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CGMA – Fundamentals of Design with Tyler Edlin

Fundamentals of Design with Tyler EdlinFundamentals of Design


Fundamentals of Design with Tyler Edlin : An 8-week course focused on the elements of design and developing strong technical skills along with an eye for successful design

Solid foundations for successful design

Design pertains to nearly everything. From composition and lighting to the shapes of our characters to the vehicles they travel in. As artists, creatives, and designers, we need to be responsible for all these aspects. Good design involves proper planning and organizing, in addition to having the knowledge of good visual design principles to construct it. Over the next 8 weeks, there will be lectures on all core design principles as well as discussion of the techniques and approaches of implementing them. Along the way we will learn to create our own style guide, become our own art directors, and design some world building, propagating our design aesthetics.


LECTURE TYPE: Pre-recorded

FEEDBACK: Individual recordings

DURATION: 8 weeks

MATERIALS: Photoshop (or equivalent), Wacom tablet or equivalent

SKILLS LEVEL: Intermediate

PREREQUISITES: Perspective (recommended); Dynamic Sketching 2


The more you know, the better.

Week 1 | The Design Process

A look at the design process, thinking forms and function. We look at how unity binds and holds a cohesive design together. The demonstration and assignment involves deconstructing the complex and building from simplification.

Week 2 | Shape Design

Apply labels and defining design parameters, then use such labels to design basic props, applying the additive and subtractive transformations. These all tie into the core concepts of shape design. The demonstration and assignment covers shape design from cues students will be tasked with creating 3 pages of designs using based off primitive shapes.

Focuses on the importance of research and reference. The design principles discussed are scale and proportion. The demonstration starts our course-long discussion of selecting a mini project and designing a building exterior for our story.

Week 4 | Style Guides: Foliage Design

Shapes are brought up again in a lecture on style and designing guides to work with our selected project. Then we look at balance and rhythm and how these elements are tools to arrange compositions and sequences. For the demonstration and assignment proportion we will look at creating props for our environment world from week 3.

Week 5 | Developing Strong Design

The key principle examined is emphasis and focal points. How to make our designs stand out and “pop!” and what questions should we consider asking ourselves to design scenes that have narrative in their structures. The demonstration portion shows creating a scene from multiple design references in addition to utilizing our style guides.

Week 6 | Lighting for Narrative

Illusion of space is explored as well as the techniques used for balanced lighting on narrative designs. Devices for depth are explored in a lecture showcases the different tonal keys through examples of movie stills and master paintings. The demonstration and assignment portion cover mid-range tonal paintings and pushing for specific narratives.

Week 7 | Sketching for Production: Interiors

Mind mapping: creating an organized list of items based on function and story cues for design details. Pattern and texture and then examined in bringing our details to life. The demonstration and assignment video shows student’s techniques utilized sketching for production as we design an interior setting to our world.

Week 8 | Line & Shape: Prop & Vehicle Design

After a brief recap, this week will focus on vehicle and prop design. We will apply all techniques from last weeks to build strong shapes, silhouettes, proportion, curves, line, horizontal vs vertical precision vs spontaneity, contour vs gesture lines into your designs.

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