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Environment Design

with Michael Bills & Kenneth Anderson
4.4 (8)
Learn the basics of how to create an environment as used in illustration and concept design for creative industries. Over 8 hours of lessons, theory and practical assignments!
English English [Auto]
8+
hours
22
lessons
intermediate to advanced
level
Michael BillsKenneth Anderson

Your Instructors

Kenneth & Michael are professional illustrators & character designers with 14+ and 8+ years of work experience under their belt, respectively.

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8+
hours
22
lessons
intermediate to advanced
level
English English [Auto]

Requirements

Who is this course for?

  • It’s suitable for intermediate artists but you will get more out of it if you have some previous experience with photoshop.
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Description

In this course you’ll learn the basic of how to create an environment as used in illustration and concept design for creative industries. You’ll learn how to create a polished image starting with thumbnailing and ending with a final illustration. You’ll also learn about composition, perspective and digital painting techniques in Photoshop.

But the best part is that you’ll get to follow along with both Michael Bills & Kenneth Anderson as they create a Utopian City as part of a specific real world design brief. This will allow you to compare their individual approaches to the brief. This course will improve your environment design skills x 10!

In the course with Kenneth Anderson you’ll get to follow along as he completes a brief to design a futuristic Utopian city. You learn about composition, tone and atmospheric perspective as they apply to a real world brief. There are no assignments in this particular course and it is very focused on the practical aspects of the brief.

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What you’ll learn

  • Learn from the pros the process of designing awesome environments
  • Create depth and interest with tone, value and atmospheric perspective
  • Improve your design skills by looking at two different artistic approaches
  • Understand why composition, balance and rule of thirds are important⁠
  • Use blend modes to create cool effects much faster⁠
  • Design a polished image starting with thumbnails, color comps and sketching
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This course includes

Lesson Plan

with Kenneth Anderson
Expand all sections
01

Introduction

02:08

Welcome to the tutorial!

02

The brief

01:07

A look at the brief which ultimately defined this concept.

03

Brushes

03:12

An overview of the brushes I use for this piece.

04

Layers

09:44

A quick run down of how I use layers, blending modes and masks.

05

Composition

06:02

Some general composition concepts which I will be thinking about throughout my process.

06

Detail

02:07

Using selective detail to lead the eye.

07

Tone & value

04:56

The importance of tone/value as a composition tool.

08

Atmospheric perspective

05:31

A basic overview of this natural phenomenon which will bring realism to this piece and can be used to your advantage.

09

Colour

06:48

A few of the main colour ideas which feature in this process.

10

Reference

08:43

Using reference to come up with new ideas and to kick start the design process.

11

Thumbnailing

28:37

Being creative and pushing your ideas by doing quick thumbnails.

12

Process

40:27

With a thumbnail decided upon, it’s time to start painting!

13

Work in progress review

15:20

I take a step back and evaluate the work in progress.

14

Process continues

40:27

Back to painting, making changes to improve the image based on the previous review.

15

Final thoughts

13:46

Reflecting on the whole process and how I used the concepts discussed at the start to come up with the final image.

Lesson Plan

with Michael Bills
Expand all sections
01

Introduction

06:50

After a quick introduction, we go over the work brief and then talk about how to effectively gather reference for the topic you are going to explore.

02

Developing Ideas

24:58

A short overview of thumbnailing and an introduction to a few composition basics that are worth keeping in mind when developing your environment. I’ll go over how to quickly create a seamless tiling pattern, and different ways you can create some custom brushes. I also give a brush pack recommendation.

03

Thumbnails

35:52

We set up a document for generating thumbnails, and then go through the process of using the reference we gathered to develop some environment ideas.

04

Refinining your idea

40:36

Preview class

After choosing a thumbnail, we begin the process of refining the idea, breaking it up into more manageable groups, (foreground, middle ground, background) and give ourselves a more solid foundation to build from.

05

Colors & Lighting

33:05

Using the same layout as the thumbnails, this lesson is about taking our refined thumbnail and developing different color schemes/lighting ideas that we will eventually choose from and use as reference during the final rendering process.

