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mbenard
12-19-2005, 07:16 PM
Greets,

I'm currently in the process of launching a new division of Lost Boys Studios (http://www.lostboys-studios.com/)that offers Training for CG and VFX.

I'm looking for straight feedback on the information supplied on my new website.

www.lostboys-learning.com (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/)

I'll be personally heading up all the training and am offering the course in three modules ranging from Foundation to Advanced.

The course is currently designed to cover a wide range of topics... Although, I am curious how many would be seriously interested in a very specific course, tailored to artists already employed in the CG industry, that wish to transition into a career in Visual Effects.

I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Alternatively you can email me at mbenard@lostboys-studios.com.

Mark Benard
Managing Director/Mentor
Lost Boys Studios (http://www.lostboys-studios.com/)

whalerider
12-20-2005, 11:12 AM
I'd say you need more detail in the course outlines. People who'd be paying between $4K and $7K per course would probably want to know what topics will be covered, esp. in the Intermediate and the Advanced courses. Are you 'sticking' with Maya, PS and AE in those as well or will you be adding other tools? Also, are the tuition figures CAD or USD?

xstijn
12-20-2005, 11:22 AM
Looks really coo l i think but as whalerider said a course outline would be graet, and maybe some further details in general..

But looks promising,
i'm looking for a study so i'll watch this one :thumbsup:

mbenard
12-20-2005, 03:54 PM
Thanks guys, awesome to hear your input.

I've updated the pricing to more clearly reflect that it's in CDN funds.

I'm working on the Intermediate and Advanced Curriculum now. (It's a big task...)

I'm also hoping to hear feedback on if there is interest in a very targeted VFX training curriculum... That would influence my decision on Software.

Currently I have RealFlow and Boujou planned and am considering Shake and Fusion.

Keep it coming!

Mark

mbenard
12-20-2005, 04:05 PM
Oh by the way,

If I did end up having the course focus on VFX, I can see adding a Renderman for Maya component.

That would be fun.

M

whalerider
12-21-2005, 01:14 AM
Will it be CDN for everyone or will it be USD for non-Canadians (I know VFS makes that distinction, or at least used to a year ago)? Also, is it possible to enroll in the Intermediate or in the Advanced course directly if an applicant thinks (and can prove) that they are past the basics/intermediate-level? Will there be sth like internship opportunities at Lost Boys for the best students?

One comment - the curriculum mentions that after completing a course a student will come out with a demo reel (among other things). Maybe you should change the wording - otherwise someone might infer that they'll have a demo reel no matter what (i.e., even if they didn't bother working on/completing one). I think it should say that students will be working on a demo reel during a course...

Thanks guys, awesome to hear your input.

I've updated the pricing to more clearly reflect that it's in CDN funds.

I'm working on the Intermediate and Advanced Curriculum now. (It's a big task...)

I'm also hoping to hear feedback on if there is interest in a very targeted VFX training curriculum... That would influence my decision on Software.

Currently I have RealFlow and Boujou planned and am considering Shake and Fusion.

Keep it coming!

Mark

whalerider
12-21-2005, 02:29 AM
Why are you in Comox Valley anyway? Are there apts that the students can rent?
I suppose most people can't afford to live in a hotel for several months in a row.

Do you think you can pull it off? There 11 days left to 2006 - how are you going to find students so quickly, especially since you're located in the middle of nowhere?

mbenard
12-21-2005, 03:44 PM
Thanks Whalerider,

Great questions.

Yes, It'll stay in CDN funds no matter where you apply from. It used to make sense to charge in USD when our dollar was weaker but now it's just bad business since the fluctuations can really rock the cashflow...

And to answer the burning question of WHY in the COMOX VALLEY (http://www.tourism-comox-valley.bc.ca/)? I grew up in the valley and now this is where I have chosen to raise my family. It's a beautiful place.

Regarding Apartments to rent, of course there are many student housing options here. Not to mention it will be a lot cheaper than what you would find in the major cities.

I'm very confident of the sucess of any business that can offer a valuable and unique service. As I found out with Lost Boys Studios, location is not the most important issue.

As with any project I've come across, time is always the biggest challenge... But due to the scale of this startup I can begin a class with as little as 4 students.

Is it such a tall order to find 4 artists that can realize the value of this option?

We'll see...

M

xstijn
12-21-2005, 10:02 PM
thank you for the info! :bounce:

I'm also hoping to hear feedback on if there is interest in a very targeted VFX training curriculum... That would influence my decision on Software.

Well i would be very happy to see:

-Dynamics
-Some sort of feauture film effects + compositing

I don't know if this is what you mean, but this would be really cool :applause:

mbenard
12-22-2005, 07:03 PM
Yes xstijn,

I should have been more descriptive about what I meant by the term "Visual Effects."

My background is in VFX for the Film & Television Industry.(Films, Series, Commercials...)

Although there is some cross over between the different mediums (Animation, Gaming, and Live Action Film.) a Visual Effects Artist for live action has a set of skills unique to its own.

For example, Dynamics is a very important skill to all three mediums but where they diverge is when it comes to all the integration considerations when blending CG with live action.

We'd be covering all the essentials from entry level to advanced; vfx design, onset supervision, vfx breakdowns, rotoscoping, keying(greenscreen, difference matting, luma keying...), rig removal, 2D tracking, camera tracking, match moving, modeling, texturing, photorealistic shaders, photogrammetry, rigging, animation(character animation and motion capture...), dynamic FX(rigid/soft bodies, particles, cloth, hair, fluid...), photorealistic lighting, interactive element generation(shadows, reflections, light...), creating render passes, and compositing... To name a few...

I prefer project based learning so asides from the classroom lessons we would be running through different production simulations that allow us to explore the bigger picture of Visual Effects Production.

When I first started out I remember being really jazzed about the technology. Since, I have realized that mastery of tools only makes about 30% of a good Visual Effects Artists skill. The rest is all about efficient and creative problem solving skills. Those are the lessons that most of us had to learn the hard way... Which is precisely the experience that I'm excited about sharing with my students.

Cool? Hell yeah!

M

Ravix
12-23-2005, 09:46 AM
Hey Mark

Good stuff man , this sounds like more powerful training,, Goood luck in everyhting and u are great mentor , U move the flow of the project on a very effectly manner


comox valley sounds like inspirational place not mentiion that theres nothing else , i guees this is good for the students.

what about people who has studied with u before and want to go straight to advanced?

cheers

xstijn
12-23-2005, 06:16 PM
Thats what i mean! Really cool, it's sounds awesome :D

But to make it clear for me, i want to work in the feauture film industry, so especiallly integrating cg in live action footage. If i would take this course, you think i got the experience and skills (which also off course depends on me) to get a decent job in the industry? This is something i really would like to know, beceause of the larger cg teaching groups (escape studio's etc. ) also offering these kind of things, i would actually like to know why these courses are better than the other ones. Just a theoretical question :D

Thanks in forward :D

mbenard
12-28-2005, 04:53 PM
Hey Ravix!

Good to hear from you and thanks for the vote of confidence.

Regarding going right into the Advanced module, just wrangle up three others that are interested and then we can rock and roll!

Otherwise, you gotta give me some time to train up some more recruits... Have patience, it'll get there.

Have a great New Year!

M

pixelmonk
12-28-2005, 05:40 PM
Hey Ravix!

Good to hear from you and thanks for the vote of confidence.

Regarding going right into the Advanced module, just wrangle up three others that are interested and then we can rock and roll!

Otherwise, you gotta give me some time to train up some more recruits... Have patience, it'll get there.

Have a great New Year!

M


should probably think about tailoring the courseware in a workable DVD format (or online) to reach people who don't live in or want to travel to Canada.

<rant mode on>

With that, there are already lots of companies selling training DVDs but the main thing I've seen missing is stuff on VFX and motion graphiics. 99% of the training out there is button mashing familiarity and building basic objects or creatures which you'd never see appear in a final format. Maybe one day someone will come out with some training that is more advanced. I'd love to see compositing/vfx/motion graphics training DVDs on some of the stuff you see in commercials or film.

mbenard
12-28-2005, 06:50 PM
Xstijn,

Way to keep this thread rolling with more great questions.

OK, you first question was if you'd learn what you need to learn to break into the film industry...

I wouldn't be doing this if I thought you couldn't.

If you take my guidance seriously and are driven by enthusiasm and discipline, you can go anywhere you want. The key is knowing where you want to go. Together we'd research the job requirements and then by the time we're done your training you will represent the perfect candidate. Believe me, it's not a big conspiracy, the VFX Shops are always hungry for good talent. What makes it difficult for most grads to land that first gig is that their training wasn't specific enough... They apply for a particle TD position or a lighting position with a short film... Most of the other CGI schools out there fail to realize that the job market has changed drastically over the past decade... Employers want to know that you have a solid understanding of the entire VFX pipeline but they also need to see a very clear specialization.

This of course leads me into my comparison of Lost Boys Learning versus the other institutions offering legitimate Visual Effects training...

Asides from the obvious COST differences... :eek:

Have you ever witnessed what happens to a business that has grown to a considerable size and has had time to ferment its own inter-staff politics? You end up with a breakdown between that business and its client demographic as it becomes more obsessed with its own internal affairs and less concerned with the needs of it's clients... Not to say that it becomes completely impotent, just that it loses the ability to react quickly to change. To be successful any business tied to CGI has to adapt quickly to the constant flow of "disruptive technology." This commonly puts new businesses at an advantage.

(And if you read between the lines this phenomenon also applies to people... This is always the new recruit’s primary advantage!)

Imagine how painful it would be for a larger institution to re-train all their instructors from one 3D package over to another that has recently taking the industry by storm. That sort of thing happens. If you look around there are quite a few schools still training obsolete software and methodologies. (I won't point fingers!)

I’m going to catch some flack for this one, but while I spent a year in the training circuit, I realized that a schools teaching staff, previously thought of as an asset, can prove to be its biggest liability.

I noticed a general FEAR of new training tools (DVD’s and Online Forums being the biggest…) that threatened their complacent and perhaps even stagnant curriculum.

Most of the training staff lacked recent (or any) production experience. How good would a craftsman be if all he knew how to do was hammer a nail or cut a piece of wood? As I mentioned earlier, it’s really about coming up with efficient and creative solutions.

So I had to ask myself, what if a training option became available that took full advantage of all this new material and focused on mentorship and specialized training in the form of simulated production experience? :hmm:

This is the point that I will illustrate with Lost Boys Learning.

(…Of course, I could go on about myself and how there are so very few individuals that have such a wide range of skill and understanding of the entire CG Pipeline… And even fewer that are actually interested in sharing that experience in a professional training environment… But then that might be read as bragging which is not my style!! ;) )

More great questions!

M

mbenard
12-28-2005, 07:34 PM
Hey Pixelmonk,

I hear you when it comes to the Online and DVD material… (Appearently it’s a big money maker for the few that offer those "button mashing" vids.)

One thing to keep in mind is the importance of peers while you’re in learning mode. That seemed to be the biggest thing going for training institutions when there is so much self training material available to us today… Having that camaraderie and competition bundled up together really makes people push themselves further than you would if you were training yourself alone at home…

Obviously if you are already working in the industry and didn’t have the luxury of taking time off for specialized VFX training then distance learning would be your only option.

I’ll be thinking long and hard about how to make this an effective option... It’s just a matter of time.

M

xstijn
12-28-2005, 07:40 PM
Thank you for the great answer! :bounce:
It really helped me making up my mind, it sounds really cool. Know you already quite answered this question, but just to be sure. If i want the position of let's say the FX team responsible for particle efftects etc. If i would follow the course you are offering, do you think i could get such a position? (this off course greatly depend on my artistic ability etc. but still) With this i mean, do you think i have a pre- agains other guys who are applying for such a position by following the course you are offering?

