Material Studies

  • Software:Photoshop CS6  ·

Rules of the Exercise

  • 1
    Download this exercise practice worksheet.
  • 2
    Study each material closely and examine the differences between each material to create 9 different spheres.
  • 3
    Once finished, submit your exercise to be reviewed and looked over under the "Submissions" tab for grading!


  This is another common practice for digital artists to work on enhancing their skills with different materials, textures, and surfaces. Every surface on a material is unique on how it treats lighting and it's properties and as a concept artist, it is your job to capture that. Take a look at each material individually and look at some reference images and really look at the material. Study it's surface, is it completely smooth, does it reflect light in a concentrated area, does any of the light pass through the object. Keep asking questions for each and treat it like you are studying it. The more you understand a material the easier it will be to translate that in a drawing. It's encouraged to keep the objects somewhat spherical, and the gray circles are meant to act as bases for you to work upon. MaterialStudies_Sheet Every surface on a material is unique on how it treats lighting and it's properties and as a concept artist, it is your job to capture that. When shaded
Top group: The classic materials: - Leather, Metal, and Skin
This group contains the three basic materials used for most character concept art and should be a solid foundation for any artist to know and render correctly.
Middle Group: Light passing through - Crystal Gems, Jello, and a Bubble
This group focuses on materials that light passes through in three different subject matters. This is important to begin understanding that light can permeate the surface and can create subsurface scattering
Bottom Group: Light mostly absorbed - Wood, Matte Armor, and an Orange
This bottom group all have an example of a surface that absorbs most of the light and the reflections will either be minimal or very concentrated but these each have a different surface to them, from smooth to rough and bumpy. EXAMPLES: This is a well known practice that you can find many submissions across the net, but here are a few that really exemplified what the exercise is all about: Example 1, Example 2, Example 3. Lastly, in your examples, try to keep the lighting placement the same, and if it's a reflective surface, show the different objects around it in the reflection!


  timstudiesentry For this exercise's update features a video tutorial on going through the process on how I would go about creating each of the 9 materials in the study.


  MaterialStudies_Sheet When you finish the exercise, remember to submit the result to the "Submissions" tab near the top of this exercise. You can see other submissions alongside your own!