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Colour and Light

Learn essential colour theory and lighting techniques to create vibrant concept art and illustrations!

Artwork by Elton Lo

This class is full. More seats may become available this term or we may open a new section.

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Teacher Artwork by Elton Lo

Colour and Light

In this course, develop the art of utilizing color and light to convey mood, atmosphere, and depth in your images to build captivating visual story that captivates and engages your audience.

You will learn how light sources react with a variety of different materials, and gain invaluable insights into adjusting and controlling lighting for maximum impact. With these skills at your fingertips, effortlessly guide the viewer's gaze to the focal point and craft visually stunning imagery that drives the narrative forward. In addition to this, you'll develop a mastery of manipulating light and atmosphere, ensuring your artwork evokes the desired mood across various lighting scenarios, lending an authentic touch to your creations.

By the end of this course, you'll possess an arsenal of new tools and techniques to create dynamic and well-composed artwork that resonates instantly with viewers. With these newfound skills, you'll have the ability to craft breathtaking concept art and illustrations that truly stand out.

  • Course Type Inactive Classes
  • Duration 10 Weeks
  • Skill Level
    Level 3
    Level 3

    These courses are for people who can already draw and paint realistically and can create complete digital illustrations.

    Level 3 classes will help students to give a new edge to their images, properly render their digital work, and bring them closer to a professional level.

  • Language English


Note: This class will be offered online only

Term: TBD

Class Timings: TBD

Date of first class: TBD

Duration: 10 weeks

Please note that our classes times are listed as EDT (GMT-4) but that starting on Sunday, November 3rd, 2024, all class times will go into EST (GMT-5).

If you are unable to attend the class during the times listed above, you will still have access to video recordings of the class lectures and will still receive personalized feedback from your instructor.

It should be noted that students should set aside a minimum of 3 hours per week to complete assignments for this class. Students may even require a bit more time (4-5 hours per week) depending on how quickly they can work through assignments.


*Please note that this class' duration is subject to change (to either 1.5 hours or 2 hours) depending on the number of enrolled students.

These shorter class formats are conducted with more of a personalized mentorship style, allowing students to have more time devoted to their assignments' critiques and the ability to ask more questions in class, while still maintaining all of the theory and planned curriculum for the regular class length.



  • Proficiency with all basic Photoshop tools.
  • Should have completed the Digital Painting course or equivalent practice/experience.
  • Some intermediate drawing and basic painting skills (use of proper perspective, proportions, shading and colour).
  • If you do not have the required skill in drawing, painting or Photoshop, it is suggested that you take our Digital Painting class.

Language requirements: You need at least intermediate level English to take this class.  Please be advised that there could be artistic nudity in our classes. Students should be 14 years old to enroll.


Required Materials

Material List: 

  • A desktop computer or laptop with Photoshop installed*
  • A  graphic tablet with pressure sensitivity (from brands such as Wacom, Huion, or Xencelabs), OR a tablet-laptop hybrid (also with Photoshop installed) with pressure sensitivity (such as the Wacom Cintiq Companion or Microsoft Surface Pro).


Important note: 

Please note that the vast majority of our digital classes are taught using Adobe Photoshop and that this is also the recommended program for students to use. You may consult our FAQ for more information on other software which may be potentially used for class, however, please note that no technical assistance will be provided by instructors on the use of alternative painting software as they may not be familiar with the program.


Please ensure that all of your hardware and software are functioning properly before the start of the term; there will not be any time to resolve technical issues in class.

*Please consult our Tech Requirements below for more precise computer specifications.

Tech Requirements for Attending Syn Studio Online Classes

Minimum Requirements

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 600kbps bandwidth (up/down).
  • A Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a single core processor (at least 1 GHZ processing speed) or a smartphone/tablet with equivalent processing capabilities
  • Good speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
  • Browser - IE7+, Safari 5+, Firefox, Chrome
  • Operating System - Windows XP, Mac OS 10.6, Linux distro based on 3.0 kernel, Android 5.0, iOS 10


Syn Studio Recommendations

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 1.5Mbps bandwidth (up/down). You can also connect to the internet directly using your ethernet cable to improve your experience.
  • Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a dual core processor with at least 2 GHZ processing speed and a 4 GB RAM
  • High Quality speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
  • Browser & Operating System - We recommend using the latest version of the browser and operating system for an optimal online classroom experience.

Course Outline

*Please note that the following outline is subject to change slightly at the teacher's discretion.

Week 1

Become proficient in gathering references and assembling a visual reference library that can be used as an inspiration and guide for your concept art creation process.

Learn the impressionist approach to creating artwork so you can quickly sketch rough images that are bright, vibrant and rich in colour.

Week 2

Learn to add values and properly balance them in your image so you can create an easily readable image with appropriate contrast and the illusion of depth.

Week 3

Gain an in-depth understanding of essential lighting, colour and texture fundamentals so you can create realistic full-colour artwork.

Weeks 4 and 5

Become proficient in distinguishing colour and value and using colour temperature variation to create vibrant images.

Understand how to use saturation/exposure and how to create colour temperature harmony to make your artwork appear well-composed, balanced and beautiful.

Week 6

Become proficient in painting a variety of common daylight scenarios including backlit, frontlit, overcast and dappled light. Learn to use shadows to create compositional focal points that direct the eye to the desired locations in your painting. Understand how to apply atmosphere and haze to create a sense of realism and depth in your art.

Weeks 7 - 8

Understand the key differences to lighting different spaces such as rural, urban, exterior and interior scenes. Learn how to relight a scene, change local colours, reposition elements and depict sunrises and sunsets so you have a more complete toolkit as an artist.

Weeks 9 - 10

Gain proficiency in depicting night-time scenarios, including how to combine natural and artificial lighting. And learn how to simplify objects such as rocks, foliage, vehicles, etc. so you can quickly and efficiently paint anything anywhere with stunning lighting and colour!

Check out the entire outline


Questions and Assistance

Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 514-998-7625

Please consult our FAQ; most of the commonly asked questions are answered in detail there. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please feel free to fill out the form below, or, send an email to [email protected]

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