Also whan following the course, do you explain the tools and how to solve things, or do we (me if i would follow the course and fellow students) also have time for little projects to apply these things, and creatively resolve the issues and problems we face in these projects (some production experience) ? And what to expect from this?

THese questions are not very new questions, but i just want to be sure of these things.

Also, how deep you think the couse goes in the material. I mean when explaining and applying modelling, do you get the knowledge of the basic skills, or do you go more in depth?

Also, this is a more general question. I'm from europe, is it easy for me to study in the place you are offering the course, and stay there, have an appartment etc.?

HOpe you can answer these questions :applause:

mbenard
12-28-2005, 08:10 PM
Hah Hah! I love it Xsistijn!

By the sounds of it you’re leaning towards a career title of Effects Animator. That would keep your options open since that discipline crosses over between the Visual Effects for Film and the 3D Animation industries.

The more I think about it the more I can see designing custom training packages for each student’s unique needs… Of course, you should still get a good foundation on the other disciplines but there is no need to spend six months learning skills that you will never use again!

As long as you’re willing to commit to such focus, we could make you an Effects God!

And yes, it’s all about the “little projects,” that’s the simulated production experience component. Very important!

As far as you being from Europe it shouldn’t make any difference. I have yet to mention that we’d have my partner handling all the administration… She will double check the Visa situation and will be offering student services which covers things like housing as well as assisting with job placement.

If you haven’t been to the website in a while, pop on and download an application form and we can start from there.

Cheers,

M

xstijn
12-28-2005, 10:12 PM
Hehe, glad you like my questions :)
But i got to mention (tought i already did) that im still in high school :sad: so i can't come this or next year, but i would love too. But when i finished school i really think this is a worthy course but it's still a time from now so i don't know how it will be then. Also one more question :scream: do you think it is a good choose to do all 3 courses? if i really want to get in depth? Also how much will it cost, when im done with high school? Cause i don't really understand the discount and all :wise:

Thank you very much for the answers, and time :thumbsup:

mbenard
12-29-2005, 12:05 AM
Ahhh!

High School!

Yeah, I can't be stealing you away just quite yet... So they tell me! ;)

Awesome to see that you know where you want to go already. Kudos!

Just keep in touch. Lost Boys Learning may have some more options by the time you're ready!

The 30% discount is available until I can get the school accredited. It's meant to assist those that were counting on student loans to supplement the tuition. Normally it takes a year in Canada to go through the accreditation process, but I'll be looking to accelerate that since Lost Boys Learning is just a new division of a company that has already been in operation for some time. (I had previously carried out training in our Internship program at Lost Boys Studios...)

That still will leave the LBL Student Bursary (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/LBLBursary.html)(20% off) that you can tap into…

Continue to ask those provocative questions… Maybe you can earn yourself a permanent discount!

M

xstijn
12-29-2005, 09:50 AM
Thanks for the answers benard! :thumbsup:

Well yeah that's basicly my thing, i'm already looking at different study's, courses but they could be very different in the future, but i have all sites bookmarked, and i will surely keep an eye on you course, it's on the moment the most attractive for me, beceause of this conversation.

Cause i'm not very familiar with the Comox Valley area, could you tell a bit more about that? Is it fun for students, is it a small/big village or is it just a city, i want to hear it from you, cause on the internet you only get those tourist: Wow, this is super, so much to do! tesimonials :scream: And i want to hear this from a person who has lived there, and knows the place.

Also, when you do all three courses, what seems awesome to me. How in depth goes the advanced course compared to the foundation and intermediate?

I also read, on the guidelines form, you have to deliver 6-10 artworks of any form. So you picking out people based on those artwork? Could you explain this some more? Is it something like you have to show a demo reel to be excepted? And if so, how strict is this going to be? How good you have to be, to get excepted etc.?

And how long after the course you get the job placement, and other help from your department? Cause if i don't want to get a job right after i did the course, is it still possible for me to go back to my country for a year (which doesn't seems the best place to get such a job) and then after a year ask your help again for job placement, and the things i face with that?

Thank you very much for all the very helpfull answers! :thumbsup::bounce:

mbenard
12-30-2005, 12:24 AM
Hey Xstijn,

The Comox Valley is a small cluster of villages, towns, and one city.

The area is very well known for its natural beauty. We have a lot of biodiversity with the coastal waters being ranked as one of the top scuba diving locations in the world. There are many interesting beaches, rivers, and lakes that have very unique geological formations associated with them. There are two Ski hills connected to vast alpine meadows that can be skied in the winter and hiked in the summer that lead up to our signature landform being the Comox Glacier. While I was growing up here I spent a lot of time hiking and biking, exploring the tide pools at low tide and looking for fossils along the river banks.

During the winter it stays quite mild… We receive a thermal jet stream off the Pacific Ocean so this is one of the warmest places in Canada during the winter. On Christmas day it was 17 degrees Celsius!! (We call it the Pineapple express, because sometimes you swear that you can smell the sweet tropical air of Hawaii.)

During the winter months we do get a lot of rain… Also the days get pretty short due to the northern latitude… At this time of year it is dark before 5PM. Depending on where you’re from this can feel a little strange at times… As a trade off our days are very long in the summer!

To be honest it is a very quiet place… You won’t find the same nightlife that is in the major cities… But you are coming here to learn aren’t you!? It’s a great place to find your focus.

We’ll have to schedule a field trip into Vancouver and I’ll show everyone a good time! :buttrock:

Now onto the portfolio questions… Obviously it is to everyone’s best interest that only the best of the best come to attend my course. I have no intentions of building a massive “student farm” that cranks out graduates…

Not to sound like an elitist but one of the biggest problems with the other schools is that the primary item that they judge in the portfolio is the signature on the cheque. Believe me, they will claim otherwise, but I’ve witnessed it firsthand.

Now in your case, you shouldn’t be concerned, you still have a lot of time to polish your skills. It had better be good Xstijn! ;)

Before I go on I should note that I am open-minded when it comes to Portfolio content. As beneficial as traditional art training can be, it is not the deciding factor to if you’re going to make a great Effects Animator. I would expect you to state your case as to why some other forms of creativity/experience are applicable to your decided discipline. Many of my best staff at Lost Boys had very unorthodox skills that couldn’t have been communicated in a typical portfolio… I have a good instinct for seeing talent that isn’t obvious at first.

When I get back from dinner I’ll address your job placement question! :thumbsup:

Stay tuned, to be continued…

M

xstijn
12-30-2005, 09:07 AM
Thanks again :thumbsup:

Comox valley sounds like a very nice place, also a place where you could be inpsired alot by the natural beauty.

Well to the portofolio answer, so you really have to have a good portofolio to get to do the course? I mean i know i still got time to polish my skills but isn't the course called (1 one) the foundation... so doesn't that mean its for people wo aren't new to 3d animation etc. but just want to learn more? But i always find it very hard to know how good the portofolio must be, i know it should be my best, but could you give an example of an artist who got the qualities to do the course, i'm not someone who tries to copy this in a way so that im sure that i can do the course, but i want to know how good you have to be.

Also i would like to know if some people already signed up? I'm just curious.

Also in what enivremont is the course given, i mean what kind of facility or place is it? I just also would like to know some more about the things that i would also be dealing with. :)

And to come back to comox valley, i'm used to the weather, i have alot of rain in my country, but it almost never is really hot :scream: (which is then again differnt than comox valley)

Also it was asked in one of the first replys to this topic, could you make a course outline, of what you teach or do each week? That would be awesome, so i can get more to know of what i learn by following the course. I'm not sure about this, but is this course unique for every student?Mwith this i mean, does the course changes to the person who is following it, for ex. i like effects, do i get to do more effects etc.?

Thanks again for the helpfull answers :thumbsup:

mbenard
12-30-2005, 06:39 PM
Xstijn,

Now you’re getting ahead of me!

Two questions left outstanding from your previous thread…

Alright first off, are you sure you want to take an entire YEAR off after you finish your training? :eek: Don’t lose touch with your training. :wip: Things change mighty fast around here…

Of course, I’d still feed you any leads that I may have but if you’re not careful you’ll end up having to come back to me for some brush up training before you can hit the job scene! :twisted:

One very important factor in successful employment in this biz is strength of your connections. Strong portfolio’s are a dime a dozen so when hiring decisions are being made employers commonly rely on their staffs input to make the final call. So the more friends you have, the more job opportunities are made available.

I will be discussing this in more detail in the course but essentially when you graduate from Lost Boys you will be expected to contribute back to the system through the support of future grads. You will become a member of a growing group of artists that can influence each others futures in a positive way.

You have to read between the lines on that one a bit… I’ve probably said too much already. Let’s just say that job placement assistance is a life long offer with this system.

Back to your question about the depth of the three modules… As I said, I’m still working out the details as we speak… This new idea of a custom curriculum design for each student is really making me think… But originally the three module structure is exactly as it sounds. With any one of the modules you will be able to enter the job scene. The differences are going to be in which position in the food chain you get to start your career in. The more training you have, the better your salary expectations can be. I should say that the current Advanced module may not be for everyone… It’s more for individuals that plan to end up in Technical Director (TD) positions.

As my curriculum solidifies I’ll post up a week by week schedule. I'll be focussing on the Foundation Module first. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

More questions to answer… I’ll be back in a bit.

M

mbenard
12-30-2005, 09:04 PM
Okay Xstijn, now to answer some of the questions you asked this morning…

Portfolio?
You really seem to be concerned about this! From what I gather about your current experience level and combine that with the level you should be at by the time you graduate high school, you’ll most likely being applying to skip the Foundation course and be heading right into the Intermediate module. So take a deep breath and just keep doing what comes naturally! As far as portfolio examples goes, I wouldn’t concern myself with trying to emulate anything specific. As I was saying, everyone has their own career goals and individual style so I would take that into account before I ever opened a portfolio and cast judgment.

Any one signed up yet?
I have two interviews next week with students interested in taking the program. As with any new startup it can take time to get the critical mass rolling. I just have to be patient until I can get the awareness level up. I’m financially prepared for the long haul. Until then there will be a few lucky souls that will be getting quite a bit of one on one time with me! Considering that I had on average only 15 minutes of one on one time per student per WEEK at the Vancouver Film School this is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the first few students.

Facility Environment?
Your great question came a few days too early! I have a goal to have “Learning Studio Version 1.0” pictures online by next Wednesday. Still a few things to do… Basically I just need the DLP projector and screen installed. The Workstations are configured but are still waiting on the Tablets. I take a lot of pride in designing environments that are creatively inspiring. No overhead fluorescents and crappy old chairs. Dual head LCD monitors on every workstation!

Stay tuned for those pictures.

M

xstijn
12-30-2005, 09:56 PM
Wowa! Great answers, these were very helpfull :thumbsup:

I'm not planning to stop a whole year after the course, but maybe 2/3 months, or maybe less i don't know but beceause i live in europe, i cant see my family very much if im going to work in america (which is more likely a dream) but that's still a long time away.

Well i'm not sure how good i will be when i finish high school, so i will see, but i really think i want to do all 3 (or maybe not the last one, but i don't really know what you meant that this is more meant for technical directors) cause well i just think that will be the best. I will build up my portofolio, and maybe you could judge what you think is best to do, in terms of which courses to take (with my career goal in mind)

I also would love to be one of the first students :sad: but well it just isn't possible. I also would like to know, how many students are there at max. to do the course?

