VFX, Digital Arts & Animation HE Certificate

Get the skills, find your style, build a portfolio

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Overview

Embark on a journey of exploration through visual fx and digital art design through professional workflows in a fast paced ‘real world’, hands on, production environment. Develop your skills and knowledge of industry standard hardware and software whilst producing a minimum of 25 finalised works ranging through concept design, matte paintings, 2D and 3D animations, VFX master shots and practical on-set effects.

Gain the essential industry-relevant skills needed to excel in whichever direction you decide to pursue in your career as an artist and technologist. Our project-based curriculum allows you to build a portfolio while you shape your academic projects towards your professional goals and interests. Whether you're interested in gaming, animation, immersive installations or on-set VFX, this programme provides you with the knowledge, gear, facilities and guidance to realise your creative and professional goals.

Explore

Through countless collaborations, get experience in a range of creative and technical roles both on-set and in post production.

Ongoing feedback and mentorship from our tutor team will equip you to design and produce digital images and visual effects for a range of incoming briefs. Start exploring your creative identity on your journey to becoming a visual effects and digital arts professional.

To support this practical learning you will have access to industry equipment and facilities including a modern film studio with a green screen, work stations, motion sensors, professional gear, countless filmmaking accessories, sound equipment, and everything you could think of when it comes to a professional set-up. 

Course details

Structure

Train your eye, explore a variety of techniques and approaches to visual effects and digital art. Create and mix elements in a final image by shooting practical effects and live action footage with real actors (in collaboration with our Acting, Film & Music Production Schools!). Take photos and references, supervise on set and in a green screen studio, create and animate 2D graphic elements, compose matte paintings, sketch, and bring 3D assets to life.

This one year VFX, Digital Arts & Animation course dives into nearly every subject in the broad territory of technological arts in order to provide a solid foundation and hands on, practical experience in the tools and methodologies used in today's creative industry.

During the year you will complete:

  • 15+ concept shots/installations
  • 1 short film as a VFX artist/supervisor
  • Countless collaborations on set and postproduction with our Film Production students

The digital portfolio you walk away with will not only contain your original work and projects. It’ll also serve as a certification of the software and technical skills you’ve developed. You can also include sketches and concepts, case analyses, and project-based learning descriptions and outcomes.

Workshops
  • Live Action & Practical FX
  • Post Production & Color Grading
  • 2D and 3D Assets 
  • Image Composition, Visual Storytelling and Workflows
  • Development
  • Roundtable Discussions
  • More details here.
Topics

Study areas to look forward to:

  • Shoot live action, including fundamentals of cinematography and lighting
  • On-set visual effects supervision
  • Practical effects including in camera effects, vfx make up, animatronics etc…
  • Stop motion and miniatures
  • Green screen and 3d tracking
  • 2D assets creation and animation
  • 3D assets and animation, including modeling, texturing and lighting
  • Digital Compositing and camera projection
  • Matte painting and image retouching
  • Post production and colour grading
  • Character Design
  • Image composition and visual narrative
  • Physics, light and the science of visuals
  • Fundamentals of fine art and storytelling
  • Training your eye
  • The visual effects pipeline
  • Filmmaking, camerawork and working on sets
  • Collaboration, giving and receiving critical feedback, and introspection
Online learning

During the Visual Effects HE Certificate course you will also have full access to a curated selection of 50+ online classes around every topic approached in our workshops, including membership access to Skillshare’s extended catalogue of resources.

A selection of the bonus online courses available to Catalyst Berlin Visual Effects students

Learn more

A safe space to dream big

Maximise your hands-on access to state-of-the-art visual effects facilities and equipment.

Progression

What's the next best step for you?

Your initial progression choice will be whether to take your first steps into the industry or to continue your development by completing our Visual FX, Digital Arts & Animation BA Hons degree.

There is no right and wrong answer here. It will depend on the skillset you have already developed and what you are planning to do in the visual fx and digital arts industry.

Your success in either depends entirely on you – what you bring, your approach, and the grit, passion and sheer determination with which you take the next course or start your first project in the creative industry.

Degree
Professional outcomes

Entry level positions in large scale visual effects studios

  • Rotoscoping artist
  • Junior Matchmover
  • Junior compositing artist
  • Digital preparation artist
  • Assistant animator
  • Junior Matte painting artist

Positions in production companies

  • On-set VFX supervisor
  • On-set DIT (digital imaging technician)
  • 3d junior animator
  • Junior color grading artist
  • Junior post-production supervisor
  • Motion designer

General jobs in small and mid level productions (music video, short films, artistic installations, etc)

  • Visual effects artist
  • Visual effects supervisor
  • VFX producer

Warning! This list of positions is not exhaustive! There is an endless catalogue of level entry or trainee position in the various industries concerned with visual effects and animation, and more new positions are created every day. From there, the only limit is that of your determination and grit.

Building success

However you measure it and whatever artistic realm you are working in, most creatives would like to achieve success with their creative endeavour. There are many types of success an individual may want to achieve. From successful completion of an artistic exploration all the way through to financial security and a global audience

There are many skills required to develop these dreams into real and practical futures. Our optional course in self-development and leadership is the ‘rocket fuel’ which will provide you with the frameworks, the focus and the drive to help realise your future.

Self development to better understand how to take decisive action, to communicate powerfully with others and take an honest look at how you limit yourself. Leadership to complete your creative project, to bring your work into the external world and to attract an audience to share, appreciate and follow your work. 

Leadership

Our tutors are industry experienced with a passion for passing on their knowledge to others. We have a rotating list of guest tutors for specific specialties and a permanent team of visual effects tutors that will be supporting you throughout your learning process.

Showreel by Matthieu Schmit - VFX Programme Lead & Tutor

Essential info

Entry requirements

Academic qualifications equivalent to ‘A’ level, Baccalaureate or Abitur are normally required to enter our degree programme. These may be waived if students are able to provide proof of capability via a portfolio of work. More details can be found here.

For those students who have the capability but no proof of appropriate qualifications or portfolio we have also designed a new accelerated access course (primer workshops) which runs as part of our short course programme.

The most important prerequisite for attending any course at Catalyst is that you must be passionate about building and developing your skills as a creative practitioner.

For more information please contact a member of the team. We love to chat!

More detail
Course dates and application deadlines

Start: mid-September 2023 (TBD)
Applications open in November -sign up to our newsletter to receive an alert

More info
Tuition fees

We offer two ways to pay:

  • a single payment
  • a payment plan with 10 instalments

If you decide to enrol in both a short and long course with us, you will receive a discount of 500€ on the total tuition.

More detail
How to apply

Our admissions team has prepared a handy little map of your journey to studenthood with us. Take a look and be in touch if you have any questions.

Admissions map PDF
Open days and taster workshops

Get a feel for our school from the comfort of your home with our Virtual Open Days and skill-focussed Taster Workshops.

Hosted by our team and students, these online events will give you a sense of what it's like to come and study with us in Berlin.

We look forward to meeting you online soon!

Learn more

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Access to Higher Education

For those wishing to join our main VFX courses, but lacking either practical experience in VFX or the formal education requirements to apply through standard entry, we offer an additional primer workshop to run alongside any 4 week summer short course.

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