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Foundation & Design Program

A series of courses tailored to provide a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of art and design

Courses start on Apr 25, 2020

Estimated tuition

$10K to $15K

Prices may vary on elective courses taken


21 months


Basic drawing and digital manipulation skills or completion of Block 0

Estimated Salary

$56K to $137K

Based on US job data

Foundations & Design Program overview

Program Overview

Realize the importance of Foundation & Design

As the world-renowned realist artist Ken Danby once noted, “Without good drawing, the foundation of a painting will collapse.” It’s a tenet that still holds true in the age of digital art, where the power afforded by modern design tools actually makes the need for a strong grounding in the rules of art and design more important than ever. Whatever your likely career path and desired endpoint in the field of entertainment design--be it in character design or environment design, visual effects, or another one of the many specialist 2D and 3D roles available--it is essential to gain a strong and balanced understanding of the fundamentals of good design, as well as the principles, techniques, and best practices that make up the bedrock of the entire industry. That’s where our Foundation & Design Program comes in.

Enrolling into a CGMA Program is a simple and painless affair. Once you've decided on which program you want to complete, simply register and start taking the classes outlined in your program's block list. That's it! 

On average, we recommend 1-to-2 courses per term. Should you wish to complete the program at an accelerated rate please contact Additionally, you only pay for the course(s) you take in a given term (so no need to pay for an entire program upfront). And, after completing all the block-courses in a given program, you will be awarded a Program Certificate of Completion.

In order to qualify for a program certificate of completion, students must enroll in at least 14 courses, listed below, and complete 12. This can be some combination of the program’s standard block courses (1-7), and up to 2 electives as part of the total courses enrolled. Students should note that Block 0 will not count toward the program total. 

Broad based by nature, this program is designed to suit a wide range of abilities, interests, and career paths. Choosing from a range of standard block courses, electives, and studio courses, students build their own program of 10 or more courses across a variety of sketching, painting, and design disciplines in order to create an individualized yet comprehensive learning experience.

Prerequisites Basic drawing and digital manipulation skills or completion of Block 0

An Ideal Starting Point

An Ideal Starting Point

While assuming some raw talent and artistic skills, this program is built to cover all key aspects of art and design--and so lay the groundwork for further study in the digital arts. The lessons taught here are as applicable to careers in illustration, architectural design, comic/graphic novel work, or even in the automotive industry as they are to careers in entertainment design. Students will utilize classical, physical drawing tools, as well as digital tools like Photoshop with a drawing tablet, to build a solid understanding of perspective, sketching, anatomy, design, light, color, and composition.
The Fundamentals

The Fundamentals

Because all courses are taught by industry professionals, the Foundation & Design program focuses firmly on core real-world skills--not dry academic exercises. For novice artists, it provides the first vital stepping stone before signing up for CGMA’s Character Design or Environment Design Programs. Artists with a more 3D-oriented skill set who are looking to refine their underlying foundation skills before delving further into areas such as rigging, VFX, or character/environment arts will also benefit greatly from the training offered in this program.


Students receive individual certificates upon completion of each class, along with an overall Foundation & Design Program certificate for the entire program if ten or more courses have been successfully completed to the satisfaction of each respective instructor.
The Next Step

The Next Step

By the end of the program, students will have gained a solid grounding in the fundamentals of art and design, and will be prepared for the next stage in their career or education--including continuing with one of the more advanced career-specific programs offered by CG Master Academy, such as the Character Design and Environment Design Programs.

Foundations & Design CURRICULUM


Get a better sense
of our curriculum.

The following requirements are only mandatory for students enrolling in the 2020 Spring Term and beyond. For all students who enrolled prior to the 2020 Spring term, they have the choice of continuing with the previous format or take advantage of our updated/optimized version. 

In order to qualify for a program certificate of completion, students must enroll in at least 14 courses in this program and complete 12. This can be some combination of the program’s standard block courses, and up to 2 electives as part of the total courses enrolled.


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