Kristiania University College
The Visual Effects (VFX) Bachelor program at Westerdals, Kristiania University College, is Norway’s biggest VFX education. Focus is on compositing, VFX supervision and general VFX engineering built on a solid foundation of drawing, photography and colour.
The Visual Effects (VFX) Bachelor program at Westerdals, Kristiania University College, is Norway’s biggest VFX education. Focus is on compositing, VFX supervision and general VFX engineering built on a solid foundation of drawing, photography and colour. Run by some of Norway’s most senior and experienced VFX artists and supervisors, the program has a firm emphasis on being industry centric utilising tools, processes and methodology that students will encounter when they enter the industry as professional VFX artists. Students from the program has contributed to productions such as Game of Thrones, Watchmen, Star Trek Discovery, Lost in Space and Star Wars: The Mandalorian.
Thomas Reppen, CEO Storm Studios says "the VFX students from Westerdals can be put directly to work on large international productions because they know the tools and methods we use here at Storm. We have ambitions to grow and we are very happy about the close cooperation we have with this school."
10 out of 11 students got full time contracts last year. The 11th student went on to studying sound design.
•Markus Eiken, Compositor, Important Looking Pirates, Stockholm
It’s a great school with amazing, experienced lecturers, that help you to artistically and technically push yourself and constantly improve during the program. The program and its projects are based on how the top studios work in production, and made the transition from school to studio really smooth. The quality of the skills we’re taught makes us valuable assets straight out of school.
Our BA program in VFX is part of an institute that also includes BAs in film, script writing, CG, game design and sound design. We also work closely with other institutes that provide BA programs for acting, music production, art direction and hair and makeup.
Currently we are spread out on a couple of campuses in one of the hippest parts of central Oslo providing auditoriums, classrooms, production facilities with workstations and a small greenscreen studio. Our main building is a modern creative hub containing most of the BA programs mentioned above. Our secondary campus which is a 5 minutes walk away is in a hip old industrial area which houses lots of artists, art schools, a club scene and Norway’s leading VFX studio Storm Studios. Here we have our production facilities and greenscreen studio next to editing and grading suites for the film BA program.
Foundry Nuke, Maya with Arnold or Redshift, Thinkbox Deadline, Substance Painter, SideFX Houdini, Metashape, Unreal Engine, Quixel Megascans, Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, PF Tracker, Mocha, Neat Video.
The staff, Morten Moen and Hans Gunnar Brekke are currently doing a research project, funded by the school, utilizing the latest virtual filmmaking techniques. It’s a large collaborative production using the latest realtime technology mixed with analog sfx. We collaborate with students from other Bachelor Programs at our college like Script Writing, Directing, Producing, Filmphotography, 3D, Art Direction, Acting, SFX, Sound Design and Music Production.
We are primarily a compositing education and emphasis is on photoreal integration of filmed elements and CG. Artwork, therefore, is mainly live-action shots and sequences incorporating a number of VFX techniques. Some students also produce full CG shots.
When students enroll, some of them will have done a bit of vfx in highschool, some will have had vfx as a hobby for a few years and some students have no experience. The first assignments therefore show a fairly large span of skills. What is often lacking in the beginning, also from the students that have a bit of experience, is the artistic understanding of the images. It is very satisfying to witness the artistic evolution of the students during the three years where they in the beginning are content with just throwing in elements and seeing how the arts courses make them re-think and start composing images more carefully.
Our courses centre around digital design and creative technologies, with a focus on The Bachelor Program is built on a solid understanding of the traditional principles within Art and Film. Head of Visual Effects, Hans Gunnar Brekke, brought with him this methodology from working for many years with VFX legend Phil Tippett in California. In the first year students learn to observe by going through the Foundation Track where they learn perspective and storyboarding in drawing classes. They have Color&Design where they gain a solid understanding of colors and the characteristics of light&shadow. In Photography they learn composition and traditional lighting and in Cinematography they learn film making techniques taught by professional DP’s.
The students proceed with the VFX Track and Production Track. In the VFX track students learn compositing and CG. In the Production Track they practice everything they learned in the VFX and Foundagion tracks by doing productions that increase in scope and complexity. The production track starts already in the first semester when students do a small production and take it from script to a finished film sequence. Students go through pre-production phase where they look at storyboards and do a vfx breakdown. After filming they finalize the sequence together with the rest of your class in post-production. By doing so they gain experience in working on a realistic production where they need to take into account shot-continuity and to get comments in Shotgun from a VFX supervisor.
In the second and third years students participate in projects progressively increasing both in scope and complexity, often in collaboration with other Bachelor programs such as Film and TV, Acting, 3D and Hair and Makeup. During this period, students develop both technically and artistically to become a sought after VFX artist.
- Drawing & Visual Communication
- Color & Design
- 3D for VFX
- VFX production
- Bachelor project
We have close ties to VFX studios in Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen. While studying several students have part time vfx jobs and gain valuable experience. During the sixth and final semester the students complete their Bachelor project. This project can also be done as an internship. Currently, in Spring 2020, we have students doing internships at Storm Studios (Oslo), Gimpville(Oslo), Important Looking Pirates (Stockholm) and Ghost (Copenhagen).
In order to recruit for the Bachelor internship we arrange a recruitment day in October where studios visit our campus for showreel reviews and interviews.
Following studios hired our graduates last year: Gimpville (Oslo), Storm Studios (Oslo), Animaskin (Oslo), Stardust Effects (Oslo), Important Looking Pirates (ILP - Stockholm), Ghost (Copenhagen), Industrial Light & Magic (ILM - London)
The VFX BA program is part of a film institute that has had students winning both the student BAFTA and the student Oscar.
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