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Environment Design

A 10-week course where you learn the tools, techniques and processes used by top industry artists to create stunning production-ready environment concepts

Teacher Artwork by Julian Kok

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Teacher Artwork by Julian Kok

Environment Design

Do you want to be able to create stunning and immersive environment concept art for the entertainment industry? Advanced art and design skills are essential for creating strong environments that draw in the viewer, support the story and enhance the visual experience.

In this 10 week course taught by a veteran environment designer, you will become proficient in the skills required to design amazing environment concepts for all the most common movie, video game and television scenarios that a concept artist typically faces.

During the course, you will learn a powerful process that concept artists use to create the desired mood, atmosphere, story experience and visual impact in their environments. The instructor will thoroughly explain and illustrate the process via a series of lectures and live painting demos throughout the course.

You will become proficient in applying this process by completing in-class and homework assignments while receiving paint-overs and one-on-one feedback from your instructor. The in-class work and homework assignments simulate the industry environment with your instructor acting as your art director and guiding your design decisions.

Specifically you will learn to design environments for a variety of common cultural/architectural and geographical/meteorological combinations. You will learn a quick, versatile and effective speed painting process involving photobashing, matte-painting and paint-over techniques so you can efficiently create realistic, detailed and jaw-dropping environment concept art. Finally, 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 the basic tools required to create breathtaking environment designs that amplify the viewer’s visual experience. You will have stunning new portfolio pieces that you can be proud of. And what’s more, you will have developed solid speed painting and environment design skills putting you well on your way to becoming a high level professional concept artist.

  • Course Type Concept Art and Illustration Courses
  • 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

The Early Registration Deadline is Wednesday the 11th of November at 11:59 PM.

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


Note: This class will be offered online only

Class Timings: Thursdays from 8 PM to 11 PM, Eastern Standard Time (EST or UTC-5h)

Date of first class: January 14th

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, shading and colour).
  • If you do not have the required skill in drawing and painting, it is suggested that you take our Digital Painting class and some drawing classes such as Analytical Sketching, and Fundamentals of Perspective.

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)


Required Materials

You 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).


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

Each class typically begins with some paint-over correction of student work, followed by an explanation and live painting demo by the instructor showing students exactly how to proceed for the next exercise, assignment or milestone. Then while students work on their environments, the instructor acts as their art director giving one-on-one feedback and design critique to each artist. At the end of the class, students are given a homework assignment which is to be submitted for a potential paint-over in the next class.

*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.

This 10-week course* is roughly divided into 3 parts and the exact timing of each part will be determined by the speed of the students.

Part 1: The basic environment design and painting process

In part 1 of the course, the instructor will explain and demonstrate his basic speed painting and environment design process**. You will learn how to apply this process through a series of exercises so you can gain proficiency in this quick and powerful method that will put you well on your way to becoming a competent environment designer.

**please note that the instructor’s process involves photobashing, matte-painting and paint-over techniques.

Part 2: The common environment design challenges

In part 2 of the course, you will use and expand upon the basic method learned in part 1 to tackle a series of common environment design scenarios so you can gain versatility, completeness and skillfulness as an environment designer.

Through these scenarios, you will learn to design for different types and styles of architecture, terrain, vegetation, weather conditions, level of technology and theme/genre (ex: medieval fantasy vs. post-apocalyptic sci-fi).

Part 3: Polish and the finishing touches

Finally, in part 3 of the course***, you learn advanced rendering techniques to bring you artwork to the finished level. You will take one or more of the scenarios you worked on in part 2 and polish it to create high quality finished artwork that you can be proud to display in your portfolio.

***This course outline is currently being updated and a new, more detailed outline will be sent to students before the start of the course.

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.

The Early Registration Deadline is Wednesday the 11th of November at 11:59 PM.

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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