In this course we will fully develop two to three creatures, using a method of guided creativity while grounding our designs with real-world plausibility. Students will learn early stage ideation, concept development, methods of detailing and defining character and finally, rendering and color techniques to create new and original creatures from the blank page all the way to a finished portfolio piece. We will begin by covering naturalistic and grounded earthly creatures and progress all the way to creatively designed aliens.

BIO: Eric Ryan is a concept artist with over 11 years’ experience in the film, television and video game industry. He has worked for renowned studios such as Sony Pictures Animation, Cinovation Studios and Sony Santa Monica, SCEA. His work can be seen in Men in Black 3, God of War: Ascension and many other film, television and game assets.


Course Curriculum

Introduction to Creature Design | Preview FREE 00:05:00
Preview for Introduction to Creature Design with Eric Ryan.
Section 1
Introduction to Creature Design FREE 00:37:00
Eric will introduce himself with a brief bio and overview of the tools he uses. He will discuss the importance of the thumbnail process in the early stages of designing creatures.
Thumbnails 01:05:00
There will be a step by step process showing how to begin creating thumbnails. Eric will discuss the format of the class, and what will be expected from the students. The in-class assignment will be to create 10 to 12 thumbnails.
Research & Critique 01:06:00
Research for finding reference images will aid the design process. A critique of the in-class assignment will be given to each student. The homework assignment will be to create between 12 to 20 thumbnails.
Section 2
Thumbnail Critique 00:57:00
Each class will begin with a critique of the previous week’s homework assignment. Advice and demonstrations will help clarify the thumbnail designs.
Creature Demo 01:00:00
Eric will demonstrate how he begins a design by blocking in the shape of the creature. Advice and tips will be given to help aid the direction of a creature design.
Reference & Form 00:47:00
Reference images will be used to aid the rendering of form. The homework assignment is to choose 4 thumbnails to develop further.
Section 3
Creature Critique Part 1 01:04:00
An animal anatomy overview will aid the development of student creature designs.
Creature Critique Part 2 00:43:00
The critique will continue with the final student's homework assignment.
Lighting Demo 01:06:00
Selection masks and overlay layers will be used to render form to indicate a light source. The homework assignment will be to apply design changes and add lighting to the 4 creature designs.
Section 4
Four Creature Critique Part 1 00:49:00
Clipping masks and overlay layers will be used to develop student designs.
Four Creature Critique Part 2 00:58:00
The critique will help students make bold decisions in developing their creature designs.
Render Demo 00:52:00
A demo on editing and working with layers will show different options that can aid the design process. The homework assignment will be to bring each design to a finish.
Section 5
Creature Critique 01:18:00
Lighting designs and composition will be adjusted in the final critique of the first assignment.
Color demo 01:21:00
Masks and overlays will be used to demonstrate how to paint with color. Combining color schemes and utilizing complementary color will be used to make a dynamic design. The homework assignment will be to begin 20 thumbnails for three new creatures.
Section 6
Thumbnail Critique 2 00:37:00
Adjustments will be made to help each student develop their designs into the next stage.
Examples & Color Theory 00:47:00
Eric will answer questions about the process of creating thumbnails for the entertainment industry. A lecture will help demonstrate how to choose color schemes and use color vibration to draw the eye.
Color, Light & Critique 01:00:00
Examples of creating texture and lighting will show how to add finishing touches to a creature design. The homework assignment will be to choose 3 thumbnail designs to develop further and gather reference images.
Section 7
Critique 01:14:00
Adjustment will be made to help develop student work into the next phase.
Development Demo 01:16:00
A student's design will be developed to look more alien. Eric will discuss working in the entertainment industry. The final homework assignment will be to add lighting and complete each creature design.
Section 8
Final Critique Part 1 00:45:00
The final class will begin with a critique of a student's final creature designs.
Final Critique Part 2 01:02:00
The final student's creature designs will have a critique.
Q & A / Demo 00:43:00
Eric will answer questions from the students. A brief demo will show how to indicate translucent material.
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