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October 01
2019

ISSUE

Fall 2019

VFX and Animation Schools: Keeping Up with the Essentials

By CHRIS MCGOWAN

Leading VFX and animation schools these days must ensure that students graduate “studio-ready,” says co-owner and director Ria Bénard of Lost Boys Studios in Canada. “With more and more demand for complicated visual effects shots, studios have much less time to train new artists, so they need the graduate to hit the ground running, transition into studio work faster and more efficiently.” Ron Honn, Florida State University Visual Effects Filmmaker in Residence adds, “The biggest, and I find most rewarding, challenge for preparing students for work in the industry is preparing a curriculum that is software agnostic – to find the essential technologies that all VFX artists need to know.”

To keep up with the essentials, schools are always in “learning mode,” to use Honn’s phrase, with many faculty members also working in the industry. As students acquire such skills, they also learn how to connect with potential employers via networking, mentoring, showcases, recruitment events, joint projects with studios and other means. The best schools, out of a few hundred operating globally, teach or facilitate all of the above and more.

Following is a sampling of leading VFX programs. This is a not intended to be a complete listing.

Ringling College students and teachers in the greenscreen room on the Motion Design floor. (Photo courtesy of Ringling College of Art and Design)

RINGLING COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN, Sarasota, Florida

www.ringling.edu

Degrees: Motion Design, Computer Animation, Virtual Reality Development, Game Art, Film, and Photography & Imaging.

Number of students: 870

VR/AR: Ringling launched a Virtual Reality Development major, a four-year BFA degree program, in the fall of 2018. In it, students learn to design, create and analyze immersive experiences in various industries.

Keeping up with technology: “We keep up with technology by making sure we have faculty that are active in the industry. Their professional experience is brought into the classroom. As full-time faculty members, we value collaboration between professors and work to integrate new technology into our flexible curriculum,” says Ed Cheetham, Head of the Department of Motion Design.

Connecting: “In addition to the vast connections brought to our students through the working faculty, the department brings in industry leaders to talk and engage with our students. Every year it holds a conference called FutureProof – five days of presentations, workshops, talks and networking events. In addition, each year over 100 recruiters come to campus to present, meet and interview students.”

Challenges: “Although VFX is such a broad field encompassing so many different skillsets within this discipline, ultimately the biggest challenge comes down to helping students develop a critical and aesthetic eye,” continues Cheetham. “Motion Design Professor and VFX artist Dante Rinaldi uses a phrase that sums up the challenges for his students: ‘You can’t fix what you don’t see.’”

Students work on a project for the Film/Animation/Video department at Rhode Island School of Design, a private, nonprofit college founded in 1877. (Photo courtesy of Rhode Island School of Design)

“We develop the artist as a whole, knowing that our graduates need the flexibility to make time-based work that continually pushes the cultural dialogue forward.”

—Sheri Wills, Film/Animation/Video Department Head, Rhode Island School of Design

RISD (RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN), Providence, Rhode Island

www.risd.edu

Degrees: BFA Film/Animation/Video.

Number of students: 143

Connecting: “RISD’s Career Center offers a comprehensive program of one-on-one counseling, portfolio reviews, seminars and other targeted events aimed at helping undergraduates, graduate students and alumni translate their creativity into meaningful and rewarding careers,” notes Sheri Wills, Film/Animation/Video Department Head.

Comments: “We develop the artist as a whole, knowing that our graduates need the flexibility to make time-based work that continually pushes the cultural dialogue forward. Through a rigorous examination of both technique and concept, we teach students to closely and critically consider every aspect of their work, the work of their peers, and contemporary and historic works,” says Wills. Students regularly analyze and solve technical and aesthetic problems, and benefit from exposure to critical review, film festivals and visiting artists and specialists.

Students at the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts, which is part of the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). (Photo courtesy of USC)

“Our focus is on content making, which is always in demand and forms the foundation for all types of production. Tools and methods come and go, but developing strengths in storytelling is critical for our students’ careers.”

—Professor Teresa Cheng, Chair of the John C. Hench Division, USC School of Cinematic Arts

JOHN C. HENCH DIVISION OF ANIMATION AND DIGITAL ARTS, USC SCHOOL OF CINEMATIC ARTS (SCA), Los Angeles, California

www.cinema.usc.edu/animation/index.cfm

Degrees: BA and MFA in Animation & Digital Arts.

