NFTS Scotland: Introduction to VFX Online

Short course


Delivered in the NFTS Scotland Virtual Studio on Discord

"An excellent grounding in modelling and rigging in Maya, as well as a full understanding of the process of creating and animating an asset for use in Visual Effects. Not only have I gained skills but a better understanding of how to take steps to pursue a career in VFX. (Alexa Thomson, July 2020)

This five-day course delivered online 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 render 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

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)

Each student will complete a 3D model of their hand, texture, rig, and animate it.  At the end they will have a short video of a 3D model of their hand animated. 

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.

In order to take part you must have the following installed on your computer for the course:

Maya (available from Autodesk by paid subscription and also for a 30 day free trial) 
Photoshop (available from Adobe Creative Cloud by paid subscription and also for a 7 day free trial) 
Discord (Free digital community software)

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: £495
Corporate Rate: £765

The course fee advertised is subsidised for freelancers by ScreenSkills with support from the BFI, awarding National Lottery funds as part of its Future Film Skills strategy; as part of work to diversify the screen industry workforce, this year there is also a further reduction in fees of up to 50% available for freelancers with disabilities and/or who are from black, Asian or minority ethnic groups. Please advise in your application statement if you are eligible and are applying for this reduction. 


A limited number of bursaries are available for all of our short courses. If you wish to apply for a bursary to contribute to the costs of your course, please read the bursary guidelines below carefully to confirm your eligibility. Please do not apply to a course unless you are sure you meet the bursary eligibility criteria, or can pay for the course by other means.

Please apply as far in advance of the course date as possible to give yourself the best chance of securing a supported place, as we may not be able to accommodate all applications. We aim to advise successful applicants no later than 10 working days prior to the course start date. 

Once you have submitted your course application, your bursary application, and supporting documents, should be submitted to

NFTS Scotland Bursary Guidelines (Word doc)

NFTS Scotland Bursary Application Form (pdf)

If you are not eligible for an NFTS Scotland bursary, please read our Alternative Funding Avenues document (pdf) which points you in the direction of a few other places which may be able to help. Please submit your application in plenty of time as timescales for funders differ. 

How to apply

Application deadline:

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

Begin your application