Intro to Environment Design

Concept Art and Illustration > Intro to Environment Design

    Teacher Information

    Lincoln Hughes is a concept, environment and level artist, possessing over 10 years of experience in the gaming industry with companies such as Ubisoft, EA, Relic Environment and Big Sandwich Games, among others. His environment designs have been featured in various AAA games such as Farcry 4, Watchdogs, Star Wars - The Old Republic and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon : Future Soldier, in addition to other games like SSX, Warhammer 40000 and Luigi’s Mansion 2. He currently works for Warner Brother Games, Montreal on a AAA unnamed DC game.

    Course Outline

    Week 1: Learn how to design your environment based on the constraints of production you are working with so your concepts will fit with the story, characters and art direction.

    Weeks 2 & 3: Understand the importance of themes in the design process so you can create environments that emphasize the full potential of the characters and enhance the overall story.

    Week 4: Learn to avoid the common pitfalls during the design process so you can create designs that are not only functional but also visually spectacular.

    Week 5: Gain proficiency in the top down navigational design method for games so you can create designs that maximise game play opportunities and optimize the player experience

    Week 6: Develop the skills required to plan and set up navigational landmarks so you can create locations that your audience can easily navigate and understand.

    Week 7: Acquire a powerful iterative method so you can improve your design through feedback and speed up the time to completion.

    Week 8: Learn the skills required to effectively use lighting and mood in your design so you can direct the player along the golden path.

    Weeks 9 & 10: Become proficient in implementing focused detail so you can direct the audience’s attention to critical locations in your environment. 


    Monday from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM

    Date of first class: April 9th

    Duration: 10 weeks

    Language: English

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

    This class is full. To be put on the waiting list, send an e-mail to

    You can also check out our Prop and Vehicle Design using 3D-Coat and Digital Painting classes.


    Do you want to be able to create environment designs for the entertainment industry? Strong design fundamentals are essential for creating environments that enhance the visual experience. Expert concept artists are adept at designing environments for games, movies, television and theater that suit the mood of the scene and enhance the storyline.

    In this course taught by a veteran concept, environment and level artist, you will be introduced to the fantastic process of designing stunning environment concepts for different scenarios. You will understand the design processes that concept artists employ to amplify the story experience and learn how to apply them through a series of case studies, demos and in-class assignments. The class and assignments simulate the industry environment with your teacher acting as your art director, guiding your design decisions and iterations.

    Any movie or game setting has central characters who possess specific attributes and qualities. You will gain expertise in designing environments that emphasize the full potential of these characters and support the storyline, thereby enhancing the overall audience experience. You will learn how to best control the lighting and level of detail so as to direct the viewer’s attention to the specific areas that drive the story.

    By the end of this course you will have all the tools to create breathtaking environment designs for games, movies, television and theater that amplify the viewer’s experience. You will have stunning new portfolio pieces and your improved sense of design will give you the confidence and ability to create further breathtaking designs in the future.


    This class is for people with some experience in realistic style drawing and painting and basic skill in Photoshop. To take this class you need to have equivalent experience or completed our Digital Painting course.

    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: You need at least intermediate level English to take this class (the teacher will use many visual examples and there will usually be students in the class who speak French and can help you if you don't understand something).


    This is one of our most popular class and is expected to get filled up quickly $470. $430.


    • Learn to design environments that drive the storyline and enhance the overall audience experience
    • Avoid the common design pitfalls that derail the concept art process and disrupt your progress
    • Acquire methods to efficiently use lighting, mood and navigational techniques to elevate your design and amplify the viewer’s experience.

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