Number of students: 120

VR/AR: Classes in Immersive Media and a lab where students can collaborate with others across SCA divisions as well as across schools.

Keeping up with technology: “Many of our professors are engaged in top productions outside of USC. For example, John Brennan, who teaches Motion Capture, worked on the recent remakes of The Jungle Book and The Lion King. We have other top industry professionals teaching master classes – all are working for major Hollywood studios,” notes Professor Teresa Cheng, chair of the John C. Hench Division. This keeps students in touch with tech trends. “Many technology companies are also connected with us to introduce and demonstrate their latest innovations.”

Connecting: “We have an annual event called Studio Day. This year, 33 studios/companies came on campus for full-day portfolio reviews with 80 students. At SCA, we also have staff members whose jobs are to connect all students to potential internships and first jobs. Based on our own industry contacts, which include ex-colleagues and outreach people, we are often notified directly about open positions. SCA also actively features industry speakers on a regular basis and hosts an annual event called Talent Week.”

Challenges: “The landscape of the whole film industry is changing rapidly, so keeping up with what is happening outside of our campus is essential. Our focus is on content making, which is always in demand and forms the foundation for all types of production. Tools and methods come and go, but developing strengths in storytelling is critical for our students’ careers.”

Ninety-nine per cent of the SCAD’s alumni are employed within 10 months of graduation, according to Jeff Light, Chair of Visual Effects, Savannah College of Art and Design. (Photos courtesy of Savannah College of Art and Design)

SCAD (THE SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN), Savannah, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia; Hong Kong; Lacoste, France

www.scad.edu

Degrees: BFA, MA and MFA in both animation and visual effects degree programs.

Number of students: 200 undergraduates and 51 graduates (Visual Effects degree program for fall 2018/spring 2019).

VR/AR: SCAD’s new Immersive Reality degree program launched this year.

Keeping up with technology: “We send faculty members to innovative conferences like SIGGRAPH, Unreal Academy, and GDC to research and network about evolving technology,” says Jeff Light, SCAD Chair of Visual Effects. In addition, we have at least two alumni mentors that visit our classes multiple times throughout the academic year to share their experience with the latest industry tools and methods.”

Connecting: SCAD president and founder Paul Wallace and the SCAD faculty puts an importance on “bringing leading industry professionals to SCAD’s global locations to interact with the students through master classes, portfolio reviews, recruitment opportunities, signature events, and the university’s SCADPro initiative,” according to Light. “SCADPro is a design shop and innovation studio that generates business solutions for the world’s most influential brands.”

New in 2019: “By the end of last year, it was abundantly clear that the visual effects industry is rapidly moving into the area of rendering in real-time. Previously, this seemed to be more in the purview of game design, but the clients we worked with in VFX increasingly demonstrated a need for rendering shots with Unreal Engine or Unity. The work our students produce is recognized as stunning in the area of photorealism and dynamic simulation, and the next level is to achieve that caliber of imagery in real-time, especially for AR/VR applications.”

The R&D department at Animationsinstitut der Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg has developed student projects with Foundry, DNEG, NCAM, Trixter, Ikinema and Stargate Studios, among others. (Photos courtesy of Animationsinstitut der Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg)

ANIMATIONSINSTITUT DER FILMAKADEMIE BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG, Ludwigsburg, Germany

www.animationsinstitut.de/en

Degrees: Animationsinstitut offers basic studies and project- based/postgraduate studies in the fields of Animation and Interactive Media.

Number of students: In basic studies, 12 students are admitted in each academic year. In project studies/postgraduate studies up to 16 students can participate.

VR/AR: VR, AR, 360° and other XR techniques are an essential part of the curriculum.

Keeping up with technology: “Training follows a practice-oriented and project-based approach and is always state of the art,” says Professor Andreas Hykade, Director of Animationsinstitut. This includes giving students the opportunity to implement 360° and VR projects. Hykade adds, “We only work with guest lecturers who work in the industry, which ensures that industry standards are taught. The Research and Development department of Animationsinstitut consists of a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the creation of innovative tools and technologies. In addition to commercially available tools, Animationsinstitut relies on its own developments like VPET (Virtual Production Editing Tools) or the Facial Animation Toolset for Autodesk Maya.”

Connecting: “National and international professionals from the film and media industry pass on their knowledge and their experience to the students in seminars, mentorships and workshops. Many of them offer students the possibility to work for current projects during their internship semester,” says Hykade.