Hehe, well it sounds you really are putting hard work on this course. It sounds like you have build up a nice inspiring facility. I'm very eager to see those images! I will follow the website and this tread very carefully :love:

And another question.
I know every course (intermediate, foundation, advanced etc.) are all 15 weeks long (correct me if i'm wrong) but how long are you at the facility? Is it form mond-friday from 9-5 or longer? or shorter? THis in mind that a job in a restaurant or anything would come in handy to earn some money :D but only if there's time to do it, cause i want to get the top best out of the course.

Thank you very much for the answers,
seems like i'm heading your way in a few years :buttrock::thumbsup:

p0rcupine
12-30-2005, 10:20 PM
Hello Mark it sound like a really good place to study...
There is nothing else to do except schooling... haha...
I've been to that kinda place and it really helps...

Anyway... I just wanted to tell you how much I love your company's works...

Your company was one of the reason why I chose VFS...
VFS was in the same city as your company and you were one of the instuctors...
Get an internship maybe if I am good enough..
But when I came to VFS you weren't there... and you didn't accept any internship any more... too bad...

Anyway, I am doing a VFX reel and I am currently term 3 now.. going to term 4...

Do you think it would be helpful if I finish the course here and go there to study more or do you think VFS would be enough?


It's really good to talk to Lost Boys company onwer...

Have a great day

Canadianboy
12-30-2005, 11:45 PM
hey man this is very interesting since im graduating in a couple months from highschool. Ive just recently switched to maya after using it for 2 years and the thing i really wanted to get into was visual effects and stuff. Im in ontario right now but was planning on applying for VFS if i could get the money for it. But now that this has started at half the price i made me think alittle. But theres a couple things. i dunno if my parents would even want me to go because its not a well established school or training center yet. Seriouly id love to go though i think it would be awsome being in a class of only a couple people and having such an awsome teacher as u. Im wondering is there going to be a lab that the students can go to whenever they want to work on there stuff? Ill think of some more questions later im eating some pizza right now lol. Oh one last thing after the person is done and if he/she is good enough would u hire them to work at the studio?

EDIT

ok i went and talked to my mom and she is sceptical cause its not a real school or anything and she wants me to get like a degree or go to a creditable school. Maybe in a couple years ill come back and check it out lol.

mbenard
12-31-2005, 04:41 AM
Hah hah!

I promised myself a night off but I couldn’t resist a quick response to this one…

That's great Youngun, your mom is awesome. :thumbsup:

Sounds like you need to invite your parents to speak to me about the industry/training a bit.

I can completely understand her skepticism... My Dad’s a Chartered Accountant so he was also quite skeptical at first about my unorthodox career path … But boy was it worth it when he realized his “uneducated” 21 year old son was inking a partnership deal with Virgin to launch Lost Boys. :surprised

So yes, it happens…

Computer graphics has opened up a world of opportunity to driven young minds. The rate of progression associated with the technology leaves the traditional Colleges/Universities in the Stone Age.

Of course, I am not saying that higher education isn’t worth pursuing. It is beneficial in more than one way… Like ummm… Work Visa’s! and ummm… Dorm Parties?! :beer:

It’s just the education that they supply will NOT be enough to get a job. So your parents should be aware that the financial cost will add up when you have to RETRAIN at a private institution AFTER you graduate university. More importantly, you should be aware that you are about to spend some of the most productive years of your life learning theory when you could be gaining priceless real world experience.

Oh yeah, and just in case VFS is classified as a real school in your parents mind, you can let them know that last year I created their VFX Stream curriculum. So if anyone is going to be able to safely say LBL is going to have superior material it would be me. :thumbsup:

Currently I’ve set up the classroom in my Studio. I’m expecting everyone to be able to do some more late night work from their homes as well. (Which is what happened more often than not at VFS…) Once we get the class size to a larger level I’ll expand to a little larger space and we’ll run it 24/7. But I won’t call it a LAB! It’s a STUDIO!

Just wait… From now on you’ll see all the schools start calling the Sardine Can Labs “Studios!” ;)

And about your idea that I should cherry pick the top talent for my own projects… Now why didn’t I think of that!? Genius! :applause:

Now go clean that room and work on those parental units!

LOL

Great stuff guys!

I promise to get back to the unanswered questions ASAP…

M

mbenard
12-31-2005, 04:48 AM
Here's a little tid-bit of Late Friday night trivia!

Who started the trend of VFX/Post Production companies adding "Studios" to the end of their names?!

Hmmm?! :curious:

I digress..

xstijn
12-31-2005, 10:46 AM
Hehe,
Well it isn't a real VFx/post-production company i think, but walt disney? I don't think it's correct but i really don't know nor can i find the answer :scream:

xstijn :)

mbenard
12-31-2005, 10:58 PM
Hey p0rcupine,

Thanks for the support!

Sorry I missed you at VFS… :sad:

I ended up making a large lifestyle move for the sake of being a better Father.

As far as your question about your training from VFS being good enough for you, only time will tell…

You’re past the point of refund so you’d best stick with it for now. :wip:

Let’s keep in touch and I can take a look at your progress in Term 6. You could always apply for a custom training package. Basically I would assess your weaknesses and based on where you wanted to go with your career, design a course package that would bring them up to snuff. The cost of the package would depend upon a few variables but mostly on how long I estimate the training to take.

And that offer is good for all CG School Grads that are looking for a brush up course to get their demo reels back on track. :thumbsup: I'll just need some heads up since it will need a little thought on how to effectively juggle with the complete training modules.
Have fun, and leverage the knowledge of your classmates! :beer:

Remember to keep in touch,

M

mbenard
01-01-2006, 02:39 PM
Okay Xstijn,

Thanks for your patience, here's an answer that I was still owing you.

Program Hours:

Currently, the 15 week modules are set up so that you're with me for 2.5 days of the week. For example – Mondays, Wednesday AM and Thursday OR Tuesdays, Wednesday PM and Friday.

You are still expected to put in at least that much time again (I'd recommend more...) at home working on the assignments.

I've set it up this way primarily for two reasons. The first being that I can keep the class size smaller by breaking it up into two groups. (I'm expecting four students per group at first.) And secondly many of the students may want the option of carrying a part time job, as you suggested, to earn a little extra money to cover their living expenses.

Best to just keep in touch since this schedule may have been modified by the time you are ready to take the course.

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!

M

xstijn
01-01-2006, 03:58 PM
Thanks for the answers :thumbsup: and a happy 2006 !!
Hope you can keep us informed of any new updates and situations!
I will keep in touch, and keep watching your site etc., and i hope to see you after high school :)

I also think comox valley is a good place, cause i hink you will be less attracted to other things, than in for example london or whatever big city.

I think i don't got any new questions atm, but i will be back when i have them :thumbsup:

aonikoyi
01-01-2006, 06:19 PM
Hell Mark,

I am really interested in enrolling in your program. I have lots of questions which I would like to ask but Im not sure if this would be the appropriate place to do so. Or maybe I should give you a call to discuss more indept and what I am looking for. If you can train me to be a good VFX artist, then I am there. Im packing my stuff as we speak .....

Canadianboy
01-01-2006, 06:47 PM
oh yeah one last thing.. are you teaching maya?

mbenard
01-02-2006, 01:38 AM
Hey Youngun,

Yes, MAYA it is.

M

mbenard
01-02-2006, 01:51 AM
Hey Aonikoyi,

That's great to hear!

Yes, if you're interested in Visual Effects then you have come to the right place.

If you feel comfortable posting some of your questions online then please do. The other readers might be wondering the same things.

Anything that you don't want to post you can email me directly at mbenard@lostboys-studios.com or if you want to phone and discuss directly just shoot me an email first and we'll set up a date and time.

I appreciate the enthusiasm!

M

Sherif.Nagib
01-02-2006, 02:14 AM
Im in ontario right now but was planning on applying for VFS if i could get the money for it.

This applies to any school, But if you're going for VFS make sure you go ,see the place , And most important : talk to the current visual effects stream students and ask them what do they think of the program and are they happy for what they got or not. Don't just listen to what the admission advisor says cause he's just a salesman at the end of the day .

and Mark : congratulations for the new project and the best of luck.

Canadianboy
01-02-2006, 02:22 AM
ill keep that in mind sheriff.. im going to BC this summer for 2 weeks actually to visit some relatives. Is there classes during the summer? because ill definatly stop by and check it out.

Sherif.Nagib
01-02-2006, 02:24 AM
Is there classes during the summer?
http://www.vfs.com/lifeatvfs.php?section=school_breaks

mbenard
01-02-2006, 03:38 AM
Thanks for the support Sherif.

Yes, wise words indeed.

Often our enthusiasm to "live the dream" lets us only hear the answers we WANT to hear.

It's a big commitment when you are evaluating any type of training.

Everyone should keep in mind that Admissions Advisors are commonly paid a commission for every student they can sign up.

I'll do my best to get some pictures of our learning environment (My Studio) up ASAP.
M

Trilabite
01-03-2006, 05:33 PM
Hey Mark, its Trev! Just surfing through and found your thread. Just putting in a good word for ya. This is a great new direction for Lostboys. Anyone who's lucky enough to get training like this would truly have an edge on the competition. Just my two cents.

Cheers!

Trev...

Bsmith
01-03-2006, 07:44 PM
I guess I'm still confused how you will be able to become up to par with teh rest of the visual effects industry standards with just 3 short 15 week classes? It seems to me you would prolly need to know a lot before going in maybe? Maybe this isn't for newbies? I've been going traditional art for awhile and know maya somewhat (but no eough to really do anything)..and it jsut seems like 3 classes that are 15 weeks long isn't going to be long enough for me.

I could be wrong. I'm just wondering.

edit: also I was wondering if you would focus on any of the programming aspects of visual effects? I know a lot of companies require you know C++, python, perl, etc.

aonikoyi
01-03-2006, 08:16 PM
I had some concerns about the time also, however I think with a more focused approach, the time frame seems reasonable. I'm really not into being in a program thats too lengthy, its a real turnoff for me and really unnecessary. The way education is carried out nowadays is pretty pathetic, too long and way too expensive and of course every teaching institution has a caviat " we cannot gaurantee you will ge a job". Well you sure charge a lot not to, right?.

I am very insterested in being a Visual effects artist, however I do not have an art background but I will hope my desire and enthusiasm will make up for my short comings, if you want to call it that. But I think it really depends on what sort of Vfx artist you want to be. I am really not into animating, or games. I am more into making things look real ie digital sets, explosions. So I am more the effects, compositor type. I am technical in nature and this fits more into my interests.

I would also be interested in how to put shots together. ie learning about the whole pipeline. From creating hdrs, panos, compositing, green screening, wire removal, matchmoving, comping 3d elements unto film or hd plates etc.

I also get the feeling that the approach will be much more than a school type environment but more of a mentorship/apprentice model, you know the way folks got educated back in the day. Yeah, if you wanted to become a Doctor you just became a Doctors apprentice and learned the trade until you were fit to become one. This is what I meat by how education has really gone from "education" to becomin a billion dollar business. Anyway I am just specuating, I might be wrong, but I think for me its a more ideal mode of learning. No grades, just about learning as much as you can and becoming who you set out to be.

Maybe knowing a little bit about the software or not will help but it would likely be somewhat of an advantage. it all depends on what lostboys has cooked up.
Maybe if we get a birds eye view into the details of the program, perhaps some of our questions will be answered.

.... at any rate I am still exited at the possibilities. Trying to learn this stuff is cool but it would be nice to be around like minded people and have a solid direction. To be honest Ive totally lost my focus trying to learn everything on my own at the same time. It would be nice for someone to actually point you in the proper direction and help you harness your abilities and also iron out your weaknesses. if this is the case, then where do I sign up

mbenard
01-03-2006, 10:20 PM
I guess I'm still confused how you will be able to become up to par with teh rest of the visual effects industry standards with just 3 short 15 week classes?
Hey Bsmith,

Finally some healthy skepticism from someone other than Youngun’s Mom!

