Visual Effects for Film & TV

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Learn how to make visual effects for movies, television and web series in VanArts' ROOKIES-Certified and 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.


This program may be taken in person at our Vancouver Campus, or 100% online from anywhere in the world.

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Student Success

Chris Browne

Global Visual Effects Supervisor
Sony Pictures Animation

Watch the video below to hear why multiple LEO AWARD Winner Chris Browne (Writer, Director, VFX Supervisor) chose to study at VanArts.

Check out the trailer for his new film: created, directed and VFX by Chris (he basically did it all): Pleroma

Connect with Chris!

When You Wish Upon a Star…

Carina Lotecki was the first student in her class to land a job after graduating in 2021. Today she is a CFX (cloth effects) artist on major feature films.

Fresh out of the gate she was hired by Cinesite to work on THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2, Digital Domain working on SHE-HULK and BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, and is now working for Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Listen to her story.

Recent Credits for VanArts Graduates

Graduates in Visual Effects at VanArts are working at major studios all over the world, on everything from feature films & TV series to video games.

Studios that hire our grads include Industrial Light & Magic, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Digital Domain, Double Negative, Animal Logic, Cinesite, Method, MPC, Zoic, Bardel Entertainment, Wild Brain, Mainframe, Electronic Arts, Scanline VFX, & many more.


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

Wade Credits

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.

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.

Gilberto Jimenez


Gilberto Jimenez


Gilberto graduated from VanArts and has over three years experience as a VFX Environment Artist and CG Generalist for film and TV, game trailers and cinematics, and animation in Vancouver studios such as MPC, Bardel, LUX Vfx, and IGG Inc. A fast learner who is always willing to try different things, acquire new techniques and work with the shared disciplines of the creative CG craft, he’s also made short films, some of which were exhibited at international film festivals such as Short Shorts, Short Shorts Asia & Japan, CutOut Fest, and Monterrey International Film Festival. Currently developing new artistic projects for future distribution, he works full time as an Environment CG Generalist at IGG Vancouver on the cinematics team.

Sean Sparrow


Sean Sparrow


A driven 3D artist who has a passion for bringing worlds to life using various modeling, texturing, and lighting techniques. Capable of managing, leading, organizing, and communicating effectively. Sean has worked at Technicolor, ICON Creative Studio, and Moving Picture Company (MPC).

Aaron Strasbourg


Aaron Strasbourg


Aaron Strasbourg is an LRC Supervisor and Pipeline TD with over 10 years of industry experience, not to mention he’s a VanArts grad!

He started working on high profile films such as The Amazing Spider Man 2, Maleficent, and Transformers: Age of Extinction as well as multiple TV shows such as TMNT, Bob The Builder and supervising LRC on the NetFlix show Go Dog, Go!.
With a technical background in lighting and compositing, Aaron has developed multiple pipeline tools and workflows for various studios which are still relied upon to this day. His passion for the industry, just as in teaching, is what drives him to do his very best.


Aaron Strasbourg Credits

Scott Hastings


Scott Hastings


Primarily a visual artist producing illustrations, graphic designs, motion graphics, websites, and video production, Scott Hastings is also an active musician and entertainer. Some of his contracts include Layout & Design for Rogers Communications, Graphic Design for Actress Rebecca Romijn, Album Designer for Ludwig Recordings, and Producer of an animated explainer video for MS Filter Systems Inc.

Scott’s career started at the Gulf Islands Film & Television School as 3D Animation Program Manager, Soundtrack Composer, Video Mentor and co-producer of the school’s official YouTube Channel launch. He won awards for his short 3D animated music video Frog Song and created opening credit animations for the documentary Contact the People (2002 Sundance Film Festival premiere), Sound design for National Film Board short films Suckerfish by Lisa Jackson and The Collector by Kassia Ward, and Richard Reeves’ camera-less animated film 1:1.


Program Duration

12 Months

Next Start Dates

September 3, 2024 March 10, 2025 September 2, 2025 March 9, 2026

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 tools MAYA and NUKE, the industry-standard for effects in feature films, TV and video games.

Skills You Will Learn:

• 3D environment modeling
• Compositing, rotoscoping & green-screen shooting
• Digital matte painting
• Surface, shading & texture design
• Simulations for CG cloth, smoke, fire, explosion effects

Career Opportunities:

• Digital Matte Painter
• VFX Artist
• Compositor
• Lighting & Surfacing Artist
• FX Technical Director

Instructors in this program teach in-person at our Vancouver campus as much as possible, but some instructors may also teach remotely. Remote instructors still teach lessons to all students at once, whether they be on-campus or off-campus.

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.


The Rookies is a highly respected resource for aspiring creatives to grow their skills, connect with mentors, and find schools that will help them become the digital professionals of tomorrow.

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


$34,750.00 CAD


$41,750.00 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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Attending one of our upcoming webinars is the next best thing to visiting VanArts in person.

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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