The Art of Color and Light

The Art of Color and Light

  • Price: $699
  • Pre-Reqs: Good drawing foundations and Digital Painting
  • Materials: Photoshop (any), Wacom tablet or equivalent

Course Description:

The Art of Color and Light is an exploration in the properties of color and light under a variety of conditions. This is an essential stage in concept art that develops mood and communicates the narrative of the story by means of visual cues.



  • Week 1: Value: Where visual development fits into the picture of an animation pipeline. Difference between design and color.
    -    How visual storytelling enhances narratives.
    -    Designing a painting using a value structure.
    -    Ranges of contrast: High contrast, low contrast, show high/low key with different accents.
  • Week 2: Principles of Color and Light
    -    Lighting Principles: Key light, fill light, reflected/bounce light, ambient occlusion.
    -    Shadow Principles: core and cast shadows, contact points.
    -    What is Local Color?  
    -    Color relationships: How colors interact with one another based on types of light, strengths, and temperatures.
  • Week 3: Micro and Macro Painting
    -    Texture painting and Matte Painting: the micro and macro of entertainment      
    -    Micro: The effect of light on different materials, at a close range (Shiny, Matte, Translucent, Subsurface scattering)
    -    Macro: The effect of light on materials, at a distant range (Use of atmospheric perspective to create emotion)
    -    Different lighting effects used in cinema and photography to create scale and distance through atmospheric perspective.
  • Week 4: Designing and composing colors
    -   Enhancing the impact colors will have through design and composition.
    -    Design and composition principles: 1. Big/medium/small; 2. Foreground/mid-ground/background; 3. Golden thirds; 4. Scale by comparison; 5. Negative space; 6. Rhythm; 7. Flow; 8. Focal point.
  • Week 5: Color Harmonies in Time of Day
  • -   Unifying colors for a time of day: 1. General sky color for time of day, night; 2. Color Temperatures (The warms and cools of each color).
    -   Creating focal point by contrast and color.
  • Week 6: Color Theory
    -    Color creates emotion: Generally accepted theories about color and the emotions they produce. Color schemes, How to achieve emotions needed for storytelling.
  • Week 7: Bringing a Painting to a Finish
    -    Taking a key to a finish: Taking a simple image and adding complexities.
  • Week 8: Bringing a Painting to a Finish
    -    Techniques for finessing and finishing an image.

Apr. 30th, 2016 - Jun. 26th, 2016 + 2 weeks for content review

Zac Retz originally from upstate New York where he went to school and studied illustration at the Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating in 2012 he illustrated the kids book, Too Much Glue which went on to become an amazon best seller. From there he started working at Workinman Interactive where he painted backgrounds for Disney and Nickelodeon games. Zac is currently working as a visual development artist at Reel FX, designing environments and painting color keys for the Scooby Doo animated feature film.

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Instructor's gallery:

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May 3rd, 2016 - Jun. 29th, 2016 + 2 weeks for content review

Originally from Barcelona, Miki studied at Joso School, where he taught color and photoshop for three years. He spent a few years working on storyboards for TV advertisements, designing characters and backgrounds for videogames and animation, and doing concepts for feature films. He then moved to Ireland to work at CartoonSaloon animation studios and also started to work on his comicbook Warship Jolly Roger. For a year plus he lived in Berlin and continued work on his comicbook series. He is now back in Barcelona, currently working on the third book. His comics are being translated to several languages and he keeps collaborating with animation studios such as Laika, in the USA.

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May 3rd, 2016 - Jun. 29th, 2016 + 2 weeks for content review

Naveen is a visual development artist with over 4 years experience in games and feature animation. He is currently based in Los Angeles working at Sony Pictures Animation as a Visual Development artist for the past 2 years with a focus in painting backgrounds and painting lighting and colorkeys.

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Instructor's gallery:

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