06

Rendering

54:36

In this lesson, using everything we have developed so far, we begin to render out our final environment in grayscale. After we come to a good stopping point, we move onto colorizing the image, using one of our color comps as reference.

07

Final image

15:18

This is all about finishing touches and final polish such as adding some additional environment fx, color tweaks, and any additional detailing that might be needed.

Student Feedback

8 customer reviews & ratings

4.4

Course rating

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5 star
75 %
4 star
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3 star
13 %
2 star
13 %
1 star
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Best Suited for
Intermediate
The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.

(Based on 8 reviews)

Most Liked
Clarity of Inspiring 5
Clarity of Instruction 4
Engaging Teacher 3
Showing 8 reviews of 8 reviews & ratings
N
Natalia

5 months ago

Verified Purchase
Thank you very much for all the good information!
I recommend it for All levels
R
Rebecca

6 months ago

Verified Purchase
This course is a treasure trove of information regarding composition, work flow, and step by step processes for creating an environment. There are hours of instruction, and I like that there is no soundtrack. Michael is well spoken and sometimes doesn't talk while he works, but instead, he makes a d
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ecision or action, and then he describes what went through his decision making process. This is like looking over an illustrator's shoulder as they complete an entire landscape.
I recommend it for Intermediate
J
Jason

7 months ago

Verified Purchase
It’s cool seeing this process. From start to finish and everything that needs to be given the time and attention to make a completed work. I also like that Kenneth Anderson has a very small cache of brushes. Michael Bill’s course seemed more like he was following the Kenneth Anderson course and just
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happened to put it on video. It’s good, but not as in depth. Both were helpful and interesting.
I recommend it for Intermediate
I
Isabel

1 year ago

Verified Purchase
I got this course after owing two 21Draw books that I love, and I am loving the course too. It is great, full of information, clear explanations , lovely art... and from 2 different great artists and points of view. I am very pleased with it. Thanks!
K
Korneliusz

1 year ago

Verified Purchase
A lot of very useful information for the course itself and for day to day work. I really enjoy the way Kenneth makes his courses, even the things I knew already I never skipped. Great course :)
Z
Zuheb

1 year ago

Verified Purchase
All the course are very straightforward and I mean it in a good way. Theres a simple step by step process which is easy to follow and it really helps especially if you want your workflow to be very smooth without making many errors which is what I tend to do. Oh and they are very in depth and I'm no
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t joking. You really get to explore deeply - at least that's how I see it. It has subtitles because I asked for it, and they uploaded it. Big help since I'm hard of hearing and need full access!
M
mariana

7 months ago

Verified Purchase
I think this course is not for beginners, and for me, the sequence will be better if Michael's course is switched to Kennet's course. The teachers talk very slow, and we don't have some soundtrack or a good vignette to make the classes more attractive, so sometimes it's a little bit sleepy. But the
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content is so important, and if you have a basic knowledge about environment design you could enjoy this course much more.
I recommend it for Intermediate
Q
Q

8 months ago

Verified Purchase
I don't think it is suitable for beginners. they are videos of the drawing are in timelapse and it is difficult to follow along. However, it looks interesting, and I probably will retake the course... once I have picked up more experience with other courses. Also, I think the videos from Kenneth sho
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uld be the 1st ones to appear... he dedicates time to explain colors, composition, etc... which is nice to start, instead of jumping to developing 6 ideas with Michael.
I recommend it for Intermediate

About the Instructors

Michael Bills
Character Designer & Concept Artist 1 course

Michael Bills is an incredible Concept Artist and Illustrator from the US who has predominately been working on mobile games for more than 8 years. We’ve been working with him for a long time and he always provides exciting and fun contributions! His impressive character and environment design abilities make him a real treasure.


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Kenneth Anderson
Illustrator & Character Designer 5 courses

Kenneth is a professional freelance character designer with 14+ years experience. Based in the UK, he has worked with companies like the BBC, Disney, Tandem films and Axis Animation. He also worked on Sylvain Chomet’s Oscar nominated film “The Illusionist” and the French feature Titeuf: Le film.  His specialties are story-driven character-based illustration and design for a variety of mediums, in particular children’s television. In his spare time, he enjoys creating characters, illustrating magazines and making games.

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