Challenges: “To provide the knowledge for our students to be able to develop their own IPs.”

New in 2019: Over the years, R&D at Animationsinstitut has explored a wide variety of topics that have been crucial in media productions of today and tomorrow. The current projects have a strong focus on Digital Actors, Virtual Production, Immersion, and the potential of Virtual and Augmented Reality in narrative entertainment productions.

MA Digital Effects students use a Panasonic VariCams in a greenscreen tank. It was a promotional shot used for a Panasonic case study. The National Centre for Computer Animation at Bournemouth University was the first educational institution in the U.K. to use Panasonic’s VariCam digital video camera. (Photos courtesy of Bournemouth University)

“We recognize that there is a general convergence between the disciplines of games, VR, AR and film, which will shake up the animation education sector in the coming decade – although our department is certainly ready for these impending challenges.”

—Richard Southern, Co-Head of the Department of National Centre for Computer Animation, Bournemouth University

NATIONAL CENTRE FOR COMPUTER ANIMATION, BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY, Bournemouth, U.K.

www.bournemouth.ac.uk/about/our-faculties/faculty-media-communication/our-departments/national-centre-computer-animation

Degrees: BA Computer Animation Technical Arts, BA Computer Animation Art and Design, BA Visual Effects, MA 3D Computer Animation, MA Digital Effects, MSc Computer Animation and Visual Effects.

Number of students: About 300 Undergraduates, 80 Masters, 30 Doctoral students (in VFX/Animation studies).

Keeping up with technology: “We are fortunate to host one of the most vibrant and active research centers within the technical areas of Computer Graphics and associated digital arts in the world,” observes Richard Southern, Co-Head of the Department of National Centre for Computer Animation. “As an example, the drive in the industry towards automation facilitated by innovations in AI have been mirrored in our own internationally recognized research.”

Connecting: “There are several opportunities for students to connect, such as the BFX Festival, Masterclass (a credit-bearing undergraduate unit in which students engage in an industry set and mentored project), access to industry mentors, weekly visiting speakers, and degree shows for each graduating cohort.”

Challenges: “We recognize that there is a general convergence between the disciplines of games, VR, AR and film, which will shake up the animation education sector in the coming decade – although our department is certainly ready for these impending challenges.”

Gnomon’s course topics run the gamut from traditional art to character and creature animation, modeling and texturing, rigging, visual effects animation, game art, compositing, scripting and programming for visual effects, lighting and rendering, and more. (Photos courtesy of Gnomon)

“We’re not just educating students, we’re supplying the VFX and animation industry with qualified graduates. There’s a sense of responsibility there.”

—Brian Bradford, Executive Director of Enrollment Management, Gnomon

GNOMON, Hollywood, California

www.gnomon.edu

Degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Production. Gnomon additionally offers an accredited two-year Certificate Program, which covers foundational 3D skills before allowing students to emphasize in further areas of study: Character & Creature Animation, Modeling & Texturing, Visual Effects Animation, Games or 3D Generalist.

Number of students: Approximately 450 students at Gnomon study VFX, animation or game art.

Online: Gnomon offers a selection of online courses available to residents in California and those outside of the United States.

VR/AR: Most of Gnomon’s 3D software courses teach skills that are applicable to creating VR and AR content. The campus features a VR lab for students looking to explore these mediums in a dedicated space.

Keeping up with technology: “Having a constant flow of industry professionals teaching our classes, visiting campus for special events and evaluating our curriculum gives us deep insight into the trends and advancements in production pipelines,” notes Shannon Wiggins, Director of Placement and Alumni Relations.

Connecting: “To help prepare students for the industry, we regularly host employer days, where studio representatives are invited to meet with other students, review their reels and provide feedback. Through studio engagement, networking activities, and industry-related events showcasing the latest artistic and CG techniques, students at Gnomon gain a broad understanding of the operational characteristics of different studios, insight into the current job market, and the comprehensive knowledge of how to navigate a career in the digital production industries.”

Challenges: “Giving the students a perspective of how they can use the raw skills they are learning in a creative context and to appreciate the staggering possibilities they are inheriting as CG artists,” comments Beau Jansen, VFX Educational Lead.

Further comments: “Gnomon has a dual-customer philosophy – we’re not just educating students, we’re supplying the VFX and animation industry with qualified graduates. There’s a sense of responsibility there,” comments Brian Bradford, Executive Director of Enrollment Management.