Short is a relative term… Essentially the program is very similar in duration to what the Vancouver Film School currently offers. The primary difference is that I'll be offering more FOCUS at an earlier point in the program.

Achieving a successful demo reel really boils down to this.

I'm putting my neck out with this next comment but it has to be said...

The BIGGEST MISTAKE most students make when deciding upon their demo reel content is that they TRY TO BE FILMMAKERS. (Unfortunately a lot of the CG Schools promote this old style of demo reel so the student isn’t always to blame.)

Currently the industry needs artists that can demonstrate focus in one of many specific roles found in a modern CG/VFX Pipeline. A goal of the program is to assist the students in finding their passions and then to give structure that would allow for them to portray this in their demo reels.

So is most of a year to learn some new skills and land a good job in the biz a tall order? Yep.

But it can and will be done.

It seems to me you would prolly need to know a lot before going in maybe? Maybe this isn't for newbies? I've been going traditional art for awhile and know maya somewhat (but no eough to really do anything)..and it jsut seems like 3 classes that are 15 weeks long isn't going to be long enough for me.

I could be wrong. I'm just wondering.

Newbie is another relative term so I'd rather not comment on it specifically... I expect everyone applying to have a keen interest in CG/VFX. A traditional art background with a self starter interest in Maya sounds like the perfect combination for success! :thumbsup:

Regarding the programming question, we’ll only be looking into Mel which is a language used for scripting within Maya.

Other than a little C that I learned in high school I’ve never had the requirement to learn more programming… Although, for a while at Lost Boys we had a very talented programmer helping us with our technical needs. He made quite a few handy little tools for Maya but I never expected him to take on all the day to day Visual Effects chores…

Again it’s all about focus. Chances are if your job description requires a high level of programming skills you’d be best to pick up a Bachelor of Computer Science?

Thanks for asking some tough questions.

M

Bsmith
01-03-2006, 10:37 PM
hmm...I'm starting to get interested.

Tho I still thought it was almost a requirement for all VFX artist to have programming knowledge. I know animators don't really need any...but I don't really want to be a animator..unless its an effects animator. So I would be only interested in the VFX side of things (which kinda answers one of your first questions.)

I did go into the time length a little premature...15 weeks is a lot longer than it sounds like.

also...when is the program offically starting? I want to finish this last semester at my
community college...so I wouldn't be able to start later this summer or fall. Is it possible to enroll now for a later date?

edit: I was just doing some research on comox valley...WOW..looks awesome..tho not looking forward to the cold canadian whether.

mbenard
01-04-2006, 01:22 AM
Hey Bsmith,

Just time for a short reply...

I want to make sure that there isn't a misunderstanding about the timeline...

That's 3 x 15 Week Modules which of course works out to 45 Weeks in total.

Sound better?

I'll get back to the outstanding questions soon.

Cheers,

M

Heber
01-04-2006, 04:59 AM
hey mark,
i had heard that you were going to open up a school, Iim sure its going to be great.
Mark is a great instructor guys, im glad he was one of my mentors that helped to shape my reel with insightful critiques.
Best of luck.

mbenard
01-04-2006, 05:05 AM
Tho I still thought it was almost a requirement for all VFX artist to have programming knowledge.

Curious to know where you heard/saw this requirement... I personally know about 50 working VFX Artists and their combined programming skills (Asides from Mel) could MAYBE make this Forum database at BEST... :surprised Maybe the occassional Effects Animator will get his hands dirty with custom code now and again but they are few and far between. Ever since the big shops switched over from their proprietary tools to more of "off the shelf" software, like Maya, coding has really become a thing of the past.

Is it possible to enroll now for a later date?

Yes, best to have a look at the application form and start that process. I'm aiming to keep the class size small so I wouldn't delay too much.

edit: I was just doing some research on comox valley...WOW..looks awesome..tho not looking forward to the cold canadian whether.

Cool yeah, it's one of my personal favorites. But please don't compare this place to the rest of Canada when it comes to winter temperatures... Like I said, it was 17 degrees Celsius just a few days before Christmas. :scream: (That's 62.3 Fahrenheit for all the American readers.) No igloos here!

mbenard
01-04-2006, 05:15 AM
Thanks for the words of support Trev and Heber!

You are both gentlemen and scholars!

Aonikoyi I'll get back to you soon, trying to get the Studio ship shape so I can post some pics tomorrow.

M

MikeRhone
01-04-2006, 07:30 AM
Hey Mark. Congrats on getting your school started up, I'm sure it will be great! Maybe you will be the A.M. on the VFX side of the industry :)

Feedback on your sites content: Right now the descriptions are a bit vague. I know how your school will need to operate dynamically and shift to match the industry, but I think it would be more appealing if you mentioned some specific topics. Prospective students are extremely well informed, so I think it would stir more interest if they knew some of the industry-specific material that will be covered. Consider current industry trends like Sub surface scattering, HDRI, Mental ray/renderman/insert-name-of-advanced-renderer-here, muscle/cartoon rigging, Z-brush/displacement modelling, MEL scripting... You know what I mean? The site itself is very slick looking. Easy to navigate, and slightly reminds me of the old lost-boys site :)

I do agree with what you said earlier, that many schools are "stuck in thier ways" and are slow to change, especially when the instructors don't have one foot firmly stuck in production. Students need to graduate on-par with the industry, not on par with the industry a year ago. I remember just 2 years ago when SSS was barely a rumor, now you see it on entry-level artists' test renders.

Best of luck Mark, I'll be keeping an eye on this thread.

Mike R

Bsmith
01-04-2006, 09:51 PM
are the new pics going up soon?

mbenard
01-04-2006, 10:08 PM
Hah!

Good to see you're keeping me in line Bsmith!

The Studio and Office are pretty much there. :wip: I have two students popping by tonight so I should be in good shape for that.

I want to wait until it's dark outside before I snap off some pics. The lighting is more dramatic that way! :thumbsup: I wish I had a wide angle lens!

Chances are I'll be getting one or two "sneak preview" pictures up later tonight. I'm on the west coast though so you easterners might want to check back in the AM.

Hang in there!

M

mbenard
01-05-2006, 05:10 AM
Okay!

Without further Adieu!

"The humble beginnings." (Click to see pics...) (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/StudioSelects)

COZY!

Let me know if anyone has any trouble viewing the pictures.

Just for the record, the "LunchArea and the AdminOffice" are in fact the same room... Still needs a little work but not so bad considering where it came from... (I should have taken some "before" pics so you could see what that room looked like a week or so ago! :eek: )

More to come later!

M

Bsmith
01-05-2006, 12:14 PM
sweet...that indeed looks nice...different..but nice. I'll prolly have more questions later...but I have to go to jury duty now :wip:

xstijn
01-05-2006, 01:00 PM
Looks awesome :applause: Indeed very cozy, but nice, cool workstations also, looks like a very cool and very personal place to learn. With this i mean, it isn't a 40 tables with a workstation in a row enviroment, but just a nice place where the mentor really gets personal :buttrock:

I feel so bad :sad: i want to pack my stuff today, and come over to ya, and start right away :D but i can't :shrug:But i will keep in touch!

xstijn

Bsmith
01-05-2006, 09:23 PM
is the "classroom" (ok the studio or whatever) in the same builidng as the company studio..and I was looking at the lost boy website (not the learning one) and it has a picture of a house? Is your studio in a house? If so thats sweet. I couldn't think of a better place to have to work than in a comfortable house.

mbenard
01-05-2006, 09:55 PM
Excellent deduction my dear Watson!

Yes.

My commute is very short.

Glad to hear that you also think that it is a good idea. :)

M

aonikoyi
01-06-2006, 01:15 PM
Hello Mark,

Pleasure speaking with you yesterday.

I have some more questions if you dont mind answering.

Would you explain/elaborate more on the 2.5 class day thing again. Does this mean that there will be classes M-F @ 4 hrs each or 2 eight hr/day session and a half day? (hope that makes sense).

Also you mentioned that we needed our own PCs to do some of the assigments at home etc. Does this mean that your facilities is not equiped for a Lab type environement? ie once we finish class, do we have assigned PCs at the school if we decide to stay longer and do some work. if not, what are your plans for this format or do you have better approach to this format. This would probably mean that having a pc is a requirement.

Besides having hardware, will you require or advice students to have certain books to have in their respective library or do you plan on having a school library for that sort of thing. If so can you list/recommend some books to get prior to coming up/down to school.

For the first session, it seems that we would be all doing the foundation part of Maya. How are you going to deal with the students different comfort level with Maya or dealing with CG in general. For example lets say I was already familiar with the interface, could model, do some particle effects etc. How will you gauge your instruction to cater to both. Although the classes seem to be small, I think its also important that this aspect be very flexible as to not make some bored or unchallenged and at the same time not being too fast paced for the beginners. Will you program address my needs personally and then we would work out a game plan for me or will this just be another blanket curricullum vs being someone such as an apprentice. I somehow prefer the premis of an apprentice though.

Do you plan on detailing what the curriculum will entail and the projects or is that something more of a 'for your eyes only' until you enroll. Also how flexible will this sylibi sp? be?

Knowing you believe in the dynamics of the class room environment and also knowing that creating short films as reels is the old way of doing things to land a job. What are your plans to foster this sort of dynamics in the class. For example will the curriculum involve more of a group project paradigm or are the projects more on an individual level. In other words will class interaction be just helping each other out in Lab/projects or are there project type activities. Which ever one it is is cool I just wanted to understand your philosophy behind it is all.

Will there be any possibility that students get exposed to real life projects and get exposed to other parts of the pipeline process? Meaning would this be a solid part of the curricullum or would it be a situation whereby being at the right place at the right time.

Would there be any studios besides yours that students could intern at , a few hours a week or is Comox valley too isolated for those possibilities.

Lastly, I am very concerned about the housing situation, as far as expense and proximity to school. Would one need a vehicle or is there adequate transportatoin in that particular area. Things like cost of living etc come up also. How much thought has gone into this and what sort of solutions do you have in place. I think Comox is sort of a tourist attraction and these sort of places tend to have ridiculous renal prices for apartments etc.


More questions to come ....

aonikoyi
01-06-2006, 01:26 PM
Okay!

Without further Adieu!

"The humble beginnings." (Click to see pics...) (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/StudioSelects)

COZY!

Let me know if anyone has any trouble viewing the pictures.

Just for the record, the "LunchArea and the AdminOffice" are in fact the same room... Still needs a little work but not so bad considering where it came from... (I should have taken some "before" pics so you could see what that room looked like a week or so ago! :eek: )

More to come later!

M

Mark,

just wondering where you will be sitting. If you are going to have an overhead as such dont you think the workstations should face the same direction in order to work and listen at the same time the workstions. Seems like the way it is set up, you can only do one.

mbenard
01-06-2006, 06:28 PM
Hey Aonikoyi,

Pleasure speaking to you as well.

Great to have some more challenging questions!

Just be warned this is a long one...


Would you explain/elaborate more on the 2.5 class day thing again. Does this mean that there will be classes M-F @ 4 hrs each or 2 eight hr/day session and a half day? (hope that makes sense).

Class Hours?
Two full days and one half day. (Mondays, Wednesday AM and Thursday OR Tuesday, Wednesday PM and Friday.)


Also you mentioned that we needed our own PCs to do some of the assigments at home etc. Does this mean that your facilities is not equiped for a Lab type environement? ie once we finish class, do we have assigned PCs at the school if we decide to stay longer and do some work. if not, what are your plans for this format or do you have better approach to this format. This would probably mean that having a pc is a requirement.

