Learn the roles of an Environment Designer
There are few roles quite as liberating as that of the environment designer. This is a discipline where artists have the freedom to conjure up their own visions for entire worlds. Drawing on an understanding and appreciation of nature, architecture, illustration, photography, cinema, and more, environment designers weave together the images that breathe life into a story and set the visual tone for all subsequent art development. In the world of film, visual development artists are tasked with mapping out the locations that–regardless of whether they’re ultimately built physically or digitally–will work hand-in-hand with performance and script to draw the audience in, enhance the drama, and incite specific emotional responses as each scene requires. Additionally, video game environment design involves the unique opportunities and challenges afforded by an interactive medium–one where the player’s actions, perspectives, and gameplay journey must all find a home within the artist’s worldview. Our Environment Design Track has been designed to give artists the skills and know-how necessary to tackle this discipline in any medium, featuring courses that cover all key aspects of natural and solid-surface environment design, matte painting, and sketching narrative illustration, and composition.
As you complete each course you will receive a certificate of completion for that course. In order to qualify for a course certificate of completion, students must complete at least 80% of the class assignment during the duration of the course.
Should you have any questions regarding these courses please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, you only pay for the course(s) you take in a given term.
Get a better sense of our courses.
As you complete each course you will receive a certificate of completion for that course. In order to qualify for an in course certificate of completion, students must complete at least 80% of the class assignment during the duration of the course.
3rd week of January
2nd week of April
Registration available on
Oct 12, 2023 - Jan 29, 2024
3rd week of April
2nd week of July
Registration available on
Feb 06, 2023 - Apr 24, 2023
2nd week of July
5th week of September
Registration available on
Apr 25, 2023 - Jul 17, 2023
5th week of September
4th week of December
Registration available on
Jul 19, 2023 - Oct 09, 2023
Learn from award-winning artists who've worked at top studios around the world
Dzu Nguyen is a freelance concept artist and illustrator currently working the in video games and entertainment industries. In addition to freelancing, he also teaches at the Art Institute of California. Some of his past video games projects for Sony Computer Entertainment include Warhawk, Resistance: Burning Skies, "Sorcery", Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, and Destiny of Spirits.
Dmitry Sorokin is a freelance concept designer working on video games. Dmitry holds an engineering degree in oil & gas industry. And after 10 years career in that field he switched gears completely to pursue his passion - creating worlds. After acquiring Entertainment Design diploma in 2014 he worked with several video games and concept art companies including Arkane Studios, Bethesda, Bohemia Interactive and West Studio; and participated in production of several games with PREY being among the others.
Lead Background Designer and Painter
Originally from New York, Kevin Scarborough is a background designer/painter currently living in Los Angeles, CA. His primary role has been Lead Background Designer and Painter for Stephen Colbert’s “Late Night Cartoons” studio at CBS. Also, Kevin has contributed to projects at Titmouse, Nickelodeon, Netflix, Cartuna, King Games, and Keyframe Digital Productions. He has a strong foundation in traditional animation and experience in 3D applications such as Blender, Maya, and Sketchup. An avid hiker, Kevin believes in the importance of painting and sketching outdoors and from life as much as possible.
Concept Artist / Illustrator
Lane Brown is a concept artist and illustrator working in the entertainment industry. His past projects include work for video games, tabletop games, theatrical poster art, and book cover illustration. Previously working as a concept artist and art director for Goldfires Studios, Lane now works as both a freelance illustrator and fine artist from his home in South Carolina. He specializes in both digital painting and traditional charcoal drawing.
Samma van Klaarbergen
Illustrator and Concept Artist
Samma is a freelance concept artist, art director and illustrator that loves anything related to color and light. As a self-taught artist, he is always exploring and figuring out what makes a good picture or artstyle. Samma has worked with Studios like Insomniac games, Ubisoft and Submarine animation, and is currently art directing multiple projects, including one of his own. He mainly works in Photoshop, but also uses 3D and VR in his workflow.
