I am a design student that is interested in persuing real-time vfx as a career.
However, their does not seem to be any courses for it specifically at universities.
What sort of qualifications or courses would be good to both develop my skills in real-time vfx and have better chances of being hired?
Does anyone recommend any universities? (I can attend ones in the UK or France)
Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
I’m a student of visual art for games in the Netherlands, obsessed with effects, and basically learn vfx on my own. I have an impression there’s no university programms in Europe for real-time vfx. But I believe courses/programms for tech artists/generalists in games would give a nice base.
My students learn FX in Maya and Houdini for film and TV as their primary but we’ve added a smaller realtime component in 3rd term allowing them to explore ue4 realtime as it combines with content from a regular DCC. A few of the grads have gone on to do FX in games… but again as it’s a minor component they need to do extra study on their own. I think that’s probably consistent across the board. That said, there are a lot of online courses and ue4 and Unity are free to use… Krita is great for painting, and Blender is a solid option for pre-renderd content (smoke plumes etc). So if you are self motivated, you could gain the skills outside of school too.
Specifically for real-time vfx, when it comes to degrees or college, save your money and learn on your own. Or take that money you aren’t spending on college/uni and spend a much smaller amount on paid tutorials and focused courses. You can absolutely learn this stuff and get to an employable level without spending any money directly on school, courses and tutorials though. No college or university that we know of in the community has a real time vfx degree, and only a handful have more than an introductory class on the subject; even then, those aren’t worth the money you’d spend to take them.
For the “better chances of getting hired” it’s just your demo reel looking better than the next person’s. The first, second, and third things studios care about is: 1) Demo reel, 2) Demo reel, and 3) Demo reel. Most places won’t even care if you have a degree or not. The ones that do are usually AAA places that will want you to relocate to them, in which case a degree helps with relocation/visas.
Some courses that will help in improving at vfx are 3D modeling courses, animation courses, digital painting courses, and things along those lines. Once again, all of these skills can be learned for minimal to no money.
Open and learn a game engine, explore and experiment making fx, and when you decide on the kind of art you’re interested in making, then you can start making more focused learning choices that will help you get better to a point of getting hired.
i teach 6 weeks of this course: https://www.pearsoncollegelondon.ac.uk/find-a-course/postgraduate/ma-game-art.html?intid=ESC_CL_CB3_3
You can do it as an 18 week short course or a full year masters degree.
the first 12 weeks cover everything from scratch so you don’t need any game art or 3d experience but there’s also the option to just do the 6 weeks I teach, titled Advanced Game art and VFX - if you speak to our admissions they’ll be happy to discuss options.
here’s some of our more recent student work.
in terms of jobs there’s a few of our students who’ve gone directly into vfx job roles in the industry, and about 70% of our past masters students are hired in the industry within the first year of graduating.
There’s definitely nothing wrong with taking the self directed study route, but if you’d prefer a more structured learning environment, or a formal qualification, then i think the course we’ve put together at escape is a good option.
I forgot about your course, sorry @tharlevfx! Yours is definitely the exception, not the rule though. To clarify, I don’t think there’s much, if anything, for real time vfx education in a formal college/university setting that merits going into debt for, and especially not if that debt figure starts nearing the 10k mark.