Lab Time and Working From Home?
Yes, having a PC for home is a requirement. Something I realized at VFS was that there are some tasks best suited for group environments and others are best done in the sanctuary of your own home. This work pattern is what would occur naturally even when the students did have Lab access 24/7. We do have a Lab style environment where we will be together while we work on our projects. It’s important to make sure we get the group dynamics working effectively. We’ll also be using Instant Messaging as a communications tool so that you are able to access the resources of the group while you are continuing you studios from home.

The hardware does not need to be anything special. A sub $1000 system will be more than enough. I can assist with system configurations if anyone is not comfortable with handling that task on their own.

Although now that I know a little about your background, I’m sure you’ll be the one giving me the tips! :thumbsup:


Besides having hardware, will you require or advice students to have certain books to have in their respective library or do you plan on having a school library for that sort of thing. If so can you list/recommend some books to get prior to coming up/down to school.
Reading List?
Yes, I’m still finalizing the reading list. I have purchased a some of the more practical books already and am currently assessing their usefulness. Part of me doesn’t want to put any pressure on the students to buy a set list of books, especially if they don’t necessarily apply to their desired discipline… I can see maintaining a resource library that the students could then browse through and together we could discuss the value of each book on a more personal level. Either way you should budget for picking up a few books throughout the process.


For the first session, it seems that we would be all doing the foundation part of Maya. How are you going to deal with the students different comfort level with Maya or dealing with CG in general. For example lets say I was already familiar with the interface, could model, do some particle effects etc. How will you gauge your instruction to cater to both. Although the classes seem to be small, I think its also important that this aspect be very flexible as to not make some bored or unchallenged and at the same time not being too fast paced for the beginners. Will you program address my needs personally and then we would work out a game plan for me or will this just be another blanket curricullum vs being someone such as an apprentice. I somehow prefer the premis of an apprentice though.
Flexible Curriculum?
This is the challenge that any formal education site will have to face. It is a necessary evil of building a curriculum…

To our advantage the small class size will allow us to maintain some flexibility.

I’ll be assessing everyone’s competency levels before the classes begin and we’ll make some on the fly adjustments now and again just to make sure everyone is able to maintain their white knuckle composure.

Personally I also like the idea of apprenticeship. Our apprenticeship program at Lost Boys worked wonders! I have a few personal projects that I plan to be working on during the course so there will definitely be opportunities to contribute if you are willing.

As long as we are considerate of those that are specifically looking for a very structured program we should be able blend the best of both learning styles.


Do you plan on detailing what the curriculum will entail and the projects or is that something more of a 'for your eyes only' until you enroll. Also how flexible will this sylibi sp? be?
Syllabus?
Essentially in the Foundation module we will be covering the entire production pipeline, up to a certain level. As I was saying earlier it is a goal to make the student employable coming out of any one of these three modules, just with different starting salaries and positions in the pecking order.

There is structure to the delivery of the material. Mainly just to insure that the information is organized into meaningful order.

The strength of this program will be in it’s flexibility to adapt to the students personal learning needs. Which of course is the Catch 22 of publishing a solid Syllabus! Essentially every student will have a unique learning experience.


Knowing you believe in the dynamics of the class room environment and also knowing that creating short films as reels is the old way of doing things to land a job. What are your plans to foster this sort of dynamics in the class. For example will the curriculum involve more of a group project paradigm or are the projects more on an individual level. In other words will class interaction be just helping each other out in Lab/projects or are there project type activities. Which ever one it is is cool I just wanted to understand your philosophy behind it is all.
Group Projects?
All projects are done on an individual AND group level. Primarily it is the individual that completes the project. We work together as a group to plan and execute the projects, but everyone COMPLETES THEIR OWN VERSION of the project. Group projects ARE good at simulating production experience but it can and will get sticky as the project nears deadline and everyone is contributing at different amounts and competency levels… Trust me on this one… :banghead: We’ll just have to see how the group dynamics come together. If we do brave a project that includes the group most likely it’ll be a voluntary experience on one of my projects…


Will there be any possibility that students get exposed to real life projects and get exposed to other parts of the pipeline process? Meaning would this be a solid part of the curricullum or would it be a situation whereby being at the right place at the right time.
Yes of course, it’s ALL real life!

Exposure to Commercial Gigs?
If you’re specifically referring to commercial gigs where money is changing hands, then yes, that’ll definitely be about being in the right place at the right time. If this was to occur it would most likely be doing the final advanced module. Over the past year I’ve employed the skills of about 7-8 of my students from VFS. So I wouldn’t say no to that opportunity but I also can’t say that it is by any means guaranteed.

I must say that the Producer in me hates to see good talent going to waste so I’ll most likely be cooking something up.

Also, keep in mind that I have a considerable amount of footage from previous Lost Boys projects that would make excellent simulated production experience!


Would there be any studios besides yours that students could intern at , a few hours a week or is Comox valley too isolated for those possibilities.
Internship Opportunities?
No, the main production centers for Canada are in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. To my knowledge, none of the studios are willing to take interns for only a few hours a week. They are looking more for recent grads that can put in long hours and help with projects that are perhaps running a bit behind schedule… I do plan to schedule a field trip to Vancouver where we can tour a few of the different studios and you can get a taste of what it would be like to work with them.


Lastly, I am very concerned about the housing situation, as far as expense and proximity to school. Would one need a vehicle or is there adequate transportatoin in that particular area. Things like cost of living etc come up also. How much thought has gone into this and what sort of solutions do you have in place. I think Comox is sort of a tourist attraction and these sort of places tend to have ridiculous renal prices for apartments etc.
Transportation?
We are situated very close to the major bus routes so I would say that a car is optional. I had an artist working with me over the summer on a BRAVO Fact Short Film and he rode the bus from his apartment in Courtenay everyday without any trouble. At the most you may have to walk about 2 blocks from where the bus drops you off. Personally I wouldn’t recommend a vehicle… Maybe you could rent one for a day or two now and again just to get out and see the sights a bit.

Useful links?
Comox Valley Transit - www.transitbc.com (http://www.transitbc.com/)
Car Rentals - www.bcbudget.com (http://www.bcbudget.com/)

Comox Airport - www.comoxairport.com (http://www.comoxairport.com/)
BC Ferries - www.bcferries.bc.ca (http://www.bcferries.bc.ca/)
Via Rail - www.viarail.ca (http://www.viarail.ca/)
Central Mountain Air - www.flycma.com (http://www.flycma.com/)
Pacific Coastal Airlines - www.pacific-coastal.com (http://www.pacific-coastal.com/)
WestJet - www.westjet.com (http://www.westjet.com/)

Housing Costs?
Coming from Vancouver, everything is DIRT cheap here! :thumbsup: I’m not sure what housing costs are like in Atlanta but I’m sure it can’t be any cheaper than here. Keep in mind that the Comox Valley is a collection of communities in close proximity from each other. Comox, as you mentioned, is a little more compact and touristy so it may be more challenging to find a place… We’re doing this research as I speak. The majority of the apartments and housing options are going to be in the city of Courtenay which is a ten minute drive from here.

For example, I was amazed to hear that the Howard Johnson Hotel (http://www.hojo.com/HowardJohnson/control/home)in Courtenay will rent you a fully furnished room (with high speed internet) for only $525 CDN per month! THAT is a great deal. Of course we still need to go and inspect a room for you guys/gals just to make sure they are all they are cracked up to be but at first glance that sounds perfect. I’m sure there are other similar opportunities we just need to do a little more research.

I know that the apartment that the Artist rented on the BRAVO Short ran him about $590 CDN per month... That was unfurnished with a single bedroom and a den. So obivously it will vary a bit depending on what you are looking for.

Useful Links?
Apartment Rentals in Courtenay/Comox www.bcclassified.com (http://www.bcclassified.com/) Search Vancouver Island, Courtenay, Rentals
Comox Valley Echo Newspaper/Classifieds www.canada.com/vancouverisland/comoxvalleyecho/index.html (http://www.canada.com/vancouverisland/comoxvalleyecho/index.html)

I’ll be adding a housing section to the website ASAP so that everyone can get a better idea of what’s out there. We are a college town with North Island College nearby so student housing has had a decade to develop.



More questions to come ....
Awesome, I’ll try to keep up!

M

mbenard
01-06-2006, 06:54 PM
Mark, just wondering where you will be sitting. If you are going to have an overhead as such dont you think the workstations should face the same direction in order to work and listen at the same time the workstions. Seems like the way it is set up, you can only do one.
Seating Layout? (Click to see pics) (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/StudioSelects)

Yes, there is a method to my madness.

I admit it the layout is “different” as Bsmith so elegantly put it.

(My workstation is the one with the bookshelves under the projection screen.)

The primary purpose to this open arrangement is to literally and psychologically remove barriers between the students and the Mentor. Everyone is able to see what everyone else is working on which also brings a form of accountability to the class. No one, including myself, can hide behind their monitors and dig themselves deep into a hole of distraction. We’ll need to be operating as a close knit group so I don’t want to see any isolated islands popping up in my sea of knowledge! :thumbsup:

When we are observing material from the projection screen that’s where our focus will be.

If there are tasks that require both hands on work and observation than that is when we take advantage of the secondary monitor on each desk.

My teaching style is a lot more mobile than most instructors. I usually find myself everywhere but my own desk… But just in case I do find time to sit behind my desk I’ll have my webcam keeping a strict eye on you Aonikoyi! ;)

Cheers,

M

mbenard
01-06-2006, 09:30 PM
Comox Valley Echo Newspaper/Classifieds www.canada.com/vancouverisland/comoxvalleyecho/index.html (http://www.canada.com/vancouverisland/comoxvalleyecho/index.html)



Hey guys, ignore this link... When I was navigating through I found it a very confusing site and you may end up renting an apartment that is nowhere near here!

Be careful to ask if th erentals are in the Comox Valley and close to the bus routes.

M

Canadianboy
01-06-2006, 10:41 PM
hey.. when i go to BC this summer do you think we can meet up or somethign if your not busy or i can stop by the facility? My mom wants to know that lol.

mbenard
01-06-2006, 11:17 PM
LOL.

I am ALWAYS busy but of course!

Everyone is welcome AND encouraged to swing by and check us out. :thumbsup:

Even your Mom!

M

Bartek|3D
01-07-2006, 03:44 AM
Wow, I heard you've got something up your sleeve, but I didn't expect this much!

Just so you all know Mark's a really awesome guy, I remember looking up to him when I came into VFS and wanting to do what he does. I was in the animation stream but seeing him mentor the other students reinforced the fact that he really knows what he's doing. Also, working with him was as smooth as I could have imagined. The communication was always there, the critiques were great and the experience was very professional.

Good luck, and I'll definitely be following your developement with this school!

Cheers,
Bartek

mbenard
01-07-2006, 03:53 AM
Awesome Bartek.

Thanks for the love!

Much success to you too buddy! :thumbsup:

M

Bartek|3D
01-07-2006, 04:22 AM
Looove is...what I got!

mbenard
01-07-2006, 04:39 AM
While I have the chance,

I owe Mike Rhone a thanks for the support and solid input about including some fun new tricks into the course outlines.

I'll be working on that for sure Mike.

Typically in the heat of Production we found ourselves relying more on the tried and true techniques… But now that I’m officially in the academic scene I'm stoked to bust out the more experimental tools!

Hah hah!

Time to beat the computers into submission with some brutal rendertimes!

M

Bartek|3D
01-07-2006, 04:52 AM
Time to beat the computers into submission with some brutal rendertimes!


Just the computers? ;)

mbenard
01-08-2006, 01:18 AM
What no fresh questions tonight?

I can't believe you're all tapped out already!

Common, make me work for a living.

