Key Frame Illustration for Production | CG Master Academy

Key Frame Illustration for Production

An 8-week course where students will learn about the essential elements of what goes into a cinematic illustration: composition, storytelling, mood, lighting, & color

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Create key storytelling moments for film

This course focuses on teaching students how to create beautiful and cinematic key frame illustrations. Using a mix of rendering techniques, we will tackle important elements of creating key frames such as composition, color, mood, and lighting. The course will be composed of two parts: first, we will study the fundamentals behind cinematic images in order to get familiar with those structures and languages. In the second part, students will tackle a small project where the goal is to create a set of key frames using the knowledge learned in the past weeks. This course will help students' work to develop a more cinematic feeling, as well as improve their workflow using industry-standard techniques.

Note: 3D rendering techniques will be incorporated into the rendering workflow; students may opt to do the assignments using only 2D techniques, but use of 3D is recommended. Furthermore, students will have access to resources such as 3D assets in order to complete certain aspects of the assignments if needed. Prospective students are welcome to submit portfolios or samples of work for skill level assessment to


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individually recorded
Duration:   8 Weeks
Assignment:   Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Photoshop, any 3D software, any 3D render software. Instructor will cover: Modo, 3D-Coat, ZBrush, OctaneRender, and DAZ.
Skills level:   Intermediate to Advanced
Prerequisites:   A good understanding of human figure drawing, landscape painting, and perspective. Basic Knowledge of 3D software is strongly recommended but not required. Course Recommendations: Environment Concept Design

Key Frame Illustration for Production WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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What is a keyframe? | What makes a good image? | Contrast and Values | Different camera position/angles | Simplification
Types of lenses and their effects | Cinematic lighting | Color and mood | Abstraction and rhythms
Project briefing | How to start | Reference / Mood board | Rough sketch and ideation | Storytelling
Using your mood/reference board | Pushing your rough sketches | Adding color and light | Efficiency vs Perfection | Presenting to client
Industry standards | 3D vs 2D | Creating your own assets | Setting up your scene | Camera position | Using 2D perspective grids to sketch | B/W block-out
Lighting your scene | Textures and details | Art direct your own work | Focal point, Composition and Contrast | Photobashing
Painting over your renders | 3D as a starting point not an end result | Being bold | Using all your resources | Refining and enhancing your images
Final notes | Talking about this Industry | What's important | Enjoying the ride

Unleash your creative potential

Ricardo Lima is a concept artist and illustrator working for the entertainment industry. He graduated in Drawing by the Academy of Fine Arts in Lisbon, and later went to Singapore were he studied at Feng Zhu School of Design. After finishing his studies, Ricardo went back to Portugal and started freelancing. Most recently he worked with Eidos Montreal for the title "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" and he is now part of One Pixel Brush team.


April 19th!

Spring TERM Registration

Feb 8, 2021 - Apr 26, 2021




April 19th!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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