What education did you have before you took the Visual Effects for Film and Television course?
I had graduated from Algonquin College's Traditional Animation diploma program, so I had a solid base for motion and kinetics. I had also worked for a few years in an animation studio as a compositor which helped in transitioning to visual effects. Aside from that, just a lot of movie watching! ;)
Tell us a bit about your experience at the college.
I started off in the 3D animation program, as recommended by Larry DeFlorio (former head of the Animation Arts Centre at Seneca College) at the time. He recommended I take this program, despite applying to VFX due to my thorough knowledge of animation. Every time I passed by the VFX class, it called to me, so after a few weeks I convinced him to switch me over to the VFX program where I spent the next few months catching up. Joe (Raasch, the coordinator of the Visual Effects Program) did a fantastic job helping me ramp up. Because we had a small class, more attention was put on every student and the camaraderie was great. The more one person excelled in one project, the more people tried to reach their level, which was great to push ourselves to create better stuff instead of just "getting through" the program. The classes were great, everything was geared towards the understanding and the application of compositing principles.
How do you use the education you got at Seneca in your job today?
While I still work primarily in animation, I have several side contracts in visual effects. The most recent project at the animation studio actually deals with live action plates in a motion comic setting, which is a very cool breed between the two mediums. Even in animation, I still apply compositing principles learned in VFX. I sometimes even go back to my college notes to see how we achieved a certain complex key or techniques in the "math" of pixel theory. All in all, the experiences we gain in these classes follow us throughout are career.
What advice would you give potential students who are thinking of taking the course?
Be ready to dedicate yourself to achieving the best results and be amazed at the wonders you can create. Visual effects is fun! And once you get the concepts behind compositing, you'll be able to create some amazing things. If you're thinking of applying, be aware that it is a commitment and to wrap your mind around what you wish to achieve, you just have to study your craft. Watch movies, see behind the scenes videos, learn how people have achieved the results you see on the screen. Above all else, push yourself to create something great, not just get the job done. It can be the difference between a shot people point out and a successful shot no one knows is even a visual effect.
(Written in 2012)