Senior Visual Development Artist
Kalen Chock is a Senior Visual Development Artist currently living in the Bay Area. He has always had a strong passion for art and enjoys any means of creative expression. Kalen's client list includes: Industrial Light and Magic, Autodesk, Ember Lab, Fantasy Flight, and Virtual Toys in Madrid. Currently Kalen is working on his own tactical RPG with Coda Games that will be released on Steam and PS4. When he is not working he enjoys all things active including soccer, basketball, and dancing.
Visual Development Artist
Austin is a freelance visual development artist based in Virginia. Austin started drawing when he was young. After graduating high school, went to study Illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design. Since then, he has worked with DreamWorks, M2 Animation, Fireball, Gold Valley Films, Echo Bridge, and other clients. He was a background designer and painter for the show The Mighty Ones on Hulu. Currently, he is working as a Location designer for the show Warhammer based on the game.
Concept Artist and Illustrator
Tyler Edlin is traditionally trained with a Bachelor of fine arts and certificate of illustration from The Art institute of Boston. Notably he has worked many indie projects like Fall From Heaven and the Therion Saga to the larger productions of Tinkerbells Fairies from Disney Interactive and Chivalry: Medieval Warefare from TornBanner studios. Tyler has worked with studios including Disney Interactive, Hitpoint Studios, Studio Virty's, Fantasy Flight, Paizo Publishing, StarDock Industries, Tornbanner Studios, and Activision.
Concept Artist / Illustrator
Simeon is a concept artist and illustrator based in Switzerland. Specializing in environment-design, he has worked on games such as The Last of Us: Part 2, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the Call of Duty series as well as various tv-series and indie-games alike. With the goal of making useful images for any given project, his distinctive approach to art and design allows him to craft locations that feel rich and alive while at the same time deliver thoughtful designs to the client. Aside from work Simeon can always be found sketching and painting outdoors with friends, combining his passion for nature and visual communication.
Matte Painter/Set Extension Artist
Michael is currently working as a Matte Painter/Set Extension Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studio. Originally born and raised in Seattle, he moved to the greater Los Angeles area and began his career at DNEG LA. In the past few years he has worked as a concept artist/matte painter for numerous clients including, The Jim Henson Company, Silver Pictures, HBO, among others.
Mexican artist Sergio Castañeda is part of the One Pixel Brush team, creating concept art for titles like Last of Us Part 2, Call of Duty Mobile, Arena of Valor, among others. Starting his career as a 3D technical artist, he decided to jump into the professional concept art world in the last years starting from scratch. He is constantly looking for new tools and techniques that allow him to move quickly and get the job done in a short time. Always searching for the best way to tell the story in every single image. He enjoys challenging projects but also family, movies, music, and dogs.
Senior Concept Artist
Gilles has been a Senior Concept Artist at Ubisoft Montreal since 2007. He has spent most of his time working on the Assassin's Creed games since 2008. Gilles also has work published in books such as "Digital Art Masters" (vol.7, 8, 9) and is a co-author of the book "Art Fundamentals" (3D Total).
Luc has over ten years of experience designing and creating world-class destinations, attractions, shows, and products for a wide range of domestic and international clients. Among other distinguished projects, Luc was a designer on the recently-opened Shanghai Disneyland Castle, the largest and most intricate to date. With his passion for sharing design experience and understanding, Luc teaches Entertainment Design at ArtCenter College of Design. Luc is currently working as CEO and Principal Designer at Steadman Design Studio in Pasadena, CA.
Clients: Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers Studio, Samsung, Paramount Studios, Dreamworks, National Geographic, MNC Land, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Warner Brothers, Resorts Worlds and many more.
Senior Concept Artist Matte Painter
Igor is a Lead Concept Artist and Matte Painter / Environment Artist working in film and video game industries. He has worked for various visual effect companies and clients all over the globe, such as Warner Brothers, Disney, Marvel, Legendary, 20th Century, Method Studios, MPC, Digic Pictures, Naughty Dog, Pixomondo, Axis Animation, Gnomon, and National Geographic.
