VFX Apprentice

VFX is generally used as an ultimate generic term, you’re right.

It’s art though and art is subjective. I don’t think there will ever be a course that teaches everything for that very reason.

Tools will come and go but art and animation principles will remain the same. VFX has a wide spectrum of styles, approaches, that the cascade into game genres, camera perspective and so forth.

If you enjoy a particular aspect or you’re curious about another, lean on those areas and problem solve and solve for the art and experience within the game. For example, what you find interesting about shaders or fluid simulations might be a traditional animators nightmare and visa versa. The path of least resistance.

What I find exciting about this course, so far its providing techniques to help communicate principles. Sure it’s Photoshop but the same knowledge could be applied to Krita, etc.

Be it a realistic game or anything with a defined look, if you can take a screen grab, paint over it and communicate to anyone; your idea is going to be a lot easier to approach.


This is SO true, and exactly why this class is the first of a holistic catalog of classes, which i’m already planning to build. To answer at least part of your question, i’m starting with Photoshop and Unreal Cascade. I’m super excited to teach other tools in future classes. I look at it like a college education, where the major is VFX, and each class will teach different theories, principles, applications, and techniques all fitting in that expertise.

So here’s the grander vision: I will continue approaching masters in our community across the wide array of VFX styles, tools, and workflows, working with them to organize their knowledge into a series of courses. Once we’re done, we can all have access to a comprehensive, cohesive, and high quality VFX education. The dream.


Thank you so much for doing this, its really appreciated! I’ve been using Photoshop for years but still find myself watching each video in excitement for whats to come!


I don’t agree with this at all. VFX is broad, but the TOOLS are largely irrelevant. They are all means to the same end.

I may only have worked with twelve engines so far but every single one has had particles that move through space with attributes you can change over their lifetime. They have textures on sprites and often some sort of shader. To make a nice effect you need to make these particles move in a believable way with good timing and the right coloration. Finding where the buttons to accomplish this are, is what the tool documentation is for.

If the tools used mattered, most of would never be hired as a majority of companies still use proprietary tools and pipelines that can’t be learned outside the company. Most tools even have the same name for things. Emitters, sprites, curves, life, scale, rotation all exist in both shuriken and cascade so translating between them is not a huge chore.

At its core, being a VFX artist means that we adapt and solve problems. Learning new tools is part of our daily routine and I hope you don’t see it as a deterrent.


I frequently need this reminder! Given we end up using so many tools, it’s easy to believe the job is all about tools. But it certainly isn’t. I’ve found my learning curve drastically accelerated once I learn the first of a type. Maya was easy after learning 3DS Max; Photoshop easier after learning Flash, etc etc. And now, learning any tool is really no big deal.

It’s worth mentioning: those first few tools for me, and many I meet are a real learning cliff! And it would be a great benefit to our community if we can give some aid to these struggling beginners.

Really, learning all these tools is just like a painter learning to use a precision paint brush vs a palette knife vs a bristle brush: none of it is the craft of painting, just a means to an end. And reading the instruction booklets (or tool documentation) doesn’t make you a master artist.

As you said, it’s all about being a strong problem solver, who knows by experience how to make great effects. And that can only come by hours doing this stuff, with a touch of guidance mixed in.


Yep! Learning tools is a necessity and do have a place (hell that’s what I tend to teach) but if there’s someone who can give a comprehensive insight into the VFX philosophy it’d be you :slight_smile:
I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

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If I interpret the whole of what you say proper, it seems to me that the wires in “Defining” VFX are crossed. That plus the awareness of scope, can leave one feeling very muddled. The easy mistake in your definition is the tool. Realtime VFX is not about the tool, Realtime VFX is about thinking. This is why on this forum people often share their technique/recipe for… what have you VFX.

A fantastic example of this is the Official VFX Sketch #20: One Circle Texture.

As has been already mentioned, the tools we use are a means to an end. It is very easy to conclude the tool is what makes something, as at technical level there is some truth. Yet, we are not our tools. We are composers, chefs who take these tools, and mix our technical ingredients together to make our symphony.

The whole of all of this is a question; How do I make a shape move? Heh, it’s actually kind of funny to see it spelled out like that, as it’s such a simple question at surface. With REALTIME, we have the added question; How do I do this efficiently? I’d expect, to answer your question, this is what to expect from @Keyserito. Motion made Efficiently. If that doesn’t excite you, you might be in the wrong place.

