Environment Art:

World Building 101


10 week live, online skill-focused training for artists

Whether you are in school or self taught, learning all the skills you need to prepare yourself to succeed as an Environment Artist can be daunting.

In this course, Henry Kelly will help you simplify that task by demonstrating proven strategies that he uses in production every day.

This World Building 101 course will consist of ten weeks of LIVE demonstrations and reviews. You'll learn core game artist skills and be part of a community of artists all working to achieve next level quality in their work.

Most importantly, You'll learn how to leverage amazing software like Substance Designer and professional workflows to create a portfolio ready real-time environment that will impress.

Want To Preview The Course?

Take a FREE Class with Henry Kelly!

Learn more about Henry, his work, his process and his workflow.
See how he uses CryEngine to build an environment from scratch.

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What you'll learn

In this course, students will create a game level from scratch using Render-Ready game engine CryEngine 5. The course will cover 3D modeling, object placement and layout basics, foliage systems, and lighting systems. The course will help students better understand level and environment workflows, as well as how level designers, game designers, and environment artists fit into the game pipeline.

Estimated time for course work: 8-10 hours per week

Skill Level:  Intermediate

Course Format:  Standard

Duration:  10 Weeks + 2 Weeks Of Access
Lecture Type:  Live weekly
Assignment:  Deadlines each week
Feedback:  Live weekly

By the end of the course, you'll:

Know how to model for 3D Environments and apply a modular approach to scene creation.

Know how to create optimized and realistic vegetation and foliage for outdoor environments.

Have designed your own spectacular materials using the latest software, such as Substance Designer, and the latest procedural techniques.

Have setup and lit your own scene in the newly revamped and render-ready game engine of Cry Engine 5.


Build a portfolio of real-world projects


This course is perfect for:

  • Mid-level environment artists looking to take the next steps in their career
  • Skilled artists who want to focus on building specific skills
  • Game artists who want to add to their portfolio while receiving feedback along the way


This course is the best way to start or expand a real portfolio while getting started as an environment artist. Working with one of the top working professionals in the game industry, you'll build your own game level using the latest software in the industry. Don't know what those are? Don't worry, your mentor will teach you 1-on-1. You'll graduate with an enhanced portfolio and an active ArtStation profile.


Our Industry-Standard curriculum is built together with today's best artists to bring you the highest quality training possible. Achieve your dreams today.


Creating Foliage
  • Techniques to obtain textures
  • Create materials to use in assets
  • Create smaller foliage pieces for a scene


Engine Function
  • Create a new level
  • Import assets into the level
  • Set up materials and textures


Terrain Materials
  • Create materials used for terrain, grass, mud, etc.
  • Use Substance Designer
  • Use online sourced photos


  • Use SpeedTree to create tree sets
  • Import trees into the engine
  • Use Marmoset to create LOD billboards


Basic Scene
  • Create the basic scene
  • Block out the level
  • Prepare for production


Foliage & Roads
  • Continue with foliage
  • Create a road / Use a road tool in the engine
  • Difference between static mesh roads and decal roads


  • Learn about the river tool
  • Set up river tools and river meshes
  • Build rivers in the scene


Rocks & Cliffs
  • Focus on ZBrush
  • Create rocks and cliffs
  • Fine tune and polish the scene

WEEKS 9 & 10

Capstone Project
  • Explore lighting
  • Optimize for performance with LOD's and drawcalls
  • Take beauty render shots


Life as a Skill Track student

This course is what we call a Skill Track. That means, you work closely with an expert in the field who demonstrates the tools, workflows, techniques that you'll need to know to excel as an artist?

Skill Focused

Skill Tracks rely heavily on lectures and demonstrations whereas Bootcamps & Career Tracks focus primarily on you and your work.

Flexible Commitment

Are you just looking to pick up a skill? Just want to learn how an artist works?  If so, then Skill Tracks are the perfect solution.

Live Weekly Meetings

Stay connected! Yes, we're ONLINE but you meet with your instructor every week to learn new skills.

Pick Up New Software Skills

Want to pick up the software skills you need to thrive in a Bootcamp or on-the-job?  Skill Tracks are a great way to achieve this.

Your first day

Meet your mentor, access the curriculum, and join a community of 3000+ students and mentors on the Artist Awake workplace. At GAI, the relationships you form with your mentor and peers help you learn faster.

During the course

Create more. Each course is focused around projects to emulate real work and industry-recognised workflow pipelines. And if you get stuck, ask your mentor.

Graduate on your schedule

Every GAI course is self-paced so there's no need to quit your job. Typically, students finish a Skill Track in 10-12 weeks with an expanded personal portfolio. All graduates receive lifetime access to the Artist Awake network and community.

About your Instructor

Henry Kelly

As an Environment Artist at Rebellion Development, Henry Kelly loves his work contributing to exciting AAA titles. Henry has worked in the past at Gymcraft LLS, where he started as Freelance Environment Artist and was promoted to Lead Environment Artist. Even before game art was his primary occupation, Henry took on freelance work creating assets for several games. Throughout his career, he has contributed to titles such as FreeDriver VR (released), Dinosaur Battlegrounds VR and an unannounced Survival game.

His accomplishments in the game development industry is a testament to his strong personal drive and lifelong passion for game art. Despite a lifelong struggle with severe ADHD (undiagnosed until relatively recently), which caused him to be excluded from school multiple times, Henry taught himself everything he knows, from making 3D models and learning how to create assets to using a game engine and setting up lighting to an advanced understanding of pipeline import workflow.





We love questions, almost as much as we love providing answers.
Here are a few samplings of what we're typically asked, along with our responses:

When is the live session?
SATURDAYS at 1 PM Pacific / 4 PM Eastern

When is the first class session?
JULY 28TH at 1 PM Pacific

What if I miss a class? Can I download it later?
Yes, everything is recorded and downloadable.

How long do I have access to the material?
You have access to the course material for two weeks after the end of the course.  A total of 12 weeks.

How long are the live sessions?
The live sessions are between two and three hours long.

When do you get the downloads up?
We get the downloads of live sessions online about 24 to 48 hours after the live session ends.

How do I talk to the teacher?
You can talk freely during the class and also via the Workplace group and private forum.

Will I be able to ask questions?

Are there demonstrations or lectures?
Yes. They will be live and recorded. All downloads will be in your course.

More questions?

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