tips & tricks
part-time professor & mentor
Over the past 7 years I’ve had the pleasure to share my knowledge with matte painting, animation and vfx students. I’ve taught classes that range from camera operation, tracking, modeling, 3d fundamentals, dynamics and proceduralism. In the most recent years, I’m mostly focusing on teaching Houdini Fundamentals.
Below are some of the classes I teach at Centennial College. Resources, examples and help files can be found here as well. Students and other artists can find some useful articles about my ideologies when it comes to advancing the field of Visual Effects.
Foundations Diploma: Animation & Modeling for VFX
Dive right in to your VFX course with 3D modeling, animation and visual effects exercises using Maya, Substance Painter, and Houdini. Practice setting up a proper workflow–a vital skill you’ll use throughout your career. Have a go at creating a realistic animation using the 12 Principles of Animation, then move onto basic 3D props. Finish with portfolio pieces including animation walk cycles, character jumps, 3D models such as stylized props or weapons, plus a space rover or robot model.
Learn how to:
Be fluent in software used by VFX studios
Animate and build 3D models from scratch
Create believable motion in your animation
Retopolgize hi-res objects for clean line flow
Introduction to Houdini FX
Start with the fundamentals of FX and simulations with Houdini software. Learn scripting with VEX and see how scripts can help create more complex VFX shots. Learn all about particles in Houdini and the concepts behind what drives them. Dive into advanced geometry concepts which will help you build assets for your VFX shots and ultimately destroy them! Apply rendering techniques used in VFX production and start building your first fully rendered shots.
Learn how to:
Navigate the Houdini user interface
Build geometry for your simulations
Understand and apply particle concepts
Light and render your shots
DVFX 201 - VFX Photography and On-set Data Gathering
Students will learn how to shoot footage to be used in visual effects productions with hands-on practical examples. In addition to learning the aspects of visual effects plate photography, students will learn how to capture and record all the various pieces of data that need to go into the visual effects production process including capturing lighting data, shooting green screens, surveying set layouts and recording important camera data. Students will directly use this data in their production work in the program, following their own data through the production process.
DVFX 203 - Camera & Object Tracking
Augmenting reality is the cornerstone of visual effects, and to do so a visual effects artist must first be able to replicate the movement and look of a real camera or moving object. In this course students will learn the important techniques used in camera and object matching common in the visual effects industry. Students will learn how tracking plays an important part in the visual effects process and how to properly format tracking data to be usable in visual effects work, in addition to focusing on the core skills that makes camera and object tracking a common entry point into the visual effects industry for students.
DVFX 307 - Intro FX Dynamics
This course will specialize in covering the fundamentals of a procedural workflow to create a variety of common effects used in feature films. Students will learn how to drive particles, fracture geometry and create volumetric effects using Houdini. Procedural techniques will be used to make effects applicable to a variety of different scenarios. Learning Houdini will allow students to think and solve problems in a non-linear fashion.