Digital Game Artist Certificate

Become a professional video game artist with this online game artist training course, designed to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in this creative and lucrative industry. Focus on developing core competencies in areas such as digital art, 3D art, modeling, character design, and environmental art design. You will learn essential techniques for jobs related to game art, including modeling game props and characters, importing elements into game-specific software, and...

18 Months / 600 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

University of the District of Columbia

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Learning method

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Course code: GES3006

What you will learn

  • How to improve your game art abilities
  • Prop, environment, and character art/animation
  • Proficiency in popular 2D and 3D modeling software
  • Modeling and texturing techniques to effectively bring your designs to life
  • The fundamental principles of creating exceptional art

How you will benefit

  • Identify the specific skills needed for your professional game art projects
  • Engage in hands-on development to practice and improve your new animation skills
  • Assess your artistic ability and identify areas for improvement
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your new skills in real-world projects

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 18 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 600 course hours
  1. 3D Modeling I
    1. Getting Started
    2. Basic Blender Interface
    3. Viewport Configuration and Layout
    4. Display Settings and Menu Rollouts
    5. Select, Undo/Redo, and Space Search
    6. Rendering an Image
    7. Viewport Controls and Settings
    8. Transforms and User Preferences
    9. Select and Deselect
    10. Primitives
    11. Append
    12. Primitive Properties
    13. 3D Cursor and Object Position
    14. Edit and Object Mode
    15. Grease Pencil
    16. Pivots and Object Origin
    17. 3D Cursor
    18. Transform Orientation and Duplicate
    19. Polygon, Vertex, and Edge
    20. Object Mode Keys
    21. Edit Mode Keys
    22. Limit Selection to Visible
    23. Viewport Shading and Smoothing
    24. Insert, Delete, Dissolve Edge
    25. Edge Split and Create Edge
    26. Merge
    27. User Preferences and Key Commands
    28. Outliner
    29. Modifiers
    30. Piling Modifiers
    31. Snaps (Edit and Object Mode)
    32. Snap to Grid
    33. Splines
    34. Rendering Splines
    35. Splines in Edit Mode
    36. Curve Modifier
    37. Path Deform Process
    38. Bevel with Contour Controls
    39. Lathe
    40. Mirror and Symmetrize
    41. Insert
    42. Intersect Tool
    43. Fill, Bridge, and Grid Fill
    44. Bend
    45. Pivot Positioning
    46. Fill
    47. Grease Pencil Revisited
    48. Duplicate and Linked Duplicate
    49. Appending and Saving Selected
    50. Layers
    51. Boolean
    52. Smooth Shading
    53. Arrays
    54. Solidify
    55. Subdivide
    56. Proportional Editing
    57. Mesh Deform
    58. Basic Light Settings
    59. Basic Edge Placement for Sub D Surfaces
    60. Final Practical
  2. Elements of Visual Design
    1. Getting Started
    2. Balance
    3. Unity
    4. Gradation
    5. Harmony
    6. Dominance
    7. Repetition
    8. Contrast
    9. Gestalt
    10. Space
    11. Symmetry and Asymmetry
    12. Gathering and Filtering
    13. Style Guides
    14. Form and Structure
    15. Silhouette and Visual Reference
    16. Tonal Studies
    17. Light
    18. Ball Study
    19. Visual Depth
    20. Tactile Texture / Visual Texture / Pattern
    21. Volume
    22. Visual Narrative I
    23. Visual Narrative II
    24. Final Practical
  3. Texture Maps and Digital Painting
    1. Getting Started
    2. Photoshop Texture Maps
    3. Custom Brushes
    4. Style Sheets and Ortho Concepts
    5. Creature Design
    6. DDO, NDO, and 3DO in Photoshop
    7. Quixel
    8. Map Types
    9. What is Physically Based Rendering?
    10. Ambient Occlusion (AO) Maps
    11. ID Maps
    12. Using the Quixel Suite
    13. Using NDO I
    14. Using 3DO I
    15. NDO Practical
    16. Accessing Material ID Links
    17. Using DDO I
    18. Saving DDO Smart Materials
    19. Using DDO II
    20. Using DDO III
    21. Create Base (Albedo / Specular / Reflection / AO / Normal)
    22. Lowering Preview Resolution and Viewing IDs in Real-Time
    23. Combining Normal Information
    24. Layers and Blending Modes in DDO
    25. The Mask Editor and Mask Paint
    26. Brush Combining in Photoshop and Blender
    27. Grouping Layers
    28. Final Practical
  4. 3D Modeling II
    1. Getting Started
    2. Basic Photoshop
    3. Tile Texture
    4. Wacom Tablet Properties
    5. Layers
    6. Lights
    7. Sizing and Saving Texture Maps
    8. Texel Density
    9. Basic UV Unwrap
    10. The UV Editor
    11. Adding Maps to Objects
    12. Auto and Smart Unwrap
    13. To Sphere
    14. Unwrap Follow Active Quads
    15. Setting Seams for UVW Unwrap
    16. Smoothing and UV Elements
    17. Element Selection
    18. Positioning of Unwrap Elements
    19. Weld, Stitch, and Breaking UV Elements
    20. Relaxing UV Vertices and Elements
    21. Packing UV Elements
    22. Mesh Smooth and Edge Crease
    23. Cycles in Blender
    24. Texture Paint
    25. Basic Sculpt
    26. Baking ID Maps
    27. Baked Textures
    28. Creating Normal Maps
    29. Sub-D Modeling Intro
    30. Final Practical
  5. Elements of Digital Design
    1. Getting Started
    2. Stylized 3d Character
    3. Man Made Prop
    4. 3d Tree
    5. Underwater Vehicle
  6. 3D Modeling III
    1. Getting Started
    2. Anatomy (Hands)
    3. Anatomy (Feet)
    4. Anatomy (Head)
    5. Anatomy (Arm, Leg)
    6. Anatomy (Chest, Back)
    7. Anatomy (Creature - Cat)
    8. Anatomy (Creature - Horse)
    9. Anatomy (Bird)
    10. Anatomy (Creature - Dinosaur)
    11. Anatomy (Structural Design - Wings)
    12. Edge Flow, Relaxed Edge Flow
    13. Anatomy and Edge Flow
    14. Supporting Edges (Structural)
    15. Supporting Edges (Curved Mesh)
    16. Mirror and Edge Flow
    17. Weighted Vertices
    18. Armature in 3d (Skin Modifier)
    19. Edge Flow for Animated Meshes
    20. Fixing Texture Seams
    21. Digital Sculpting
    22. Solidify to Set Up Clothing
    23. Script UV Squares Master
    24. Script Mesh Align to G Pencil
    25. Final Practical
  7. 3D Sculpture
    1. Getting Started
    2. Orthographic Planes
    3. Alpha Settings and Transparency
    4. X-Ray
    5. Blocking Out the Leg
    6. Adding the Mirror Modifier
    7. Defining the Back of the Neck
    8. Creating the Feet
    9. Creating the Head I
    10. Creating the Head II
    11. Creating the Hands I
    12. Creating the Hands II
    13. Creating the Arms
    14. Creating the Toes
    15. Eyes and Teeth
    16. Final Base Mesh (Ready for Sculpt)
    17. The Multiresolution Modifier
    18. Setting Up the Sculpt Menu
    19. Laying Down Clay Strips
    20. Refining the Sculpt
    21. Sculpting Details
    22. Duplicate Mesh, Create Low and High Variation
    23. Spaced (Relax) Vertices and Tight Mesh Areas
    24. Texture Projections
    25. Projection Snaps and Retopo
    26. Final Practical
  8. Sub-D Modeling
    1. Getting Started
    2. Add/Delete Edge Loops to Define Volumes
    3. Unwrapping Separate Objects (Sub-Objects)
    4. Baking Normal Maps (Blender)
    5. Baking Normal Maps (XNormal)
    6. Apply Normal Maps to Mesh
    7. Texture Paint Mode and Brushes
    8. Mirror in Paint Mode
    9. Stencils
    10. UV Unwrap Guidelines
    11. Normal Map Errors and Extreme Stretching
    12. Normal Map Elements (XYZ, Color, Designation)
    13. Additional Projects
    14. Final Practical
  9. Digital Lighting and Game Engines
    1. Getting Started
    2. New Project and UI Overview
    3. Viewport Navigation
    4. View Modes and Show Flags
    5. Placing Objects in a Level
    6. Content Browser
    7. Material Creation I
    8. Material Creation II
    9. Basic Lighting
    10. Basic Blueprints
    11. Lights and Settings
    12. Shadows
    13. Light Behavior I
    14. Light Behavior II
    15. Three Point Lighting
    16. Time of Day Lighting
    17. Translucency and Projections
    18. Game Engine Lighting I
    19. Game Engine Lighting II
    20. Final Practical
  10. Character Design and Animation
    1. Getting Started
    2. Modeling the Base Mesh
    3. Sculpting the Character
    4. Retopology
    5. UV Mapping and Texture Baking
    6. Texture Painting
    7. Rigging the Character
    8. Creating Animation Cycles
    9. Setting Up in Unity
    10. Final Practical
  11. (CAPSTONE) Final Practical and Portfolio
    1. Final Practical and Essay
    2. Portfolio Development
    3. Career/Next Steps Consultation

Christian Bradley

Christian Bradley is the Director of Curriculum Development for Digital Media at the Art Institute of California, Orange County campus. He was as an instructor and Academic Director of Game Art and Design at the Art Institute of California, San Diego from 2003 to 2015. For more than twenty years, Bradley was an environment artist and texture artist with more than 35 commercial video game titles for PC, and Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo consoles in his portfolio. He has worked at Interplay, the Dreamers Guild Studios, and the Collective Studios. Some previous clients include Activision, Digital Extremes, and Legend Entertainment.


Basic computer literacy and software installation.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.
  • 3 Button Mouse (with wheel)
  • These supplementary materials are recommended but not required:
    • Pressure sensitive tablet (e.g., Wacom)
    • Quixel Mixer
    • Various thickness black markers
    • Sketching pencils
    • 12 color pack of pens

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Blender 2015 or later
  • Adobe Photoshop CS6+ (not included in enrollment) or GIMP/Paint.NET (free)
  • Unreal Engine 4
  • Unity 5+
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a game artist is $65,045 per year in the U.S., with a total average salary of $72,289 per year. The estimated additional pay is $7,243 per year. Additional pay could include a cash bonus, commission, tips, and profit sharing.


This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive eighteen (18) months to complete the course.

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

Our courses are designed to accommodate various learning preferences. Depending on the course structure, you may get different forms of support. Self-paced courses are designed to be user-friendly and independent, minimizing the need for external support. In courses with instructors, our direct platform support feature includes opportunities for questions, discussions, and remediation, with email and phone support available for select courses. Our student advising team is available to guide you on program requirements and administrative requests, but they do not provide assistance with course content. Our goal is to provide you with the necessary support for success, whether it's through self-paced exploration, direct communication, or guidance from our advising team.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more about financial assistance.

If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.