VFX for Motion

Learn Visual Effects in After Effects

In VFX for Motion you will learn a broad set of Visual Effects tools and techniques using After Effects. Prepare to add keying, roto, tracking, matchmoving and more to your creative toolkit. By the end of this course, you'll have the practical knowledge of working with live-action footage, and you'll even get some tips on how to direct and work on a VFX shoot.

Course Duration
12 Weeks
Software
After Effects
Verified Credential
Advanced Visual Effects
Next Session Starts:
July 11, 2022
Next Session Starts:
As soon as you register
Enroll NowNotify MeLearn More

Cohort-based learning

Exercises & Project Files for Every Lesson

Technical & Creative Support Along the Way

Verified Credential Upon Course Completion

Course Overview

Are you looking to break into visual effects for TV and film? Want to add flare to your After Effects projects, but don’t feel comfortable with your skillset? Then join the man that literally wrote the book on After Effects techniques—Mark Christansen—in VFX for Motion!  This class will teach you to move between both worlds, using advanced compositing techniques to add another dimension to your work.

Learn visual effects through practical projects that mimic real-world work. You’ll learn how to replace objects, track in motion, and of course rotoscope like an absolute pro. This is a challenging, advanced course, and you’ll want to arrive prepared to dive right in.

Course Outcomes
Visual effects techniques commonly used in television and film
Extract moving objects and use compositing techniques to create seamless videos
Recreate a TV spot using the techniques learned in this course

What You'll Learn

Each week is jam-packed with intense learning. While you have some flexibility in how you tackle your workload, the course is curated in a specific order. We build up foundations that support more and more advanced techniques with lessons to practice your new skills along the way.

Week 1
Day 1
You'll Learn:
How to develop a "good eye" for compositing
How cameras and eyeballs are different
Technical gotchas you'll deal with as a compositor

This first week helps you get acclimated to the way School of Motion courses are run, and has you take a shot at a short VFX exercise. You won't have a lot to go off of to complete this exercise, but this benchmark allows us to see your skill level and cater to your needs. We’ll provide supportive information to help you along the way including a short lesson, a bonus with additional pointers, a glossary of VFX terms, and some other info to check out.

Week 2
Day 2
You'll Learn:
Ways to break down shots for roto
How to approach manual rotoscoping
Matching roto'd elements to a new shot

It's roto week. Rotoscoping is the technique used to cut out something in shot footage (not on green screen) so that it can be isolated and used in different shots, removed from shots, or even for layering effects into a scene. We'll be teaching both simple and articulated roto, which will enable you to complete a variety of different projects that need rotoscoping. It'll get a little gnarly, but you’ll come to appreciate this tool in the weeks to come.

Week 3
Day 3
You'll Learn:
After Effects' Keylight keyer
Combining multiple keys
Troubleshooting tough keys

This week, you’re going to tackle one of the most well known VFX techniques out there: keying something that was shot on green screen. It's so common now that even your grandparents probably know about it. So, how does a green screen work? And how do you isolate something that's been shot on it? Learn how to key things in After Effects and deal with some tricky issues that come up when using this kind of footage, such as handling spill (that green that bleeds over onto the object that you're keying). You will also learn more advanced color matching during this week.

Week 4
Day 4
You'll Learn:
Nodes vs Layers
Project Organization

This week is a "focus week," a chance to catch up on course work and material. You'll get some light content, including a discussion about the differences between After Effects and the node-based compositing software program Nuke. You’ll also learn some helpful tips on project organization and what a VFX budget looks like.

Week 5
Day 5
You'll Learn:
Point and Planar tracking
Paint and clean-up
FG Element Integration

Dive into the world of motion tracking! Tracking is exactly what it sounds like: You make something like a graphic move along with a filmed element. You’re not only going to use After Effects, but also be introduced to Mocha, which comes with you Creative Cloud subscription. Mocha has more powerful tracking abilities than what comes built into After Effects natively, which is why everyone that does VFX in AE should know at least a little Mocha. You will also get to do a bit of paintwork at the end of the week, learning to take out tracking markers that are sometimes used in shoots.

Week 6
Day 6
You'll Learn:
Creating effect stacks
Mimicking a "look"
Using FX element footage

This week, you'll get to play with the fun stuff. We’ll learn how to add all kinds of effects to your shot footage and make them look good. You’ll also explore how to build new effects using the tools that come with After Effects. Later in the week, you’ll take effects that were already created and composite them into scenes.

