Production Illustration and Environment Painting Techniques

An 8-week course that will enhance your production illustration skills and apply them to real-world scenarios

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Level up your production painting skills

Today’s studios have evolved a set of demands that move beyond the singular focus of matte painting to include digital environments and production illustrations. In this course, Nick Hiatt will demonstrate the processes he uses to create a detailed production illustration, employing the same modern techniques required in everyday production work. He will break down his workflow for creating digital environments and show students how to create a range of 3D assets--from characters to terrain to architecture. Once 3D assets are created, students will paint them using a mix of techniques in Photoshop. This course will cover many different types of industry-standard software, and will explore an array of approaches to create production illustrations and modern digital paintings.

Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual Recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Due each week. Expect to spend 10-20 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Adobe Photoshop, Graphic tablet/Cintiq (or equivalent), Maya, Zbrush, Daz3D
Skills level:   Intermediate to Advanced
Prerequisites:   Intro to Digital Matte Painting (required) | Knowledge of Photoshop; Basic 3D modeling and Zbrush (or Mudbox) skills

Production Illustration and Environment Painting Techniques WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Course overview | Layer Basics | Shape Tool | Creating Thumbnails | Thumbnails to Color Keys
Set up 3D Layout scenes and camera | Create Temporary Geometry for layout | 3D Terrains (assets provided by Terrain Domain) | 2D Terrains (photo assets) | Temp Render for 2D Mock Up | Setup Sky and Color Base | 3D Refinement
Matte Painting Techniques: Curves, Layers, Reference | Setup IMM in Zbrush and Kit Reference | Kitbash out Architecture ideas in Zbrush, Flesh out Architecture ideas in Maya
Mech Kit: Free and Paid | Mech Reference | Kitbashing in 3D -- Hero and Destroyed Mechs | Import Mech into 3D scene
Daz3D Interface | Create a character in Daz3D | Importing a Daz Character into Maya | Prepping a Daz Character in Maya
Wrapping up 3D Scene | Setting up 3D shaders and textures | Altering textures in Photoshop | Rendering in 3D | Setting up AOV and Render Layers
Detailing your 3D Mech | Detailing your 3D Architecture | Adding FX elements(fire, smoke, heat disp)
Final Painting | Detailing your 3D Characters | Values and Levels | Grain and Post-processing | Depth of field and Lens Blurs | Detail, Detail, Detail!

Taking your skills, to the next level

Nick Hiatt is an Art Director, Matte Painter and Concept Artist based out of Los Angeles California. He began his career working with such Visual Effects studios as Digital Domain, Bad Robot, Disney and Sony Imageworks. Nick currently owns a Visual Effects studio that specializes in Matte Painting, Concept Art and 3d Environments. Nick has worked on a range of projects such as Star Wars, Thor, Star Trek, Destiny, Call of Duty, Halo and Lord of the Rings to name a few.


April 22nd!

spring TERM Registration

Feb 11, 2019 - Apr 26, 2019




April 22nd!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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