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U.K. ‘VFX|Production Grade’ Course to Launch in October

CG training facility Escape Studios offered new details about the new VFX|Production Grade initiative previously announced last spring. Launching in October 2005, this new course, which is funded by the Skillset Film Skills Fund, offers the most intensive and focused production training available for the aspiring CG artist. The free program consists of five months of full-time training at Escape Studios working on production projects followed by a two-month work placement at a top U.K. post-house. The course is targeting individuals who already have a showreel demonstrating a sound grasp of Maya, but need to take their skills to a more professional level.

In order to create this groundbreaking program, Escape Studios has been working closely with post houses Cinesite, Double Negative, Framestore CFC, Glassworks, the Mill and the Moving Picture Co. (MPC). There are 14 places on the course, but following the training portion at Escape Studios, students will be divided up and distributed among the participating post houses for two months in production. This will require students to work on live jobs in the 3D departments and not as runners. It is hoped that the vast majority of the students will be kept on by the companies involved.

Stephen Venning, 3D Operations manager at the Mill in London said: The Mill are really excited about being involved in this project. This course is perfectly poised to provide the U.K. industry with new artists of the highest caliber.

The financing comes from the Skillset Film Skills Fund, made up of lottery money via the UK Film Council and industry investment from the SIF production levy. All of the students costs will be covered and they will be paid a minimum wage during the duration of the course.

The course is currently only available to EU nationals. Anyone who wishes to apply must send a CV and showreel that demonstrates their 3D Maya skills to Escape Studios.

The VFX | Production Grade will run twice a year. Any interested parties should contact Escape Studios by calling 020 7348 1920 or e-mailing

Escape Studios ( is the only accredited Maya training center and a Premier reseller of Maya in the U.K. Escape clients include Aardman Animations, BBC, Rare, Sony Computer Ent. Europe, Rockstar and Nissan.