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fxphd Opens Professional Online Training School

fxphd, the formal training arm of a long time valued industry source for news and visual effects tips has been launched. Unlike fxguide, fxphd is a formal structured course that builds week to week into a complete understanding of the subject at hand. Students are able to discuss with course leaders each week and have their work reviewed and accessed.

"People have really responded to the idea of getting professional training online, and the quality of students is just amazing," explained co-founder Mike Seymour, "We aim the courses to be more than just simplistic introductions and the response has been brilliant. At the moment, we are shooting, compositing and working on a range of applications."

Initial training is offered in Flame, Shake, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, 3ds Max, Toxik as well as vital vfx background theory. The courses are run by trained industry professionals and are available for weekly download. Students get to do four courses per term, for up to a total of two hours of high quality training per week.

"The training is aimed at being very relevant to practicing industry professionals who just don't have time to do courses, yet want to understand the latest trends and most up to date software, " added co-founder John Montgomery. "For example, I teach Toxik and we are using the latest beta software, which will not be released for another few weeks. This is highly relevant serious training that is hard to find elsewhere."

fxphd is working very closely with the leading equipment manufacturers such as Autodesk, Apple and daVinci. fxphd courses can be joined at any time and each course is rated from a 100 to 400 level in difficulty and assumed knowledge. Professionals who join are called Post-grads, and the lecturers Professors, as the courses aim to be fun to do and not just hard work. Material is provided so students can build their show reels or test their expertise with material specially shot for the purpose.

The general theory course Background Fundamentals covers areas such as the theory behind optical flow, high dynamic range imagery, as well as advice on strategies for approaching difficult shots and cool tricks. Each week, short free tips are posted on the site and students can join formally at anytime. If students start late for any reason or miss a week all back lessons are available to download.

The first Background Fundamentals lessons was a special on shooting time splice or "bullet time" shots. The material shot for this will then also be used in later weeks as the footage is worked up into a professional shot in HD. This coming week examines the things to keep in mind on set when shooting for optical flow and the theory behind the algorithms used in the most powerful optical flow engines on the market today. "It is great to be able to provide this for a global audience," added Seymour, as we have been doing this in sell out shows in Vegas for the last few years but the most we could reach was a couple of hundred people. Now we get the time to do a better job and discuss the training with students in the fxphd forums each day."

fxphd ( was created by the founders of (, based in Victoria, Australia, the ultimate resource for high-end compositing and post-production on the web. They provide high-quality Internet training targeting visual effects professionals. The founders are Jeff Heusser, John Montgomery and Mike Seymour.