Painting with Light and Color

Dice Tsutsumi
10 Lessons (10h 3m)
10 Week(s)
English French Spanish Portuguese

Two Ways to Learn


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  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

Over a course of ten video lectures, Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi have put together a course curriculum to discuss the fundamentals of observing color and light as well as colorscripting and telling a story. Both artists pull from their experience of creating artwork for studios like Pixar and Blue Sky, for films like Toy Story 3, Monsters University, Robots and Ratatouille. This course has been designed to share their methods and observations so you can apply it to your own work.

"Painting with Light and Color with Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo" consists of ten video lectures presented over 10 weeks.

  • Adobe Photoshop

Lesson Plan

Why are we teaching? What are we coming from? Why is there two of us? We answer these questions while sharing some of the work from our past. We teach how to observe a diffused neutral light setup and what and why it looks like. We will share a recording of a painting under this light setup while talking you through our thought process while observing this light setup. This lighting setup is a fundamental first lighting setup to our process of painting different lighting situations.

Strong values is an important key to a strong painting. We share the importance of values and its fundamental relationship to lighting and color. We will talk about learning to simplify values to help your composition, and learning to group shapes based on observation and controlling edges within your painting. We will share examples as well as walk you through painting demonstrations from simple still lifes to more complex scenes.

A diffused neutral light setup is the best lighting to showcase the local color and material of an object. In this lecture we focus on material properties and observing how light interacts with different objects and their surfaces. We share our tips on observing the properties of different materials and what makes light react the way it does. We paint from life while sharing some key observations made over the years about different materials.

Why are we painting diffused neutral lighting over and over again? We share why this lighting setup is so important. From a diffused neutral lighting setup you can adjust a painting to be in multiple different lighting setups. Think of painting as lighting, turn lights on in your paintings, we begin to talk about introducing different lights into your composition and give you tools to understand lighting step by step. We lecture on exposure and seeing, how is what the eye sees different than what a camera captures, and how is a camera and your eye simalar? Watch as we demonstrate how to go from a diffused neutral lighting setup to a direct light setup inside your painting.

Strong values creates a great platform for adding color. Color can be very subjective. We talk about how colored light affects a colored object objectively. Where can our eye trick us and how does exposure relate to color? Watch as we paint a diffused neutral light setup and change it into a direct light setup in full color.

So how does all this apply to telling a story? We talk about our creative process and the importance of context. We share our process of seeking story, utilizing reference and utilizing value and light as tools for telling a story, as well as examples. We paint a demonstration of an imagined story, using light and values to help clarify the idea.

Painting atmosphere can be an effective tool for establishing a mood or story. We talk about lighting conditions that describe atmosphere and how atmosphere affects objects in space. We introduce some special case lighting effects like looking into the light, over-exposure, camera filters and other special cases that can affect light and color in your paintings. We demonstrate painting atmosphere and other effects.

In this lecture we talk about our overall approach to bringing the principles we have discussed relating to lighting and color to our work. How does color relate to story and mood? Learning to paint different lighting setups adds to your vocabulary for telling story through lighting and color. We share multiple demonstrations applying different lighting situations to different story situations.

What is a colorscript? How do you make color and lighting mean something specific to the story you are trying to tell? How do you make color into a symbol to serve a greater meaning within a story? How can lighting in sequence, creating multiple images, affect a story? We look at examples from film and work we have done in telling story with lighting in color. We paint several demonstrations of painting in sequence to change the audience's perception.

In this bonus addition, we wanted to share with you a collaborative demo that we created to showcase our step by step process for creating a painting. We start off with the initial sketch, the many different possibilities of thumbnails, block ins, color thumbnails, a recap on light sources, and we take our idea all the way to a finished piece. We really wanted to refocus on how to capture the feeling of a drawing, how to remember the story, and more difficult decisions such as how to arrive at color choices. We always try to keep our drawings emotionally driven, and encompassed with storytelling. Your visuals are always there to support your idea, and we hope that by watching this demo you will remember to always put your heart into your work.


Dice Tsutsumi

Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Dice moved to New York in 1993. After graduating from School of Visual Arts in 1998, he started his career as a staff illustrator for Lucas Learning Ltd. in San Franscico. Two years later, Dice moved back to New York to work for Blue Sky Studios as a visual development and color key artist on such films as Ice Age, Robots, and Horton Hears A Who. In 2007, he became an art director at Pixar Animation Studios. He was the color and lighting art director on Toy Story 3 and Monsters University.