Discover The Gnomon Workshop’s 10 Most-Watched Workshops of 2021…So Far!

With new workshops being added every month to The Gnomon Workshop’s ever-growing training library, take a look at the 10 most popular tutorials of 2021, according to what subscribers are watching in the masses.

The Gnomon Workshop library hosts over 300 video workshops, taught exclusively by professional artists working in the industry on films, games, TV, AR/VR projects, and more. The workshops are all available 24/7 with a subscription and cover an impressive range of tips, techniques, and approaches to feed your hunger to learn — whether you’re looking to get started in 3D, develop your skills, keep up with industry trends, or just pick up something new.

A free 3-day trial is available for new customers. Plus, if you enter ARTSTATION15 into the Coupon Code field at the checkout, you’ll save 15% off the first month of a new Monthly Subscription, or 15% off the first year of an Annual Subscription (that’s a $73.50 saving!).*

Read on to discover the knowledge people have been absorbing from The Gnomon Workshop this year across FX, sculpting, rigging, lighting, look dev, and more. Whether you’re still working or studying from home or venturing back to the office or school, The Gnomon Workshop is there to support you as your go-to resource for professional training, whatever your specialty.

*This offer is exclusively for ArtStation Magazine readers. The offer expires June 15, 2021, 11:59 PM UTC.

1. Introduction to ZBrush 2021: The Ultimate Guide To ZBrush With Madeleine Scott-Spencer

Instructor: Madeleine Scott-Spencer

Software covered: ZBrush, KeyShot, Maya, Photoshop

Disciplines covered: Lighting & Rendering, Modeling, Sculpting, Texturing & Shading, UV Layout

Duration: 51 hours

Proficiency level: Beginner–Intermediate

Madeleine Scott-Spencer’s thoroughly comprehensive ZBrush workshop is extremely popular, topping both the 2020 and 2021 most-watched lists. Why? Because this 65-chapter workshop leaves no stone unturned in discussing Pixologic’s software. Madeleine considers every facet of ZBrush in extraordinary detail, discussing not only what each feature does but how you can apply each tool in a professional production. Whether you’re new to ZBrush or want to learn more about the latest version, this is undoubtedly a solid starting point.

2. Introduction to Maya 2020: Interface and Workflow with Eric Keller

Instructor: Eric Keller

Software covered: Maya, Arnold

Disciplines covered: Character Animation, Character Rigging, Digital Sculpting, Effects Animation, HDR Images, Lighting & Rendering, Modeling, Painting, Texturing & Shading, UV Layout, Visual Effects

Duration: 16 hours

Proficiency level: Beginner–Intermediate

Another popular 2020 workshop continues to prove its value in 2021. Like Madeleine’s ZBrush tutorial, Eric Keller’s Maya introduction considers the platform from numerous perspectives. Eric explores everything from basics like using Maya’s scale tool through more complex subjects like FX in Bifrost, grooming with XGen, and rendering in Arnold. Whatever he’s discussing, Eric does so with deliberation and consideration, making for a tutorial capable of turning Maya beginners into confident 3D artists.

3. Creating Creature Hair & Fur Grooms in Houdini: Advanced Grooming Techniques with Kristin Farrensteiner

Instructor: Kristin Farrensteiner

Software covered: Houdini

Disciplines covered: Lighting & Rendering, Look Development, Visual Effects

Duration: 8 hours

Proficiency level: Intermediate–Advanced

New in 2021, this workshop by ILM’s Kristin Farrensteiner uses the example of an exceedingly fluffy cat and reveals how to create believable grooms for any character or creature. Kristin runs through techniques for guides, memory lines, clump patterns, mesh transfers, and more, all within the context of both creative exploration and professional production. Viewers will learn how to create awesome grooms — and how to do so within hasty deadlines.

4. Lighting & Look Dev Essentials Vol. 1: Lighting Theory: Understanding CG Lighting in Maya, Redshift & Nuke With Adrien Vallecilla

Instructor: Adrien Vallecilla

Software covered: Maya, Nuke, Redshift

Disciplines covered: Compositing, Environment Design, Lighting & Rendering, Look Development

Duration: 4 hours

Proficiency level: Intermediate

Adrien Vallecilla’s workshop is a must-watch for any aspiring lighting or look-dev artist. Adrien approaches this workshop from artistic, technological, and theoretical perspectives. Expect discussion around technical and creative lighting approaches, analysis of lighting examples from film, and insight into the core differences between CG and real-world lights. Volume 2 of this workshop is also out now and focuses heavily on lookdev — don’t miss it!

