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Case Study

Max on why Visual Effects is the perfect course for him!


My name is Max McGookin, I am 20 years old. I am currently studying Visual Effects at Belfast Metropolitan College and have just completed my first year of the course. I chose to do Visual Effects as I have had a massive interest in the film and television industry but more specifically in Visual Effects ever since I was little; from watching TV shows and movies like ‘Dr. Who’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘King Kong’, ‘Spider-man’ and much more. I was astounded as to how these imaginary worlds I watched on screen came to life through the brilliant effects being shown and I always wanted to go further from just enjoying them to find out how they are created and be able to create them myself. That’s why when I found this course it looked perfect for what I want to do in my future career.

The course has really opened my eyes to what the world of Visual Effects is really like as throughout my first year in this course I have been given the opportunity to learn from tutors who have worked or are still working within the industry itself, providing me with incredible insights into what a future working in Visual Effects will truly be like.

I have really been enjoying studying this course so far, the projects and theory work have been specifically tailored to help us learn about the different roles and jobs available in VFX, to try them out for ourselves and therefore give us the tools we need to pick what we want to go into in our future careers.

In the first semester we worked on recreating a pre-vis sequence from the film ‘Batteries Not Included’, this included storyboarding the scene, creating an animatic to plan it out, creating the environment and characters’ in 3D modelling software and animating them. We then took this further in the second semester by fully developing a high-quality Visual Effects shot which included using a real-life background plate, high quality modelling and texturing, 3D tracking, rotoscoping and compositing. I really enjoyed completing these projects, they were a lot of fun for me and they will be an amazing asset when I begin building a high-quality portfolio for trying to enter the world of work. The lecturing team are all really brilliant with all of them having worked or still currently working within the industry, the experience and knowledge that they bring week in week out is invaluable.

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic I have not been able to fully experience the student life and facilities that come alongside this course however when I have been in the equipment and workplace has been amazing and it makes me more excited for my second year as I am hoping I will get to spend more time in the college alongside my peers and tutors. There are also some super exciting facilities that we have been shown but not had the chance to work with yet that I know will be a huge asset in my next year of this course.

Again due to the pandemic and it only being my first year studying the course I haven’t got on any work placements or gained any work experience yet however this is something I’m looking forward to in my second year, I have also learned through my tutors about work placements that could be made available to me after the course which has motivated me further to learn and grow my skills in my own time to hopefully be in a better position coming into my second year.

Completing the theory work surrounding the course has really helped in planning out my own future career, we have looked into the history of the industry and the history of successful industry practitioners to see how they got into the places they are in and how it could be possible to emulate this ourselves. We also completed career plans based on this research to start getting ideas as to how it will be possible to go from this course to working in our dream job, which is something I didn’t think about originally going into this course but having learnt so much more about the individual roles and the different departments within Visual Effects studios it has given me a great insight and the ability to actually start planning how I will get in, what I need to learn and what skills I need to have in order to not just get into the role but to excel and improve within that role .
I definitely feel the biggest highlight for me was seeing my final render and composite come together, after so much hard work and overcoming all technical issues it was so rewarding to see my work and how well it looked. I am immensely proud with how it came out and the effort I put into it.

This course is the perfect place to learn practically about the Visual Effects world and to hone your skills, learning week on week from experienced tutors and completing fun immersive projects that will challenge and allow you to grow your skills and knowledge. You learn about how to get into the industry and what skills you will need to shine in the workplace. I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering a career in Visual Effects!

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