Advanced 3D for Visual Effects (18 weeks)

Course details


London campus or live online

Start date

23rd September 2024


18 weeks

Mode of study

Full time


London campus (UK residents): £16,850 

Live online: £13,200

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

Course overview

Dive into the detail and take your VFX knowledge to the next level! 

You'll gain core 3D skills through hands-on learning, to give you a thorough technical understanding of software and principles, before moving on to more complex techniques of particle movement, hair, fur and more. 

This course is perfect for you 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 job market. This course will also suit students from a creative or technical background, keen to change career and get into VFX. 

Our tutors are top industry professionals, having worked on the likes of Fantastic Beasts, Gladiator, Kingsman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2., so you’ll be taught by some of the best in the business.

See also MA Visual Effects Production (3D) or 3D for Visual Effects (12 weeks) 

See more student work

Why choose this course

  • Ranked 3rd in the UK for Production Excellence in Visual Effects by The Rookies 

  • Based in London - home to some of the best post-production studios in the world  

  • Receive industry-standard critique from an expert in their field. Previous studio partners for our 3D VFX course have included Framestore, DNEG, Rise and BlueBolt - students on the April 2024 intake of this course will receive feedback from Black Kite 

  • 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, Nuke and Arnold

  • Fast-track advanced learning - our advanced short courses allow you to go deeper into technical and software skills for a quick springboard into your next creative career step 

  • 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

These modules are common with our 12-week 3D for Visual Effects course and the first 12 weeks of our MA Visual Effects Production (3D).

  • Introduction to Maya

    • The user interface

    • Introduction to modelling

    • Introduction to textures

    • Introduction to lighting, shading and rendering

  • Modelling

    • NURBS curves and surfaces

    • NURBS surfaces to polygons

    • Polygonal modelling

    • Topological rules

  • Modelling continued

    • Polygonal modelling continued

    • Organic modelling

    • Non-linear modelling

    • UV mapping techniques (organic and hard surface)

  • Colour and lighting

    • Lighting, traditional cinematographic and photographic techniques

    • Colour theory, three-point lighting

    • Natural lighting

    • Indirect lighting techniques

    • Image-based lighting

    • Matching lighting

    • Advanced lighting

  • Basic texturing

    • Hypershade

    • Texturing masterclass

    • Image manipulation with Photoshop

    • Texture distressing with Photoshop

    • Non-destructive texturing workflows

    • Camera projection mapping

  • Shading and rendering

    • Displacement mapping

    • Maya nodes

    • Ray tracing (reflections, refractions and shadows)

    • Shaders

    • Material properties and case studies (MIA shaders)

  • Tracking and integration

    • Introduction to cameras

    • Camera tracking with 3DEqualizer

    • Manual tracking techniques

    • Advanced matchmoving techniques

    • Lens distortion

    • Camera lineup

  • Digital sculpting and 3D painting

    • Texturing

    • Sculpting and detailing

    • Import and export workflow

  • Advanced shading and lighting

    • Ai standard surface material

    • Advanced Arnold nodes

    • Advanced lighting theory

    • Lighting effects

  • Render layers and compositing

    • Render layers and passes

    • Introduction to compositing

    • Compositing with Nuke (CG layers)

    • Rotoscoping and keying with Nuke

  • Animation and rigging

    • Keyframe animation

    • Path animation

    • Constraints and rigging

  • Project week

    • Presentation

  • Particles and expressions

    • Maya rigid bodies

    • Constraints

    • Introduction to particles

    • Rendering particles

    • Emitters

    • Emission properties

    • Fields

    • Bullet dynamics

    • Expressions and particle expressions

    • Basic MEL scripting

  • Houdini fundamentals

    • Introduction

    • Procedural modelling

    • Digital assets

    • Mantra

    • Dynamics

    • Shading

  • Fur and hair

    • Fur basics, grooming, lighting and rendering

    • Hair basics, simulation and styling

    • Different uses of hair

    • Dynamic fur

  • Fluids

    • 2D and 3D containers

    • Fluid contents and simulations

    • Texturing and rendering fluids

    • Fluid caches

    • Bifröst

  • Cloth

    • Overview of Nucleus

    • Introduction to NCloth

    • NCloth solving and collisions

    • NParticle overview

    • Constraints

    • Caching Nucleus solvers

  • Project week

    • Presentation

More information

Students on the April 2024 intake of this course will receive feedback from Black Kite, one of our industry partners, and an award-winning independent visual effects and design studio who work across advertising, music video, fashion, content and episodic entertainment projects. Recent high profile clients of theirs include Nike, BMW and The Rolling Stones.

Miruna Mares, current VFX student shares her experience of receiving feedback from Black Kite.

"Something that struck with me after meeting Black Kite was their genuine feedback on the industry, how you can work towards getting noticed, and how practice makes perfect. Moving forward, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to not only speak to but also have my work reviewed by professionals with experience and will always use these sessions to strengthen my VFX knowledge and skills."

Studio offering feedback for September 2024 cohort to be confirmed. Watch this space!

  • Maya 

  • Photoshop 

  • 3D Equalizer 

  • Nuke 

  • Arnold

To apply, complete the relevant online application form linked below:

Our Admissions Team will get in touch to take you through the next steps.

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 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


London campus: £16,850

Live online: £13,200

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

Along with an Escape Studios Certificate of Achievement, you'll leave with strong creative and technical skills and great pieces for your portfolio, which you can then finesse with help from our Aftercare programme. Ready to apply to start your career in the industry!  

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

  • Runner

  • Modeller

  • Matchmove Artist

  • Previs Artist

  • Texture Artist

  • Layout Artist

  • Environment Artist

  • Assistant Technical Director

  • FX / CFX 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 VFX 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 Daniel Shutt

Meet our industry-experienced tutors

Dan Shutt is the lead tutor on this master’s programme. He’s worked in film, TV and games for clients including BBC and Sega. Our tutors work together to develop our courses. They all have industry experience, at studios such as DNEG, Framestore and Industrial Light & Magic, and are experts in their fields, including certified trainers for Autodesk and Houdini.

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