Compositing for Visual Effects (12 weeks)

Course details

Location

London campus or live online

Start date

23rd September 2024

Duration

12 weeks

Mode of study

Full time

Fees

London campus (UK residents): £11,950

Live online: £9,350

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

Course overview

Add the final touch to VFX projects, become a master of illusion 

Compositors are in high demand and this 12-week course could be your opportunity to jump into the industry. It will give you a thorough introduction to all things 2D. We’ll teach you how to composite layers together seamlessly, to create a showstopping final shot. You’ll cover all the essentials including rotoscoping, prep work, keying, camera tracking and colour correction. 

Over 12 weeks of hands-on learning, you’ll get to grips with professional software such as Nuke, and you’ll learn how real studios and pipelines operate, leaving you ready to kick-start your compositing career. Our tutors have experience working in the industry, on credits including with industry-trained tutors who worked on the likes of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Kingsman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, so you will learn the techniques, software and skills used in the industry today.

See also MA Visual Effects Production (Compositing) or Advanced Compositing for Visual Effects (18 weeks) 

See more student work

Why choose this course

  • Ranked 2nd in the UK - and 10th in the world for Visual Effects Excellence by The Rookies 

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

  • Industry feedback - receive industry-standard critique from an expert in their field from Framestore (February 2024 intake). Previous studio partners for our compositing course have included Industrial Light & Magic, The Mill and Outpost VFX 

  • 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 - you'll 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 Nuke and Silhouette 

  • 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 

  • 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 the first 12 weeks of our 18-week Advanced Compositing for Visual Effects course and our MA Visual Effects Production (Compositing).

  • The interface: premultiplied images

    • Production pipeline and light

    • Digital images, formats and resolution

    • Film properties and behaviour: log vs. linear

    • Premultiplication maths

    • Introduction to Nuke

  • Transformations and rotoscoping

    • Transformations and introduction to tracking

    • Multiple-point tracking

    • Planar tracking and refining track data

    • Introduction to rotoscoping

    • Rotoscoping human movement

  • Rig removal composites

    • Rotoscoping in Silhouette (SFX)

    • Tracking in SFX

    • Painting in Nuke

    • Generating clean plates

  • Advanced paint and prep work

    • SFX prep techniques

    • Warping and morphing

    • Advanced prep work

    • Matching film grain

    • Marker removal

  • Keying

    • Introduction to keying methods

    • Keylight node and the despill process

    • Primatte and IBK keyers

    • Compositing outside the keyer

    • Pre and post processing: refining the key

  • Colour correction and grading

    • Exposure, gamma and curves

    • Density and colour matching

    • Colour management

    • Atmospherics

  • Filters, motion vectors and time-based effects

    • Convolutions filters

    • Foreground and background edge integration

    • Retiming

  • Projections

    • Introduction to the 3D interface

    • Projection types and 3D

    • Camera projections

  • Projection workflows and camera tracking

    • Lens distortion

    • Nuke camera tracking

    • Projection rig removal methods

    • Utilising camera data

  • Compositing CG

    • Multichannel workflow

    • Introduction to render passes

    • 2D and 3D motion blur

    • CG production pipelines: Framestore, MPC and The Mill

  • CG and 2D element integration

    • Edge pre and post treatment

    • Integrating CG and live action

    • Redefining your composites

    • Advanced keying and edge treatments

  • Project week

    • Finalising your shots

    • Developing your demo reel

    • End of course presentation

More information

  • Nuke 

  • Silhouette

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 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.

Fees 

London campus: £11,950

Live online: £9,350

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.

"In compositing we have the unique pleasure of coming at the end of the pipeline. That means everything we do directly appears in the finished product on screen. That combined with the perfect balance of creative contribution to the finished product and technical problem solving, means that the scope of work is broad and no two days are ever quite the same." Chris Fryer, Digital Compositor at Industrial Light & Magic

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!

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

  • Runner

  • Prep Artist

  • Roto Artist

  • Production Assistant

  • Production Coordinator

Compositors often start out in junior roles or as Rotoscope Artists to then rise to mid-level and senior roles such as Compositors and Compositing Supervisors, 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 Industrial Light & Magic, Cinesite, Pixomondo and Milk VFX. 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

Meet our industry-experienced tutors

Sokratis Synitos is the lead tutor on this master’s programme. He’s worked on titles including Bond: Spectre, Avengers: Endgame and Dr. Who. 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. 

Meet your tutors

Student showcase

The excitement and gratification of producing the end result is an exhilarating position and creative career to grow into.

Davi Stein
Technical Trainer at Industrial Light & Magic