Yes, of course we can ADD to that question. Things with Value, Color, & Depth. Yet, there is a reason ALL VFX Artists make Demo Reels. If you can make the motion right, the rest kind of falls into place.

Remember - all this is just math made visual with maps (or just math if you’re one of those smart people). Math trends to be rather universal, so all of this might not be as large as you seem to perceive.


This is awesome news! Already have gained a lot from your Youtube videos. Eagerly waiting for the course. Thankyou.

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Hmm, maybe to add to the conversation, I think we shouldn’t let our tools define us. I think our ability to use new, or perhaps even lacking tools quickly and to great effect is a way better goal to strive for.

However, Once we are used to using a certain tool, we might feel it easier for ourselves to keep using the same ones. Furthermore, the Inudstry makes younger(read less experienced) people follow that ideology by often hiring specifically for Unity or Unreal for example.

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Good job,thank you very much

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wow this is incrible

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I am very excited for the launch date of this course. Thank you for being such an awesome mentor. I am following your Flash tutorials now in preparation for the course, and was wondering if you will be covering animating in Photoshop?

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Hi @Keyserito, just as a frame of reference, and full-disclosure on my side, I currently work a full-time job in marketing/sales at $40K salary. After taxes, I typically make $2,500 a month. I have seen some courses out there for around $500 which is a lot for me to pay. I am hoping you can keep it below $400 for me to afford it.

One of the biggest things I’ve been missing in my VFX coursework has been mentorship, which this year I’ve graciously been PM’ing some of the veterans for accountability (@Redderick :p) ) for feedback and accountability on my progress.

My biggest incentive to join this course is to financially motivate myself to improve. I know it sounds dumb, but when dollars are on the line people tend to try much harder (you could argue the same for lives, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole!)

Personally, I’ve seen the progress @pmiller made under your mentorship, so it’s a tried-and-true proof-of–concept I’m relieved to know works. At first I was frustrated by his quick transition into VFX, but once you realize we are all on our own path of growth and discovery, then that accountability to be ‘your best self’ makes much more sense.

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Not going to dive into Photoshop’s animation features in this class, but I will say, I’ve seen some artists do pretty cool stuff with it!

So true! And thanks for your honesty about affordability. I absolutely take everyone’s feedback into account as I’m making these decisions. Look for an announcement on price as we get closer to launch.

The fourth and final Photoshop pre-requisite video!


我是一名来自中国的vfx艺术家,我想学习到你的这门课程。但是课程的语言上可能对我有问题 我需要字幕准确的翻译? 还有付款方式可能存在一些问题,是否可以支付宝支付呢? jason我是你粉丝,我非常喜欢的vfx。

Great question! As for translation, i’m already planning on English subtitles. If there’s enough interest, i might include Chinese subtitles as well. And thanks for mentioning Alipay. I’m currently planning on using Stripe, so i’ll investigate integrating Alipay as well.

Hello! Jason. I am a Chinese VFX Student. As a beginner, your upcoming course is really timely help for me and many other Chinese VFX artists. Because I don’t have a good ability on English, maybe I can understand go top 50% of your “Photoshop for VFX artists” course, that is not good for my learning effect. So I also feel that Chinese subtitle is very importent for me.
In my opinion, China is becoming the world’s largest game marketplace(2019 GLOBAL GAMES MARKET, by NEWZOO. ), and China also has a lot of game companyies now, but there is not enough great VFX course for us.China also have a strict network supervision, it is not easy for us to go to Google, Twitter, Youtube and so on. So I really hope you can pay more attention on our country.
At the same time, even China’s protection of intellectual property rights is improving,your course also hase a risk of theft, because I have ever seen some great foreign charging courses were free provided by some webside or charging illegal by person. And I also seen some great foreign courses were well sold with the help of some great Chinese CG webside.I have ever bought a video course on yiihuu.com, the course is well protecting by the webside(https://www.yiihuu.com/a_6534.html), the webside help the teacher create Chinese subtitle and
market expansion, people can hardly find that course of piracy, but I don’t know how do they allocate money , and I also don’t know whether there are other Chinese websides can provide similar help. In short I think this approach is a better way to solve the problem.
The previous text is my personal opinion, I hope to get your reply early!

Hi Jason, I’m waiting for your replay, Thanks! :slight_smile: