3D Foundation (Evening - 20 weeks)

Course details


Live online

Start date

TBC September 2024

Application deadline



20 weeks

Mode of study

Part time (Monday and Wednesday evenings: 7pm-10pm)



Thirs place Rookies award icon for production excellence in visual effectsTop 10 Rookies award for creative schools in the UK

Course overview

Interested in exploring the world of 3D VFX? Learn the basics with this course for beginners. 

This course is perfect for anyone with a passion for VFX, whether you’re a 3D Artist looking to develop a career in VFX, a 2D VFX Artist wanting to move into 3D or a VFX graduate preparing for the competitive VFX job market. It will also suit students from a creative or technical background, keen to change career and get into VFX. 

Our tutors are top industry professionals, so you’ll be taught by the best in the business. Through step-by-step tuition and genuine production examples, you’ll learn fundamental real-world visual effects production skills and will gain a comprehensive foundation in 3D modelling, texturing and lighting using Autodesk Maya

You'll develop your very own demo reel in the final weeks of the course. This will become your visual CV for future employers and will help you stand out in this growing but ever-competitive industry.  

After completing 3D Foundation, you’ll be eligible to advance your 3D skills and enrol on our 3D Intermediate evening course. 

See also MA Visual Effects Production (3D), 3D Intermediate (Evening - 20 weeks) or 3D for VFX (12 weeks) 

See more student work

Why choose this course

  • Ranked 3rd in the UK – and 10th in the world for Production Excellence in Visual Effects by The Rookies 

  • Industry briefs - work on industry-standard briefs and experience real-life scenarios, just like in a professional studio 

  • Professional input - our advisory board of experts, from the likes of DNEG (Avengers: Endgame and Oscar-winning Dune) and MPC (The Lion King and 1917), help keep this course relevant

  • Successful alumni - join our community of thousands of Escapees, many of whom have gone on to work at some of the world’s top studios. 47 Escapees worked on Avengers: Endgame, 36 on No Time to Die and 16 on Stranger Things

  • Aftercare package - we'll help you polish your showreel and find the right job, with access to our studios and showreel clinics for 12 months

  • Industry-standard facilities - study in a studio environment that mirrors current industry practice, using professional software such as Maya and Nuke 

  • Fast-track learning - studying a short course allows you to learn new skills quickly, in a fast-paced environment, so you can start applying for jobs as soon as you’ve completed the programme 

  • Intensive training - we pack a lot into a few evening classes, and we recommend that you work outside of classes for an extra few hours per week to complete your assignments 

  • Flexibility - study live online and in the evening to fit the course around your professional and personal life and other commitments 

  • Strong portfolio - along with an Escape Studios Certificate of Completion, you'll leave with strong creative and technical skills and great pieces for your portfolio 

  • Small class sizes - a convivial environment allows students to assist and inspire one another and benefit from personalised feedback from tutors.

Course modules

  • Introduction to Maya 

  • The user interface 

  • Introduction to modelling 

  • Introduction to textures  

  • Introduction to lighting, shading and rendering 

  • NURBS curves and surfaces 

  • Polygonal modelling 

  • Topological rules 

  • UV mapping techniques (organic and hard surface)

  • Introduction to basic texturing 

  • Hypershade 

  • Image manipulation with Photoshop 

  • Texture distressing with Photoshop 

  • Non-destructive texturing workflows

  • Camera projection mapping 

  • Texturing and surface techniques displacement mapping 

  • Maya nodes 

  • Raytracing (reflections, refractions and shadows) 

  • Shaders

  • Advanced shader creation with intro to Substance Designer/Painter 

  • Advanced displacement creation with intro to ZBrush 

  • Material properties and case studies

  • Colour and lighting – traditional cinematographic and photographic techniques 

  • Colour theory, three-point lighting 

  • Natural lighting 

  • Indirect lighting techniques 

  • Image based lighting

  • Matching lighting 

  • Advanced lighting 

  • Advanced materials 

  • Rendering with Arnold

More information

  • Maya 

  • Photoshop 

  • Nuke 

  • Arnold

  • Substance Designer

  • Substance Painter

  • ZBrush

If you have any questions about your application or our entry requirements, get in touch!

As part of the application process, you will need to agree to our terms and conditions for your place on the course to be secured.

Minimum requirements

We welcome and encourage applications from students with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

To study this short course, you must:

  • Be over 18

  • Have a good understanding of written and spoken English

  • Feel comfortable using a computer.

If you’d like to discuss your circumstances before applying, contact us!

Non-UK students

We accept international students for our short courses, with no difference in course fees or administration costs. 

The Standard Visitor visa allows students to come to the UK to study for a course of up to six months at an accredited institution. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a standard visitor visa prior to departure from your home country. For more information visit:  

Contact us on courses@escapestudios.ac.uk or +44 (0)203 441 1303 for any questions.

We can provide remote access to our workstations during teaching time. Due to availability restrictions, we highly advise you to have your own set up at home to study in your own time.

More things you’ll need:

  • A strong internet connection

  • An external hard drive (minimum 2TB) to back up your work during the course

  • A three-button mouse (or optionally graphics tablet)

  • A computer microphone (and optionally a webcam)

  • Note-taking materials

If you have any questions about learning online or if you need help with what to buy, get in touch at courses@escapestudios.ac.uk.


Live online: £3,196

Payment plans

We offer a range of payment plan options for all courses. Following an initial deposit at registration stage, your chosen payment plan will break down your remaining fees into up to six equal instalments, to be paid over the course length.

Contact us or visit our admissions page for any questions about fees, funding and payment plans.

“Consumers who are increasingly looking for high-definition (HD) VFX experiences will have huge business opportunities in the VFX market in the next few years.” (source Expert Market Research)

You’ll leave with an Escape Studios Certificate of Achievement, along with strong creative and technical skills and some great pieces of work for your portfolio, which you can add to with help from our Aftercare programme. Ready to apply for jobs in the industry!

It’s also recommended to take the next step onto our 3D Intermediate evening course to hone your skills further.

Some of the opportunities you can consider once you’ve finished your studies include: 

  • Runner 

  • Texture/Modelling/CFX Artist 

  • Previs Artist

  • Roto/Prep Artist 

  • Layout Artist  

  • Production Assistant  

  • Production Coordinator 

3D Artists often start out in junior roles to then rise to mid-level and senior roles such as 3D Generalists and Technical Directors, opening the path to becoming a Visual Effects Supervisor.   

Our students have gone to work as both specialist and generalist artists in creative studios, across TV shows, films and commercials, at companies including Framestore, DNEG, MPC and Jellyfish Pictures. Read some of our VFX Escapee success stories.

Check out our Careers Guide for more information about career opportunities and progression routes.

Profile picture of Sokratis Synitos
Profile picture of Daniel Shutt
Profile picture of Klaudija Cermak

Meet our industry-experienced tutors

They all have industry experience and are experts in their fields. They are certified trainers for Autodesk and Houdini. They’ve worked at studios including DNEG, Framestore and Industrial Light & Magic, on credits including Fantastic Beasts, Gladiator, Kingsman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.

Meet your tutors

Student showcase

Escape Studios always produces some of the finest VFX graduates in the country. Their training, both technical and soft skills, stands them in great stead in the industry.

Ollie Gilmour
Head of Operations at Electric Theatre Collective