3D Environment Arts Program

Master the concepts, techniques, and tools required for a career as a 3D environment artist

Courses start on Apr 20, 2019

Estimated tuition

$7K to $10.2K

Prices may vary on elective courses taken


24 months


Basic understanding of 3D modeling and texturing

Estimated Salary

$63K to $123K

Based on US job data

Foundations & Design Program overview

Program Overview

Understand the role of an Environment Artist in Games

The environment artist’s role is that of world builder. The mission is nothing less than to craft the spaces that will create a sense of immersion, help tell a story, and work hand-in-glove with level design and gameplay. Environment artists work at the vanguard of game development, typically collaborating closely with level designers to visualize, build, and refine the 3D content that helps define aesthetic as well as gameplay flow. In addition to providing students with an inroad to the games industry, this program also acts as an ideal primer for artists looking at more specialized hard surface modeling or digital matte painter roles in the film and animation industries.

Prerequisites Basic understanding of 3D modeling and texturing



Look development is the visual starting point for any production, regardless of platform. Working to develop themes, moods, and tone, this phase includes the creation of concept art and reference style libraries. Ultimately this crucial phase helps determine what the whole world will look like and how all the story elements integrate with this environment. While environment artists will sometimes get involved in this stage, studios now tend to favor a more specialized workflow, with one or more dedicated artists focusing on concept design.
Level Design

Level Design

The role of the level designer is to construct the playable world within the game engine. This will ultimately work together with the environment artwork in the service of the game’s narrative thrust, while also dealing with the countless gameplay interactions and permutations available to players along the way. This stage typically begins with a block mesh phase, then close collaboration with environment artists to revise and flesh out the levels as modeling work and game development continues. In some studios, the environment artists will be more closely involved in the level design process.


This is the key asset development phase; it encompasses the design, blocking, creation, and piecing together of all the building blocks necessary to flesh out a game environment. Working with a variety of sculpting and modeling tools, artists build on the foundations of the level design to create a cohesive look as they finesse everything from blades of grass to key props and ultimately whole scenes.


The second part of the asset creation phase involves the addition of the surfacing detail that turn lifeless geometry into immersive game art. Whether working on stylized or more realistically-based content, this stage requires a mastery of materials creation, plus an understanding of how the game art fits into the overall pipeline and integrates with the game engine powering the project’s visuals.

Foundations & Design CURRICULUM

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