Visual Effects for Film & TV

Learn how to make visual effects for movies, television and web series in VanArts' HOUDINI-Certified one-year intensive program, and receive a FREE commercial license of Houdini valued at $2,000 from SideFX Software after graduating. Our instructors have worked on many of the industry's biggest productions and will mentor you all of the way through the program.

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Student Success

VanArts VFX Graduates on Your Silver Screen

The shows you enjoy in cinemas, and on Disney+, Amazon Prime, NetFlix, and other streaming services on your big-screen TV all feature hard work by graduates of VanArts.

The industry is booming, studios are hiring, and demand is sky-high for visual effects artists. This is the time to start training.

More upcoming shows that VanArts VFX grads are working on:

2021: Fast & Furious 9, Suicide Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Jungle Cruise, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, No Time to Die, Dune, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The Matrix Resurrections, Eternals

2022: The Batman, Doctor Strange 2, Morbius, Jurassic World: Dominion, Foundation, Top Gun: Maverick, Sandman


Meet Imaobong Udofa

Soon after graduating in fall 2020, VFX graduate Imaobong Udofa was hired at Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver, as a matte painting/environment artist on Hotel Transylvania 4.

Listen to his story of how VanArts gave him the tools for success.

Meet Vikas Ganer

VanArts welcomes dozens of visual effects students each year from India. Since graduating, Vikas Ganer‘s career has given him credits on over 50 productions, and taken him into studios such as Method, MPC, Scanline, Double Negative (DNeg), Gener8, Atmosphere and Zoic.

Hear his own story here:

A Message from our Department Head

Wade Howie is a VFX industry pioneer with over 30 years of experience at Industrial Light & Magic, Electronic Arts, and award-winning work in features, games, and commercials.

Watch this important message from Wade explaining how our classes are running in a blended delivery method for local students during the pandemic, and how students outside Vancouver can opt to take the entire program online.


Term 1

VanArts’ Visual Effects program is designed to familiarize you with the fundamentals of visual effects production. In the first 3-month term you will learn the basics of 3D Modeling, Animation & Rendering, 2D Image Manipulation & Compositing, and the history of visual effects techniques. The goal for Term 1 is to build a strong understanding of the building blocks of FX production as it applies to feature films, TV series or video games & cinematics.

3D Fundamentals Art Foundation Compositing 1 Photoshop 1 VFX History VFX Production 1

Term 2

During the second term you will begin to master the concepts and tools learned in Term 1, plus introductions to industry-standard software HOUDINI for dynamic visual effects. Intermediate FX topics such as Dynamic Simulations and Character Rigging will be studied with an emphasis on how and why things work the way they do. The goal for Term 2 is for you to understand the process of VFX production on an abstract level.

Compositing 2 Concept Development Houdini 1 Maya for VFX 1 Photoshop 2 VFX Production 2

Term 3

In Term 3, you begin “colouring outside the lines” as you are required to apply your skills in inventive and innovative ways to solve a variety of production requirements. Advanced topics such as Procedural Modeling and Destruction will emphasize creative solutions to complex production problems. You will also begin specializing in areas of particular interest for your final demo reel, and be introduced to Matte Painting. The goal for Term 3 is for you to demonstrate innovative and analytical thinking as well as artistic and technical expertise.

Intro to Python Scripting Compositing 3 Houdini 2 Matte Painting 1 Maya for VFX 2 Pre-production Shading for VFX 1 VFX Production 3 VFX Workshop

Term 4

The final term at VanArts is dedicated to the production of an industry grade demo reel for showing to potential employers. Working under the guidance of industry-pro faculty, you will create a showcase for your particular skills and talent and polish it using industry-standard softwares. Weeklies and tech support ensure the final quality of your reel, the most important asset and foundation for your entry into the industry. Visit us on YouTube to view samples of student demo reels in VFX!

Compositing 4 Houdini 3 Matte Painting 2 Maya for VFX 3 Shading for VFX 2 VFX Production 4 VFX Weeklies


Wade Howie

Head of Visual Effects and Head of Game Art & Design

Wade Howie

Head of Visual Effects and Head of Game Art & Design

A pioneering artist in digital visual effects, Wade Howie’s production career spanning 3 decades has included 12 years with George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic as VFX Supervisor/Director, Head of Modelling and Animation, & Creative Director for animated TV and commercials.  His other roles include Art Director for games at Electronic Arts, on-set Supervisor for various CG/live action hybrid productions, and journeyman FX and lighting artist for film & TV. His feature credits include Terminator 2, Hook, Star Trek VI, Jurassic Park, The Mask, Casper, The Wild, Watchmen, TRON:Legacy and The Thing. As well as training and mentoring new CG artists in industrial settings across Europe, US, Canada and Africa, Wade has worked as a college professor and consultant for new studios bringing CG artists online. Wade has also contributed at software development firms Alias Research Inc. (Maya) and Side Effects Software Inc. (Houdini), and has a background in traditional art and design as well as filmmaking. Wade has received many awards for the commercials he has supervised, Clio (Animation): Star Wars Pepsi (Marfalump), Clio (VFX): Dodge 1997 campaign, Animation Magazine Awards: Hefty GingerBread Man & Data Dancers, and Prix Pixel/INA, CGX: Pepsi Japan Pepsiman campaign. IMDB

Esdras Prudente


Esdras Prudente


Graduated from Vanarts, Esdras has nearly a decade of experience in the movie industry on over 30 feature film & TV credits including iZombie, The Magicians, Doctor Strange, Hunger Games, X-Men, and many others. Esdras has worked as Roto Lead and Digital Compositor at Method Studios Vancouver and is now starting up his own Visual Effects Studio – Wezarts Studios Vancouver. He is passionate about movies, games, magic and helping anyone willing to hear from him.

