VFX Fundamentals

Three 12-week classes

Learn the fundamentals of CG lighting, compositing and rendering in this online, nine-month program. Working, professional artists provide students with hands-on instruction, artistic direction and valuable industry insights. Collaborate across disciplines to create amazing visuals using industry standard tools and Animation Mentor’s studio-quality production pipeline.

Your CG Toolkit.

Develop the skills of the technical visual effects artist, with an emphasis on look development. Master the cutting edge tools, asset-based workflows and real-time problem solving skills that hiring managers are looking for.


Learn contemporary studio workflows, collaborate with animators, master industry-standard tools like NUKE, Arnold, and Animation Mentor’s exclusive production pipeline.

From The Pros.

Learn faster using the original, online educational model where students grow and develop by working directly with world-class, professional CG artists.

01 vfx cg basics CG Basics

CG Basics

Class Length: 12 weeks
Upcoming Term: Fall 2014
Start Date: September 29, 2014
Application Due: August 1, 2014
Registration Opens: August 11, 2014
Class Tuition: $1,999

Apply Now

Aug 01
Save your spot!

In this class, you gain an essential overview of the visual effects process from camera setup to final rendered image. Step into the world of visual effects to learn how to model, surface, light and integrate assets into realistic background plates. Each week will guide you step-by-step through complex topics like creating hard surface models, sourcing and mapping textures, and how to prepare a render and a composite. Kick off the creation of visuals effects assets for your demo reel.

Learn how to:

  • Model hard surface CG objects from scratch with the right shape and form
  • Add color and texture using the proper light and surface characteristics
  • Map UVs and create materials and shaders for your models
  • Push past the traditional CG look and into greater levels of realism and style
  • Optimize the render process for speed and results with Solid Angle’s Arnold Renderer
  • Bring all the layers and elements together to generate remarkable composites with the Foundry’s NUKE
  • To see what you learn week by week, check out the CG Basics class breakdown

Why it’s right for you:

  • The art of visual effects is more than just software training. This program teaches the storytelling and production skills that hiring managers seek in new hires.
  • Access to the most diverse roster of top industry professionals who know what it takes to succeed in the industry.
  • Dive deep into the look development process by creating assets under the guidance of a professional who will level up your assets, skills, and workflow.
  • Improve your ability to work on a team, by giving and taking feedback from your mentors and peers.
  • Prepare yourself to succeed in the studio environment – go beyond the principles of visual effects and learn how to work with fellow artists in the production pipeline.

What you get:

  • Three-year active student license to Autodesk Maya
  • Access to industry-leading software like the Foundry’s NUKE and Solid Angle’s Renderer for the duration of class
  • Over 12 hours of pre-recorded lecture material, made available to watch on-demand each week
  • A weekly eCritique video of your assignment from your mentor
  • A weekly live Q&A with your mentor and classmates
  • Access to the thriving community of over 5,500 students & graduates from over 105 countries
  • Supplemental tutorials and documentation
  • Instruction from top-quality mentors from the world’s leading visual effects studios
  • Access to Animation Mentor’s studio-quality production pipeline, built by engineers from DreamWorks Studios, WETA and Double Fine.


  • Be 18 years of age or older upon the first day of class
  • Have intermediate computer software skills. This course requires a basic knowledge of 3d software
  • Meet the minimum computer system requirements
  • Have a good understanding of the English language
  • Achieve a passing score on a basic aptitude test (Wonderlic test). This measures basic understanding in math and verbal skills.
  • If you have little to no experience with visual effects software like Maya, we strongly recommend our Maya Workshop: CG Lighting & Compositing