BECOME A
PROFESSIONAL

VISUAL EFFECTS
ANIMATOR

Visual Effects for Film & Animation

I WANT ANSWERS!

Overview

Are you more a fan of the Behind the Scenes vignettes of movies than the movies themselves? Are you more interested in movies with unbelievable visual effects that make the eyes pop? Do you like to explore alien worlds from a movie theatre seat? If so, the Visual Effects for Film & Animation Program is where you belong! Building off the foundation set up by the 3D Animation Program, successful grads will have gained the necessary skills, and language, to allow them entry-level access to any facet of the visual effects field.

CAREERS IN VFX

  • Compositor
  • Concept Artist
  • Digital Preparation Artist
  • Layout Artist
  • Lighting Technical Director or Lighter
  • Match Move Artist
  • Matte Painter
  • Producer (VFX)
  • Roto Artist
  • Runner (VFX)
  • Technical Director
  • VFX Supervisor
Upon completion of this program, you will have the ability to demonstrate knowledge of industry standard tools, such as Maya, Nuke, After-effects and more. You will have the ability to create many of the types of effects that studios demand today, and in the years to come.  You will walk away with the core skills needed for match-moving, green-screen work, set-extensions, digital makeup, Rotoscoping, compositing, asset building, film and camera work, texturing and lighting.
“VFX companies are already established in Kelowna and will continue to grow. We need industry ready junior artists.” – Industry Quote

Campuses

Kelowna

Program Length

24 months

Application Deadline

September 6th

Course Flow

  • Semester 1
  • Semester 2
  • Semester 3
  • Semester 4
  • Semester 5
  • Semester 6
  • Semester 7
  • Semester 8

In this quarter, you will be introduced to the practical skills and knowledge that are proven fundamentals of 2D and 3D art, therefore laying the foundation for your entire two year program.  This will be achieved through the introduction of several industry standard 2D/3D software packages that will be used consistently throughout your program; drawing/design concepts and the creation of, what will be, a quarterly demo reel.

By the end of your first quarter you will display, the 6 basics of CG: modeling, texturing, rigging, animating, lighting and rendering.

Along with basics of CG: digital painting and photo manipulation techniques, basic perspective drawing, a fundamental grasp of basic design principles and elements, FX/Compositing applications with live action footage, and editing/exporting techniques for the creation of your first demo reel.

This quarter will continue to focus on the 6 basics of CG and the increased proficiency of an industry standard 3D software package. In addition, you are immersed further into the application of camera setup, cinematic techniques, and composition as it relates to the process of story-boarding and previsualization. Traditional drawing as it relates to drawing the human form from observation and traditional animation and its principles are also introduced.

This quarter will continue to cement an understanding of the 6 basics of CG and the increased proficiency of an industry standard 3D software package. Traditional drawing continues with studying the human form, but new software and tools are introduced as it relates to the digital process of 2D animating, character design, and CG sculpting. This quarter will complete the generalized nature of your program.

This quarter takes the 6 basics of CG and splits them for the rest of your two year program into several separate course flows. A CG animation flow is introduced, focusing on the animation principles and execution of character animation. A modeling flow is introduced, focusing on the process of both hard surface and organic modeling techniques. A lighting, texturing, rendering, and compositing flow is introduced, focusing on the professional presentation and execution of your CG projects. This quarter starts to focus more intently on the CG pipeline, but methods of character design continue to be explored.

Here you will begin to separate from the foundational studies of modern Computer Graphics and Animation, and begin the journey into the world of VFX (Visual Effects). You will start by learning the history of Special Effects (Physical and Practical effects), and how these pioneering techniques lead to the modern world of Computer Generated (CG) Visual Effects.  Further you will be learning more of the process of taking a shot from conception, design and planning. You will also continue to develop the skills learned in the first year, moving more towards VFX special requirements. You will also be introduced to the Foundry’s professional compositing software, Nuke, where you learn, for example, how to remove or separate actors from backgrounds, remove green/blue screens, and more.

For this quarter you will begin to take the background knowledge from the previous quarter and learn to apply these new skills in practice. You will now be able to work with cameras and lighting to create and film VFX shots. Correspondingly, you will gain the skills and knowledge required to create “Clean Plates” from film assets by learning how to remove wire rigs, track markers, and other unwanted elements within a filmed shot. Dynamics and simulations are used to digitally recreate fabrics (capes), water and destruction scenarios (i.e., bridge collapses, building explosions, etc…); so naturally you will use this class to get an introduction to setting up these systems with Maya, and how to properly export them for composition.

Expanding from 2D tracking, you will now use these tools to track filmed assets to create 3D tracks. You  will learn to take these tracked solutions and apply them within 3D software to either recreate a camera movement to place CG assets within a scene as either additional props, or to integrate 3D Characters. Concurrently, you will now learn how to bring filmed plates, keyed actors, clean back plates, and other created assets, together. Once these assets are properly layered within Nuke, you will learn the techniques of blending and color-grading, all these assets, to blend them together into a cohesive whole.