I'm going for a drink. I hope you're happy. :buttrock:

M

prajna
01-08-2006, 06:58 AM
Mark,

I just wanted to commend you on your approach in setting up your teaching facility, it really sounds ideal in many (geographically, financially, practically, etc.) ways. Because I too am a father (of a toddler) and my financial means are currently quite limited I will unfortunately not be able to attend anytime soon. But of all the learning possibilities I've looked at, I would say yours comes closest to what I would consider ideal. I hope others soon start recognizing the value of what you're offering, and at some point you might have to consider expanding (but not too much) to keep up with demand. May you someday be recognized as the mentor of a constellation of talented artists!

And just as an aside, I was wondering if BSmith's impression regarding the indispensability of coding ability might actually be referring to scripting ability? Or was that understood?


peter elias
toronto, on

Bsmith
01-08-2006, 03:27 PM
yeah...scripting is what I mostly meant. Like shader coding..for like renderman..if thats what will be used.

xstijn
01-09-2006, 04:03 PM
Well i got a few questions for you again :)

-What are the specs of the hardware at the facility? I'm just curious

-Is this only a strictly a proffesion (learning the skills needed in maya to apply to a job) learning kind of thing, or are you also going to teach more stuff? I mean are you only going to teach me how to use maya to make me (for example) an effects animator?

-Is the house you are teaching us stuff, just for the teaching? Or is it like you can go there after school (well not really school.. but you know what i mean :scream: ) hours and hang around?

-Also a more theoretical question, how much money you suggest you need to do all 3 courses? And with this i only mean the money spend in comox valley itself, so hotel food etc. so not the ticket (flying from europe isn't cheap but) and the course itself. And this off course depends on the living style, but just think of a normal life style.

-Are you still working for lost boys studio's in the meantime?

-When is the more detailed info of the course outline avaible ?

Thank you for your time :thumbsup:

mbenard
01-09-2006, 06:50 PM
Well i got a few questions for you again
Great! I knew you guys couldn’t be finished with me yet!

This is another long one so go get your favorite caffinated beverage now...

-What are the specs of the hardware at the facility? I'm just curious
Hah! I wondered how long it would take for someone to ask the juicy geek details...

I’ve chosen some nice little mATX boards with a Hyperthreaded P4 3GHz and 1.5 GB’s of RAM. The graphics cards are GForce 6600GT OC’s by BFG. Primary LCD Display is a Viewsonic 19” VX924 with the secondary LCD display being a 17” BenQ FP757. Logitech keyboard and MX500 Mouse. I’m still shopping for some little Wacom Tablets…

Then we have my machine which is very similar but it’s an even smaller mini system by Shuttle.

There is also a Server that I keep all my mission critical data on and a half a dozen misc. systems that I use as my mini renderfarm. (If you look carefully under the big old workbench that is in one of the studio pictures you should be able to make them out.)

I've run Cat5E network cabling so we can upgrade the network NICS and Switch to Gigabit if need be. Currently it's 100Base-T with a Gigabit uplink to the Server.


-Is this only a strictly a proffesion (learning the skills needed in maya to apply to a job) learning kind of thing, or are you also going to teach more stuff? I mean are you only going to teach me how to use maya to make me (for example) an effects animator?
Oh you mean things like how to impress the ladies? :cool: OF COURSE! No extra charge for you Xstijn.

Seriously, yes. It wouldn’t be any fun if I only made you do things that you were comfortable with… I’m here to EXPAND those boundaries!!!

That said, there still will be focus. If your goal is to become an Effects Animator then that is our priority.

My practical exercises will be designed to move as quickly as in the real world. (Learning curve considered...) I’ll be watching to make sure no one falls off the deep end. They’re less about the product and more about the experience.



-Is the house you are teaching us stuff, just for the teaching? Or is it like you can go there after school (well not really school.. but you know what i mean ) hours and hang around?
Club Lost Boys has a $10 cover charge and requires valid ID stating that you are of legal drinking age. (That’s 19… But we cover making fake ID’s in our Photoshop class!) :beer: KIDDING! (Yikes, now I’m never going to sell Youngun’s Mom on this…)

Ummm yeah, let’s keep in mind that I have a wife and two little kids… Hanging around into the wee hours of the morning is going to be on pretty special occasions only… Otherwise you had better find an apartment with a pretty comfy couch that I can sleep on when my wife kicks me out of the house!

Hard to say for certain since you won’t be attending for another year or so right? I’ll keep you in mind when I have to expand the studio to another location.



-Also a more theoretical question, how much money you suggest you need to do all 3 courses? And with this i only mean the money spend in comox valley itself, so hotel food etc. so not the ticket (flying from europe isn't cheap but ) and the course itself. And this off course depends on the living style, but just think of a normal life style.
Good question.

Now by “normal” living style do you mean “jet-setting playboy” or “starving student?” I used to live of $100/month for groceries but I must admit I didn’t look so good after graduating my VFS course…

Here’s an ESTIMATE based on what I would do if I was a young student again…

Estimated BASE Monthly Living Costs:
RENT-> $520
(Howard Johnson Hotel furnished and weekly maid service.)
CELL PHONE -> $35
GROCERIES -> $200
BUS PASS -> $34
LAUNDRY -> $10

So that runs you just under $800 CDN per month…

Obviously that is only the starting point… I’d say somewhere between $800-$1000 per month at the most economical end of the spectrum. From there the sky’s the limit… “Jet setting playboys” can have the ski pass, hot car and the funky home on the beach.

Here's some info I just found online...

Average rental cost for good quality and location is as follows;

Apartment Bachelor Suite $350 - $400 per month
One Bedroom Apartment $400 - $425 per month
Two Bedroom Apartment $525 - $600 per month
One Bedroom Suites in Private Homes $400 - $500 per month
Most of these accommodations will include a refrigerator and cooking stove. A clothes washer, and clothes dryer are either included within the suite or located in the building for your use. Heat and light will also be included in your rent with some of these suites, but this must be confirmed before renting. A damage deposit is sometimes required, but will be returned to you, with interest, when you leave (if the suite is undamaged). Note that normal "wear" is not considered damage. The amount of the damage deposit varies and is usually a separate deposit. Also, it is not uncommon for the first and last month's rent to be paid in advance.

Some things to consider are;

The majority of apartments are rented unfurnished.
Such necessities as furniture, linens, cooking utensils, and dishes are not included.
We're currently looking into "home stay" programs that also seems to be popular with the international students... (Basically you'd billet with a local family.) I'll post more info once I do a little more research.



-Are you still working for lost boys studio's in the meantime?
Currently I AM Lost Boys Studios. So in a strange third person kind of way, yes. Although my attention is on Lost Boys Learning now. So IF a project did come along that was of clear benefit to the training then I may consider it. I imagine you guys would want to kill me if I passed on a gig that you could contribute to… :argh: (As Aonikoyi was hinting at earlier.)



-When is the more detailed info of the course outline avaible ?
I really hope you’re not holding your breath on this one Xstijn… ;)

As I’ve mentioned previously there appears to be considerable demand for a custom curriculum design on a per student basis. His makes creating detailed info for a course outline in advance of the student signing up challenging to say the least.

What I will do for you over the next month or so is to better outline the goal objectives coming out of each module. That I should be able to do.

Please keep in mind that the module descriptions will be in a state of constant evolution based on my observations from each consecutive intake of students. :wip:

My first set of applicants are coming from assorted backgrounds with varying levels of experience. I can see my current curriculum structure is going to need further loosening in order to keep everyone humming along at their desired RPM…

But yes, I do appreciate the reminder and you can even keep asking it if you like. :scream:



Thank you for your time
Thanks for the great questions! I owe you! :thumbsup:

M

Bsmith
01-09-2006, 08:10 PM
#1 reason why I want to move to canada....I can't legally drink.:thumbsup: j/k

xstijn
01-09-2006, 08:44 PM
WOwa, great!

Ahhhh these weeks were seriously realkly painfull :cry: i just don't see the point any more in high school, i just want to jump right into your course and become a vfx artis! :cry: plz bare with me, i know you feel sorry for me :banghead:

So whatta ya say? I will wear t-shirts and clothes with everywhere printed: www.lostboys-learning.com or Lost Boys Learning or whatever! Even a picture of you (yeah ohk that's to impress the lady's ) and then when i'm finished with high school, i get your course for free? ;)

Also a few more :

-What is the average time spend on 'homework' or 'homestudy' you think is necessary? (this of course depends on the skills, how long someone needs to finish something etc. etc. but just average for someone who isn't slow but isn't fast too, but normal )

-With the flexible curriculum you are having, is everyone getting teached at the same time? (propably so but...) Cause if you need to talk to me about particles or whatever, and someone else about modelling, wouldn't this be very very confusing? :argh:

-And for sure, you gotta be 19 to drink in canada :argh: ? here its 16 (but well that's normal here ) and i will be 18 when i finish high school

That's it for now, but tomorrow i'll promise you get more

Thank you for the great help,
never had the chance to talk like this with a mentor of a course, to ask questions and get great answers too :applause:

aonikoyi
01-09-2006, 09:09 PM
Hello Mark,

I was chilln for a minute but I had some more
questions and requests;

1.> I think there is a general understanding of what
you are trying to accomplish here. personally I think
you are driven by a couple of things:
i. You would like to spend more time with your family
ii. You have a desire to change the whole game. this is in regards to
how to develop the necessary skills to get into the industy
iii. Your increased desire in teaching and mentorship
iv. Sticking your pinky at the old school ways of doing
things and showing them there is a new and a more
efficient and effectiive way to gain the necessary
skills to enter the vfx industry.

However, being that as it may when looking at some of the top echelon sp?
schools like VFS, Ringling, Gnomon etc you will find that their
programs are robust and are staffed with a broad array of
instructors who have had different proffesional experiences
in various aspects of CG, Vfx etc
For example some might have extensive experience doing stuff like
compositing or lightting or rotoscoping, keying. Corportate or TV
Logo type work, Packaging and Promoation, On set VFX suppervision,
Texture artists, Modelers, medical animation, 3d for Multimedia, Motion
capture etc.
Being that you will be the only instructor, FOR NOW. how to you
hope to fill that void of not having a more diverse staff. After all
even though we believe your all that, you cannot possibly be
all that in all things, right (i could be wrong).

2.> I would also like you to shed some light as to the few opportunites that
would be available after each Tri of the course. Meaning If one decided
only to take the first TRI, what should be my expectations. After
the 2nd what sort of opportunities are you preparing you students for.
I think it would also be great to set some expectations. We all want the best
but lets talk of worst and best case cenarios.

3.> I have always been a fan of Alternative schools here in the US, not
sure if they have them in Canada. But Ive always admired schools
that do not put stock in grades but actually pride themselves in
making sure the student becomes the best that they could be.
Yeah its ok to get an A all the time but what if Im actually 3 times
better than that? They will push them till they get bring out the
very best.
So my question is in this instance, lets say Trimester 1 is concluded (in time)
are you going to just release the students or are you going to make sure they
have actually reached the highest potential. or is it going to be like
well see you later afte 15 weeks. whether you made the best of it or not,
you had your chance. I know most of my education is solely dependent
on me but will you be willing to say, Dude why dont you stay around for the
next 6 weeks and grind some more work out to get that diamond
in the rough?

3. If someone had taken a Maya course for example and has gotten to a
certain level etc. Must they take the first Trimester. Meaning if you are
going to be teaching the fundamentals, would someone with a prior
fundamental education in Maya be required to take the 1st Tri. If so
then what are the motivating factors and how will you evaluate
such a student. This is why I think some of us would like an idea
what the course outline would be. We are just trying to see how
we fit in to the big picture. If such student does enroll how do you
plan to pace the student, do you have a plan B or some sort?

4. Looking at Gnomons Curriculum they cover
Intro to 3d with May

mbenard
01-09-2006, 09:20 PM
Ahhh!

