Summer Term starts on July 4th!  Late Registration still available for some classes.

Digital Painting

A 10-week course where you learn the essential tips, tricks and techniques of Photoshop to create realistic and visually appealing digital paintings

Student Artwork by Daniel Jervis

This class is full. More seats may become available this term or we may open a new section. You can also check out our Drawing the Head and Features, and Intro to Illustration classes.

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Teacher Artwork by Cynthia F.G.

Digital Painting

Does your digital painting lack speed, realism, polish and a professional look? Do you wish you could create stunning digital paintings like today's top entertainment industry concept artists, illustrators and matte painters?

In this class, you will learn the fundamentals of painting in Photoshop from a top industry artist who will also teach you some tips and tricks that even many advanced digital artists don't know!

The beauty of digital painting is its greater speed, control, and ease of experimentation and this is why it is essential for today's industry artists. Through demonstration and one-on-one coaching, our instructor will teach you an efficient step-by-step method to realize your concepts in Photoshop. Emphasis is placed on composition, perspective, value, colour and lighting.

You will learn fundamental painting techniques as well as the tricks of the trade and most useful tools in Photoshop.

By the end of this class, you will have become proficient with a powerful method and set of tools for creating incredible digital artworks. From digital thumbnailing and rendering techniques to custom brushes and adjustment layers, you will have gained control over the most essential tools for today's industry artist. You will have a couple new pieces for your portfolio that you can be proud of and you will have the skills and knowledge to create beautiful and convincing digital paintings in Photoshop.

  • Course Type Concept Art and Illustration Classes
  • Duration 10 weeks
  • Skill Level
    Level 2
    Level 2

    Second level classes are for students who have a good foundation in the basics of realistic drawing (such as perspective, proportion, shading and colour theory) and already know how to use Photoshop, but need more in-depth knowledge to create professional and complex artwork.

    This level is about expanding knowledge, strengthening skills, and transitioning to the world of concept art and illustration.

  • Language English


Note: This class will be offered online only

Starts: Wednesday, July 6th and is once a week from 12 PM to 3 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT or UTC-4h) - English - Nino Vecia

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.




Skill requirements 

To enroll in this course you should have: 

  • Some intermediate drawing and basic digital painting skills (use of proper perspective, proportions, shading and colour).
  • Proficiency in all basic Photoshop tools.
  • Ideally completed our Intro to Digital Painting and Analytical Sketching classes or have equivalent practice/experience.

If you are unsure of your skill level, please contact [email protected] for additional guidance.


Language and age requirements

You should have at least intermediate level English to take this class. Please note that Syn Studio’s classes are targeted towards adults and students should be 16 years or older to enroll.

Required Materials

You 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

Class meetings typically begin with a lecture and live demonstration of digital painting techniques in Photoshop. Students then complete digital painting exercises in Photoshop while receiving one-on-one feedback and coaching from the instructor.

*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: Gain proficiency in a time-tested method, using Bargue plates, that will train your eyes and improve your hand skills and accuracy of perception so you can achieve a higher level of realism in your artwork.

Week 2: Learn to break down complex images into simple shapes and understand how to create effective thumbnails in Photoshop that are easily readable and effectively communicate the essential information.

Week 3: Become proficient working with values and learn how to control your edges so you can create more realistic and visually appealing digital paintings.

Week 4: Understand how light works and learn the basics of rendering including Scott Robertson’s powerful “Halfway to Black” digital painting system so you can use value properly and create lifelike paintings with a true sense of form and depth.

Week 5: Acquire essential colour theory knowledge and learn to apply it via digital live painting exercises with still life. As you become more proficient in your knowledge of colour theory and your use of colour, you will gain the skills required to create stunning and vibrant full colour illustrations.

Week 6: Understand how to paint environments in Photoshop and hone your skills with a series of environmental study exercises designed to improve your virtual plein air, stylization, improvisation and adaptation skills. Gaining proficiency in these skills will dramatically increase the quality of your environment paintings.

Week 7: Learn to accurately render different materials such as leather, wood, metal and glass through a series of material study exercises so you can paint all types of realistic textures and materials in Photoshop.

Week 8: Understand how to properly paint the human figure through a series of figure studies designed to level-up your basic anatomy, gesture, portrait, volume painting and skin rendering.

Week 9: Learn essential principles of composition, imaginative realism, narrative, focal point and reference use so you can create an inspiring, effective and well-planned out digital sketch for your final project.

Week 10: Demonstrate everything you've learned and get personalized coaching to complete a final digital illustration for your portfolio that you can be proud of.

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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