What education did you have before you took the Visual Effects for Film and Television course?
Before deciding on Seneca’s Visual Effects Program I had already completed a Honours Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Film Studies at the University of Western Ontario, which I took from 1996-2000. I had also completed a graduate course in Post Production at Humber College majoring in Audio Editing for Film and TV, which I took during 2003-2004.
Tell us a bit about your experience at the college.
My previous studies were something I enjoyed and I have no regrets from the experiences and knowledge I gained from pursuing them, but I can honestly say they didn't spark my creative juices like I hoped they would. After my first week at Seneca I knew that I had made a decision on my future that I wouldn't regret. The instructors were all very helpful and displayed a level of expertise in their fields that quickly lifted my own confidence to try new techniques and explore new creative projects. Before starting the course I had almost no personal experience using 3D applications and only some intermediate experience with After Effects and Photoshop gained from my course at Humber. The pace of the course was just right in that it both built up my skill level and gave me tough challenges to problem solve without producing too much anxiety. Even though I had a lengthy commute to deal with travelling on public transit from downtown Toronto to the campus, the 24 hour access to the lab made working on projects less complicated.
How do you use the education you got at Seneca in your job today?
I currently work as an animator and compositor at the Toronto studio, Meld Media (www.meldmedia.com). The comprehensive education of VFX and motion graphics has been invaluable at my job here at Meld as we produce a vast amount of different content for our clients. I've been able to confidently tackle keying, rotoscoping, tracking, detailed comping, 3D animation and many other tasks here because of my education and introduction to these disciplines at Seneca. For example, although Maya is the 3D software package taught to students at Seneca, it isn't used here at Meld. However, because of the way we were taught in our 3D course, I was able to leverage my knowledge from Maya into producing work in Meld's chosen package, 3D Studio Max. Also the encouragement to foster a healthy independent learning strategy while at Seneca has translated into a personal drive to constantly upgrade my own skills as often as I can. As a result, I now am able to comp in Nuke and produce 3D content in Cinema 4D, two additional software packages recently added to our arsenal.
What advice would you give potential students who are thinking of taking the course?
I highly recommend students take advantage of the crazy amount of computing power in the lab while you have access to it. Your amazing reel will thank you for your late nights and diet of cafeteria food.
Collaborate with your classmates as often as you can. At the end of the course your reel should reflect your own work, but having a creative circle to bounce around ideas with can only benefit you in the long run. In addition to the technical hurdles that a group dynamic will allow you to overcome, you'll also gain friends and future colleagues. After working in this business for five years I understand how important having a strong network of friends also working in your field can be to ensuring your professional success.