Watch Gnomon's 5 best free CG masterclasses of 2016

Posted February 15th, 2017 by Jim Thacker — Category: Events — 0 Comments

Our panel discussion on creating environments for video games was Gnomon's most-viewed CG masterclass of 2016. Watch the full top 5 via the links below.

Our panel discussion on creating environments for video games was Gnomon's most-viewed CG masterclass of 2016. Watch the full top 5 via the links below.

Gnomon's Livestream channel features hours of invaluable training for CG artists, from environment art skills to creating killer demo reels. But have you watched all 5 of last year's most popular events?

Gnomon's regular speaker events – there is one most weeks, and they're free to attend – provide a rare opportunity to learn from the world's leading digital artists.

See a full list of events coming up at Gnomon in future

During the past year, the school has played host to the people who created Zootopia, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Independence Day: Resurgence, along with Pixologic and Allegorithmic's official user events. But the sheer number of event videos on our Livestream channel can make it hard to know exactly where to begin. So to get you started, here are our 5 most popular events of 2016.

Gnomon's game environment panel (L-R): Joy Lea, Helder Pinto and Martin Teichmann.

Top Events by Video Views

1. Substance Days

Broadcast: 23 July 2016
Total views to date: More than 151,000

Held on campus in Hollywood, Substance Days was Allegorithmic's worldwide user event, comprising three days of talks and demos. Only the final day was broadcast online – but that still includes five amazing Substance Designer and Substance Painter masterclasses from the likes of Naughty Dog and Blur Studio.

Highlights: The sessions on texturing organic characters from Glauco Longhi, senior character artist at Sony's Santa Monica Studio, and on hard-surface techniques from Naughty Dog technical lead Christophe Desse are pretty much unmissable. You can read 10 of their power tips for Substance users on Gnomon's blog.

2. 3D Environment Art for Videogames

Broadcast: 26 May 2016
Total views to date: More than 42,000

Our 3D environment art panel provides a fantastic opportunity to discover how environments for AAA games like Battlefield 4 and Overwatch are created, as EA DICE 3D artist Joy Lea, Naughty Dog Environment modeler Martin Teichmann and Blizzard Entertainment 3D environment artist Helder Pinto reveal tricks of the trade.

Highlights: On top of a wealth of practical tips, probably Martin Teichmann's detailed explanation of Naughty Dog's environment workflow on Uncharted 4. But Helder Pinto's walkthrough of his Arbor Vitae environment (created in UDK, the free version of Unreal Engine 3) runs it close. You can see it at 00:45:00 in the video.

3. An Evening with Alex Alvarez: Creating Natural 3D Environments

Broadcast: 2 June 2016
Total views to date: More than 38,000

Alex Alvarez, Gnomon's founder and president, has spent years perfecting his environment art workflow, so his masterclass is a great opportunity to discover the techniques he uses to create his amazing personal art works, using a combination of tools including ZBrush, Maya, V-Ray and photogrammetry software PhotoScan.

Highlights: The first half of the video is a masterclass in creating environment assets with PhotoScan, including a run-down of the camera gear you'll need to shoot good source photos. The second half explains how to make use of those assets, including creating alphas for use in ZBrush, and lists a lot of useful helper tools and scripts.

4 An Evening with Blur Studio – Demo Reels, Interviews & Industry Realities

Broadcast: 14 January 2016
Total views to date: More than 29,000

Blur Studio was riding high in early 2016, not just for its incredible game cinematics, but with Deadpool, directed by its co-founder and creative director, Tim Miller, for which Blur provided the opening titles. This session, recorded just before Deadpool's release, reveals what it takes to get a job at Blur, or top visual effects facilities like it.

Highlights: So much great advice on how to create a winning demo reel. Head of CG Jerome Denjean covers the basics from 00:12:00; head of animation Warren Grubb and lead FX artist Brian Alvarez focus on animation and FX reels at 01:07:30 and 01:30:00. After each talk, you can see reels that actually got people jobs at Blur.

5. An Evening with Insomniac Games: Character Art Panel

Broadcast: 18 February 2016
Total views to date: More than 20,000

Insomniac Games creates unforgettable characters, from Ratchet & Clank to the post-apocalyptic punks of Sunset Overdrive. In this panel discussion, lead character artist Gavin Goulden, lead character TD Adalbert Kinsey and artists Henrique Naspolini, Erin Zaneski and Xavier Coelho-Kostolny reveal the workflows used to create them.

Highlights: The Q&A session features lots of tips on how to get a job at AAA game developers in general, and Insomniac in particular – including, right at the start, bonus tips on applying for environment jobs. Be sure to check out both videos from this event!

Top Events by Attendance

An Evening with Blur Studio – Demo Reels, Interviews & Industry Realities drew a crowd of 200 attendees on January 14th, while 3D Environment Art for Videogames pulled 163 guests on May 26th. On June 11th, Gnomon's contribution to the Los Angeles Design Festival saw movie poster designer Tomasz Opasinski, a veteran of over 500 campaigns and now creative lead at Netflix, provide a candid guide to life in poster design, and revealed some of the technical tricks needed to turn images around at the incredibly high rate required by the market; the event attracted 161 artists from Los Angeles, though the event was not streamed. An Evening with Insomniac Games: Character Art Panel gathered 160 guests on February 18th, and on June 15th, Epic Games' guide to creating VR titles in Unreal Engine saw company evangelists Andy Hess and Luis Cataldi take to the stage to provide both an introduction to UE4 and a more advanced guide to topics including materials and lighting, Blueprints, VR locomotion and interaction mechanics. An Afternoon with Epic Games: Making VR Games & Experiences in Unreal Engine brought in 157 attendees.

Honorable Mentions

Not surprisingly, some of the events drew the largest audiences on the day also got the most views online. But here are three more of our personal picks.

Anatomy Lab: The Art of Creature Design
A practical guide to designing believable creatures. Watch the video above; then read leading concept artist Jerad Marantz's guide to becoming a creature designer.


Bringing Stranger Things to Life: An Evening with Aaron Sims Creative
Aaron Sims Creative isn't just one of the world's leading concept design houses: it also creates VFX for shows like Netflix hit Stranger Things. Find out more here.


An Afternoon with Nick Hiatt: Matte Painting and Art Direction for Films
Art director Nick Hiatt discusses his work on movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You can also read Nick's tips for becoming a better matte painter here.


Read More
Browse the entire archive of event recordings on Gnomon's Livestream channel
See the full list of Gnomon's upcoming live events
Watch Alex Alvarez's online environment art training on The Gnomon Workshop
Make an appointment to visit Gnomon and tour its facilities
See Tomasz Opasinski’s 15-point guide to poster design


About Gnomon

Founded in 1997, Gnomon has trained thousands of students and professionals for careers in the entertainment industry. Find out more