At the School of Visual Arts in New York, the entire faculty body consists of adjunct instructors who are working professionals in the industry teaching part-time at SVA MFA Computer Arts. (Photos courtesy of School of Visual Arts)

SVA (SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS), New York, New York

www.sva.edu

Degrees: MFA in Computer Arts, BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects, and BFA Animation.

Number of students: 100 graduate students

Keeping up with technology: “The faculty body consists of adjunct instructors who are all working professionals – all work in the industry and teach part time at SVA MFA Computer Arts. This helps the program stay on top of technology that the industry is utilizing,” notes Hsiang Chin Moe, Director of Operations, MFA Computer Arts.

Select collaborations: SVA students have worked with Plymptons Studio to transform alumnus Bill Plympton’s traditional 2D animation into a VR experience. SVA hosted an event with Epic UnReal in 2018. The Cartoon Network offered a short residency to work on-site on a project for OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, a series created by alumnus Ian Jones-Quartey.

Connecting: “SVA has a one-year-long required class, Digital Art Seminar, where it invites guest lecturers to speak about their work. Students get to meet them and learn about their experiences. SVA hosts an annual career fair where students get to meet employers for job/internship opportunities. It also hosts many events and meetings for organizations like the Visual Effects Society, Women in Animation, and the N.Y. Users Groups for Maya and Houdini. Additionally, SVA’s student and alumni film and animation showcases (SVA Premieres Hollywood and After School Special in New York City) are opportunities for students to meet professionals and working alumni.”

Challenges: “There is a careful balance to ensuring students have the skills to step into a studio and work on someone else’s project while also ensuring they are developing their own individual creative vision to give the world something new and original.”

The Vancouver Film School strives to ensure that their students are prepared for the long term by being adaptable problem solvers who can navigate a constantly shifting and evolving entertainment industry. (Photos courtesy of Vancouver Film School)

VANCOUVER FILM SCHOOL (VFS), Vancouver, Canada

www.vfs.edu

Degrees: One Year Diplomas in Animation Concept Art, 3D Animation & VFX, and Classical Animation.

Number of students: Over 350 per year.

VR/AR: Eight-month program in VR/AR Design and Development.

Keeping up with technology: VFS has a continuous dialogue with industry partners and its faculty is always testing new software or production solutions with the students. “As a private, one-year program model we can pivot very quickly on new tech,” says Colin Giles, Head of Faculty of the Animation & VFX Program.

Connecting: “We have a staff of over 90 industry experienced professionals working with our students – the majority of whom are currently working in industry positions. Our mentorship program is a formal way of students working directly with experts in their chosen field. We also have industry nights where graduation students showcase their work to industry pros and recruiters.”

Goals: “Our goal is to provide a place for students to train their artistic voice and allow for experimentation, while training for all the skills they need to enter the industry.”

New in 2019: “We have developed a fully integrated relationship with Beyond Capture – an in-house private company providing ground breaking performance and motion capture to industry and our students.”

Think Tank has a Jules Verne décor and is building an airplane in its lobby. (Photo courtesy of Think Tank Training Centre)

THINK TANK TRAINING CENTRE, Vancouver, Canada

www.tttc.ca

Degrees: Think Tank offers no “degrees.” “We find the work is what the studios really want to see. Degrees are great and all, but in our industry having the degree helps with visas, etc. but not much else,” says Think Tank co-founder Scott Thompson.

Number of students: 80-90 students

Online: “We are expanding our online school into new career paths. We look forward to adding Compositing, Matte Painting, Coding for Games, and Character Animation to the online training platform.”

Keeping up with technology: “Think Tank is often the first school to implement new software worldwide. We were the world Beta school for Mudbox and Marvelous Designer. As far as I know we were among the very first to teach Mari, ZBrush and Substance Designer across the globe,” notes Thompson.

Connecting: “We have 36 instructors from the industry. They are an excellent conduit for employment. Students also attend many studio tours we arrange and studios regularly visit Think Tank looking for talent.”

Challenges: “Staying current and on top. There is a lot of competition these days. More than 400 schools worldwide.”

