Learn how to become a matte painter for Film & TV with 1-On-1 training from award-winning artists

Course Overview

Are you looking to take your concept art skills further and dramatically increase your workflow efficiency?

The visual effects and video game industry is constantly evolving, and studios are getting more demanding when it comes to quality and speed. When producing Concept Art for clients it’s more important than ever to be nimble and have all the necessary tools and resources at your disposal to make changes on the fly.

That’s why CG Spectrum has created the Introduction to 3D Concept Art course specifically designed for students wanting to take their concepting skills to the next level.

Over the course of 12 weeks, you’ll learn professional techniques used by industry artists to create your own 3D concepts from scratch. Learn how to digitally sculpt props and assets from thumbnail sketches, block out 3D environments quickly and take your concepts to a polished level using rending and paint over techniques.

By mixing 3D and 2D techniques for concept art using industry standard software such as ZBrush, Maya, Photoshop, 3D Coat and Marmoset Toolbag you’ll expand your arsenal of techniques and learn the workflows used by AAA game design and VFX studios around the world.

The Introduction to 3D Concept Art course can be taken in a small group or as a one-on-one mentorship. Whichever you choose, you can rest assured that your mentor will take a personal interest in your future success and guarantee an educational experience like no other.

Next Intake

May 6th, 2019


12 Weeks

Course Delivery


Course Load

20 hrs/ week




Introduction to Concept Art or a portfolio that demonstrates similar learner outcomes.

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Prop Design: Thumbnailing & Digital Sculpting

At the beginning of this course, students will familiarize themselves with ZBrush Core, a digital sculpting software that will be used to bridge your 2D Concept Art skills with the 3D world.

Next, you will begin to design your own prop using a mix of 2D and 3D techniques starting with Photoshop to create thumbnail ideations focusing on strong silhouettes then extracting those designs in ZBrush Core.

Students will then dive deeper into digital sculpting to refine their blocked out designs and add detail. You will conclude your final design process using external rendering packages like Marmoset Toolbag 3 to get quick render passes and then move on to Photoshop for final the paint over process.

  • Master the basics of ZBrush Core, with a focus on basic interface navigation and sculpting tools to understand the ideation process
  • Create thumbnails for your designs focusing on the importance of using reference and thumbnailing to create strong silhouettes
  • Import your thumbnail sketches as a texture into ZBrush Core to extract basic shapes and begin your ideation process in 3D
  • Learn the common tools used for 3D Concepting with ZBrush Core including 3D gizmo’s, masking, IMM primitives, booleans, trim dynamic, inflate tool and clay polish
  • Create basic materials and lighting setups to output a final image for the paint over process
  • Take final rendered images to a polished level using paint over techniques
Intro to Matte Painting

What you get

Access to world-class mentors
Live weekly classes
Weekly recorded critiques
Custom built curriculum
Original video content
Access to online learning portal

Your Amazing Mentors

heather abels

Meet Heather

A senior matte painter with over 12 years of feature film experience, Heather Abels has worked at several top studios such as Disney Animation, Matte World Digital, and Rhythm & Hues. You may recognize some of her feature film work from Big Hero 6, Life of Pi, Avatar and Golden Compass. She’s held titles as a Set Extension Artist, Senior Matte Painter, Matte Painting Lead, and Matte Painting Supervisor.  With a passion for training and educating the next generation of artists, she has taught at universities, developed training material for top studios and created online courses. She currently works remotely with clients all over the world as a matte painter, concept artist and illustrator.

ryan prestridge

Meet Ryan

Ryan Prestridge has worked in various Matte Painting positions across many different studios. He started at Rhythm and Hues as a Lead Matte Painting TD and then went to MPC as a Senior Environment TD and then as a Lead 3D-Digital Matte Painter. He then went to ReelFX Animation to be a Technical Matte Painter. Currently, he is a Matte Painting Compositor at DreamWorks Animation. During his career, Ryan has had the opportunity to work on films such as Django Unchained, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Boss Baby and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

Lauren Wakley

CG Spectrum has a way of mentoring students that I haven't experienced before. My mentor is always pushing me in order to become industry ready. CG Spectrum mentors are always available for feedback and take a proactive approach to teaching their students.

Liam Jones

The very personal learning experience I had through CG spectrum encouraged me to dig deep with questions and figure out how to really improve. I got the attention I needed from my mentor and broke through the frustrating plateau I had been at before starting. Looking back on my old artwork, I'm extremely satisfied with how far I've come.

Erica Hornakova

I have nothing but great memories of CG Spectrum! I was a bit unsure when I signed up for the course, but it changed my life. I had a great mentor who would always push me to do better and I learned valuable things each class.

Ryan-Tinder James

During my time at CG Spectrum my skill as an artist and concept artist specifically, rose to new heights I'd never imagined possible. I fell deep into the rabbit hole during this course, only because CG Spectrum offered so much extra information. This left me ready to kick start my career.

Course Tuition

Small Class

At CG Spectrum you’re never just a number. We cap our concept art class sizes at 5 students so you get the most attention possible at a more affordable price.


$599 USD

3 x Payments


$1595 USD

1 x Payment

(Save 10%)

1-on-1 Class

By choosing the 1-on-1 option you will get more individual attention from your mentor while having the flexibility to work within your busy schedule.


$799 USD

3 x Payments


$2195 USD

1 x Payment

(Save 10%)


Do you have questions about the course? Contact us and we'll get right back to you