Postgrad qualification in VFX/Digital Set Design - Advice please!

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by fluidedge, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    Not sure whether to post this in here or the graphics/design forum. If a mod thinks it's more appropriate in the other please feel free to move it over!

    Where to begin!? I'm in the UK, i have a first degree in Mathematics and want to move into CGI by doing a postgrad qualification in some form of it. I'm looking for some friendly advice from some of you industry people!

    I've currently got an offer on the new MA - Digital Set Design at Kingston University. Which is great. It's new for September, they're only taking on about 10 people and apparently they have had a lot of interest from compaines like Framestore CFC, Double Negative, Cinesite, Glassworks, BBC etc - agreeing to keep in touch with students and offer field trip visits and things (these are HUGE companies in the British film/post production world, right!).

    The course is the only one of it's type in the country and it's been designed around the industry demand for graduates skilled in digital set design which, for me, is a really exciting field of Computer Graphics and Film production.

    I've also got an application in the pipeline for the MSc in Special Visual Effects at Kent Uni (Canterbury) - while i haven't got an offer yet, I hope they're going to offer me a place. They have a major partner in Framestore CFC (who won the visual effects Oscar this year) and arrange frequent visits and things with them; weekend runner jobs etc.

    Kent has great facilities, great postgrad accomodation on campus, i've got friends already at Kent and it has a great reputation.

    Kingston i don't know so much about. I don't know what their reputation is like in the post production world. I'd have to find my own accommodation as it's not a campus and they don't have postgrad living space. However the course looks amazing.

    If the digital set design course was at kent my decision would be easy!

    I think digital set design is more where i want to be, as opposed to "regular" VFX and being a new course in an emerging field of CGI puts me in a strong position and they'll hopefully be plenty of interest from the industry giants listed above.

    Visual Effects courses, while not 10 a penny are more common and are producing hundreds of graduates each year across the country all with the same sort of skills - compositing, rotoscoping, solid maya/shake/flame skills.

    My head is saying Kingston as the course is amazingly perfect i think, but my heart is saying Kent as i'd feel more comfortable on a campus with people i already know and on a course co designed with a major employer in my field.

    I suppose it's still out of my hands until i hear back from Kent (they may still turn me down) - and i might be tying myself in knots for nothing!

    My question is to any postgrads at Kingston on an Art/Design/Archtecture course (particularly the production design for film and TV course) - what is it like? What is Kingston like as a place to study?

    More generally, Can anyone in the 3D/film industry give me any advice on which course puts me in a better position career wise? Is Digital Set Design a new(ish) and sort after skillset as opposed to regular VFX skills.

    Anyone with any other advice or comments most appreciated!?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I can't answer w/specifics 'cause I'm not in the UK and I'm not in VFX, but going on my experience w/school, and editing and Los Angeles here is my 2 cents. Spend as much time as you possible can working w/professionals in your field. So, if Framestore CFC is offering an unpaid internship for a goffer you take it. If Double Negative is looking for a temp PA to work weekends helping re-organize the office you be there w/bells on. Show up, do what they need you to do then start chatting up the artists and become a sponge. Suck up everything you possible can from them because how things are done in an academic setting and how things are done in the real world are typically miles apart. Get them to know you, get them to like you and your work ethic and you will get a job sooner than a guy who is an ace in the class room but doesn't do very much work outside of it.

    At least in big markets in the US no one really cares what school you went to. While you are in school they'll be like, "Oh, yeah that's a great program" blah blah blah, but the second you graduate and start sending out resumé's the first thing they look at is what kind of real world experience you have and practical experience pretty much beats diploma any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  3. fluidedge thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    thats good advice cheers.

    I think Kingston being so much closer to C. London is important as all the Post Houses and companies are there and trips/weekend jobs will be much easier to get to from kingston.

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