Week 7
Day 7
You'll Learn:
VFX Reel best-practices
How to market your new skills

This week is another Focus Week, giving you time to catch up if you need it. You'll also learn about how your new VFX skills can be put to good use in the industry.

Week 8
Day 8
You'll Learn:
Comping 3D elements into footage
Dealing with lens distortion
Advanced integration techniques

In this final week, you will learn your last big VFX technique: Match Moving. This is the art of adding something into a scene where the camera is not still. You’ll learn how to handle Match Moving with both 2D and 3D objects. For those that do not have access to 3D software, we will provide the assets that you need to use without any access to a full license of Cinema4D.

Week 9
Day 9
You'll Learn:
How to approach a tough composite
Advanced tracking and integration
See what you're made of

It's time to put everything you've learned to the test by completing the final project. You’ll need to use every skill you’ve picked up during the course while learning a few additional tips and tricks along the way. Once completed, you’ll have a powerful VFX project to add to your portfolio, along with all of the other impressive techniques you can now showcase for future clients.

Weeks 10, 11, 12
You'll Learn:
Extended Critique Period

The final 3 weeks of class are Extended Critique. You can use this time to catch up, complete your final project, then turn it in for critique.

What You'll Get

School of Motion courses are custom-built to provide you with an unmatched learning experience. We want you to actually enjoy logging into your classes, and we’ve designed our programs to be the most effective form of online education out there. In every course, you’ll get:

Cohort-Based Learning

Join artists from around the world on our custom learning platform. Never learn alone, as you’ll have immediate access to a forum of fellow students to share work, ask questions, and improve together. 

Exercises & Project Files for Every Lesson

Each course comes packed with free project files, assets, and additional material to keep you learning and growing long after the course ends. Our exercises are designed from real world briefs, so you’re learning the skills you need to excel on your next project or venture.

Technical & Creative Support Along the Way

You’ll be assigned a Teaching Assistant with years of experience in your chosen course. They’ll provide technical and creative feedback to guide you through new skills, improve your techniques, and provide encouragement along your journey. 

Verified Credential Upon Course Completion

Completing a course isn’t just about bragging rights. Once you’ve completed at least 70% of your work in a given course, you’ll earn a verified credential that can show current and future employers exactly what you’ve accomplished.

Permanent Access to Course Material

We all need a refresher now and again, which is why you’ll keep access to your course—and all the assets and project files—for the rest of your life. Come back to listen to exclusive interviews, review old lessons, and try out new techniques using your old assets.

An Expansive Alumni Community

You’ll gain instant access to our alumni platform, The Square. Here you can network with professional artists at every stage of their career. You’ll get access to new job opportunities and exclusive alumni events, such as meetups, virtual hangouts and reel reviews. 

Upcoming Course Dates

Enroll Now

Our cohort-based leaning program runs on a designated schedule, so you’ll always have a group of like-minded artists working alongside you for support and encouragement. We offer multiple sessions each year, so choose the best start date for you and get ready to go!

July 11, 2022
Summer 2022
Course Starts:
As soon as you register
Course Duration
12 Weeks
Enroll By
July 10, 2022
Always Open
Enrollment Options
Pay all at once
$997

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Full Price
$997
Pay all at once
$897

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Full Price
$348
3 payments of
$348

One payment now, two more 30 and 60 days from now = $1044.

3 payments of
$315

One payment now, two more 30 and 60 days from now = $945.

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Free Course
This one's on us!
October 10, 2022
Fall 2022
Course Starts:
As soon as you register
Course Duration
12 Weeks
Enroll By
October 9, 2022
Always Open
Enrollment Options
Pay all at once
$997

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Pay all at once
$897

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Full Price
$348
3 payments of
$348

One payment now, two more 30 and 60 days from now = $1044.

3 payments of

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Free Course
This one's on us!
January 9, 2023
Winter 2023
Course Starts:
As soon as you register
Course Duration
12 Weeks
Enroll By
January 8, 2023
Enrollment Options
Pay all at once
$997

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Full Price
$997
Pay all at once
$897

Pay the full amount all at once. The simplest, lowest-cost option.

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Full Price
$348
3 payments of
$348

One payment now, two more 30 and 60 days from now = $1044.

3 payments of

Cohort-Based Learning
Technical & Creative Support
In-Depth Feedback
Verified Credential
Free Course
This one's on us!

