3D for Illustrations

Sonja Christoph
9 Lessons (8h 43m)
9 Week(s)

Two Ways to Learn


most popular

  1. Watch Video Lessons at Your Own Pace
  2. Assignments Included
  3. Peer Feedback
  4. Switch Courses as Often as You Like
  5. Access to Schoolism Webinar Archives

LIVE Classes

personalized instructor feedback

  1. Watch Video Lessons with a Planned Curriculum
  2. Scheduled Assignments with Deadlines
  3. Personalized Paint-Overs and Real-Time Feedback From The Instructors
  4. Watch Video Lessons and Peer Feedback as Often as You'd Like
  5. Ability to Contact Instructor with Questions
  6. Digital Certificate of Completion
  7. Weekly Class Meetings LIVE on Zoom
  8. Access to Schoolism Webinar Archives

Course Description

Push your creative boundaries with Sonja Christoph in “3D for Illustrations”, where you will merge 2D art with 3D technology. With over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry, Sonja brings a wealth of knowledge from her roles in film, TV commercials, and AAA games to teach you her process and techniques for scene composition and asset creation to turn flat images into dynamic visuals.


This intermediate class is an extension of Sonja's "Introduction to Blender" class and is perfect for those with a foundational knowledge of Blender and digital painting programs. Over 9 lessons, you will learn Sonja’s step-by-step process for incorporating 3D into 2D artwork, starting from the pre-production planning stages to the final touches in Photoshop. Students will gain hands-on experience creating personalized kitbash kits, advanced material setups, and shot compositions that tell a story with cinematic camera angles and lighting techniques. Each lesson is crafted to build upon the last, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience that covers the creation of landscapes, architecture, vegetation, effects, people, and detail elements to scenes.


By the end of this course, you will have gained not only improved efficiency in using 3D tools but also an extensive understanding of how to integrate these assets into illustrations that convey a strong emotion and narrative. Whether you're rendering detailed landscapes or bringing architectural visions to life, the skills learned here will revolutionize your approach to art and open doors to new creative possibilities in your illustrations!

  • Adobe Photoshop

Lesson Plan

The focus of our first lesson is on planning and pre-production. You will engage in brainstorming ideas and crafting storylines for your projects. Sonja will cover techniques for gathering references, organizing them, and transforming them into a comprehensive to-do list.

In this week’s lesson, you will learn tools and techniques for crafting landscapes and rocks using Blender and Gaea. You will explore online resources for textures and learn how to create your own using Materialize and Adobe Substance’s 3D Sampler. Sonja will demonstrate setting up advanced materials in Blender, utilizing height and vertex painting for seamless blending.

This lesson focuses on creating an architectural kitbash kit, a method widely used in game design for its efficiency in creating varied buildings from reusable assets. You will begin by exploring metrics and scale considerations. Then, you will delve into a range of modifiers, addons, and tools inside Blender to create basic building blocks. Following this, you will explore different techniques for adding intricate details. The next step involves creating variations from building blocks and assembling them into different structures. Finally, Sonja will touch upon optimization strategies to ensure good performance.

In this lesson, you will learn all about vegetation creation. You will start by mastering manual tree creation with the skin modifier and geometry nodes, and then you will investigate both free and paid vegetation creation addons for Blender. Following that, Sonja will demonstrate different techniques using modifiers to create flowers and plants in general. Finally, you will delve into scattering objects using particles, geometry nodes, and various addons, both free and paid.

In Lesson 5, you will wrap up your exploration of asset creation. Sonja will demonstrate simple methods for crafting cables, ropes, and knots. Additionally, she will guide you through utilizing Blender's cloth system for creating dynamic elements such as curtains, flags, and awnings. You will also learn how to add destruction to your models using cell fracture and rigid body simulations. Sonja will demonstrate to you some efficient techniques for integrating bodies of water into your scenes. Finally, various resources available for adding people to 3D scenes will be discussed.

The focus in this lesson will be on organizing and integrating all previously created assets into a library and assembling the scene. You will explore topics such as aspect ratios, camera angles, lens selection, and depth of field as you learn to set up your shots. Furthermore, you will delve into guiding the viewer's eye through your images by manipulating contrast and learn how to balance compositions to create visually pleasing images.

Lighting holds immense importance, shaping the mood, reflecting emotions, and directing attention, so this week is all about exploring lighting and color. You will begin with an artistic exploration of lighting, breaking it down into key aspects such as quality, function and direction, and ratio. Then, you will dive into practical lighting setups within Blender, discussing how you can art direct your shadows, add volumetric effects, set up light and shadow linking as well as world lighting techniques. Next, you will delve into color, examining its associative power and, lastly, Sonja will guide you through her personal lighting process, offering valuable tips and considerations to simplify the process.

Lesson 8 marks the final Blender session, providing an opportunity to finalize your scene with any remaining details. During this lesson, you will discuss the decision-making process between 3D and 2D workflows. Sonja will share techniques for optimizing files, setting up render passes, and adjusting settings to decrease render times. Additionally, you will learn about different render manager add-ons suited for managing more complex scenes.

The class concludes with a focus on Photoshop. Throughout the lesson, Sonja will demonstrate her preferred post-processing techniques and effects to refine and perfect an image. She will show you how you can use render passes to adjust certain aspects of your images and how you can incorporate photos to elevate the quality of your renders.


Sonja Christoph

Sonja Christoph is a 3D Generalist and Matte Painter with a focus on creating environments. She has worked in Film, TV, Commercials, Theme Park rides, VR, and now AAA games. Throughout her career, she has worked at a number of VFX and Games studios such as Rhythm & Hues, The Mill, Industrial Light & Magic, ILMxLab, Ubisoft, IO Interactive, and more, and has worked on movies like “Dr. Strange” and “Tomorrowland”, TV shows like “Agent Carter”, and video games like “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2”. During her time at ILMxLab, Sonja contributed to several projects including "Carne Y Arena", which won the rare Special Awards Oscar in 2017.