A Demo Reel, and to a greater extent an online portfolio, is the VFX’s artist’s way to reach out to future employers. They are the tools the artist needs to demonstrate their level of proficiency, therefore it’s now time to bring all of your knew skills together. This quarter, you will get the opportunity to design and shoot your own VFX shots, starting with storyboarding, working with film equipment, creating any special CG assets, and ending in Nuke, to bring it all together for a final Professional grade Demo Reel and portfolio. This is where you will show off your creativity and knowledge of the industry to future employers. You will be working with your instructors as they help guide you through your graduation production pipeline, simulating what you can expect in an actual studio environment.

Faculty

SEAN RIDGWAY | DEPARTMENT HEAD

Graduating in 1992, Sean jumped right into animating and developing CD-Rom games for an independent video game company in Oakville, Ont.  In 1994 the attraction of the west coast and the burgeoning Vancouver animation industry led Sean to work at major pre-production houses in the Lower Mainland such as ‘Studio ‘B’ Productions’ and ‘Bardel Entertainment’ designing  on many television shows such as “The Magic School Bus”, and “Tales from the Cryptkeeper”.  In 1996 ‘Disney’ came to Vancouver and over the next 4 years Sean helped animate many feature-length projects including the award winning “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas”.

Always looking for a challenge and a chance to broaden his skills, Sean accepted a position as a computer graphic artist on the ‘NBA Live’ team at Electronic Arts Canada in Burnaby, BC.

In 2000, Sean started his teaching career, joining the ‘Centre for Digital Imaging and Sound’ as an instructor while working full-time in the industry.  In 2002, Sean was offered the full-time position of Animation department head at the ‘Center for Arts and Technology’ in Fredericton, New Brunswick and decided to make the journey back east with his family.

Sean is back in BC and has been with the Centre for Arts and Technology for over 11 years in the role of Department Head and full time instructor.

To learn more about working in the Animation Industry, you can listen to our PODCAST  with Sean on our Soundcloud Stream. 

WILSON LEUNG | DEPARTMENT HEAD | SURREY CAMPUS

Wilson Leung’s career has been vast and impressive. Graduating in 1996, Wilson wasted no time and jumped in to work on one of the biggest toy franchise animation show, Transformers. In addition, Wilson also worked on Reboot, the world first 3D animated TV show. After completing a few more animation show such as War Planet and Weirdoh, Wilson moved on to pursue his video game career in the year 2000. 

With the mentality of only working with the best, Wilson decided to join Electronic Arts, one of the largest video game studios on the planet. As a Lead Motion Capture Specialist, Animator and Manager, he has worked on many award-winning AAA titles. For example, Harry Potter, Lord of the Ring, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Need for Speed, Madden, NHL, FIFA, Dead Space, Dante’s Inferno, God Father, Medal of Honor, MMA UFC, Fight Night, FIFA Street, NBA Street, Army of Two, Def jam, Skate … the list goes on and on. He has also worked with many celebrities such as top professional golfer, Tiger Woods, Street basketball team And1, baseball super star Luis Gonzalez, NBA Star Stromile Swift … etc. Other than video games, he has also worked on Gillette commercial featuring Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, and Thierry Henry. 

Wilson found success in both the animation and video game industries, but he chose to never keep the knowledge to himself. Starting in 2002, he started to share what he learned from his profession. He has taught at many prestigious schools, such as BCIT, CDIS, Vancouver Film School, Think Tank, Langara College, and Centre for Arts and Technology. In 2003, Wilson was interviewed by BCIT. In his Article, “Electronic Arts Meets the BCIT Classroom”, he shared his vision on the relationship between gaming and education. In 2010, Wilson left EA to pursue his passion for education; he wanted to transform the classroom into a workplace-like learning environment. He decided to move to beautiful Kelowna and joined the best Art School in Okanagan area, Centre for Arts and Technology. He worked closely with Animation Department Head, Sean Ridgway, who was a Disney Animator, to revise the whole 3D animation curriculum. His vision? To transform the classroom into a professional studio environment.  

In 2014, Wilson left Kelowna and returned to Vancouver for family reasons. He rejoined EA and worked on one of the largest video game franchises in the world; FIFA.  In 2018, Langara college interviewed him for an article and video to talk about his more than 20-year career in animation and video games, with the goal to inspire young minds. At the same time, Chinese game giant NetEase invited Wilson to do a Game Talk sharing. At present, Wilson is the Animation Department Head at Centre for Arts and Technology’s Surrey Campus. He is leading and managing the exciting, fun, and rewarding animation programs. His goal very simple: to make your passion into your profession. 

ROLAND BARON | LEAD INSTRUCTOR

Roland is a graduate of the 3D program at Cato.  He has been very active as a digital compositor, modeling and texture artist over the last several years.  He has worked for Lizard Brain Animation as a compositor and Unity Broadcasting as the lead model-maker as well as other graphic artist duties .  Further, he has several film credits as an animator, compositor and model-maker.  He is currently building the “Hero” model for a new Film.  Roland has also been instrumental as a teaching assistant, helping mold and motivate our graduate students.