He has contributed to award-winning projects such as Godzilla: King of Monsters, Black Panther, Thor Ragnarok, Justice League, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Assassin's Creed, Maleficent, Game of Thrones, Final Fantasy, Destiny, Call of Duty, Gone with the Bullets, Jersey Boys, Welcome to the Punch, The Dream of a Butterfly and many more. Igor has also been featured in several books, including Ballistic Publishing’s D'artiste Matte Painting 3, with nine of his matte paintings. He has a background in traditional painting that has helped him work both digitally and traditionally.
Anthony Christov has been an industry professional for over 30 years. Starting at Disney on "Rescuers Down Under", working on various projects through the 1990s, his career culminated with art directing for Pixar for the last 18 years. Anthony has art directing credits on films like "Finding Nemo", "Wall-E", and "Incredibles II," as well as countless legacy shorts and roles on many of the well-known Pixar hits. Through the years, he has witnessed the industry change and evolve with technology, and as such he brings invaluable experience and perspective to the students at CGMA.
Scott Caple has been working in the animation industry for 30 plus years as a designer, layout, and story artist for such companies as Lucasfilm, Don Bluth Productions, Disney, Pixar, Blue Sky, SPA among others, with credits including: Klaus, The Little Prince, The Incredibles, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Legend of Mulan, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000, Atlantis: The Lost Continent, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Inspector Gadget, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek II, plus game design for THQ for The Incredibles, The Incredibles:Rise of the Underminer, Ratatouille, and Wall-E, The Little Prince.
Other interests lean to such as calligraphy, painting, drawing, modelmaking, history and many things that require a lifetime to even begin to learn - sailing, fencing, arms and armour, movies, not to mention all these new things being served up by our digital age. In all of this he has learned that good reference is indispensable to creating good art.
Concept Artist / Illustrator
Axel Sauerwald is a freelance concept artist and illustrator, currently living and working in Germany. While being a part of the team at Atomhawk Design in Newcastle he had the chance to contribute to games such as Mortal Kombat 11, Age of Empires 2:DE and various other unannounced projects, mainly creating character and costume designs, illustrations and marketing art.
Environment Concept Artist
Dominic Jaro is an Environment Concept Artist at Turtle Rock Studios. Most notably he has worked on AAA titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Back4Blood. Dominic specializes in the Video Game Industry, but also has experience in Illustration, Background Paintings for Animation, Graphic Design, Marketing Art, Arch Viz and commercial work with brands such as Verizon and Hasbro.
Peter Han is an entertainment and concept designer who graduated from Art Center College of Design. His client list includes Sony, Konami, Cheyenne Mountain, Trion, Vivendi Universal, and many more. His titles include Warhawk, Spyro the Dragon, Stargate Worlds, Silent Hill Experience, and Defiance.
Concept Artist Generalist
Jon Hoekstra is a Matte Painter, Concept Artist, and Visual Development Artist who has worked for companies such as Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros, eclipse, and Walt Disney Imagineering. He has previously taught at Art Center College of Design, from which he received his BA in Illustration - Entertainment Arts in 2013.
Mehreen Bazm is an accomplished motion media designer with a strong educational background and a wealth of professional experience. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design and a Master's Degree in Motion Media Design from Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD).
After completing her studies, Mehreen began her career in the vibrant creative scene of Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York. During this time, she had the privilege of working with renowned companies such as Motion Picture Company-NY, Vice Media HBO, NBC Universal, Hogarth Worldwide, Ogilvy & Mather, Beehive, Loyal Kaspar, Click 3x, Spontaneous, Sirius XM, Transistors Studios, Animated Storyboards, Joule, Now what, Launch/Charlex, and Eyeball. These opportunities allowed her to gain valuable industry experience and collaborate on high-profile projects. She has worked with a diverse range of clients, such as Vida, Bitter Sweet, Ford, Rocky Mountain Institute, Charter Support, CMT ID Logos, The Profit, SharkTank, VICE HBO, Comedy Central, New York City Opera LED screen projection-Moses in Egypt, GE, Harley Davidson, La Soiree-Theater New York, Facebook, Adobe, and CNBC Networks.