Greenscreen filming at Lost Boys Studios with owners Mark and Ria Bénard. (Photo courtesy of Lost Boys Studios)

LOST BOYS STUDIOS, Vancouver, Canada; Montreal, Canada

www.lostboys-studios.com

Degrees: Five specialized, career-focused programs. Vancouver: Advanced Visual Effects Compositing (12 months), Effects Technical Director (12 months) and Digital Lighting Artist (four months). Montreal: Effects Artist (five months) and Compositing Artist (five months).

Number of students: Around 50 in the Vancouver location and 17 in the Montreal startup.

Select collaborations: “When a studio needs training in a specialized area, they come to us to collaborate on designing a program to meet their needs,” says co-owner and co-director Ria Bénard. “When Sony was in need of Katana Lighters, they approached us knowing we are the specialized preeminent focused training center. This is how our Digital Lighting Artist certificate program was born.”

Keeping up with technology: “We constantly tweak our systems to reflect current industry standards. We meet with leads and supervisors as well as working alumni to ensure we are always relevant,” says founder and co-director Mark Bénard. “We consult with studios who collaborate to keep our programs [up-to-date]. The input they provide during reel reviews, screening, tours and presentations allows our programs to be in a state of continual evolution,” adds Ria Bénard.

Connecting: “We are fortunate to have been teaching students since 2006, with experienced graduates still actively working in the industry and happy to help new Lost Boys graduates,” says Compositing Instructor Andrew Zeller. “Lost Boys attends events and career fairs with students such as SIGGRAPH, Spark FX Conferences, the Vancouver Digital Entertainment Career Fairs, and more. Lost Boys also runs a public online job board (vfxvancouver.com) used by major studios throughout Vancouver, Canada.”

Further comments: “We keep our class size small (around 8 to 12 students per class) so our instructors can get to know every student and help them individually improve,” says Ria Bénard.

 

NEXTGEN SKILLS ACADEMY, London, England, and nine other U.K. locations

www.nextgenskillsacademy.com

Degrees: NextGen is an academy consisting of member institutions. Its network of Further Education (FE) colleges offer pre-university courses (“Level 3”). Students study for the AIM Awards Level 3 Extended Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills. Courses are full-time and last two years.

Number of students: 500 registered this year across 10 FE Colleges, with locations around the U.K. More colleges are coming on board for the 2019-2020 academic year.

VR/AR: Its FE colleges are offering VR/AR options as part of the Higher National courses and NextGen facilitates industry briefs and links to ensure the courses are relevant.

Keeping up with technology: “We meet with our Employer Steering Group quarterly. The group includes Sony Interactive Entertainment, Ubisoft Reflections, Blue Zoo, Framestore, DNEG, The Imaginarium, Centroid 3D, Jagex, The Mill and Playground Games. We work closely with them to ensure our course is always teaching the latest skills and industry,” says Phil Attfield, VFX and Animation Partnership Director.

Connecting: “Students work to real industry briefs with feedback and regularly visit studios. We also facilitate industry placements, host industry pop-up labs at colleges and organize the Graduate Showcase where students present their work to leading employers from the industry,” says Attfield.

Challenges: “Adapting course content to the shifting needs of employers as their pipelines and procedures adjust to take advantage of new technology.”

New in 2019: “We have been building and promoting the progression route from Level 3 to VFX Apprenticeships, opening up opportunities at more studios for apprenticeship placements. We have also been offering support for the introduction of Higher National courses at our network of FE colleges.”

The University of Hertfordshire’s student works have been shortlisted in over 140 animation and film festivals worldwide, according to Martin Bowman, Joint Animation Program Leader. (Photo courtesy of the University of Hertfordshire)

UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE, Hertfordshire, England

www.herts.ac.uk

Degrees: BA (Honors) Visual Effects for Film and Television, BA (Honors) 3D Computer Animation and Modelling, BA (Honors) 3D Games Art and Design, and BA (Honors) 2D Animation and Character for Digital Media.

Number of students: About 387 across all four degrees, including Games Art and Animation postgraduate students studying at the MA level.

VR/AR: “We teach VR skills in the Games Art and Design degree and cover 360- degree video compositing in our VFX degree,” says Martin Bowman, Joint Animation Program Leader.

Keeping up with technology: “Our staff are all industry trained and constantly updating their skills. They keep in touch with current developments in the industry either via their own contacts or via our alumni, many of whom are in senior positions in companies and are happy to advise the course on the way the industry is changing. We also take part in software beta programs to ensure we have an understanding of how software and pipelines will change over the next few years,” says Bowman.

