VFX VFX Learning Open Source Project Announced by Founder of VFXLEARNING.com: In Talks with Founder Luis Pages -

VFX Learning Open Source Project Announced by Founder of VFXLEARNING.com: In Talks with Founder Luis Pages

Please tell us more about VFX learning open source project, what is the prime motivation behind this project?
VFX Learning currently operates by selling our training as live courses only. We have groups of only 5 students and we do not offer class recordings, and each course ranges between $1500 to $2000. By switching to the Open Source project we are able to deliver the live courses at a third or even a fourth of the price, plus offer the class recordings to anyone in the world. VFX Learning, which I started over two years ago, will stop operating as a business.

The sole mission behind VFX Learning was to create high end VFX training mentored by artists actively working in the film industry, and delivering these VFX sessions globally in English and Spanish languages. Since the launch of VFX Learning, we’ve been training students from every continent and it has been a phenomenal experience.  But, at the same time it has been painful to receive tons of emails from students, who are passionate about the VFX industry, but are unable to afford  the courses fees.

This made me think about my start in this industry, and how I had to manage 2 jobs during the day and stay up most of the night on my dial-up internet connection hunting for any tutorial I could find and also how hard it was to train and compete with artists coming from  big fancy schools.

With VFX Learning Open Source Project, my mission is to give everyone regardless of their geographical location or financial situation a fighting chance.I want the competition for precious VFX film jobs to be fair and give everyone the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in this business, and let creativity, imagination, talent, intelligence, hard work, desire and passion be the determining factors in who makes it and who doesn’t. In order to accomplish this, I will stop operating VFX Learning under the current business model and instead we will run one last series of live mentored training with our supporters. These sessions will be recorded and released online for everyone to watch week after week until we complete the cycle.

Can you share more about how the process will be, the courses that would be taught?
On March 9th this year, we will launch all  3 Maya Dynamics courses, Intro to Maya and RealFlow training as live sessions. The participants, who can attend these live lessons, will be those who pledge to one of our levels of donations that include access to one or more live classes. These sessions will be recorded and released as Open Source video week after week for the duration of each course (12 weeks).

If we reach our campaign goal then we will also add all the Nuke Compositing training as well as our VFX Production course. We will be delivering these both in English and Spanish languages. All the training for Maya, Nuke, RealFlow and VFX Production will be over 200 hours of video and all the videos as well as the student community will remain available and open indefinitely.

How does the donation program for VFX Learning Open Source Project work?
I have prepared 11 different reward options that range from $5 to $10000. These donations are designed to accommodate for everyone’s situation.

The $5 level (Video Supporter) helps us to reach our goal of giving everyone all the Maya, RealFlow, Nuke Compositing and VFX Production training.

The $25 level (Wall of Fame) will get your name in what we call the Wall of Fame, which will be a page on our website listing all of the supporters of the project.

The $50 level (Community Supporter) will get you all of the previous rewards plus exclusive access to our online student community where you can post images, videos, comments and interact with other members.

The $200 level (Content Supporter) will get you all the previous rewards plus access to all courses supporting documentation, which includes: e.g. scene files, tracked live action plates and assignment files. This allows students watching the recordings to follow along.

The $500 level (Course Supporter) Gets you all previous rewards plus access to (1) live course. This means you will be in an online classroom with the instructor and other students, you will be able to ask questions directly to the instructor. This sessions will become the video recordings that week after week will be given as Open Source.

The $500 level (Scholarship / Gift Voucher) Cant afford the Course Supporter on your own? No problem, get yourself sponsored by a friend, employer, family member, etc With this perk you will receive an online  gift voucher in the name of whomever you want entitling the recipient to the same rewards as the Course Supporter perk. Perfect for helping a friend, employee incentives or gifts.

The $750 level (Dynamics Supporter) gives you all of the previous rewards plus your choice of (1) RealFlow Learning Edition license valid for 1 year, or (1)  Commercial License of PulldownIt Pro 2.0. Both tools are used on our courses.

The $1250 level (Power Supporter) Gives you all the previous rewards plus access to (1) additional live course ( 2 courses in total)

The $2000 level (Super Supporter) Gives you all of the previous rewards plus access to (1) additional live course (3 courses in total)

Then we move onto the more corporate packages designed for VFX Studios, Schools, etc that want to train multiple artists at the same time.

The $5000 level (Ubber Supporter) Gives you not only access to the recordings of all courses as everyone else, but also access to all of your live courses as well, your name at the very top of our wall of fame, access to all course supporting materials, (1) RealFlow Learning Edition license for 1 year, (1) Commercial license of PulldownIt Pro 2.0. And also a dinner with VFX Learning’s staff and friends during FMX 2013 (Travel and accommodation expenses are not included)

The $10000 level (VFX Studio Package) Includes every single reward included in the Ubber Supporter level, an exclusive live QnA video session with Luis Pages, plus full transfer and ownership of one of the domain names listed on the campaign page (web hosting not included)

So, anyone who wants to be a part of this project will have to pledge for one of the above mentioned donations?
It depends!

Those who want to attend live classes, get course materials, be part of the online community, get software licenses or get mentioned in the wall of fame will need to pledge to one of our reward levels.

