In Ireland, there is a revolution taking place. That revolution is happening in an area called VFX. What, I hear you say is VFX (Visual Effects)?.
Visual effects are to be found everywhere from your favourite Hollywood movie, to main-stream media, to explainer videos. There are many elements to VFX including compositing and 3D modelling. With more and more new companies offering VFX to its clients, it is always important to keep on top of this constantly evolving industry.
We at GLUE are passionate about what we do and relish a challenge, we would like to think we are only limited by our imagination and lunch time.
So whenever we attend a trade show or VFX summit, we are always approached by two types of people – the student and the business person:
The student is interested in finding out how we do what we do and where are the best places to learn about Visual Effects. So this is what we tell them:
More and more colleges are offering excellent courses teaching the techniques involved in VFX and Game Design, but we would suggest learning some of the basic techniques and disciplines in imaging before jumping in at the deep end (which we shall discuss further on in this blog). For example, Image Ireland are running courses and specialised workshops in Zbrush, Cinema 4D, Maya, Compositing and Storyboarding.
If you cannot commit to workshops or courses, you can avail of the endless VFX online training resources available.
So what are the similarities to be found between VFX and Game design?
Both utilise image manipulation software like Photoshop, for creating and editing custom artwork. In fact, the scope of applications with Photoshop or digital imaging suites such as GIMP and Corel Draw/Painter are far-reaching and are essential tools for an array of professions including not only VFX and gaming, but also Photography, Architecture and Film-making, to name but a few.
3D modelling is an essential component of both disciplines, although there are less polygon restrictions for video (high-poly models achieve a greater level of quality), whereas games require less polygons (game engines require low-poly models for faster processing).
Indeed, both are time-consuming and involve various techniques.
VFX heavily involves video-compositing software like Nuke and After Effects, whereas games require greater use of game engines like UDK, Unity 3D and the use of coded scripts (such as Java or C# ).
Please note that there are some software packages that cover the different disciplines.
Aside from a program’s built-in resources and tutorials, students can also check out online tutorials on Youtube or Vimeo. These are sometimes informative, but can often provide only partial information and may lack the expertise needed to explain the process. If you are looking for something specific it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
So where are the best video tutorials to be found? One of the best resources to check out is Digital Tutors, they have been providing online tutorials for over 14 years. They also have the largest creative and tech training library. With over 80+ Software packages taught, everything you ever wanted to know about 3D, VFX, Design, Game Development, Web Design and Computer Aided Design is covered with excellent tutorials taught by industry professionals, so you are learning from the best.
Of Course you don’t need to learn all 80 packages! For instance, introductions to 3DS Max, After Effects, Photoshop and Zbrush should be enough or maybe Unity 3D if you wish to lean towards game development..
The lessons are structured for the beginner right through to the professional. If you wish to learn at your own pace and in your own environment, then Digital Tutors are without doubt amongst the best online facilities.
They have two packages available – the basic €23 per month package and the Plus package for €39 (which includes access to project files, certification and assessments).
Both packages offer some of the best advice and tutorials which can help you build toward working in the games and/or film industries.
The Business Person
When the business person approaches, more often than not they enquire as to how they can use VFX to sell their product or service to new or existing customers. If they are looking for an advertisement, we can help bring their ideas to life in a visual way.
Without trying to confuse them with technical jargon, we offer assurance that our services are the best for their company. As such, our client-list is ever-expanding and we continue to offer both advice to the potential student and deliver the best service to the client.
Both VFX and gaming are now increasingly recognised by the Irish government and businesses alike as new and exciting industries to promote and invest in.