VFX Foundations I

Taught by Tahl Niran

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
July 2012 
5 hours 39 minutes 
In response to a huge government and private initiative, a large cross section of people from many of the top of the VFX facilities in the UK got together in 2011 to define what was the most crucial things for educators and students in VFX to know. What did industry really want their staff to know ? What do people in VFX really need to know to do their jobs well. They created a bible for anyone studying VFX in any capacity and it was called the Core Skills of VFX. You can read their guidelines here :


In the wake of this document, many things about training artists for vfx changed. For returning prof Tahl Niran, it was a major turning point in how he approached training. Visual effects training is often designed to get people ‘up and running’ with software, make pretty images or just get people feeling comfortable with a complicated application. But underneath every system which creates, manipulates or even displays images is a very simple set of core ideas. Identifying and understanding these is the key to a truly deep understanding of visual effects compositing.

Enter VFX Foundations I, the first of a two-part course here at fxphd. It is a course designed for EVERYONE, from an absolute beginner to a career visual effects professional. No matter what you know or think you know about working with images using a computer this course will give you a better grasp of what those buttons sliders and nodes are truly doing. If you're in visual effects, regardless of your level, this course should be a requirement.

Tahl Niran, is a compositor and trainer who has been working in visual effects since 1999. In that time he has worked in games, broadcast design, tv commercials and feature films and trained artists in Australia, London, New York, Mumbai and Shanghai. Tahl was one of the foundation professors at FXPHD and also one of the creators of the original Foundry Nuke Masterclasses. He returns to FXPHD after three years in London working with the team at Double Negative Visual Effects.
VFX Foundations I
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

Understanding how we see: the problem - why we need colour theory and the limits of human vision, display systems and how your application lies to you and luminance, chrominance and why you suck at seeing both!

Class 2

Modern models of colour: the solution - defining, encoding and recording color, display systems and how they can lie to you plus file formats and the ins and outs of managed colour pipelines.

Class 3

Jargon busting : who is marcie? and why do we care - density, log and linear colour in practice and coverting colour from storage to a usable medium for manipulation.

Class 4

Out of the dark ages: it's all about light. The notion of a photometric linear image, beyond black and white and Dmin and why Josh Pines was right!

Class 5

Now you get it, it's time to move it. Logical colour manipulations, dangerous manipulations and defining the mathematics of colour correction.

Class 6

Those that don't understand history are doomed to repeat it. The history of image composition, understanding why addition and multiplication rule your daily life and remove the word layering from your vocabulary.

Class 7

How to put "A" over "B" - the one basic presupposition for all modern compositing applications and why most people working in VFX today don't understand it. What the word presupposition means!

Class 8

What if Tahl told you there is no blur? The matrix explained! Kernels, convolution and why you will never pay for a plug-in filter again.

Class 9

Popular tools and techniques broken down to an atomic level. Keyer, filter or colour correct its all much simpler than you thought! Everything is just a colour operation and why Tahl spent so long earlier on teaching you about colour.

Class 10

The Matrix reloaded! All this time you thought you were moving images... you aren't. Affine, perspective and displacement. Understanding vectors and per pixel manipulation.