get­ting schooled

Syn-chro­nised study Canada’s premier school of con­cept art, Syn Stu­dio, will now be offering an in­dus­try-stan­dard con­cept art diploma, taught by top-name artists

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Canada’s Syn Stu­dio is offering an in­dus­try­s­tan­dard con­cept art diploma, taught by top-name artists, in­clud­ing Remko Troost and Donglu Yu.

Syn Stu­dio was founded in 2007 by An­thony Walsh, who went in with the ethos that “great artists are not born, they are made.” Fast for­ward nine years and the school has gone from strength to strength, now adding to the mix an 18-month, full-time con­cept art diploma pro­gramme that’s led by lead­ing in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als.

The con­cept art diploma is the first of its kind, and is de­signed to give stu­dents a solid foun­da­tion to be­come pro­fes­sional-level con­cept artists armed with the right skills, tech­niques and work­flows.

“It was de­vel­oped over the course of three years with help from top con­cept artists and ed­u­ca­tors, most no­tably Scott Robertson, who has per­son­ally trained some of the world’s most suc­cess­ful con­cept artists,” says An­thony. “Many peo­ple want to work as con­cept artists, so to beat the com­pe­ti­tion it’s very im­por­tant to train with the right peo­ple,” he adds. “To graduate with cut­ting-edge skills, you need train­ing from pro­fes­sion­als work­ing in the in­dus­try right now. We don’t hire full-time teach­ers and book their class sched­ules way in ad­vance, be­cause then they aren’t work­ing in the in­dus­try any more.”

In the past year alone, the school has pro­vided the plat­form for mas­ter­classes taken by the likes of Remko Troost, Chris­tian Robert de Massy, Donglu Yu and Jeong H Shin, among many more. Th­ese top tu­tors will act like the stu­dent’s art direc­tors, An­thony says. “They re­quire the stu­dents to use the same pipe­lines and pro­ce­dures, sub­mit the same set of pro­duc­tion-ready as­sets and hold them to the same stan­dards of qual­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism as they do in the in­dus­try” and this in­cludes the 2D and 3D work­flows that are in­creas­ingly be­ing used in the in­dus­try to­day.

To qual­ify for the diploma, An­thony advises that you need to demon­strate through your port­fo­lio, let­ter of in­tent and in­ter­view that you can draw well us­ing ba­sic prin­ci­ples in­clud­ing pro­por­tion, per­spec­tive and anatomy, can use value to con­vinc­ingly show form and cast re­al­is­tic shad­ows, use colour and understand colour the­ory, are com­fort­able paint­ing dig­i­tally in Pho­to­shop and can cre­ate orig­i­nal con­cepts that show po­ten­tial for in­ter­est­ing de­sign.

Many of Syn Stu­dio’s pre­vi­ous stu­dents are now forg­ing their way through the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try and liv­ing their dream, and with only 20 stu­dents per pro­gramme and 18 months of ded­i­cated study time, its diploma of­fers a strong al­ter­na­tive to a three-year de­gree.

For more in­for­ma­tion and to ap­ply, see

To graduate with cut­tingedge skills, you need train­ing from work­ing pro­fes­sion­als

Es­teemed con­cept artist Donglu Yu is on the Syn Stu­dio teach­ing staff ros­ter.

Michelle Lannen puts the en­vi­ron­ment art skills that she’s learnt into prac­tice. Remko Troost, who cre­ated con­cepts for the As­sas­sin’s Creed fran­chise, passes on his in­dus­try knowl­edge.

Stu­dent Michael Klukowski cre­ated this for Syn Stu­dio’s ve­hi­cle and mech de­sign course.

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