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Digital Portrait Painting

A 10-week course where you learn the essential portrait painting techniques that are required to create stunning, vibrant and lifelike digital portraits

Teacher Artwork by Grace Zhu

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Teacher Artwork by Grace Zhu

Digital Portrait Painting

Do you have a passion for painting people and bringing characters to life? Do you wish to create authentic and lifelike digital portraits but struggle when it comes to transforming a  rough sketch into a realistic finished project? A thorough understanding of colour theory, composition, lighting and texture rendering is essential for creating captivating digital portraits that sparkle with life. 

In this 10 week course, you will learn the tips, tricks and portrait painting techniques that are required to create stunning, vibrant and lifelike digital portraits. Stressing the importance of daily drawing practice and sourcing good references and inspiration, this course will teach you how to properly calibrate your digital tools so you can increase their performance and create high-quality portraits. 

You will learn the importance of composition, colour cohesion, surface structure and directional lighting techniques so you can depict the human face and it's features with an illusion of depth and a high level of accuracy and realism. You will gain a thorough understanding of colour theory, skin and hair rendering so you can draw digital portraits of any age, gender, or ethnicity. In addition to this, you will learn the nuances of material rendering so you can add a variety of clothing and accessories to your characters with a high level of precision and realism. Finally, you will learn to experiment with your portraits using techniques such as paintover, photobashing, etc. so you can style it and take it to a finished, professional-level digital portrait.

By the end of this class, you will be competent in the digital tools and techniques necessary to create a diverse portfolio of portraits, an essential skill for artists looking to dive into the world of character design, illustration and art commissions. You will also have created new stunning digital portraits for your portfolio.

  • Course Type Concept Art and Illustration Courses
  • Duration 10 Weeks
  • Skill Level
    Level 3
    Level 3

    These courses are for people who can already draw and paint realistically and can create complete digital illustrations.

    Level 3 classes will help students to give a new edge to their images, properly render their digital work, and bring them closer to a professional level.

  • Language English

Winter term classes begin on Jan 11. Late registration still available for some classes

$499.00 (save $114!!) $385.00USD


Note: This class will be offered online only

Class Timings: Mondays from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM, Eastern Standard Time (EST or UTC-5h)

Date of first class: January 11th

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.



This is a class designed for people who have already taken our Digital Painting course or are proficient with Photoshop. Also, you should be comfortable drawing heads otherwise, we suggest taking our Drawing the Head and Features 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 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). And you need to have some basic skills in Photoshop and be comfortable drawing and painting in Photoshop and know how to use layers and the basic tools (all things you can learn quickly with free tutorials online).


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

Below is the general outline. The detailed 10-week course outline will be communicated to students at a later date.

Weeks 1 and 2

Gain proficiency in reference gathering so you can assemble a visual reference library to inspire and guide your digital portrait painting process.

Understand the essential structural landmarks of the head and using reference, learn to accurately sketch human heads.

Weeks 3 to 5

Become proficient in composing, lighting, using colour and rendering skin and hair so you can create beautiful full colour digital portrait sketches.

Weeks 6 to 10

Understand how to accurately represent different facial features and hair types as well as adding realistic clothing and accessories so you can create compelling digital portrait paintings of people of all different ages, genders and ethnicities.

Learn the most powerful Photoshop techniques, tips and tricks to polish your digital portrait and bring it to a finished professional level.

Check out the entire outline


Syn Studio offers the highest quality education at the most affordable prices.

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

Winter term classes begin on Jan 11. Late registration still available for some classes

This class is being offered at
$499.00 $385.00 USD
for a limited period of time (save $114!!) *All Prices Shown are in US Dollars
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Please bring a photo ID for the first day of class.

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