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Costume Design

An 8-week course focused on the design and development process of costumes for film and television

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Costuming for TV and film

Students will discover methods of how to “dress” the figure to best suit the needs of their characters’ personalities. Using costume and props, you will be able to give story to your characters and bring them to life. Students will also learn about textures and proper methods of rendering different types of materials in Photoshop.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Photoshop and Wacom tablet (or equivalent)
Skills level:   Intermmediate
Prerequisites:   Anatomy of Clothing and Analytical Figure Drawing

Costume Design WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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In this lecture, we will take a character from a movie or TV show that we find interesting, call out some qualities in the character’s costume that make it visually appealing and help make the character believable, as well as find some things that don’t work as much; then we’ll roughly redesign the character’s costume to how we would like to have seen it. The design will be rough but readable enough for review.
We will find a theme that we want to take for a character and start developing it through reference images and a rough background story. Along the way we will be drawing some small thumbnails or doodles to brainstorm some interesting ideas for what their costumes/poses could be.
We will begin to flesh out the three thumbnails we chose. They should all have different costumes to portray who they are; keep in mind they should relate to the characters personality/backstory. Going back and forth from drawing and observing reference, I’ll begin fleshing out my characters more but keeping the drawings loose. We will choose one design that best portrays who my character is and looks the most appealing through design and pose.
Time to sell this design to the director! After all our research, reference, and rough line drawings have been figured out, we will then move the design we are most happy with into a final tonal rendered design. This final image should be highly detailed; figuring out exactly what is on the character’s body so that it’s readable and believable for a director.
Take the rough re-design character from week 1 and begin to roughly layout an idea of texture callout and color swatches. Choose one option of texture for each major article of clothing and three different color swatch layouts for the full costume color scheme. This will not be a painting but will help you get an overall blueprint of the costume before moving it into a final.
Take the final design from weeks 2-4 and begin to identify what material and textures the costume is entirely made of. Support major articles of the costume with three different samples; for example: the boot would be made out of option 1 leather, option 2 suede, option 3 rubber. Keep in mind how aged you want things to look when putting together the material reference. Choose a final texture call-out scheme for the full costume.
With the texture and materials in mind, begin to do 5 to 10 color swatch layouts for the weeks 2-4 design. Keep the character’s personality/backstory consistent with the overall palette and tone of the character. Choose one of the color swatch concepts and take the week 2-4 design into a rough color.
Take the chosen material/texture option form week 6 and the rough color from week 7 and move it into a final painting, fully lit and rendered.

Unleashing your creativity

Lectures by Clayton Stillwell

Clayton is always carrying a sketchbook around, whether it’s to create new ideas or just observe things going on around him, if he runs out of sketchbook pages he will resort to napkins. He works as a concept artist for feature film currently with Reel FX animation, creating happy cartoons by day then transforming to design monstrous creatures by night. Clayton has worked most recently on ReelFX’s latest film titled “The book of Life”. His clients have included, 20th Century Fox, BlueSky Studios, Cinewerx Film Productions, and 3 Dog pack Pictures. Some films he’s designed on include “Epic” the “Ice Age” films, Rio, Free Birds and more.


July 21st!

winter TERM Registration

May 14, 2019 - Jul 23, 2019




July 21st!

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

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