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Digital Sketching for Production

A 10-week course designed to improve your perspective skills and strengthen your understanding of art fundamentals

Teacher Artwork by Christian Robert de Massy

This class is full. Please send an email to inf[email protected] to be on the waiting list.
You can also check out our Digital Painting and Constructive Figure Drawing classes.

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Teacher Artwork by Christian Robert de Massy

Digital Sketching for Production

Do you have basic art fundamentals and the ability to work digitally, but have trouble using perspective, value and colour to maximum effect in your illustrations and concept art? Do you wish to have a better understanding of space, lighting and materials so you can create realistic, professional-level artwork?

The top illustrators and concept artists all have deep knowledge and skill in these art fundamentals. In the course, Christian Robert de Massy, veteran concept artist and illustrator, will take you by the hand and guide you on the path to mastery.

Top concept artists have a thorough understanding of perspective which allows them to create believable spaces. In Digital Sketching for Production, you will quickly review the basics, then learn to become proficient in your use of perspective. You will become proficient in constructing perspective grids in Photoshop and draw ellipses in perspective.

Additionally, you will learn how perspective interacts with lighting and materials by rendering reflections in perspective and constructing proper cast shadows for maximum realism.

You will then acquire expertise in the fundamentals of light, shadow and reflectivity. You will improve your visual understanding of the world and learn invaluable techniques for representing that world. You will learn how to render objects of different materials and how to assign values correctly to surfaces so your paintings are fully believable. You will also learn how to use colour effectively. Finally, you will understand the most important technical features of light, surfaces and materials that all concept artists and illustrators need to know.

Your knowledge of perspective, light and rendering will take a giant leap forward, giving you the ability to create realistic, jaw-dropping paintings both from reference as well as from your imagination!

  • 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

Class Timings: Tuesdays from 1 PM to 4 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT or UTC-4h)

Date of first class: April 6th

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.



Language requirements: You need at least intermediate level English to take this class (the teacher will use many visual examples and can help you if you don't understand something).

*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 need to have a desktop computer or 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).

Also, please bring a sketchbook and a HB pencil.


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.

Part 1: Perspective

Weeks 1 to 4:

Become proficient in using Photoshop to construct perspective grids. Learn how to effectively represent planes in perspective so you can draw objects from a variety of angles.

Acquire the skills required to calculate cast shadows so that your scenes can have interesting lighting, mood and drama while maximizing realism.

Gain proficiency in mirroring planes, curves and simple objects.

Learn basics of SketchUp and set up a few a basic lighting passes to export to Photoshop so you can have realistic lighting in your scene.

Part 2: Rendering

Weeks 5 to 7:

Understand how to translate colours into values, work with multiple light sources and use line weight and hatching effectively so you can create beautiful illustrations of any object.

Learn how to render different materials and textures such as chrome, glass, metal, wood and leather and apply them to components of your artwork to give it believable detail.

Learn the Half-Way to Black method, developed by legendary concept artist and educator Scott Robertson. With this method, you can create believable environment paintings with accurate values from life or from imagination.

Part 3: Photorealism

Weeks 8 to 10:

Take your skills to the next level through the final set-extension project. You will learn to transform an actual location, using photo-reference into a concept for film. You will understand how to adjusting the lighting, balance your colours and integrate vehicles in proper perspective so you can create photorealistic concept art.

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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