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  • Difficulty Level:

    workshop-level-a A
  • Keywords: 2D


Students loved Simon Scales' Intro to Environment Design for Games and Film CGWorkshop so much, they demanded an Advanced class. So Simon made one - can't disappoint the fans, after all!

During this eight week digital painting workshop you will learn how to create a portfolio of environment concept art for games and film. The course will be heavily focused on developing your portfolio and refining your techniques to create highly realized environment paintings, scenes and shots.

There will be a solid base of fundamentals throughout the course to help build your painting and compositional technique. Areas that will be covered in-depth throughout the course are: composition, value, perspective, color theory, painting with colour, creating color palettes and a strong emphasis on design and shape language.

This course is for people who are comfortable painting digitally in Photoshop and looking to take their work to the next level. During the 8 weeks of the course Simon will guide you through how to paint various subject matter and moods.

Project Brief

In the Advanced class there will be a project brief that we will work through each week. You will be creating paintings for your vision of Oberon. The world of Oberon is entirely up to YOU to define. Each week Simon will share demos and theory notes on various topics and ways to paint different types of landscapes/establishing shots and interiors and 3D paintovers.


Week 1 - Value Studies, Thumbnails and Review of Basics.

In this first week we will get straight into creating value studies and thumbnails. Learn how to set up an effective workspace in Photoshop, set up brushes and also keyboard shortcuts to create a professional workflow. See demos on how to create value studies and thumbnails in B&W to capture mood, depth and scale. We will also talk about composition heavily in Week 1.

There will be a lot of demos posted in week 1 which over the following weeks you will be able to refer back to when needed.


  • Creating Value Studies. Template provided. 
  • Understanding Values and Composition Setting up. 
  • Custom Shapes and Brushes. 
  • Perspective. 
  • Gathering Reference Generating Shot Ideas.


  • Create 15 unique shapes. 
  • Create 5 or more unique B&W environments using the techniques you see used in this week's demo.
  • Spend around 30 mins on each composition.

Week 2 - Painting an Establishing Shot for Our World of Oberon.

In the second week we will go through different techniques and ways of creating and planning out establishing shots for our word (brief will be available to you in the course). Simon will demo different ways that you can generate ideas quickly in color. There will be a strong emphasis on composition, design and color. This week will be about coming up with different thumbnails and ideas for our world. How to effectively achieve this and then how to communicate your ideas through thumbnails.


  • Using custom shapes and brushes. 
  • Colour theory. 
  • Designing with composition. 
  • Creating Color thumbnails­ in preparation for week 3 final paintings. 
  • Establishing shot.


  • Paint 4 thumbnails either in B&W or color, whatever you feel comfortable with. Each with a different feel and mood.

Week 3 - Finalising an Establishing Shot for Our World of Oberon.

Balance, Harmony, Rhythm and Contrast use these within your composition when finalizing your establishing shot. This week you will learn how to take a painting to finish. Going from our initial color thumbnails we will then take one of our establishing shots to completion. Learn about layers, layer masks, adjustment layers and various photoshop tools that you can use to help finalize your painting and Develop an understanding of creating a professional finish with your work.


  • How to create and use the rule of thirds.
  • Breaking up your canvas using various types of different compositional rules. 
  • Principles of composition, what they are and how to control them.
  • Color study of still image.
  • See the importance of creating studies. (Template/reference provided)
  • Taking the color thumbnails to finish.


  • Take 2 of your thumbnails from Week 2. Develop them up a bit further until you are comfortable with them.
  • Choose your favourite one to take to finish.

Week 4 - Working on Visual Language for Our World of Oberon.


  • Idea Generation/Shot Design.
  • How to explore options for paintings.
  • Deciding on subject matter, compositions and colors.
  • How to paint thumbnails directly in color.
  • Bringing it all together.


  • Paint up 3 color thumbnails exploring different ideas for you interpretation of the world Oberon.
  • Choose 1 painting to take to finish.

Week 5 - Architecture, Perspective and 3D­ Sketchup.

This week Simon will demonstrate how to use Sketchup in your environment painting process. You will learn the basics of sketchup so you can start mocking up some architecture and scenes to use within your paintings.


  • Intro to Sketchup.
  • Incorporating 3D base into your painting to help with your architecture, perspective and shot design.
  • Color Painting Process continued.


  • Create 3 different Sketchup bases.
  • Paint over one of your sketch bases to create a fully fleshed out environment painting.

Week 6 - Designing Interiors.

This week Simon will show you how to paint up some interior designs. You will get to see different techniques and approaches to creating interior spaces.


  • See the process of how to create 4 different interior spaces.


  • Paint up concepts for 4 different interior spaces using the techniques you have learned in the demo.

Week 7 - Interior Spaces Continued….

See how to create a nice solid model for paintover of an interior space for our world of Oberon. Learn how to paint this up to a fully fleshed out.


  • Modelling interiors in Sketchup.
  • Using Sketchup as a base for fully finalized production paintings.


  • Create 3 sketchup interiors.
  • From your model create 1 fully realized concept painting.

Week 8 - Production Painting

Choose an area of your choice from the world you have designed and paint up a production painting. This week Simon will show how to add those finishing touches to your painting to really tie them together. In this final week it will be your chance to pull together all your paintings from weeks through weeks 1 - 7.


  • Final production painting.


  • Finish up your paintings and post them on the forum for Simon to give some final feedback during the week!


Minimum Skills

Intermediate Photoshop skills, Wacom tablet or similar.