Course Instructor

Mark Christiansen
Visual Effects Artist & Educator

Mark Christiansen has dedicated his career to creativity, experience design, mentorship and allowing artists to refine their craft. He is responsible for the After Effects Studio Techniques series of books which helped launch a generation of visual effects artists. Mark is a regular contributor to LinkedIn Learning and is responsible for developing the Cinefex for iPad app via a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. Currently, Mark is the Creative Director at Verses.io.

Our alumni are hired by companies like

Megumi Ikeda
Video Editor
“School of Motion courses provided me with the skills and feedback that my school couldn't provide. I wouldn't have gone viral or landed my internship without their in-depth courses.”
Justin Peterson
Motion Designer
“The decision to take Animation Bootcamp from School of Motion was a life changer. I have turned my passion of motion graphics into my career.”
Deanna Reilly
Animator & Illustrator
“School of Motion courses quickly reignited my passion for animation and helped me launch my career in an exciting new direction.agency”
Leigh Williamson
Illustrator & Animator
“I'm more confident, more relevant, more equipped, better connected and close to my goals since School of Motion entered my life.”
Join our growing community of over
15,000+ Alumni

FAQs

How do I know if this course is right for me?

VFX for Motion is for students with intermediate to advanced knowledge of After Effects. In this course you will learn the basics of Keying, Tracking, Rotoscoping, and Matchmoving, along with other important VFX tools available to you in After Effects. You will also learn practical knowledge for working with live-action footage, and even some tips on how to direct and work on a VFX shoot.

What are the prerequisites?

You’ll need intermediate to advanced knowledge of After Effects, with the ability to navigate the user interface, set keyframes, leverage the different layer types, and understand the different tools available in the application. We recommend checking out After Effects Kickstart, and completing Animation Bootcamp before taking VFX for Motion on.

Intermediate-level proficiency in design is also recommended, but not required; we suggest completing our Design Bootcamp course to improve your design skills, if necessary.

Having some foundational knowledge of Cinema 4D for the later lessons in this course will be helpful.

What is the required software?

After Effects CC 2019 (16.0.1 or Higher) which includes Mocha AE (Mocha for After Effects) and Cinema4D lite which may be useful toward the end of the course.

Why are we not using a node-based compositor, like Nuke or Fusion?

The Motion Design industry uses After Effects more than any other piece of software. While the feature film world generally uses node-based compositors to do effects work, our industry still does the vast majority of compositing using AE, so this class is as real-world as it gets. After Effects is an extremely capable compositor, and the layer-based workflow has enormous advantages for animators.

What is the course format?

VFX for Motion is an 12-week course. Lessons become available at a specific time each week but you can watch them and do your work whenever it is convenient for you. The lessons include pre-recorded videos, podcasts, PDFs and assignments with working files.

All student work is critiqued by our highly trained Teaching Assistants. School of Motion TA's are professional Animators with real life experience in the industry.

During the course you will be invited to a private classroom that contains all of the  students and Teaching Assistants in your session. This is a great tool for connecting, asking or answering questions, sharing thoughts or insights, and winning cool contests!

How much time do I need to commit?

VFX for Motion is a 12-week course. You'll have the flexibility to watch the course content and complete your course work on your schedule. However, you can expect to commit at least 15 - 20 hours per week on course material. The video lesson are 1-2 hours in length. There are 13 assignments total. Assignments are typically assigned on Mondays and Thursdays with soft deadlines the next day. We have designated catch-up weeks built into the schedule so students have extra time to complete their assignments if needed. There is also an extended critique add-on for those that want more time with a Teaching Assistant after the 12-week course or need more time to complete assignments towards earning a credential.

Do I get a certificate at the end of the course?

Yes, if you complete, submit, and have 70% of your course assignments approved by your Teaching Assistant you will be eligible for a Course Credential through Credly. With your Credly Course Credential, you can share your accomplishments across your social networks, the blockchain, or to print out yourself.

Can I access my course content after the course ends?

Yes! Once you complete VFX for Motion, you’ll have lifetime access to all the course lessons and materials, so you can revisit them whenever you like. Also, if we make any changes to VFX for Motion following your session, you’ll automatically receive access to the latest version.

Please note: Video critiques change each session, so you’ll only have access to the video critiques during the session you're enrolled in. The written critiques you receive in your homework locker as well as the classroom content will also remain available to you forever!

Are you interested in learning more?
We can help! But first we need to learn a little more about you. Submit the form below to get the full course syllabus and more information on the course.