NFTS Scotland: Introduction to VFX

Short course


This five-day course introduces you to the world of visual effects, how to make them and how they are used in film and television.

It is an introduction to the visual effects pipeline through hands-on creation… of a hand! One of the key parts of visual effects work is observation and reference, and the reference we need for this project is at the end of our arms. You will build a hand, texture, animate, and composite it.

Led by Andrew Schlussel, Director of Global Talent Development at Framestore, the course covers: 

Modelling in Maya

  • Introduction to Maya
  • Modelling in Maya
  • Using photo reference (photographing our hands)
  • Modelling your hand


  • UV Mapping
  • Painting Textures in Photoshop
  • Texturing the hand
  • Cleaning up seams
  • Film backplate: film a short sequence of a table top, and reference for animation.

Rigging and Animation

  • Rigging Concepts
  • Rigging the hand
  • Animation concepts
  • Begin animating the hand

Animation and rendering

  • Animation continued
  • Using Arnold Shaders
  • Adding HDRI lighting
  • Render in Arnold (each student will need to launch a render that will go overnight)


  • Introduction to After Effects
  • Composite hand into scene
  • Final composited render of scene

Each student will complete a 3D model of their hand, texture, rig, and animate it, and composite into a background shot. At the end they will have a short video of a 3D model of their hand walking on a table top.

This course is for computer literate people who want to learn about visual effects. Applicants should have some of experience with computer graphics, for example, experimenting with Photoshop. 

Andrew Schlussel is the Director of Global Talent Development at Framestore in London, where he leads and creates strategy for all training at their studios around the world. He has taught classes and written curriculum for animation and VFX over the past 20 years in colleges, universities, companies and non-profits internationally as well as online. He has worked as an artist in visual effects for film, video games, iPad apps, music videos and was the cinematographer on an independent feature. Teaching classes at Pixar helped lead him to his role as Education Manager at DreamWorks Animation and Global Head of Training at MPC prior to his role at Framestore.

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Freelance Rate: £645
Corporate Rate: £1215


The NFTS Scotland bursary fund is currently closed for this course and we encourage you to seek alternative avenues of funding to support the cost of this course if required. 

Please read our Alternative Funding Avenues document which points you in the direction of a few other places which may be able to help. Please allow yourself enough time to secure funding when considering your application.

How to apply

Application deadline: Register your interest

This course is not currently open for applications. Please register your interest to be advised of future dates as they become available.