Don't leave me hanging Aonikoyi!?? :scream:

M

mbenard
01-09-2006, 10:01 PM
Hmmm... That was wierd... The body of the message didn't show up at first... I'll get you some answers ASAP.


M

aonikoyi
01-09-2006, 10:09 PM
sorry part 4.

Looking at Gnomons curriculum. It includes stuff like:
intro to 3d with Maya
Intro to compositing
Texture mapping 1
Principles of animation
Visual communication
storyboarding and animatics


Surface and Poly modeling
Texture mapping 2
2d textures for 3d art
principles of animation
production design


animation and visual effects
character kinematics
organic modeling
essestials of shooting digital video
production design 2/ games and film
acting for animators
visual structure


Lighting and rendering
Timing for character animation
matchmoving and integration
Dynamcis 1,2,3
art of compositing with Shake
Digital Sets
art of compositing 2

Renderman
Expressions and scripting with MEL
Business of production
Demo Reel completion

How are you going to fare with this type of curriculum and
how do you hope to solely teach all these
subjects. Mind you, I know you probably dont
have your plate this full but I believe this is somewhat
the sort of education we are expecting or at least
something similar, OR not.
Mark, this is a lot, how are you or better, how are we
going to accomplish this much by having only you as
an instructor. Hopely you have some tricks up your sleeve
that you would like to share with all of us. wink! wink !!

7. Lastly and I apologize for this being too long. I truly believe
that all your first year students should qualify for the bursary
program. why? well we are taking a chance big chance with
someone who is just starting out. yeah we know you own
a kick ass studio thats had all sorts of accolades. but I am
personally taking a chance believing that you can help me
get to where I want to be. So yo, Im up for the bursary,
its fair and if all goes well, dude your students will be the first
ones to spread the good news about what a great educational
experience we had at Lost Boys. You wont have to pay for
all the print ads and TV spots no more, LOL. anyway Ive got
my fingers crossed.

sorry guys for all the bad spelling and grammar. hate to edit posts.!

Thats it dude. Ill let you chew on that for a while.

over and out .................

aonikoyi
01-09-2006, 10:30 PM
Mark, I promise this is the last question for today.

Ive been following the animationmentor.com from its humble beginnings
and it seems they have an unusual but successful methodology by
which they are presenting their product. being online.

Im not sure if they have graduated their first class yet, so
I cannot meaure their graduating classes success rate in
placing their students but It seems to be a very insteresting
way for potential animators to learn the craft well from
industry veterans. not only are they being taught by soldiers
in the field but they are also establishing contacts and mentors
in very prominent studios in hollywood.

what are your impressions on them and how do you hope to bring
this sort of experience to lost boys? and finally, did you ever think
you could use this virtual teaching model?

mbenard
01-09-2006, 11:46 PM
Awesome. Big question day!

I’ll break this one up a bit… One bite at a time!


1.> I think there is a general understanding of what you are trying to accomplish here. personally I think you are driven by a couple of things:

i. You would like to spend more time with your family
Yes. This is something that working at my previous level just wasn’t compatible with… I finally found something more important than my work.



ii. You have a desire to change the whole game. this is in regards to how to develop the necessary skills to get into the industy

iii. Your increased desire in teaching and mentorship

iv. Sticking your pinky at the old school ways of doing things and showing them there is a new and a more efficient and effectiive way to gain the necessary skills to enter the vfx industry.
Hah! You nailed it. Yes, many times a day I look around and wonder WHYYYYY?!!

My motivations behind Lost Boys Studios was also very much that… In fact, I’m sure my whole modus operandi has been pretty much summed up by your four points.

Nice analysis Aonikoyi.



However, being that as it may when looking at some of the top echelon sp? schools like VFS, Ringling, Gnomon etc you will find that their programs are robust and are staffed with a broad array of instructors who have had different proffesional experiences
in various aspects of CG, Vfx etc

For example some might have extensive experience doing stuff like compositing or lightting or rotoscoping, keying. Corportate or TV Logo type work, Packaging and Promoation, On set VFX suppervision, Texture artists, Modelers, medical animation, 3d for Multimedia, Motion capture etc.

Being that you will be the only instructor, FOR NOW. how to you hope to fill that void of not having a more diverse staff. After all even though we believe your all that, you cannot possibly be all that in all things, right (i could be wrong).
Actually this is my biggest advantage over the larger schools… Believe it or not, I have pretty extensive PRACTICAL experience in all those disciplines plus a few more.

You see, spending nearly the last decade building Lost Boys forced me to learn a VERY diverse range of skills. While I never went to the depth that a specialist would find themselves in I did have to grasp the CORE ESSENTIALS of any one discipline in order to effectively manage and evolve the Studio. On EVERY project, the responsibility for successful project completion was sitting squarely on my shoulders… Visual Effects is a very competitive/risky business to be in… (In fact, I sometimes wonder if it even could be classified as a business…) The shit that went on at the BEST of times was insane enough…

My responsibilities included jumping into almost any seat to make sure what needed to be done WAS DONE.

You’d be amazed how fast you can learn when you have the livelihoods of your close friends and family are counting on you… (You have a family so I’m sure you know what I mean.)

Subsequently, this gave me a very unique perspective of the ENTIRE pipeline. I also gained very strong instincts towards knowing the difference between academic fluff and real practical knowledge. I really don’t have any beefs with any of the top echelon schools… (In fact, I’m using some of the better Gnomon training videos as well as a couple of my VFS exercises for this course.) My organic course structure won’t be for everyone. There are some individuals that will be better off elsewhere. Although it’s a pretty safe bet that if you are following this post then there is a very good chance that you fit the Lost Boys profile!

As far as the future goes… I obviously will have my limits to how many students I can take on effectively, so yes a plan B will be needed…

I suppose what I’ll eventually need to do is disconnect the technology from the Visual Effects training… That’s what’s made AnimationMentor.com such a beautiful machine… (You can all say “Duh!” in a sarcastic tone now…) (In fact I just noticed you've already beaten me to the punch in your last post!)

I could then focus more on developing mini VFX projects and involve other VFX industry professionals to add to the mentor pool. I’d love to dream up projects and set up a little production team that shoots cool plates/elements for everyone… I could even assign VFX Coordinators to feed everyone shot lists and deadlines… And don’t forget the virtual clients to make irrational revisions at the most inopportune times to keep everyone thinking on their toes!

ANYONE INTERESTED in a course that isn’t software specific please say Booyah.

That will be an exciting day.

Hmmm… THERE’S YOUR CHANCE PRAJNA! Hang in there.

More answers to come…

M

BTW: I really appreciate being able to work through these details like this… What a great resource.

mbenard
01-10-2006, 12:15 AM
Mark, I promise this is the last question for today.
Cool. Save some more for later… You guys are getting ahead of me!



Im not sure if they have graduated their first class yet, so I cannot meaure their graduating classes success rate in placing their students but It seems to be a very interesting way for potential animators to learn the craft well from industry veterans. not only are they being taught by soldiers in the field but they are also establishing contacts and mentors in very prominent studios in hollywood.

what are your impressions on them and how do you hope to bring this sort of experience to lost boys? and finally, did you ever think you could use this virtual teaching model?
As I was touching on in my previous post, it’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

Like I was saying, for this model to work we must disconnect the technology (Maya. Max, XSI, Lightwave, WHATEVER!) from the content.

At first thought it seems easier to do with Animation but that’s just the old dog in me speaking… Of course it could and WILL be done!

I would like to come back to this one… Still a lot to think about… Looks like they have some fancy-shmancy PHP front end set up… I’d need to get some help on that…

This is the sort of disruptive technology that keeps me up all night giggling like a madman… :D

TTYS,

M

mbenard
01-10-2006, 04:27 AM
Just time for a quick response...

The Server seems to be really hurting tonight...

WOwa, great!

Ahhhh these weeks were seriously realkly painfull :cry: i just don't see the point any more in high school, i just want to jump right into your course and become a vfx artis! :cry: plz bare with me, i know you feel sorry for me :banghead:

So whatta ya say? I will wear t-shirts and clothes with everywhere printed: www.lostboys-learning.com (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/) or Lost Boys Learning or whatever! Even a picture of you (yeah ohk that's to impress the lady's ) and then when i'm finished with high school, i get your course for free? ;)

Hah! You crack me up Xstijn.

...And don't tempt me with the shameless propaganda suggestions... You may just find yourself marching back and forth in front of the other CG schools wearing a sandwich board Ad! ;)

-What is the average time spend on 'homework' or 'homestudy' you think is necessary? (this of course depends on the skills, how long someone needs to finish something etc. etc. but just average for someone who isn't slow but isn't fast too, but normal )

Really, I should say, ALL OF IT! But that isn't always realistic.

EVERY WAKING MOMENT (Other than what you'd need to reserve for not getting fired from that part time job...) should be spent thinking about VFX.

I'm not kidding.

That's what it will take to sucessfully launch your new career. :buttrock:

In fact, most of us should be DREAMING about this as well...

I could go on with sleep deprevation war stories but I'll save that for another time!

Start practicing that focus now Xstijn! :scream:

M

mbenard
01-10-2006, 04:34 AM
Oh and special thanks to Prajna for his support.

The poetic stranger!

I'll strive to get something setup that you can do online... I can't say when... It will take some time...

Keep in touch and cheers!

M

mbenard
01-10-2006, 04:48 AM
yeah...scripting is what I mostly meant. Like shader coding..for like renderman..if thats what will be used.

Bsmith, do you REALLY want to do scripting? I mean REALLY?! :surprised Wouldn't you rather use a pleasant Graphical User Interface instead?..

Especially with Renderman being more firmly embedded into Maya we can now better avoid this nasty typing stuff...

Hah, I'm teasing you. :D Bad me. More discounts... I've just never understood programmers... The amount of patience they have boggles me.

I'm sure we could work something out if that's what you really want to do! :thumbsup: Start checking out MEL for Maya. It's pretty cool if you're into that sort of thing. I know a few guys that are crazy over it. If you ask about for a good book or two I'm sure it wouldn't take too long for a response here.

Cheers,

M

mbenard
01-10-2006, 07:55 PM
More chewing on Aonikoyi’s great questions!


2.> I would also like you to shed some light as to the few opportunites that would be available after each Tri of the course. Meaning If one decided only to take the first TRI, what should be my expectations. After the 2nd what sort of opportunities are you preparing you students for. I think it would also be great to set some expectations. We all want the best but lets talk of worst and best case cenarios.
Of course, I expect everyone to be entering this program at different levels of experience. That would effect how quickly they acquire employable skills.

For example, I currently have a student applying that should be able to transition directly into a more intermediate level position directly out of the first module… She’s looking more for a brush up course that will refresh her Maya skills and expand her abilities as an Environment Modellor…

That in mind, I will outline what a student should be able to expect if they were to enter into this program with NO PRIOR 3D experience. Also we should keep in mind there is no solid guarantee of employment for anyone. There is far more to a successful career than technical knowledge.