5. Creating Procedural Environments in Houdini With Wojtek Piwowarczyk

Instructor: Wojtek Piwowarczyk

Software covered: Houdini

Disciplines covered: Effects Animation, Environment Design, Lighting & Rendering, Modeling, Texturing & Shading, Visual Effects

Duration: 8 hours

Proficiency level: Intermediate-Advanced

Wojtek Piwowarczyk reveals how procedural Houdini workflows can deliver beautifully detailed environments in a fraction of the time it would to build them manually. Wojtek covers both broader art direction aspects and the technical nitty-gritty of creating environments, from initial block-out to terrain generation. The core message he imparts is how artistic exploration can be just as important as technical proficiency in Houdini — a blend of each will net you the best results.

6. Rigging The Jaw With Python in Maya: How To Create a Rebuildable Jaw Rig & Zipper With Arturo Coso

Instructor: Arturo Coso

Software covered: Maya

Disciplines covered: Character Rigging, Scripting

Duration: 8 hours

Proficiency level: Intermediate-Advanced 

Love, Death & Robots artist Arturo Coso is a verifiable expert on all things rigging. Here, he covers a specific and crucial aspect of rigging in professional production: creating flexible rigs for a variety of scenarios. Arturo details this process by building a jaw rig with guides and Python code rather than manually creating objects and nodes. Viewers will come away knowing how to adapt this process to any 3D character in any animated project.

7. Introduction to Creating Game-Ready Foliage: A Complete Pipeline With Peyton Varney

Instructor: Peyton Varney

Software covered: Maya, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Unreal Engine, ZBrush

Disciplines covered: Digital Sculpting, Environment Design, Game Engines, Modeling, Texturing & Shading

Duration: 3 hours

Proficiency level: Beginner–Intermediate

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto V, Far Cry 5 — the world’s biggest games are replete with explorable jungles and woodland. In this workshop, you’ll learn the foundational digital forestry skills required to create such foliage. Peyton, a texture artist on the beautifully nature-filled The Last of Us Pt II, discusses using reference, modeling in Maya and ZBrush, texturing in Substance Painter and Designer, and implementing final organic creations in Unreal Engine.

Explore projects made with Unreal on ArtStation >

8. Introduction to Particle FX in Houdini: Vol. 1: Get Started in Particle Simulation With Alessandro Cangelosi

Instructor: Alessandro Cangelosi

Software covered: Houdini, DaVinci Resolve

Disciplines covered: Effects Animation, Lighting & Rendering, Visual Effects

Duration: 8 hours

Proficiency level: Intermediate–Advanced

Although Houdini can be daunting, particle simulation feels a whole more accessible in Alessandro Cangelosi’s hands; even when he’s creating galaxy-wide nebulae with thousands of particles, the fundamentals of FX animation will become clear. Alongside the creation of galactic vapor, viewers of this workshop also learn a whole variety of particle emission rules, dive into management of operator types, explore nodes and instancing, and so much more. Alessandro’s tutorial is a must-watch for budding FX artists.

9. Introduction to the Houdini Ocean Toolset: Simulating Oceans, Sea Foam, & Ocean Spray With Danny Barnhart

Instructor: Danny Barnhart

Software covered: Houdini

Disciplines covered: Effects Animation, Environment Design, Lighting & Rendering, Visual Effects

Duration: 3 hours

Proficiency level: Intermediate–Advanced

The fourth Houdini tutorial on this list comes from FX Artist Danny Barnhart, who focuses on believable ocean simulations. Danny covers the creation of expansive, undulating ocean surfaces alongside details like surface foam, ocean spray, and splashes. Danny also covers how to set up lighting and tweak shaders to render a believable final image using Mantra. Whether your next project requires vast oceans or simple coasts, this workshop has you covered.

10. Introduction to Substance Painter 2020: From Zero To Hero With Christophe Desse

Instructor: Christophe Desse

Software covered: Substance Painter, Maya

Disciplines covered: Painting, Texturing & Shading

Duration: 4 hours

Proficiency level: Beginner–Intermediate

If you’re going to learn about Substance Painter, there are few better people with whom to start your journey than Christophe Desse. As a Naughty Dog Environment Artist with 14 years of experience, he knows a thing or two about creating beautiful, true-to-life textures. His comprehensive introduction to the texture toolkit covers all the platform’s basic features and more. Viewers receive thorough insight into a production-proven artist’s workflow and will come away with a headstart in the world of texturing.

To explore the catalog of 300-plus workshops by more than 190 instructors, be sure to check out The Gnomon Workshop’s impressive library.

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