What education did you have before you took the Visual Effects for Film and Television course?
Before coming to the course I had a 3D Animation diploma at Humber College and a post graduate diploma in Game-Art and Design.
I also had roughly 3 years’ experience working in commercial and advertising studios as a 3D generalist and Motion Graphic designer using Maya and After Effects
Tell us a bit about your experience at the college.
Before the course started, I made the hard decision to leave my job as a 3D generalist in advertising and commercials and go back to school to broaden my knowledge and workflows. I couldn't have made a better decision taking the VFT course. I was learning from currently-active seasoned professionals teaching industry software surrounded by ambitious like-minded people. It was a completely different caliber of knowledge and experience sought out through the long nights and the motivation to achieve a higher level.
Early in the first semester I decided I wanted to do something completely different and become a Houdini FX artist. I knew I was up for a challenge, so I immersed myself in learning everything that I could. Pretty soon I found myself living, breathing and dreaming about Houdini and FX. Even if I didn't understand much at first, it was only matter of time and practice before things started to make more sense.
With minimal to no experience in FX I made sure most of my efforts not only went into having very diverse shots that portrayed my skills, but also asking questions and getting the advice needed to make a demo reel that would stand out to employers.
My Efforts paid off and I had job offers from 8 major VFX Studios in Toronto including PIXOMONDO which I am currently employed at the moment.
How do you use the education you got at Seneca in your job today?
The technical knowledge, workflows and daily communication with peers during my time in the VFT program has prepared me well for the workplace. The VFT program also exposed us to the pressure of a real studio in terms of delivering a high quality work on time. By the end of the course I inherited a vast number of skills and workflows that I still use today. I’m currently six months in working as a Houdini FX artist and I’ve applied all the techniques I learned during the course in relation to destruction, pyro, fluids, and particles.
What advice would you give potential students who are thinking of taking the course?
Having an idea of what you want to specialize in the VFX industry is a HUGE bonus. Test the waters a little, and have an idea on what role you want to play. Ideally, spend a number of months getting familiar with the programs used in this course. This will open up new doors to the complexity of the shots you can accomplish for your demo reel by the end of the second semester.
That being said, there isn't much advice you can give to someone who is highly motivated and driven to succeed. It’s already a given that you will have to work hard, be determined to learn, and constantly be driven to produce high quality work. This course is another example of how nothing worth having comes easy.
(Written in 2016)