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88 The Pond Road
Toronto, Ontario

 The Visual Effects for Film and Television Program is designed to introduce students to the tools and techniques used to create visual effects for film and video.  The program is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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Mark Lavania

Mark Lavania

VFT Program-2013/2014

Mark Lavania

Mark Lavania

What education did you have before you took the Visual Effects for Film and Television course?

I completed a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering from India.  After that I completed a short 2 month course in Multimedia technologies from School of Audio Engineering in New Delhi as part of my company training requirement for the bachelor's degree. That is where I came into touch with 3Ds Max and Maya. 

I was very inspired by the video game CG cutscenes and cinematics I wanted to make my graduation project to be something about 3D animation. I was a big fan of 3DS Max then and never liked Maya. Since the final year project had to be about programming and scripting I had to choose Maya because of the MEL's resources readily available then. From then on I fell in love with Maya. 

Then I went to Sydney, Australia in 2007 to pursue higher studies in Animation at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) which I had to discontinue within a year because of a back injury and come back to India. Then after working in I.T field and do some freelancing as a 3D Artist, I came to Canada and decided to go back to my interests and join Seneca

Tell us a bit about your experience at the college.

I had a great time at Seneca. Finally, I was among the people who shared the same interest as me and that was so much for me. I had always been a self taught artist and I was looking eagerly to join Seneca and learn something new.  I had no idea the amount of new tools, tips and tricks that I would learn in the first few weeks. 
One of the main reasons I chose Seneca before others was the faculty. The trainers at Seneca are an awesome group of people. The best thing is that they not only know their trade but also know how to impart that knowledge to students with varying level of VFX knowledge. Since they are already working in the VFX industry they know the requirements of the industry and their experience played a huge role in my success as a student and a future VFX Artist.

The computers and the learning resources at the lab were to the latest standard. The computers had the latest hardware with Xeon processors, 32 Gb Ram and workstation graphics cards made it comfortable for us to create heavy 3D scenes and render without any hardware related bottlenecks. The lab was also available to us for 24hrs for the entire duration of the course.

How do you use the education you got at Seneca in your job today?

I am a Lighting Artist now and Maya, VRay and Nuke are the tools which we use to create CG imagery. Being a lighting artist, Nuke is an indispensable part of our work and I would not have started learning it if it would not have been Seneca and the expert trainers there. Color grading, keying, roto, compositing techniques, Python - I use them all the time and they are all that I learned during my course at Seneca. 

The best thing about the course is that it's tailored according to the industry requirements. Right from Maya to Nuke, we were also being taught Houdini, Python, camera tracking and motion graphics so that every student can get better understanding of the VFX pipeline.

What advice would you give potential students who are thinking of taking the course?

3D = Discipline, Dedication and Determination and not 3 dimensions will be required for the success in this course. I know that was a cheesy reference but this course is an intense 8 month period of learning and working hard to execute your plans for the demo reel and hence a job in the industry. The best advise is to plan out which field you will be specializing in as soon as possible to give yourselves a head-start in making the demo reel. Even if you are not sure there is nothing to worry as during the first semester you will be taught all the aspects of a VFX pipeline and then you can decide which field you enjoy the most and specialize in the 2nd semester.

The first semester is very important and I advise, one must be very dedicated and disciplined during it. This time will prepare you for the 2nd semester for hard work that you will be putting in for your demo reel production. Apart from this, make the best use of the course resources - computers, green screen room, cameras and shooting equipments and the trainers. All the trainers are very cooperative will give one on one attention. It is on us to come with questions and doubts and ask for their expertise and that is what makes this course so successful and hence you.

I wish you all the best for your time at Seneca and your future.

(Written in 2014) 

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