Bob McAfee


Bob McAfee


Bob holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Animation from the Emily Carr University of Art & Design, and a Diploma in Digital Animation. Since 1999, he has worked as a Cinematic Director, Lead Character Modeler, Technical Artist and Animator, and a Maya and Zbrush instructor for the Art Institute of Vancouver, BCIT, Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Radical Entertainment and VanArts.

Johnson Chuang


Johnson Chuang


Graduated from VanArts, Johnson started out in the industry as a matchmove artist, and later switched to FX. He has worked at Image Engine, Digital Domain, and Method Studios, and is credited in over 30 films such as Avengers Infinity War, Pokemon Detective Pikachu, and Maze Runner. His favourite part about teaching FX is that it is both technical and artistic-driven. He has a M.Sc. in computer science and a passion for all things CG!

Martin Bastian

Instructor - Maya

Martin Bastian

Instructor - Maya

Martin Bastian has more than 15 years of professional experience in the animation industry. He has worked in various roles of production, from 3D Generalist and 3D Character Animator to Lighting & Composting Artist and CG Supervisor. Major companies he’s worked at in Vancouver include Mainframe Studios, Bardel Entertainment, Atomic Cartoons & Arcana Studios. He is currently working for some major animation shows in production.

Michael Pilling


Michael Pilling


Michael is a matte painter and environment concept artist.  Currently Michael is at Zoic Studios doing matte painting in episodics (the Hundred, Falling Skies and the upcoming Wayward Pines among others).  Previous studios include MPC (Malificent) and Gener8.  Prior to visual effects, he was in the games industry in environments at Electronic Arts. His base is in the traditional arts, having studied at Emily Carr prior to getting into digital world.

Weverton Alves


Weverton Alves


Weverton Alves is a digital artist with experience working for Marvel, DC, Warner Bros, TNT and other studios. His credit list creating visual effects includes Batman vs. Superman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Captain America: Civil War, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, Spooksville, and many other features, TV movies, and short films. IMDB


Program Duration

12 Months

Next Start Dates

March 14, 2022 September 6, 2022 March 13, 2023 September 5, 2023

VanArts' diploma program in Visual Effects for Film & Television is the leading destination for training in a rapidly growing and booming work force.

We have been recognized by SideFX Software as a certified Houdini Training Partner. In addition to HOUDINI, our Visual Effects program instructs students in other leading industry tools, such as MAYA and NUKE.

As a certified Houdini training program, all Visual Effects students receive a free commercial license of Houdini from SideFX Software ($2,000 value) upon graduation.

Your journey as a visual effects artist at VanArts is simple: master the tools, specialize in achieving visual and technical quality, and produce a professional demo reel based on what studio supervisors and recruiters want to see.

PTIB Approved

This program has been approved by the Registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

Degree Pathways

VanArts has articulation agreements in place with several well established universities/colleges in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. These degree pathways allow you to complete your bachelor’s degree in as little as one year after your studies at VanArts. This gives you the advantage of two credentials; a professional diploma and an undergraduate degree. These partnerships may not only save you money in tuition cost, but allows you to transition easily from VanArts to the partner institution while continuing your educational pathway in your chosen field of study. For international students, completing your BA degree in as little as two years of additional study with our local university partners provides you with the option to apply for a Canadian work permit, which may lead to permanent residency or Canadian citizenship. This list represents the pathways, universities and specific degrees available for graduates of Visual Effects at VanArts:

Tuition Costs


$32,750.00 CAD


$38,750.00 CAD

Additional Information

Payment Schedule

10% deposit upon acceptance to hold your seat
40% six weeks prior to start date
50% by end of Term 1 (3 months into studies)

Supplies and Equipment
In addition to tuition, most programs have some costs related to supplies and equipment.

  • Pencils
  • Art Eraser
  • Large Sketchbook (16×20 or larger)
  • Hardcover Sketchbook (8-1/2×11)
  • Notebook for taking notes during lectures
  • 3-Ring Binder (for handouts and notes) (the best habit is to get several binders, each in a different color, one for each class)
  • Wacom Tablet Intuos Pro 8×10
  • External Hard Drive (1TB minimum to back up files)
  • Graph Paper
  • course related textbooks

Estimated cost: $630* *These are estimates only and assume that no required supplies or equipment are currently owned.

Interested in Visual Effects for Film & TV?

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We are very proud of the education received at VanArts and encourage you to register for a webinar to learn more.

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