Learn 3D and VFX: the possibilities are unreal
Recognizing the increased demand worldwide for high-level 3D and VFX artists, Capilano University Continuing Studies is offering the Virtual Production for Film, Streaming and Immersive Media microcredential program. The program is for current 3D or Visual Effects artists with two to five years’ experience working in streaming, animation, film or games who want to expand their opportunities by incorporating real-time production techniques driven through Unreal Engine into their skill sets. This credential aligns with the digital industry call for skilled artists capable of working within virtual production workflows and pipelines.
Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive a digital badge that can be displayed on online channels such as LinkedIn.
So that you can fit the program into your work schedule and manage the course workload at the same time, the program has been designed with maximum flexibility in mind. The course delivery mix includes online (asynchronous assignments), as well as remote live (Zoom) synchronous live instruction every Thursday from 6 - 8 pm. In addition, for three of the courses, there is an in-person studio attendance requirement. The studio is available on weekends (Saturday or Sunday), and the four-hour time slots can be booked in advance. Each learner is entitled to one session per course. The film studio is located on the Capilano University main campus.
The program comprises four 15-hour, non-credit courses. To receive the microcredential, learners must complete all four courses.
The program breaks down as follows:
Course 1: Virtual Production: Cross Training and Asset Build (Sep 26 - Oct 12) Online (asynchronous assignments) with an online live component (Zoom) every Thursday from 6 - 8 pm.
Course 2: Virtual Production: Lighting and Live Camera Assets (Oct 17 - 30) Primarily online (asynchronous assignments) with an online live component (Zoom) every Thursday from 6 - 8 pm. In addition, there is a half-day motion capture studio attendance (in-person) requirement. The studio is available for bookable 4-hour sessions on Saturdays and Sundays only, and each participant is entitled to one session per course.
Course 3: Virtual Production: Character Performance (Oct 31 - Nov 16) Primarily online (asynchronous assignments) with an online live component (Zoom) every Thursday from 6 - 8 pm. In addition, there is a half-day motion capture studio attendance (in-person) requirement. The studio is available for bookable 4-hour sessions on Saturdays and Sundays only, and each participant is entitled to one session per course.
Course 4: Virtual Production: Project Shoot (Nov 21 - Dec 5) Primarily online (asynchronous assignments) with an online live component (Zoom) every Thursday from 6 - 8 pm. In addition, there is an in-person, half-day motion capture studio attendance requirement. The studio is available for bookable 4-hour sessions on Saturdays and Sundays only, and each participant is entitled to one session per course.
Hands-On Studio Work
Courses 2, 3 and 4 include supervised studio work, which will take place on weekends (these 4-hour sessions must be booked in advance, and each student is entitled to one session per course). The film studio is located on the Capilano University main campus. It features motion capture, virtual reality and a green screen stage for the purposes of exploring and developing virtual production-related processes. Working in such an advanced studio is a rare opportunity for any film student.
In the studio, you’ll be able to:
- Work with motion capture passive and active tracking on an optical stage using 32 Prime 13 and 22 cameras.
- Use marker systems to construct motion maps between live actors and CG characters
- Work with green screen in studio to drive live characters against CG backgrounds in Unreal
- Explore virtual camera creation to drive virtual cameras with live tracked cameras in studio for the purposes of shot creation
- Enable better live action integration using live lights in Unreal Engine through DMX
- Utilize trackers and the motion capture system to control props and other rigid body objects
- Map CG sets to locations in the studio for virtual location scouting
- Create more expressive avatars using finger and face capture
It’s important to understand that although you will have the opportunity for hands-on work in the studio, it does not mean you have unfettered access to the studio. The aim is to give each team/group time on set to shoot their specific shot or idea, which means some of the in-person time can be used in observation studies, participating in things like mocap fitting, marker installation, etc. Even then, there are limited roles on these kinds of sets, so students attending in person can bring laptops, tablets, or other devices to augment the experience.
Also, 24-hour access to pre-recorded lessons and content lets you learn offline on your own schedule outside of scheduled in-person classes.
Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:
- Transfer knowledge of current film, animation and streaming studio pipelines, processes and workflows to work within the context of virtual productions
- Generate methodologies useful in preparing digital assets for ingest into a virtual production project
- Develop a practice of virtualizing and tracking real-world assets with the goal of bringing them into a virtual context
- Interpret and analyze the affordances of traditional filmmaking processes and contrast them with those of virtual production practices
- Develop an array of hybrid live and computer generated techniques that can be useful in solving virtual production related problems
- Apply creative and critical thinking skills towards implementing novel solutions intended for virtual production-related workflows
Details at a Glance
- Program is being offered at a discounted rate of $520 per course ($2,080 for entire program). This is a one-time only price.
- Special funding available (50% discount on tuition) for applicants who are members of underrepresented groups (see Tuition below)
- Format is four 15-hour courses. All four courses must be taken to earn the microcredential.
- You will have hands-on access to virtual production tools, including virtual reality, green screen, motion capture and more
There is no formal educational prerequisite. In terms of technical experience, however, you should have:
- 2 to 5 years of industry experience with 3D, Visual Effects or animation-related production experience
- 2+ years of experience using Maya (or any 3D app used in the film industry)
- Some experience using Unreal Engine. This experience need not be extensive, but there is an expectation that you have at the very least picked up the free copy, installed it, opened it and moved around the interface to get familiar with the layout and hotkeys
- 2D Illustrators, Photoshop-only and compositing-only artists may find the program more challenging without 3D experience, but are welcome to apply
Hardware: You should own an up-to-date PC capable of running Unreal Engine (based on their specifications for UE5.0) and standard 3D applications. We recommend a 12-core CPU at 3.4 GHz, with an NVIDIA RTX 2080 or AMD Radeon 5700 XT graphics card or higher, and 64 GB of system RAM.
Software: You will need ten specific pieces of software. Eight of these are free and will be provided by the university. Two are available through an Adobe subscription: Adobe Photoshop, for $40.99 CAD/month; and Adobe Substance 3D Texturing, for $25.99 CAD/month. You will need the software for three months only, so the total cost to you is $200.94. This charge is in addition to tuition.
One-time-only promotional price
Since this is the first time the program is being offered, it’s being made available for a one-time introductory price of $520 per course. (This is at least a 50% discount from what the program will be offered at in the future). Seats are limited, so register now to take advantage of this not-to-be-missed discount.
Receive 50% off tuition with special funding for underrepresented groups
Prospective learners who identify as belonging to a group that is underrepresented in the industry (e.g., women, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, visible minorities and LGBTQ+2S, etc.) can apply for a discount of 50% off the $520 course tuition. If you’re part of an underrepresented group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before registering and let us know. If you qualify for reduced tuition, we will inform you via email, at which point you can go ahead and register for the reduced tuition version of the course.
Registration is on first come, first served basis, so register early.
To register, you will have to visit each of the four course pages and register for each course individually by selecting the ADD TO CART button. You must register for all four courses in order to qualify for the microcredential. The links to the courses can be found above in the Program Structure section. If you plan to register for the reduced tuition version of the courses, you must email email@example.com before registering and let us know if you belong to an underrepresented group (see Tuition, above). If you qualify for reduced tuition, we will let you know via email.
Digital artist by day, film director by night and sometimes game designer when the other two jobs aren't time consuming enough, Dan Gaud has been making cool/weird stuff using cameras and computers for 20 years now. Dan also feels really old for writing this. Yikes. 20 years. He worked on a bunch of movies back in the mid-2000s, from weird low-budget IMAX stereoscopic movies to Watchmen and District 9. He shifted to VFX Supervisor on commercials around the 2010s because they are way more fun and he gets to work with his friends all the time. He recently delivered AUTOMATIC for CBC Gem, a 50-minute long sci-fi anthology which he wrote, directed, edited and did most of the visual effects using Unreal Engine. He now works exclusively with real-time game engines to create his films and games. He also makes a killer poutine with real Quebec cheese curds and the gravy is made from scratch! No joke. His favourite colour is blue
This is a microcredential program. A microcredential is a short, focused and competency-based course or program that, upon successful completion, entitles you to receive a digital badge that you can display on sites such as LinkedIn. It’s a verified proof of competency that demonstrates to employers that you have acquired skills in a particular area.
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