Environment Concept Design 2001

This course will teach you how to take a client brief and create an environment concept using 3D and 2D techniques which delivers on every level.

Course Schedule
Robin Konieczny
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Create industry-standard concept art to sell the client’s vision


The aim of this course is to take the client’s initial brief and create a series of concept pieces that will bring their ideas to life. Working with the kind of constraints clients will impose on us, we’ll look at employing solid workflows and techniques that are used in real-world productions.

Working from the brief, we’ll start by looking at the schedule, collating references, and creating key moodboards. These moodboards will help us spark new ideas, and in a world of infinite possibilities, we’ll work our way out of the mind map to lay firm ideas down onto the blank, white canvas.

Moving on from our initial idea generation, we’ll look to use existing 3D assets to block out the environment, which will then inform our 2D designs. Going between 3D and 2D and back again will allow us to explore and work up our environment to ensure shot cohesion. We’ll also want to make sure lines of sight are maintained, and to establish a clear narrative which supports the script and the action. We’ll also look at basic camera workflows, shot composition, lenses, aspect ratios, all of which will help to create a series of cinematic shots to sell the clients vision.

Lighting and rendering out passes will come next and this will allow us to push our concept in Photoshop. Here we will learn how to photobash backgrounds, and work and grade additional image sources to match our intended look. We’ll look at using layer blending techniques, custom brushes, and have an in-depth look at some of the core Photoshop tools which help create industry-standard professional artwork.

By the end of the course, you will have a deeper understanding of what it takes to produce environment concept art, and will come away with professional techniques, workflows and methodologies to help you in your future projects and career.

Course Details

  • Type: Online
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Duration: 09 weeks
  • Format: Pre-recorded videos and weekly live sessions
  • Assignments: Weekly & 1 final
  • Tools: Modo, Photoshop, Substance Painter, Substance Alchemist, Houdini, Clarisse
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Course Access Time: Lifetime

Small, personal classes with no more than 15 students

Industry partners

Lessons in this course

  • 01. The Brief, reference and moodboards

    In this lesson, we’ll introduce you to the project and break down the client brief. Following on from this, we’ll start gathering reference and do some research to ensure our concepts hit the client’s expectations. Lastly, we’ll start brainstorming to generate a series of ideas to push further.
  • 02. Basic asset creation in 3D

    Using kitbashing workflows, we’ll start by blocking out the initial environment with a focus on making sure we are able to hit the story beats of the script.
  • 03. Creating a mountain

    Here we’ll examine terrain workflows using DEM data and heightfields in Houdini.
  • 04. Blocking out the world

    With the mountain in place, we’ll start focusing on the rest of the environment to create what will be the final layout for our Japanese Shrine.
  • 05. Virtual cinematography

    In this lesson, we’ll focus on creating cameras to sell the story and push the director’s vision. This will include blocking out camera positions and experimenting with lenses to create appealing compositions and a cinematic series of shots.
  • 06. Lighting and rendering

    With our cameras locked and ready to go, we’ll now move our attention to lighting, and look at some texturing workflows to push our concept further. We’ll also export a series of AOVs that will come in handy when working in Photoshop.
  • 07. Photobashing

    From here on in, we’ll focus most of our attention on bringing the 3D elements together in Photoshop. We’ll start by photobashing different images together to block out the concept.
  • 08. Advanced grading and image integration

    In this lesson, we’ll use a series of tools and techniques to grade our elements to create a cohesive and believable image.
  • 09. Bringing it all together

    Our final lesson will cover how to finalise the concepts and make them ready for client review.

Tutor: Robin Konieczny

Concept and Environment Supervisor

Robin, started off small then got bigger. When he was small, he liked making models (real models - not in a computer), crafting landscapes to put them in, sketching strange worlds, imagining strange craft and creatures that inhabited them. Now Robin is bigger, he makes models and then crafts and paints the landscapes they inhabit. He is still painting and drawing strange worlds, creatures and craft - but now in a computer. He has concepted, matte painted, modelled, textured, look dev’d, and lit for Film and TV for over 20 years. He has been at DNEG for 10 years initially as an Environments Lead, then becoming a Supervisor and currently running the DNEG TV Env/Gen department, which recently won an EMMY for HBO’s Chernobyl mini-series. He has concepted on projects such as Total Recall, Hunger Games Catching Fire, Avengers Age of Ultron, Jupiter Ascending, Assassin's Creed, Star Trek Beyond, Pacific Rim Uprising, and TV shows such as The Dark Crystal, and Dr Who: Seasons 11 and 12.


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