Adelaide visual
effects studio’s growing education program helps aspiring artists make the leap
from the classroom to the production floor.
Adelaide, South Australia— Rising Sun Pictures is well known for its ability to develop highly-skilled
visual effects artists through its unique Education program. In classrooms set
up to mirror real-world production environments and with instructors who are
working professionals, the award-winning visual effects studio rigorously
trains students in the technologies and techniques they’ll need to succeed in
an expanding global film industry. Since the program’s inception in 2015,
dozens of aspiring artists have used the studio’s undergraduate and
graduate-certificate courses, developed in partnership with the University of
South Australia, as stepping stones to their first industry jobs…many of them
at RSP.

To give more students an opportunity to turn dream into
reality, RSP significantly expanded its Education program in 2017. Alongside
its existing Graduate Certificate course in Compositing and Tracking, it added
a complimentary graduate course in Dynamic Effects and Lighting. It also grew
its offering of 10-week undergraduate courses and doubled the size of its
classroom space. On top of that, RSP contributed to other UniSA initiatives,
including its Teaching for Tomorrow and Careers Insights programs.

“We continue to grow our program to meet both our workforce
needs and those of the industry generally,” says Anna Hodge, RSP’s Manager of
Education and Training. “We’ve had an excellent group of students in our
program this year, and we’re pleased by how many of them transitioned
immediately into professional roles, here and elsewhere.” Hodge adds the visual
effects crew for RSP’s biggest project of 2017, the summer blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok, included some 17 artists
who were products of the RSP Education and UniSA relationship.
RSP instructors Dan Wills and Greg Wieder
RSP offered its new course in Dynamic Effects and Lighting
twice in 2017. The course teaches students how to create particle simulations,
like explosions, water and clouds, “procedurally-generated” environments, such
as cities, beaches and forests, and computer-generated lighting applications.
Like Compositing and Tracking, the new course runs full-time for 12 weeks and
is aimed at students with prior visual effects training. Most have
undergraduate degrees or advanced diplomas.
“The
students in our grad programs are career-focused and very passionate. They’re here
early, they stay late, and they produce good work,” says Greg Wieder, a
Lighting/Pipeline Technical Director, and a course instructor. “We see a lot of
potential in our students and have picked up several for junior positions.
Others have landed jobs at other studios.”
Michael
Majchrzak is one such success story. He enrolled in a graduate course in
Compositing and Tracking that began in February. Shortly after earning his
certificate, RSP offered him a staff position. He currently serves as a Junior
Paint and Rotoscope Artist.
Majchrzak
became interested in RSP Education after attending an open house that showcased
the work of former students. “That really impressed me,” he recalls. “I
thought, ‘I want to make things like that.’ It won me over.”
Students
enrolled in the two Graduate Certificate course that began in February took
part in producing a short film entitled Lucy
and DiC.
Written and directed by Jeremy Kelly-Bakker, an instructor in
the Compositing and Tracking course, the film centers on a young woman who
receives questionable dating advice from a floating support drone. Students
managed the work of animating compositing and lighting the drone.
Lucy and
DiC
had its world premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival and has
since garnered more than a million views of Facebook and YouTube. “The robot
animation provided good teaching material because it was part of a real
production,” recalls Dan Wills, RSP’s longtime VFX Technical Director and
another Houdini course instructor. “We ran it exactly like a film
project.”
RSP students Michael Majchrzak and Abigail Nath
Abigail Nath enrolled in the Graduate Certificate Course in
Dynamic Effects and Lighting in September after winning a ROOKIES scholarship
from Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand. She says the course built on
her undergraduate training and provided her with practical skills to bridge the
gap between the classroom and the professional sphere. “It’s been quite intensive,
but also really good,” she observes. “The course runs Monday through Friday and
we’re expected to log 40 hours per week, but I have ended up doing quite a bit
more, coming in early to set things up, and staying late to finish.”
RSP Education has more ambitious plans in store for 2018.
The Graduate Certificate course in Compositing and Tracking will be
restructured to include Silhouette, the new industry standard for paint and
rotoscoping, and the studio has added two new second-year undergraduate courses
that will count toward a Media Arts degree. “Interest in our program continues
to grow,” says Hodge. “We recently announced two new units in the second year
of UniSA’s Media Arts degree and had 40 students sign up in the first eight
hours of enrollment.”
For more information about Rising Sun Pictures’ Graduate
Certificate courses, visit: http://study.unisa.edu.au/postgraduate/vfx/
About Rising Sun Pictures:
At Rising Sun
Pictures (RSP) we create inspirational visual effects for major studios
worldwide. Creating outstanding images is at the core of our existence. At the
heart of our talented team, there is a diverse knowledge and skill-set,
enabling a collaborative core where we can work together to solve problems and
deliver great visuals to our clients. We have achieved some truly amazing
visual effects work by providing innovative solutions to technically
challenging work. We have the capacity and talent pool to scale to suit the
needs of our clients. 

Our extensive filmography includes over 100 projects, including Thor: Ragnarok,
Logan, X-Men: Apocalypse, Game of Thrones Season 6, The Legend of Tarzan, Gods
of Egypt, Pan, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Hunger Games franchise, the
Harry Potter franchise, Gravity, The Wolverine, Prometheus and The Great
Gatsby. 

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