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Lesson 1 in Environment Design

Lesson Information

This first lesson will focus on what you need to create great art. Gaëlle will help you find inspiration, build your brief and gather references. Once you've taken these steps to lay out a creative roadmap, you will begin sketching ideas for your 2D composition. Gaëlle will demonstrate beginner and advanced options for this initial sketching phase, both of which can lead you to an incredible final product. 

Use Your Imagination

Using the Brief Builder Tool, come up with an idea for your 2D painting. You can either use Gaëlle's own Brief Builder image (included in your lesson files) or visit our free Brief Builder app for a randomly generated brief:


Gather references for your painting and create a mood board. Don't worry about using the most high-resolution images at this stage, they're meant more for inspiration. 


Create a few sketches using whichever method you're most comfortable with. Let your creativity run wild, and experiment with different compositions and scenes. Upload your finished sketches to the Learn Squared homework gallery.


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OK so I just joined this course... and this is the VERY FIRST purchase I have made on Learnsquared. It's the sort of subject that resonates with me... or 'tickles my pickle' so to speak :) I'm actually supposed to be at work... but tbh I don't like my job and this is a more useful use of my time :)

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Not sure if possible, as course is fairly in depth already and probably complete and can't be added to... But I was wondering if there was room to include a small section within the 2D techniques where you could include examples of tackling different lighting situations/environments. So say, trying to blend a photo with heavy fog with one that doesn't, or what is the best way to deal with fully lit highly saturated landscapes(I found often this is where some Ive done in the past things look flat despite hue, sat, contrast etc matching. Also, incorporation of a character/machines into an environment, when to do it and when not and how best to do this. Some of this is relatable to the 3D, and creating an Atmospheric cube, but in terms of a 2d project I was wondering what choices you'd make about best results with such things, or is it a case of hue and curves once more in gradual steps and masking. I've found trying to get perspective on buildings the most challenging in relation to landscapes.

Thank you, great course.

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Good point, I didn’t think about addressing this particular scenario. As a general rule I always try to find references that match the lighting of my environment because it can be very hard to relight a photo. But if you do have to, curves is the way (several curves, with masks, to apply it separately to highlights, shadows, specific areas…). You can also use a layer in darken to bring some lit areas in shadows or a lighten layer to create light glow in case of backlight. To add light to an overcast photo I usually use a curve layer to brighten the highlights only and paint the areas I want to light. But I agree that could be it’s own video.

@Aymeric : Yeah but I am not going to create an album for each of my thousands folders.
@Arthur : That would be great actually, maybe a combinaison of Eagle for the preview and Onedrive (or any other service) for the cloud. I just liked the 2 in 1.
@Christopher : I've had a loong back and forth with Onedrive's support team, sending them logs and stuff to see if it was a technical issue but they ended telling me that the dev team simply removed the feature, and then pointed me to their feedback page to request it back... Not sure why they removed it.

Not as important, but they also changed how the space used in your OneDrive is displayed. Instead not showing your total anymore. Now only how much is remaining left. Not sure which I'd prefer, but my preference is usually to know my total I have signed up for. Still uindecided on what to go with I have an empty 4TB drive, plus using a 2TB with split partitions for my art/resources/references at the moment... but like the idea of sorting it out with an additional cloud preview. The OneDrive thumbnails were appealing, definately not tucked away in some awkward hidden display settings?

Lesson Plan