While there is nothing wrong with pursuing conventional education, there’s an undeniable truth to the adage that “time is money”.
With that said, if the outcome is a successful career and all else is equal, why enroll in a four year program when two years will suffice? Or one? What if you could emerge from a 17-week course ready to become a part of a booming industry filled with near limitless possibilities?
While the above question might sound too good to be true, it is a very realistic outcome for those who have enrolled in a Creature and Character Design Program.
If you’re dubious that such a program exists, rest assured that it does—and it’s being offered in the centre of Hollywood North’s bustling production scene at Toronto’s CMU College of Makeup Art & Design.
What Does a Creature and Character Designer Do?
A creature and character designer works with their client (this could be a director, a writer, an advertising agency, a private commission, etc.) to bring the idea of a character to visual life.
The designer works with stakeholders to ensure the character exemplifies everything his or her collaborators are looking for to meet the aesthetic requirements of the project brief.
In so doing, they must draw upon their knowledge of realistic anatomy and mobility, as well as their 3D sculpting ability to make sure the end result is a believable entity that suits the overall project.
Generally their tools range from pen and paper when developing rough sketches and evolves into using sophisticated digital tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Pixologic ZBrush to add colour, texture and mobility to create a realistic 3D rendering.
The Digital Effects Artist Program
So what can you expect from CMU College’s Digital Makeup Effects Artist Program?
What will you learn in a mere 17 weeks?
While the course load is substantial and arduous to say the least, it is designed to maximize the number of skills developed in the shortest amount of time.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- An introduction to 3D scanning, modeling and printing;
- Combines special effects makeup artistry with 3D modelling into one, allowing the student to design realistic creatures and characters;
- Offers a foundation in Photoshop, drawing from life and sculpting;
- How to conceptualize, design, build molds and paint an advanced sculpture;
- Teaches the student how to create realistic and highly detailed digital character renderings using an industry tested tool, ZBrush;
- Provides the student with an impressive online portfolio to showcase finished 3D sculptures in a variety of mediums;
- Provides the student with the skills necessary to pursue other digital careers such as” 3D character designer, mock-up artist, mold/model maker, prototype fabricator, 3D printing technician, and many more.
The amount of content taught can be comfortably covered in one year, but CMU College has condensed the program into a 4-month program with the goal that students will be industry ready upon graduation.
The 17-week course can be broken down in the following timeline:
- Digital sculpting using Adobe Photoshop – 2 weeks;
- Life drawing – 1 week;
- Figurative sculpting – 1 week;
- Digital character design using ZBrush – 6 weeks;
- Practical character design and sculpting – 6 weeks;
- Career planning and portfolio creation – 1 week.
What Exciting Career Opportunities Are Awaiting Upon Completion of the 17-Week Course?
The obvious careers involve television and movie production, as well as video game development. These are exemplary choices to be sure, however, they are far from the only opportunities available to graduates of this program.
Digital design has many different applications and more are making themselves known each and every day.
Having said that, here’s a list of some of the more mainstream roles a graduate of this program can expect to compete for:
- Visual effects;
- Graphic design;
- 3D printing and scanning;
- Concept design;
- Toy production.
In short, the career opportunities are varied and plentiful. Few professions can claim this type of versatility relative to the amount of time it takes to hone the necessary skills.
The only real question for the graduate is whether they want to master one industry or pursue interesting opportunities in related fields.
If you’re curious where a diploma from the Digital Effects Artist Program at CMU College can take you, the only thing you need to answer is, am I ready to change my life in just 17 weeks?