Digital Rendering

Digital Rendering
This course opens on Monday, August 5, 2024.

This course takes students through the foundational concepts of texture and lighting. It is taught with digital artists in mind; however, the principles discussed in this course are beneficial across any medium. The course begins with the basics of chiaroscuro and the relationship of light and shadow before advancing into more complicated lighting situations such as reflection and refraction. The knowledge presented in this course will be most beneficial to artists such as illustrators, concept artists, or painters looking to get more realism in their work.

Course Instructor

Taren Morse Taren Morse Course Author / Instructor

Taren Morse received her MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University where she developed her skills in concept art for film and game design as well as graphic novel. Her skills branch into a variety of genres including sculpture and even website design. She draws most of her inspiration from God’s creation, taking pleasure in observing the strangest and sometimes creepiest He has to offer. Additionally, her passion for learning has driven her interests in reading, coding, studying foreign language, and unicycling.

Course Information

Duration: 8 Weeks

Intensity: Moderate

Course Schedule

Class begins: Mon, Aug 5, 2024 (EST)

Class ends: Mon, Sep 30, 2024 (EST)

Meeting Times: M-W-F, 10a-1p (EST)


Students should have a basic understanding of linear perspective.

Weekly Livestreams

Each week, a one-hour livestream with your instructor will be scheduled so you can ask any questions you may have and get feedback in real-time.

Lifetime Access

All pre-recorded lectures and recorded livestreams will be available to you forever so you can review lessons even after the course ends.


Completing this course at a Professional or Advanced Level will act as credit toward a certificate in the corresponding Program Area.

Course Outline

Module 1 | Getting Familiar with the Digital Environment

Working digitally can save time and energy, but it can have some pitfalls. To start on the right foot with digital painting, we’ve included lessons including the best practices for using digital brushes, general workflow, and what to look for in good reference photos.

Module 2 | The Basics of Shape and Form

Shape and form often work together to produce interesting results in our paintings. Understanding how they relate is vital for any artist looking to build their knowledge of structure and composition. In this module, students will learn how form and shape work together, how to construct each of the forms, and how to measure proportions of form in life by using shape.

Module 3 | Understanding Light and Value

To get the most out of form, we must understand how light interacts with it. If we are wanting a sense of believability in our renderings, we need to learn to capture the personality of light on canvas. This module takes you through the basics of light and dives into the various ways that light will interact with a surface.

Module 4 | Understanding Color

Color can be very fun to work with but also presents a challenge. In this module, you will learn the basics of additive and subtractive color and learn how to harmonize colors under a single light source using a gamut.

Module 5 | Basics of Reflection

All light reflects but the way it is reflected depends on the nature of the surface reflecting the light. This module breaks down the various ways light is reflected or absorbed so students are better equipped to paint a variety of different materials.

Module 6 | Characteristics of Reflection

Some materials allow light to pass through them in various ways and this can create an additional level of complexity when rendering. Not only does this module go even deeper into the nature of reflection, but it also introduces concepts such as refraction and subsurface scattering.

Module 7 | Rendering from Life

In this module, students will be introduced to methods for professionally organizing forms in composition and will be taken through the process of completing a digital rendering from beginning to end.

Module 8 | Rendering from Imagination

In this module, students will apply the knowledge gained throughout the course and apply it to an imaginative painting.

Course Materials

Adobe Photoshop


Assignments will be given on a weekly basis. Students are recommended to dedicate a minimum of 10 hours a week reviewing lecture content and completing assignments.


Grades are given based on levels. You can learn about our grading system.

Refund Policy

Please note that courses with critiqued lessons are nonrefundable due to the limited number of seats.

Available Enrollments

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