Connecting: The university’s “Animation Exposé” event in May, now in its 14th year, showcases outstanding student films from the Digital Animation courses and is attended by VFX and animation industry representatives.

Challenges: “Learning the wide range of skills required to teach a fast-changing, intensive subject at an industry level of quality. And then working out how to explain that to students so that they can understand these skills without any prior experience. Helping a student go from zero to hero in only three years!”

Escape Studios at Pearson College continuously has speakers visiting to share breakdowns of projects and give career tips. (Photo courtesy of Pearson College)

ESCAPE STUDIOS, PEARSON COLLEGE, London, England

www.pearsoncollegelondon.ac.uk/escape-studios.html

Degrees: BA/MA: Art of Visual Effects, Art of Computer Animation. MA: Visual Effects Production (3D), Visual Effects Production (Compositing), Storyboarding and Previsualisation, 3D Animation. Also offered: short courses in specialist subjects and part-time courses.

Number of Students: Under graduate: Animation (93) and VFX (111). Post graduate: VFX (38).

VR/AR: Recently launched a six-week, full-time VR course.

Connecting: Students in our advanced courses benefit from industry feedback sessions with our industry partners, while all our students have the opportunity to attend industry talks, as well as events aimed at helping them network with creative companies, talk to recruiters and showcase their showreels,” says Beth Crosbie, a marketing assistant at Pearson College London. “We also organize The VFX Festival, an annual celebration of Visual Effects, Animation, Games and Motion Graphics. Our students have the opportunity to attend or help out behind the scenes during the event.” Many students go on to do industry placements.

At Florida State, the visual effects program mirrors the visual effects industry to stimulate a real-world experience. The program aims to ensure that students are exposed to the latest trends and technologies that drive the industry. (Photos courtesy of Florida State University)

COLLEGE OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, Tallahassee, Florida

www.film.fsu.edu

Degrees: The College of Motion Picture Arts offers two BFA majors, in Production and Animation & Digital Arts and an MFA in Production.

Number of students: Around 30 students admitted annually who study VFX and/or animation in the above departments.

Keeping up with technology: “We stay on top of emerging tech as a school through our faculty, who are working filmmakers with ties to industry,” says Jason Maurer, Animation Filmmaker in Residence.

Connecting: “The policy and practice of our faculty is an ongoing process of reaching out to industry colleagues on a regular basis, introducing our students to them for mentoring, and engaging them within the community upon — and even before – graduation. Faculty visit New York and Los Angeles as often as possible to connect with post and VFX facilities, asking what they’re looking for in new artists, and using the opportunity to talk about our program and our students,” says Ron Honn, Visual Effects Filmmaker in Residence.

Challenges: “I jokingly explain to my students that my job is to prepare them for ‘wilderness survival’ with basic tools – the five or eight scaffolding concepts you absolutely must know in order to critically describe and plan for executing VFX,” notes Honn.

New in 2019: Honn adds, “The advent of the new Torchlight Center in 2019 means, among other things, a new program incorporating AR/VR into pre-vis and virtual production, using new software that allows a filmmaker to map a space and place production assets and even actors and CG into it for the purposes of planning and shooting elements like camera angles and blocking.”

Further comments: “It’s all about connection. As artists, we are doing work to connect with someone on an emotional level. Teaching how to design a performance, an edit, a character, a shot that truly connects with the audience – that is a challenge. Mostly because so many people think that it’s all about knowing just the software, or only having to be good at tech or the tools. The best students are the ones who embrace connection and realize that the tool is the means through which connection happens and not the end,” says Jason Maurer, Animation Filmmaker in Residence.

Other Notable VFX Schools

More highly-ranked colleges that offer ranked degrees and/or programs in VFX and/or digital animation.

Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California

www.academyart.edu

ArtFX, Montpellier, France

www.artfx.school/en

DigiPen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington

www.digipen.edu

Digital Animation & Visual Effects (DAVE) School, Orlando, Florida

www.daveschool.com

Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

www.etc.cmu.edu

Gobelins, L’École de L’Image, Paris, France

www.gobelins-school.com

Polytechnic Institute, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

www.polytechnic.purdue.edu

Ravensbourne, London, England

www.ravensbourne.ac.uk

Sheridan College, Ontario, Canada

www.sheridancollege.ca

The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

www.uarts.edu


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