3D/VFX Essentials

Get started with a career in the VFX industry!

This course is designed for those who wish to set out on a venture of exploring the world of computer-generated graphics by becoming familiar with the Maya software package. During the course we will touch on topics across all areas of computer graphics in the film, TV and video game industries. This course may be of interest to beginners, as well as to those who are already specialized in a 3D design area, or in another software program, and now wish to expand their knowledge. Beginning with an introduction to VFX history, throughout this course students will become familiar with current leading software packages and develop an understanding of the distribution of specialized tasks within a VFX studio. Overall, this course encompasses everything required for a sound understanding of modern VFX production. By the end of the course, students will have had the opportunity to discover where their talents lie and will have gained a clear idea of which direction they wish to take in furthering their career in the VFX industry. 


Basic information:

course duration: 7 weeks
requirements:  basic computer skills                                                  
                      Digital Image Editing*
prices for international students click here        

prices for home students click here          
       *or equivalent computer skills
     **price based on minimum 5 participants
   ***internship available

Online application send here>


Course program:

Getting to know the VFX industry
  • History of the VFX industry
  • Current affairs and trends in the VFX industry
  • The future of computer graphics

Getting to know the Maya program
  • History of the Maya program
  • Areas of application
  • Basic concepts of working in Maya

Maya interface I
  • Basic components of the interface
  • Navigating the Maya interface
  • Use of masks for selection
  • Transform tools
  • Snap tools

Maya interface II
  • Editors in Maya (Outliner, Attribute Editor)  
  • Duplicate
  • Paranting and hierarchy 

Modeling approach 
  • Properly planning the production of a model   
  • Analysis of production requirements
  • Collecting references

Basics of poly modeling I
  • Approaching the problem of modeling
  • Getting acquainted with poly geometry
  • Poly components
  • Basic tools for poly modeling (Create Polygon Tool, Merge Vertices)

Basics of poly modeling II
  • Advanced tools for poly modeling
  • Considering unhealthy geometry

Basics of poly modeling III
  • Techniques for optimizing modeling
  • Testing technical defects of a model
  • Applying deformers in modeling

Avanced poly modeling I
  • Types of topology
  • Application of topology

Practical application of  modeling
  • Examples od production ready models and detailed analysis of the production process
  • Analysis of the most common problems in hard surface modeling

Maya structure
  • Nodes in Maya. What is a node?
  • Types of nodes ("Drawable objects vs Parametrized operations")
  • Organizing nodes through DG
  • Organizing nodes through hierarchy
  • Flow of data in Maya ("Dirty bit propagation")
  • Conventions for naming. Conserving time and minimizing stress when naming nodes

Basics of texturing
  • Basics of texturing
  • Creating textures in Photoshop
  • Editing UV
  • Discussion on texturing in program packages

Texturing fundamentals I
Fundamentals of Substance Painter

Texturing fundamentals II
Hard surface texturing in Substance Painter  

Texturing fundamentals III
Organic surfaces texturing in Substance Painter
Digital camera
  • How a practical camera works
  • Differences between a camera in Maya and a practical camera
  • Basics of camera tracking (Boujou)

Editing an interface
  • Advantages of adjusting an interface
  • Methods of increasing comfort and speed of work
  • Creating a shelf
  • Creating a marking menu
  • Creating custom hot keys

Basics of rigging
  • Application in the industry
  • A look at the most common techniques
  • Using rigging techniques in your every day work

Basics of animation
  • History of animation
  • Basic animation techniques

Basics of dynamics
  • History and modern application
  • Dynamics in Maya
  • Dynamics in other program packages

Compositing in the VFX industry
  • Theory of compositing in VFX
  • Program packages that are used for compositing

Programming in the VFX industry
  • Basics of programming in Mel
  • Practical examples for using Mel to ease work in Maya

Film production
  • Principles of film production from the concept to the premiere

VFX production (VFX pipeline)
  • Organization of a VFX project
  • Work ethic
  • Approaching work with the aim of attaining the best possible results
  • Interpersonal relations in the workplace

Art and visual effects
  • Art history
  • Applying art in the VFX industry
  • Influence of traditional art on modeling
  • Traditional sculpting as a way of improving modeling skills
  • Traditional drawing as a way of improving modeling skills


Literature* :

Gould, David, Complete Maya Programming: An Extensive Guide to MEL and C API, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, San Francisco, USA, 2003
Gould, David, Complete Maya Programming Volume II, Volume 2: An In-depth Guide to 3D Fundamentals, Geometry, and Modeling, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, San Francisco, USA, 2005
Hetland, Magnus Lie, Beginning Python: From Novice to Professional, Apress, New York, USA, 2005
Edwards, Betty, The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Penguin Putnam Inc., New York, USA, 1999
Arnhajm, Rudolf, Umetnost i vizuelno opažanje, Studentski kulturni centar, Belgrade, Serbia, 1998

* all literature is available to students at the Crater VFX Training Center library



Upon completion of the course students will receive the internationally recognized Autodesk Certificate of Completion, as well as the Crater VFX Training Center Certificate.


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