Due to Covid-19, only our online art classes are currently open for registration. Join our newsletter for updates

Intro to Visual Development

An essential 10-week course where you learn the skills for effective visual communication and develop visually stunning designs for production

Teacher Artwork by Boris Andreev

This class is full. Please send an email to [email protected] to be on the waiting list.

Sign me up for Syn Studio's Newsletter


Teacher Artwork by Boris Andreev

Intro to Visual Development

Do you wish to become a visual development artist but don’t know where to start? Do you dream of developing eye-catching visuals for film, games, animation, and tv that immediately strike a chord with the audience? Top visual development artists possess a mastery of the fundamental principles of design and shape language that enable them to design myriad imaginary worlds with characters, creatures, props, and environments that engage the viewers and provide them with a truly compelling visual experience.

In this 10 week course, taught by senior visual development artist, concept designer, and art director Boris Andreev, you will strengthen your design fundamentals and learn the essential skills and techniques for effective visual communication so you can launch and successfully advance your career as a visual development artist.

A visual development artist ideates and designs creative and stylized worlds, and sets the appropriate mood, tone and color palette so they drive the storyline and create a visceral experience for the viewer. Shape design is one of the most essential foundation skills of the visual development process. Through a series of lectures, assignments and case studies, you will become proficient in effectively using and manipulating primary shapes so you can design visual elements with unique identities and personalities that adhere to the design requirements. Guided by a veteran visual development artist, you will work towards creating industry-ready designs while learning essential techniques for ideation, stylization, lighting, colouring, and polishing your artwork. Finally, you will learn how to apply finishing touches to your designs and get valuable feedback from the instructor so you can build a fantastic visual development portfolio that will make heads turn and help you achieve your artistic dreams.

By the end of this course, you will have learned all the skills, tools, and techniques required to generate lively, vivid, and eye-catching designs. This course will greatly improve your design thinking process which will enable you to work confidently and efficiently across all the steps of the visual design process - from ideation to finish.

  • 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


Note: This class will be offered online only

Class Timings: Saturdays from 12 PM to 3 PM, Eastern Standard Time (EST or UTC-5h)

Date of first class: January 16th

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 Intro to 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 and painting, it is suggested that you take our Intro to Digital Painting class and some drawing classes such as Analytical Sketching, Drawing the Human Form 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 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 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

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

Week 1 - Gain a thorough understanding of the visual development process and learn some basics of stylization so you can generate visually appealing artwork that is a good fit for the production.

Weeks 2 and 3 - Gain proficiency in basic shape language by redrawing famous fictional characters through exploration and stylization/exaggeration of their forms, gestures, and body language. This will allow you to effectively communicate the identity and personality of your characters in a style appropriate to the production.

Week 4 - Gain the skills required to sketch a variety of props for your character and project. Through shape exploration studies and generating a series of stylized sketches you will have the bases for creating effective props that fit with the universe and art direction while driving the story forward.

Weeks 5 and 6 - Learn to create environments and set designs that possess distinct personality, emphasize the full potential of the characters, support the storyline and enhance the overall viewer experience.

Weeks 7 and 8 - Learn to effectively add colour and properly control lighting and level of detail in your designs so you can generate artwork that creates the desired atmosphere and emotional impact while directing the viewer’s attention to the storytelling elements of your piece.

Weeks 9 and 10 - Gain valuable feedback from the instructor on all the designs generated over the previous weeks as you polish them and take them to a finished level. Acquire valuable tips on how to finalize a top visual development portfolio and present it in a professional manner so you can stand out from the crowd.

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
Have you taken a course with us before? Yes No