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Colour and Light

A 10 week course where you learn the essential colour and lighting skills so you can create stunning and vibrant full-colour concepts and illustrations

Teacher Artwork by Matt Sanz

This class is full. More seats may become available this term or we may open a new section. You can also check out our Prop and Vehicle Design class.

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Teacher Artwork by Matt Sanz

Colour and Light

Do you possess basic digital painting skills, but still struggle when it comes to creating stunning and vibrant full colour concepts and illustrations? Would you benefit from learning how to use colour and light to create the right mood, atmosphere, and depth in your paintings? A thorough understanding of colour and light will allow you to create fantastic artwork that engages your viewers and provides them with a truly compelling visual experience.

In this 10-week course, you will gain a thorough understanding of the relationship between colour, value and emotion so you can tell a complex visual story that evokes the desired emotional responses from your audience. Through a series of challenging technical exercises, you will gain the colour theory expertise that will give you the edge over most artists, even those in the industry.

You will learn how light sources react with a variety of materials and how to best adjust and control the lighting so you can effectively guide the viewer’s eye to the focal point and create visually appealing images that drive the story forward. In addition to this, you will also become proficient in manipulating light and atmosphere which will enable you to create artwork that conveys the correct mood and feeling across a variety of lighting scenarios in a believable and emotionally appealing manner.

By the end of this course, you will have learned a powerful new set of tools and techniques that will help you create vibrant, well-composed and satisfying artwork that immediately resonates with the audience and enhances the story. Your understanding of colour and light will have increased greatly giving you the ability to efficiently create new artwork across a variety of scenarios, moods and lighting. By learning these skills you will be able to create spectacular concept art and illustration that stands out from the crowd because of your new proficiency in colour and light.

  • Course Type Concept Art and Illustration Classes
  • Duration 10 Weeks
  • Skill Level
    Level 4
    Level 4

    This expert-level is for students who are ready to boost their portfolio and design process to a professional level.

    This level is about discovering and diving deeper into new tools (such as 3D), further polishing and rendering work and exploring professional pipelines of the entertainment industry.

  • Language English


Note: This class will be offered online only

Class Timings: Saturdays from 9 AM to 12 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT or UTC-4h)

Date of first class: April 10th

Duration: 10 weeks

If you are unable to attend the class during the times listed above, you will still have access to video recordings of the class lectures and will still receive personalized feedback from your instructor.



  • Proficiency with all basic Photoshop tools.
  • Should have completed the Digital Painting course or equivalent practice/experience.
  • Some intermediate drawing and basic painting skills (use of proper perspective, proportions, shading and colour).
  • If you do not have the required skill in drawing, painting or Photoshop, it is suggested that you take our Digital Painting class.

Language requirements: You need at least intermediate level English to take this class.

*Note that the students at Syn Studio are mostly all adults and you should be 16 years or older to take any classes here.


Required Materials

You also need to have a desktop computer or a laptop with Photoshop installed and a  graphic 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).

Tech Requirements for Attending Syn Studio Online Classes

Minimum Requirements

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 600kbps bandwidth (up/down).
  • A Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a single core processor (at least 1 GHZ processing speed) or a smartphone/tablet with equivalent processing capabilities
  • Good speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
  • Browser - IE7+, Safari 5+, Firefox, Chrome
  • Operating System - Windows XP, Mac OS 10.6, Linux distro based on 3.0 kernel, Android 5.0, iOS 10


Syn Studio Recommendations

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 1.5Mbps bandwidth (up/down). You can also connect to the internet directly using your ethernet cable to improve your experience.
  • Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a dual core processor with at least 2 GHZ processing speed and a 4 GB RAM
  • High Quality speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
  • Browser & Operating System - We recommend using the latest version of the browser and operating system for an optimal online classroom experience.

Course Outline

*Please note that this outline is from the last time we held this class and we may make some updates and improvements for the coming term.

Week 1

Become proficient in gathering references and assembling a visual reference library that can be used as an inspiration and guide for your concept art creation process.

Learn the impressionist approach to creating artwork so you can quickly sketch rough images that are bright, vibrant and rich in colour.

Week 2

Learn to add values and properly balance them in your image so you can create an easily readable image with appropriate contrast and the illusion of depth.

Week 3

Gain an in-depth understanding of essential lighting, colour and texture fundamentals so you can create realistic full-colour artwork.

Weeks 4 and 5

Become proficient in distinguishing colour and value and using colour temperature variation to create vibrant images.

Understand how to use saturation/exposure and how to create colour temperature harmony to make your artwork appear well-composed, balanced and beautiful.

Week 6

Become proficient in painting a variety of common daylight scenarios including backlit, frontlit, overcast and dappled light. Learn to use shadows to create compositional focal points that direct the eye to the desired locations in your painting. Understand how to apply atmosphere and haze to create a sense of realism and depth in your art.

Weeks 7 - 8

Understand the key differences to lighting different spaces such as rural, urban, exterior and interior scenes. Learn how to relight a scene, change local colours, reposition elements and depict sunrises and sunsets so you have a more complete toolkit as an artist.

Weeks 9 - 10

Gain proficiency in depicting night-time scenarios, including how to combine natural and artificial lighting. And learn how to simplify objects such as rocks, foliage, vehicles, etc. so you can quickly and efficiently paint anything anywhere with stunning lighting and colour!

Check out the entire outline

Speak to an advisor

Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 514-998-7625
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