But those who want to watch the live recordings need not donate. But, I strongly encourage everyone to participate in one way or another as we have placed donation levels starting from $5, we need help from everyone in order to make this work, reaching our goal will demonstrate that this type of initiatives are the way of the future and hopefully motivate other schools and institutions to follow our example.  If the $5 donation is too much we can use your help promoting our project on FaceBook, Twitter, etc.

We’ve also placed a new reward level called the Scholarship / Gift Voucher, which is aimed for students that can’t afford the course supporter. In this way, a friend, family member, employer, etc can become a sponsor; the person donating will receive a gift certificate in the name of whomever he/she wants. And this can then be given as a scholarship, employee incentives, customer rewards or a gift for someone else.

We believe that with all this levels of donations everyone can participate and support our cause.

We would like to know more about the industry experts who would be teaching at VFX Learning Open Source Project?
At the moment we have the following instructors:

Luis Pages - Visual Effects Supervisor / Founder of vfxLearning.com

Born in Venezuela and currently living in France where he works for Dwarf Labs as Head of Visual Effects. His career has taken him around the world working in films such as Avatar, The Lovely Bones, The Day The Earth Stood Still, 10000 BC, Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, Horton Hears a Who and Ice Age: The Meltdownamongst others.

For the last 10 years Luis has had the opportunity to work in studios like Industrial Light & Magic, Weta Digital, The Moving Picture Company, Blue Sky Studios, Rising Sun Pictures, Cinesite. At the same time he has taken part in numerous conferences and classes as a speaker/instructor. His main area of expertise lies in dynamics and particle effects, natural phenomena, scripting and integration of visual effects elements into live action plates.

Victor Perez – Visual Effects Supervisor / Director – MaskedFrame Pictures

Victor Perez is a senior visual effects artist with over 10 years of production experience in computer graphics, digital grading and visual effects along different continents. Nuke™ Official Certified Trainer by The Foundry®.

As a Senior Digital Compositing artist and 2D Technical Director, he has a fine combination of both artistic and technical understanding of film post-production and visual effects. Usual collaborator of Nukepedia, Victor has worked and researched with Oscar® winner studios such as Double Negative, Cinesite and Passion Pictures. His film credits include The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall, The Bourne Legacy, John Carter (Dir. Andrew Stanton, 2012), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Dir. Rob Marshall, 2011), Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows: Part I (Dir. David Yates, 2010), Haywire (Dir. Stephen Soderbergh, 2011), 127 Hours (Dir. Danny Boyle, 2010), and many others.

Hasraf “HaZ” Dulull – VFX Producer / Supervisor – Filmmore Brussels

Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull is a Visual Effects Supervisor and Visual Effects Producer having worked on feature films and TV series projects internationally.

HaZ started his career working on video game cinematics as a VFX Artist and Technical Director before moving into visual effects compositing for feature films, commercials, broadcast series and music promos, which later led him to VFX Supervising / Producing whilst always maintaining hands on approach.

He specializes in ‘smart and efficient’ visual effects production workflow from bidding, budgeting to scheduling and overall production using his vfx supervision approach and experience in all the creative domains (Compositing, CGI and Previs) to deliver the projects on time and on budget without compromising the quality.

He joined forces with Luis and Victor sharing the same passion for VFX to setup Masked Frame VFX as Executive VFX Supervisor.

Igor Gonzalez – Effects Technical Director Worldwide FX

Igor Gonzalez is a 3D artist with over 8 year’s experience. Born in Spain, his work in Worldwide FX and Silverspace Animation Studios as VFX Supervisor and Senior 3D Generalist allowed him to develop and cultivate extensive knowledge in almost all areas of 3D production and visual effects: FX, modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging, compositing, matchmoving.

With its comprehensive and thorough knowledge of Autodesk Maya, he has taught four courses master of this tool. In August 2011 he was the winner of the international contest “Battle: London” and this allowed him to join the professional team of VFXLearning VFX. Presently living in Bulgaria where he works as FX Technical Director for WWFX. Igor is also an official tester for Pulldownit of Thinkinetic.

Who is the targeted audience for VFX Learning Open Source Project? How do you see India benefiting with this project?
Anyone is welcome to join. I want this project to reach as many people as possible, from High School students to industry professionals. Anyone with an interest to learn our trade is welcome to join.  I believe that the audience we will have in India will be tremendous. The VFX industry in India continues to grow at an amazing rate, our project will help raise the bar in order to push Bollywood to the next level.

Is there any certification provided?
We won’t be offering certificates. These courses are very practical and effective and the goal is for students to gather real production techniques and create a strong demo reel. We may consider a reward level that includes completion certificates, but we will have to see how the campaign progresses.

How will the idea of VFX learning open source project contribute globally to the VFX Industry?
I believe that our project will be a game changer not only in the Indian VFX industry but all over the world. We will be able to train anyone who is interested and have a passion for this field, regardless of student visas, relocation, overpriced expensive schools.

Productions will be able to set studios in more locations; filmmakers will be able to choose from a worldwide talent pool of qualified artists. We will be able to help artists in remote locations participate in more ambitious projects through The Cloud; more independent films will be able to benefit from VFX work.

How can one participate in this project?
The VFX Learning Open Source Project campaign is active and you can log on to http://www.indiegogo.com/vfxlearning to read more about it and pledge your donation. The live and recorded courses, as well as the rewards delivery will begin in the first week of March.