In addition to her professional work, Mehreen has also ventured into teaching motion graphics. She served as a Motion Graphics instructor at the Art Institute of Colorado and played a pivotal role in revamping the motion graphics online course for Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. Currently, she excels as an online program instructor in 2D animation at RMCAD. Outside of her work, Mehreen is an avid explorer, a sun enthusiast, a passionate traveler, a skilled artist in various mediums including drawing and painting, a musician, a dancer, and an eternal seeker of knowledge. With her diverse skill set, extensive industry experience, and passion for creative expression, Mehreen Bazm continues to make her mark in the world of motion graphics and design.
Senior Concept Artist / Illustrator
Miguel Iglesias is a senior concept artist and illustrator for AAA games, films, and development of new IPs with more than 15 years of professional experience. Some of the titles he has worked on include The Division, The Division 2, FarCry 3 , World in Conflict. Now he works as a freelance artist for clients such as Ubisoft, Games Workshop, and Focus Interactive, to name a few.
Alejandro is an experienced full cycle Recruiter with demonstrated history of working in the computer games industry. He uses his hands on game development experience, in-depth AAA industry training, and holistic approach in developing and executing hiring strategies to build world class teams.
Art Director and Concept Artist
Isaak Lien currently works at Jam City as an Art Director and Concept Artist. He has been in the mobile game industry for 9+ years working on 2D concept and production art, visual development, UI design, and art leading at mobile game companies and studios such as Jam City, Kiwi, Ogmento, Kung Fu Factory, Mega Rock, Rising High Studio, etc. Some of the mobile game titles he worked on include Jam City’s top 20 grossing games, "Cookie Jam", Mega Rock’s Top 10 free games, "A Bike Race of Ninja Temple", Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob Moves In", and Konami’s "Slot Revolution".
Aside from having worked in the mobile game industry, he has been an illustrator for a storybook, founder, creative director, and designer of his own plush toy brand (Panda Yeah), creative director and artist for his own unregistered mobile game company(Orange Fun Games), visual arts teacher and tutor at various places. Although he currently works as an art lead, his passion for creating and teaching visual arts will continue to take center stage in his art journey!
Ricardo Guimaraes is a freelance Keyframe Illustrator with several years of experience. A Fine Arts graduate, he has a deep passion for the visual arts and he has worked for both the game and film industries. Among his clients are: Blizzard Entertainment, Square Enix, Wizards of the Coast, Type AB, Gunpowder and Sky, Ghost VFX, Axis Studios, Mindbender, and many others.
Liza is great. She's very accommodating and friendly and her critiques were very constructive.
Was a great guy overall that explained stuff clearly
Liza was fantastic! She was incredibly attentive and helpful, always going above and beyond for us. I would absolutely take another course taught by her again.
[Louis is] awesome. He really wanted to share all of the tips and good technices to deal with real cases of simulation tasks for production.
Chris was great. I'm glad he's not only close with the Clinton, but shares the same overall passion for the industry.
She did it perfectly. I dare to say that she very experienced with speaking in public. I'm not just glad to go through the course under her guidance, I am proud of it.
Adam was fantastic! He always took the time to answer my questions and help me improve my project. I truly appreciate his advice, expertise, and instruction.
Oh, Im so happy that someone so experienced like him gave me feedback. Plus he is a great person with passion about sharing 3D modelling/ texturing tips.
Jared is a great teacher!
Sophie was great and really helpful through the whole course. Any questions were always answered with clarity, and showing us different approaches helps develop the way of thinking required for Houdini
I learned a lot about the Houdini FLIP (fluids) workflow, of which I knew very little about before.
The instructor was great and delivered what was promised of the class. Besides this, it was great to received feedback from someone with so much experience in the industry.
Just awesome. So many tips and even if a question couldn't be answered in the live QnA -they were for sure answered in the class questions afterwards. Provided great and useful feedback. Great
explanations, nice, helpful, etc.
This course has challenged me and many different ways that I otherwise would not have been able to. Nate was excellent at explaining things in ways I've never thought before and had done so in very clear, concise manner.
It develops your eye and attention to detail. This is an excellent course. Walking my instructor through my grooming scene in Houdini and getting real time feedback on things was perfect, I loved that. Having your work reviewed by such a talent really made me want to push the hard work for me. I'm grateful for that because you feel always motivated.
Jane S. Kim
Janneke van den Biggelaar
Ethan it's an awesome teacher, the way he answered all of our questions was super clear, and even if he came across a problem he doesn't know 100% he looks into it to teach us the way to solve it
Diego is awesome! He's very friendly and easy to talk to; he was always happy to answer our questions and extremely encouraging about continuing to learn and grow as artists. He provided a lot of great demos in the Q&As and always gave detailed and thoughtful answers to both specific technical questions and general career related questions. It was a truly great experience to have Diego as an instructor; his enthusiasm for his craft really comes through and his willingness to share his own career experiences and anecdotes is greatly appreciated.
Chris is a great teacher who was always very positive and encouraging, and gave helpful feedback.
Adam was an excellent instructor and offered very insightful critiques and alternative processes that spoke to our individual designs. Always in a thoughtful, patient, and professional manner. As an instructor for almost 20yrs, I'd say you have a winner in Adam Beardall.
Ashley was extremely thorough in her answers to questions and feedback advice, as well as in providing links to external resources related to the questions and feedback.
Diego is awesome! super patient and encouraging.
It really helped me understand some of the intricacies about the pipeline for animated grooms. The reviews were also really helpful.
Ed really showed me great techniques to make sure I got a realistic water simulation. Amazing course!
She is amazing! I'm really happy to have signed up with Ashley, her feedback was very constructive and supportive and I really appreciated that as a beginner.
Seemed like she was very knowledgeable about the software.
Liza was an awesome instructor. She always provided good feedback.
Chris was an absolutely amazing instructor. You can tell he is a very nice guy who is passionate about what he does.
I love how close of a conversation you can have with him. How he seems to have a working example for nearly everything, it's really helpful to visualize if a specific question is more technical.
Really helped me get a better emphasis on material definition as well as gave me the confidence to do something like texture a face from scratch
Instructor was great, gave real world production examples and treated all students respectfully
I now know how to use substance painter, texture a face, and render a scene in marmoset. Incredibly useful.
Nate is an exceptional teacher. It changed my way of taking on new projects and opened up new opportunities and horizons as a freelance artist. I cannot thank him enough for how valuable it was to take Nate's class.
The course helped answer many questions I had coming in, both about the industry and about MAYA. I learned new ways to model things that I wouldn’t have been able to before.
It was great to have an instructor with such a wide background in animation as well as a concentration in one specific aspect.
Ethan is a great artist and also a great instructor, he helped with every problem I had even when they were not related to groom so that was great.
Emiel was simply perfect. He is easy to listen to, he has a mountain of knowledge, he teaches really well, doesn't overwhelm with too much information. I would personally prefer the course to be 2 or 4 weeks longer and taught exclusively by Emiel.
Ashley is the most inspiring Zbrush mage! Her live QAs are super fun and get us hyped about trying something new in the software and in our designs! Found my love for Zbrush with her demos and feedback and hope to learn more :D
Student testimonial here
Student testimonial here
I gained a much better understanding of the project flow for game asset creation and how UVs are handled for video games.
Test test tststsdf
Magnificent transformation--strongly recommend Louis and his course to every person who wants to advance their skills.
I really enjoyed learning from Emmanuel. He was very humble and knowledgeable. I can tell he put a lot of thought and time in using our face to face time wisely by addressing as many overall issues the class was having with their projects via his demos and lectures. He also made himself available for industry based questions that are so important, yet outside of the realm of just learning how to create.
Need guidance? We’re Here to Help.
We can help with admissions questions, portfolio review/course recommendations!