To learn more about working in the Animation Industry, you can listen to our PODCAST  with Roland on our Soundcloud Stream. 

NORM ROEN | TRADITIONAL ANIMATION INSTRUCTOR

Norm Roen graduated from Sheridan College’s three year animation program as a traditional animator. He’s done a variety of work all over the world from South Korea, Taiwan and China. For these careers his clients consisted of Disney, Universal and Studio Bin Vancouver. Norm also worked as an overseas director in Shanghai for Berliner Film Company. His jobs have included animator, layout artist, background painter, director and overseas director. Norm has had an exciting teaching career at Harbin University of Science and Technology in China, and now passes on his wealth of knowledge and expertise in 2D animation, to students at Centre for Arts and Technology.

KEVIN KYLE | CHARACTER ANIMATION INSTRUCTOR

Kevin has worked as a CG animator for nearly a decade in Vancouver, BC at studios such as Rainmaker Entertainment and Bardel Entertainment,  as well as having done several freelance projects. Kevin has worked on productions such as Max Steel: Monstrous Alliance, Nickelodeon’s Monsters vs. Aliens, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, VeggieTales in the House, King Julian, and is currently the layout supervisor for Dreamwork’s Puss in Boots tv series.

MICHAEL LEWICKI | CHARACTER ANIMATION INSTRUCTOR

Michael is a digital 3D animator with a wide range of experience. From productions such as The Smurfs (2011) for Sony Pictures Imageworks, Escape From Plant Earth (2012) from Rainmaker, Splinter Cell:Blacklist from Waterproof Studios and is currently working on Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

ELIZABETH DYKOSKY | LIFE DRAWING/ART FOUNDATIONS INSTRUCTOR

Internationally Renowned Artist  and Art Instructor.

Elizabeth Dykosky’s work is unique and shows extraordinary colour use and remarkable talent wielding the brush or the pallet knife. Her work has been exhibited at various galleries throughout the world, among others in Italy(Rome), Canada(Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Kelowna), the USA(Detroit), as well as the United Arab Emirates(Dubai and Salalah). Her paintings belong to the private collection of the Vatican, Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, and Shanfari Group of Companies in Salalah, UAE.

Her pieces capture the essence of the subject to a degree that leaves a lasting impact on the viewer.

TRENT TROMBLEY | DIGITAL SCULPTING/MODELING INSTRUCTOR

Trent has always been into art since an early age and would always be drawing and always enjoyed video games. When he was 11 he discovered comics and wanted to be a comic artist. Trent moved to Kelowna to take fine arts and at the tender age of 20 started to color comics professionally.  In 2004 Trent enrolled in the 3D program at The Centre for Arts and Technology to pursue a career in the video game industry.  Trent broke into the video game industry as a freelance artist and for the last 5 years has been modeling and sculpting on high profile game projects for Art Bully Productions. In addition to his freelance work, Trent also developed his own game project entitled Galactic Boxing which is slated to be released at the end of summer 2015.  Instagram:Galacticboxing and Facebook: Galactic Boxing

BRANDON HODGE | DIGITAL ANIMATION INSTRUCTOR

Brandon is a 2D animator that specializes in Flash animation. He has over 7 years of professional experience working on a multitude of Flash projects ranging from game development to production animation. Currently he’s working for Atomic Cartoons, through Yeti Farm Creative, on the production Rocket Monkeys.

TINA SIDDIQUI | LIFE DRAWING INSTRUCTOR

Born and raised in Pakistan, Tina travelled within the country and overseas with her diplomat father.

Trained as a Graphic Designer, her artistic journey has been that of an explorer. She works in a variety of mediums, of which pastels are her medium of preference. Often enjoying an “explosion” of colours, Tina finds working with a limited palette equally thrilling. Light cascading over forms, natural or man-made, is the driving force that compels her to paint as she strives to capture a specific moment in time.

Portraits, figurative art and landscapes are the themes Tina is currently featuring in her paintings and pastels.

Since 1976, Tina has exhibited in group and solo shows in the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Pakistan and Dubai. In 2004 she moved to Kelowna after a 13 year stay in Dubai. The Okanagan landscape has mesmerized her, compelling her to paint this area, which she says is a true labour of passion.

JAMES SMITH | CG INSTRUCTOR

James is a multi-faceted generalist and graduate from the Centre’s 3D animation program. During the course of the program he fell in love with the technical side of computers and computer generated graphics. After graduation he immediately began a career freelancing and has since worked on projects ranging from pre to post-production. Today James is more focused on development with the Unreal Engine and on further developing his 3D Design business.

BRAD SOROCHKA | INSTRUCTOR

Brad is currently a 3D modeler at Disney Interactive and a gratuate of CAT. He has worked on 3D cartoons in the past that have aired on both YTV and Cartoon Network. Titles include Storm Hawks while working at Nerd Corps Entertainment.

Graduate Success

Joshua Morley

“I would like to share my gratitude to the instructors that put so much time and effort in for us. The instructors are the best part about CAT. It was great to learn from people who share the same commitment and passion as you.” - Joshua Morley