photoshop installed (such as the Cintiq Companion or Surface Pro).

The main reason we ask for these material prerequisites is that our school focuses on training concept artists who would like to work in the film or video game industry. Knowing Photoshop like the back of your hand and using a computer and a graphic tablet is the industry standard.

Also, in case of technical difficulties with your iPad and apps like Procreate, our teachers will sadly not be able to help you since they might not be familiar with the iPad’s interface, and these programs’ specific tools, brushes, filters, etc.

That said, iPads now have a unique version of Photoshop that is available for download, so if a student does not have a computer of her own to run the full desktop version of Photoshop CC, this is their second-best option. Please take note of the compatible Apple products here.

Please keep in mind that the iPad version of Photoshop (Photoshop Fresco) does not contain all of the features of Photoshop CC, but that for the purposes of a class such as Intro to Digital Painting and Digital Painting, it should suffice. That being said, our other digital classes, being more advanced, sometimes use other programs in addition to Photoshop and require a proper computer in order to make efficient use of your time work-flow wise.

Alternatively, if you already have a laptop or desktop computer with Photoshop CC installed, there are apps that can be used to turn an iPad into a drawing tablet. Here they are listed below:

Please note that we are simply providing the above solution in case you do not wish to purchase a whole new graphic tablet. However, for the least complicated/smoothest workflow, we do recommend buying a regular graphic tablet (see below).

What graphic tablets do you recommend?

For classroom and at home use, an inexpensive art & graphic tablet can be used for class. While the vast majority of our students are equipped with a Wacom tablet and the brand is still recognized in educational and professional settings, there are other more affordable options on the market that have garnered solid reputations as well. For example, the brand Huion makes drawing monitors that are becoming increasingly more popular and the company as a whole has an excellent reputation in terms of customer service.

Common-used tablets:

  • Intuos (Wacom): This series of Wacom tablets is commonly used by professionals and students alike.
  • Cintiq (Wacom): These models are tablets that also function as monitors; they are the priciest option, and are often too bulky for travel.
  • Huion tablets: Affordable, and with a wide range to select from, there is bound to be one brand of tablet that fits your preferences.

We highly recommend doing more research on various graphic tablet products and reading their reviews before committing to a particular model!