Fundamentals of Design

Fundamentals of Design

  • Price: $699 | Pay with installments.
  • Pre-Reqs: Dynamic Sketching 2
  • Materials: Photoshop (any), Wacom tablet or equivalent

Course Description:

This class will focus on an in depth explanation of the tools and processes needed to develop a well thought out design, considering style, narrative, and context. Over the course of eight weeks we will discuss basic visual communication techniques, bringing what we have learned in dynamic sketching into the digital Photoshop realm. Then we will utilize these skill sets to study good design based off of image boards from our own research. Finally we will take what we have learned and design a style guide, propagating our design aesthetic throughout a designed “world”, from a Macro to a Micro scale. Final presentation deliverables will be an environment (based from a photo) and an original designed prop. This class will count as an equivalent of the Principles of Design Process class for students who already took it as a part of the Foundation & Design Program.



  • Week 1: Revisiting primitive shapes in Photoshop. Quick explanation of key light, bounced light, reflected light, core shadow, cast shadows.
  • Week 2: Using what we learned from studying basic shapes, we will discuss turning compound shapes into a simple vehicle or prop.
  • Week 3: Importance of good reference for design. Design targets, narrative driven design, cognitive dissonance.
  • Week 4: Understanding style, and what a visual development artist does. Macro to Micro Design.
  • Week 5: Style based on Elements of Design: Line, notan, Form. Design Matrix. Importance of one good photo reference, with good compositional design.
  • Week 6: Utilizing value and color to describe surface effectively. Color, lighting and mood for narrative.
  • Week 7: Designing a Prop based on your style guide. Importance of design silhouettes. 
  • Week 8: Turning designs in 3d, so that they are ready for modeling. Why this is important in today's 3d animation industry.

Feb. 4th, 2017 - Apr. 3rd, 2017 + 2 weeks for content review

Tyler Edlin has been working professionally for 7 years bringing his passion to commercial products such Fall From Heaven and the Therion Saga as well as Tinkerbells Fairies Chivalry: Medieval Warefare. Tyler has worked with studios including Disney Interactive, Hitpoint Studios, Paizo Publishing, StarDock Industries, and more.

Instructor's gallery:

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