What education did you have before you took the Visual Effects for Film and Television course?
I had no college Degree. No graduation. I was a drop out from my second year in Delhi University. It was my decision as it was forced upon to me. I always wanted to study Arts and was artistic but i also loved science and was good in sciences too. Choosing this field of VFX, 3D and CG production was a perfect and natural choice for me as its a perfect marriage of science (mathematics in particular) and art. Anyways, I never saw a clear boundary between the two but the Indian education system and the mindset of parents and society is not so forgiving I guess.
Before joining Seneca College's VFT program I had no real 3D, Animation or VFX experience. I came from a Post production and broadcast background. I spent six years working in various post production houses in New Delhi and almost every major channel (mostly news) in Delhi. I had a good exposure to editing, design and did motion graphics for promos had a very basic idea of 3D.
I at first wanted to join Seneca in 2001. I had the info and I knew the course and I really wanted to do it. At that time I think Softimage was the major 3D program taught there. I did not get enough moral or financial support from my family. I worked my way up and worked hard in post production. I saved some money for 5-6 years and then took a bank loan and headed to Toronto. I had my doubts if I would get an admission as I had no formal degree as such but i guess the work done in Post had paved the foundation for my education in 3D.
Tell us a bit about your experience at the college.
It was one of the best times I had ever as a Student. It was not easy, it was very intense and I remember for one year I was totally in to it. I gave my heart and soul and worked really hard. There was no Plan B. Only PLAN A and that was to work hard and give your best shot and leave Seneca with a showreel good enough to land an entry job in the industry. Also, this was my first time in the west. I was amazed by the structured, methodical and hands-on approach. It was simple in Seneca - you learn by doing. It was very practical and yet at the same time one to one approach. I was expecting a class of some 50 plus students but it was nice to see smaller groups so you can get more individual mentoring if you require it. I was very satisfied by the Lab equipment both the hardware and the software and the fact that the teachers were themselves working professionals and directly associated with the the industry helped a lot. The atmosphere and the mood in the class was always upbeat and the work of the fellow classmates pushed me to do better and better.
How do you use the education you got at Seneca in your job today?
Well, it was the basis and a milestone decision of my life to go for Seneca. I use all that I learnt in that one intense year in every day of my work. It became the basic foundation which i think is the most important thing. I come from the Indian education system which is more based on theory and memorising things and then writing the same in the exam and getting marks and all. Its not so practical or a hands-on approach. So I think it changed the way I approached problems. It made me self-reliant and independent and forced me to do things on my own. Learning by doing and learning by making mistakes and finding your way out on your own which is key and quite essential in this industry.
What advice would you give potential students who are thinking of taking the course?
My Advice is 3 Ps - Passion, patience and perseverance. It’s not easy. If you want to enter this field for money then someone lied to you. There is money but the main reason you should join this industry is simply because you LOVE what you do and you are passionate about creating believable, real looking beautiful images. It’s an art, it’s a science and it requires long dedicated hours and it’s frustrating in the beginning. Learning is a frustrating process and you keep striving hard until it becomes your second nature. My advice is come prepared for hard work. Please have some exposure to basics and fundamentals of 3D and Image manipulation (Photoshop/After effects),also some knowledge of Color theory and basic mathematics would always help. One special Advice to Indian fellows - No spoon feeding even if you bring your own spoon from home. No magic is done here at Seneca and don’t expect to have a kick ass reel unless you put your heart, soul and sweat in to it.
(Written in 2012)