Rising Sun Pictures at the Forefront of VFX Education

Rising Sun Pictures at the Forefront of VFX Education

As predicted, the start of the academic year at Rising Sun Pictures Education, (RSP Education) has been a busy one!  We managed to fill our full time day classes for both the Graduate Certificate in Compositing and Tracking, so too Graduate Certificate in Dynamic Effects and Lighting courses.

2019 also saw us take on the first group of the MBME Media Arts degree VFX specialisation run through the University of South Australia.  In terms of what the placement means, second year degree students can apply to undertake the last year of their Media Arts degree at Rising Sun Pictures through an accredited placement.  The students completing their studies with us are integrated into the workplace, as are the Graduate Certificate students.  This includes “Day in the Life of” presentations (DITLO), work shadowing with an artist, master classes, presentations and also RSP family and friends movie screenings.  The whole experience is immersive and a one of a kind, not only in Australia but the world.

Day in the life of (DITLO) session with Jason Scott, Head of 3D
Substance Painter demonstration with Christina Rzewucki

With more graduate success stories coming out of our training, we’ve experienced strong growth from interstate and international applicants into our Graduate Certificate courses run in conjunction with UniSA.  From initially utilising the RSP Education arm to fill our junior hire needs, RSP Education in conjunction with UniSA, are now recognised as an education provider that services other visual effects companies both locally, interstate and overseas.

It’s always a great feeling when you hear that graduates are being employed locally, interstate and in countries like China and the USA as a result of the training received in Adelaide, South Australia.  This really is a testament to the talented RSP artists that teach in our program, the support received by the company founders so too the University of South Australia’s approach to industry engagement and flexible and innovative curriculum design.

See the full suite of what we do with UniSA here:


As part of our Graduate Certificate and VFX specialisation with UniSA, the students work on a short film at the end of their time at RSP.  This idea was developed back in 2015 when RSP artist and instructor Jeremy Kelly-Bakker realised that it would be a great opportunity for the Compositing and Tracking students to walk away with an industry focused project to use in their show reels.  These types of projects have provided the opportunity for students to engage from day 1 of filming through to the full post-production experience.

RSP Education continues to work with Jeremy Kelly-Bakker and Tom Phillips through WEMAT (We Made a Thing Studios) who picked up 4 awards at the recent South Australian Screen Awards.  Several Media Arts and VFX graduates from UniSA/RSP worked on the highly anticipated first season of “Lucy and DiC.” More information about WEMAT can be found at this link.

Chan Griffin and WEMAT visits RSP

The current group of students at RSP will be working on a WEMAT production in conjunction with stunt coordinator Chan Griffin.  Chan has worked on productions like Thor Ragnarok, Aquaman and Pirates of the Carribean.  Filming for the student project took place last week and we’re looking forward to the final result so watch this space!

For more information on our student short film projects, visit the following link: https://education.rsp.com.au/student-projects/

Rising Sun Pictures also deliver 2 second year elective courses as part of the UniSA’s Media Arts degree.  “Modelling and Texturing” and “Look Development and Lighting”.  Both delivered as 12-week workshops onsite, our enrolments have again grown in 2019 as students from other UniSA degrees are now picking up the courses as part of their electives.  Not only do these courses prepare students with the skills for the third year VFX specialisation but also provide a fantastic foundation that may be used in other related industries like IT, illustration and games. It also gives students a better understanding of what the various roles and technologies are involved in visual effects through its hands on, industry-focussed projects.

Back in March, Rising Sun Pictures also contributed to the annual CG Futures event in Melbourne.  I was fortunate enough to be part of the “ How to evolve in the VFX+ Animation industry” panel and RSP’s Head of FX, Nik Slotiuk presented a Houdini master class which he then later delivered again to our current Graduate Certificate students.

Aside from our accredited courses, we’ve been working with Glenunga International High School and developed a 16-week “Introduction to Animation” program delivered by RSP’s animator Brodie McCrossin.  The program aligns with the required outcomes that make up the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).  Students and their teacher have been attending class at RSP for 1 night a week for 3 hours, with the training also allowing for teachers to learn new skills that can then be implemented in the classroom.

RSP Education also hosted 3 students from UniSA’s “Teaching for Tomorrow” program over the last few months.  This is the third year that RSP has been involved with this exciting initiative.  Benefits of the program are that final year pre-service teachers specialising in the areas of Design, Technology, Science and Mathematics spend time in a workplace and are then exposed to real world applications of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, (STEM) in the classroom.

The 2019 March intake of UniSA students

Industry leaders, through work shadowing and presentations guide the university students on how to apply authentic STEM contexts in the classroom.  From this, students develop a 10-week unit plan to be delivered in the classroom.

The experience is invaluable for all involved, as it not only reflects the universities approach to developing sustainable school-industry partnerships during the students’ time at university, but also provides students; through the skills learned making them STEM education leaders of the future.

This current group were exposed to an Introduction to Side FX’s Houdini through teaching done by RSP’s Tom Maher.  Time was then spent with our Graduate Certificate students looking at more advanced applications of Houdini.  Another session focused on work shadowing with Texture artist Christina Rzewucki, who guided them with how RSP use Substance Painter in the studio and also showed them some of her personal work.

More information on this program can be found at the following website: http://www.unisa.edu.au/teachingfortomorrow

In March of this year, I was also selected to be a member on South Australia’s Creative Industries, Business & Digital Platforms Industry Skills Council (ISC).  
The council forms part of the Training and Skills Commissions (TASC's) objective of strengthening industry’s voice in skills and workforce development.  A two-year term, I am excited to be working with other industry stakeholders like Mighty Kingdom’s Director for Business Development and Partnerships, Dan Thorsland, on ensuring that funding for skills and training is directly aligned to industry priorities.

For more information on this Industry Skills Council, check the following link: http://www.tasc.sa.gov.au/Industry-Skills-Councils/Creative-Industries-Business-and-Digital-Platforms-ISC