TRI1:
POSSIBLE ENTRY LEVEL POSTIONS:
(JUNIOR positions,single or any combination of the below.)
Runner, Production Assistant, Layout Artist, Previs Artist, Props Modelor, UV Layout Artist, Texture Artist, Weighting, Matchmover, 3D Camera Tracker, Lighting, Render Wrangler, Rotoscoping/Keying, Dubbing and Tape library.
Salary Expectations: (CDN Funds)
$0* -> $30,000 /year

*Yes, a starting wage of $0 does sound harsh but you have to realize that you should be prepared to “invest in your career” when you are first starting out. :wip: From my experience working without pay rarely needs more than a few months of investment (I did it myself…) and then they will let you know there won’t be an opportunity and you can then at least decide to move on with some work experience on your resume. This scenario will usually only occur with the smaller shops that need more of a competitive edge over the larger studios. The benefit of this scenario is that you may be able to take on more responsibility then you typically would get starting out at a larger shop. :D

TRI2:
POSSIBLE ENTRY LEVEL POSTIONS:
(Single or any combination of the below.)
Layout Artist, Previs Artist, Modellor(Environment, Props, Character), UV Layout Artist, Texture Artist, Character TD(Weighting and Rigging), Matchmover, 3D Camera Tracker, Animator, Effects Animator, Lighting, Render Wrangler/Finisher, Rotoscoping/Keying, Compositor, Dubbing and Tape library.
Salary Expectations: (CDN Funds)
$25,000 -> $41,600 /year

TRI3:
POSSIBLE ENTRY LEVEL POSTIONS:
(Single or any combination of the below.)
Previs Artist, Modellor(Environment, Props, Character), Texture Artist, Character TD(Weighting/Rigging and could also include modeling…), Character Animator, Effects Animator, Effects TD, Lighting TD, Compositor.
Salary Expectations: (CDN Funds)
$35,000 -> $60,000 /year


3.> I have always been a fan of Alternative schools here in the US, not sure if they have them in Canada. But Ive always admired schools that do not put stock in grades but actually pride themselves in making sure the student becomes the best that they could be. Yeah its ok to get an A all the time but what if Im actually 3 times better than that? They will push them till they get bring out the very best.
Correct, grades are completely abstract and trivial to the world outside Academia.



So my question is in this instance, lets say Trimester 1 is concluded (in time) are you going to just release the students or are you going to make sure they have actually reached the highest potential. or is it going to be like well see you later afte 15 weeks. whether you made the best of it or not, you had your chance. I know most of my education is solely dependent on me but will you be willing to say, Dude why dont you stay around for the next 6 weeks and grind some more work out to get that diamond in the rough?
Good question!

First off let’s make no mistake, this is a business first, there is a very simple formula that I must spend less money than I make in order for this venture to continue to benefit future students.

Now as far as creative solutions to this issue go…

Teacher Assistant?
I may suggest creating a limited time Teachers Assistant (TA) position for those types of individuals. With the clear understanding that they are responsible for contributing back to the system in a positive way. (To be detailed in a future thread?)

Scholarship Extension?
Now if the student was to complete all three modules and proposed a few more weeks to expand upon an interesting project than I would be wiling to offer a Scholarship extension with no other responsibilities attached.

I will say that these arrangements should not be planned for and will be upon my sole discretion to award or not.

Sound fair?

More responses to the other questions still to come! :wip:

M

mbenard
01-10-2006, 08:39 PM
I know I’m jumping out of order but hey, we can do that here!


Lost Boys Learning Inaugeral Year Discounts:


7. Lastly and I apologize for this being too long. I truly believe
that all your first year students should qualify for the bursary program. why? well we are taking a chance big chance with someone who is just starting out. yeah we know you own a kick ass studio thats had all sorts of accolades. but I am personally taking a chance believing that you can help me get to where I want to be. So yo, Im up for the bursary, its fair and if all goes well, dude your students will be the first ones to spread the good news about what a great educational experience we had at Lost Boys. You wont have to pay for all the print ads and TV spots no more, LOL. anyway Ive got my fingers crossed.
Nice try Aonikoyi… Your Jedi mindtricks have no effect over me.

Remember that simple formula that I need to follow? If I gave out the Lost Boys Bursary to everyone then this program would be over before it began. NOBODY wants to see that happen now do they?! :cry:

What I am so GENEROUSLY offering to EVERYONE that signs up in the first year is a 30% “Inaugural Year” discount. This is even better than the Lost Boys Bursary! :scream:

Asides from the multitude of structural benefits outlined in this thread, I’m sure most of you can see the clear financial benefits of my program versus the “top echelon schools.” It is a sizable difference.

Buy yourself something nice. :thumbsup:

We’re all taking risks here; I don’t need to point out who’s taking the biggest one.

Everyone is free to APPLY for the Lost Boys Bursary discount. State your case and I will be seriously considering every one. You have my word. :wise:

More to come later!

M

xstijn
01-10-2006, 09:42 PM
Just a few short questions :)
Really some nice info today... :thumbsup:

-(unanswered question from previous reply from me): With the flexible curriculum you are having, is everyone getting teached at the same time? (propably so but...) Cause if you need to talk to me about particles or whatever, and someone else about modelling, wouldn't this be very very confusing?

-Is it possible to get teached in 2 skills :arteest: ?, i will give you an example, is it possible to get teached in let's say something different dynamics and modellling? Cause i think i want to be an effects animator, but i would love to be teached in modelling too. I know your course will be 'general' info too, but you also say designen the course differently to all students, so if you think it's possible will i get a loss of 'knowledge'. With this i mean, will i get 'normal' in both, instead of 'super' in 1 of these (dynamics or modelling)?

-Will you have a demo reel if you comlet all 3 tri's? Will you make a reel (you will teach us :drool: hopefully) of your best work of my made work the would represent me in the area i am wanting to get a job?

Thanks for your time,
you should get more sleep :)

mbenard
01-10-2006, 11:29 PM
Just a few short questions Really some nice info today...
Great, yeah, it’s starting to feel like some sort of daily talk show!



-(unanswered question from previous reply from me): With the flexible curriculum you are having, is everyone getting teached at the same time? (propably so but...) Cause if you need to talk to me about particles or whatever, and someone else about modelling, wouldn't this be very very confusing?
Yes, I hadn’t forgotten. Just doing some strategic juggling...

At the moment the class size is limited to four students. I don’t see a problem with mixing up the content a bit at this size. Especially over the first year, I plan on keeping it very organic.

The only times that I’ll be really enforcing the existing structure is while we’re watching training vids up on the big screen or if I really need the focused attention of the class while I go over something. That’s the sort of situation where if it really doesn’t apply, I would just recommend you pop on your headphones and grind on something else until it’s done. (KEY WORDS: “I, the teacher, would make that recommendation.”)

Of course, I would expect you to not be asking a bunch of questions pertaining to the info previously delivered after the fact just because you chose to do something else… That would be a suitable RTFM moment. It is really important to get that solid grasp of the entire pipeline. What you get out of this program is up to YOU. My resources need to be spread evenly across the entire class. (So no demanding where the renderglobals are four months into the program!)

Imagine what you think a standard classroom is like… The ambiance of a hospitals emergency room… The buzz of computers and fluorescent lights… 30 students are sitting quietly in their cramped desks staring blankly towards the front of the room… The teacher drones on about some abstract and trivial details… Assignments are handed out and you have 20 minutes to complete… Pencils down. :sad:

I will do everything in my power to avoid this style of education. I’ll be spending more time sitting beside you than sitting at my desk. I want all of us to be exchanging opinions and techniques. Interpersonal communications and diversity is good for you. :thumbsup:

Here’s a bit of a side track but worth telling none the less… Believe it or not some of the best opinions come from people that know nothing about the details behind what you are doing. Back in the beginning of Lost Boys we’d be up all night trying to bust out crazy amounts of VFX for a series called the Outer Limits… It would be 2AM and the only one around that wasn’t delirious from sleep deprivation was the janitor. He was the best!!! Man, he gave us some tough medicine but what he said was completely without bias. Specifically when it comes to being an Effects Animator you really have to watch out for technology blindness… That’s when you can’t see beyond the fancy schmancy setups and just see the image anymore... You loose focus of the original goal and instead spend your energy justifying your insanely complex and genius “fully automated vampire exploder V3.648.”
That’s why you sometimes need a modeler to help you with your particles. :beer:

-Is it possible to get teached in 2 skills ?, i will give you an example, is it possible to get teached in let's say something different dynamics and modellling? Cause i think i want to be an effects animator, but i would love to be teached in modelling too. I know your course will be 'general' info too, but you also say designen the course differently to all students, so if you think it's possible will i get a loss of 'knowledge'. With this i mean, will i get 'normal' in both, instead of 'super' in 1 of these (dynamics or modelling)?
If you show up to class and pay attention to all the content you will learn MANY skills. That’s why the first foundation module is so important to experience with an open mind… You may find that you totally love Compositing and want to pursue that career instead. Don’t worry; I’m not here to force you into anything. Just gentle nudging with the occasional kick in the ass if needed.:scream:

-Will you have a demo reel if you comlet all 3 tri's? Will you make a reel (you will teach us hopefully) of your best work of my made work the would represent me in the area i am wanting to get a job?

Yes, and if I have my way the demo reels from my course will look completely different from any of the “upper echelon” schools. In the past ten years of viewing demo reels at Lost Boys I can safely say their formatting is completely out of touch. Your reel should not be immediately recognizable as student work. It would be formatted as an industry professional would structure his/her portfolio.

Thanks for your time, you should get more sleep
Your welcome! And thanks for your concern but just for the record, this is a pleasant walk in the park compared to Production. :D You'll love it!

Awesome.

M

aonikoyi
01-11-2006, 12:53 AM
So whats the story behind the name Lost boys? where were you, dates, doing when you came up with the name. by the way, where are the Tshirts and bandanas?

mbenard
01-11-2006, 01:59 AM
Whoa!
Sounds like you're dipping into the Christmas cheer a little too deeply, Aonikoyi! :beer:

aonikoyi][/font]Im sure the name Lost Boys has nothing to do with Kiefer Sutherland. Isnt he Canadian? or that you are a fan on corey haim or was it Feldman or maybe you have an obsession for teenage vampire flicks..

So whats the story behind the name Lost boys? where were you, dates, wearing, doing when you came up with the name. by the way, where are the Tshirts and bandanas?

For the record, the name Lost Boys was lifted from J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan." I and my co-workers viewed Vancouver as the "Neverland" of Los Angeles where we could live in a beautiful environment AND do what we loved to do.

It was April 16,1997 (a Sunday) approximately 3:30PM... I was driving along the sea to sky highway between Whistler and Vancouver, wearing black, the sun was shining and the sky was blue. From my viewpoint, Vancouver looked a bit like Neverland to me and it made me think.

Perhaps at one time I may have been a bit of a teenage vampire (Hence the black.) but I can't say that phase lasted too long.

The T-shirts, sorry no bandana's, can be found at www.lostboys-gear.com (http://www.lostboys-gear.com/).

Cheers!

M

mbenard
01-12-2006, 02:50 AM
Hey guys/gals,

I just wanted to put out there that I have ONE SEAT LEFT in my first FOUNDATION module. We'll be officially starting up class on January 30th. Yahoo!!! :thumbsup:

IF you can't make it for this round at least you have time to brush up on some traditional art courses if you haven't already done that. My next intake will have a little more room so more opportunity for everybody to try out.

This feedback has been awesome. I really appreciate everyone helping out to make this happen. :applause:

I'll urge my students to post their progress so you can keep an eye on how they are reacting to my teaching style.

Let's keep the flow going, there is still a lot of room for evolution!

Cheers!

M

Bartek|3D
01-12-2006, 04:39 AM
I just wanted to put out there that I have ONE SEAT LEFT in my first FOUNDATION

Wow! That filled up quick. :thumbsup:

Im sure the name Lost Boys has nothing to do with Kiefer Sutherland. Isnt he Canadian? or that you are a fan on corey haim or was it Feldman or maybe you have an obsession for teenage vampire flicks..

So whats the story behind the name Lost boys? where were you, dates, wearing, doing when you came up with the name. by the way, where are the Tshirts and bandanas?

:shrug:

aonikoyi
01-12-2006, 04:45 PM
Hey guys/gals,

I just wanted to put out there that I have ONE SEAT LEFT in my first FOUNDATION module. We'll be officially starting up class on January 30th. Yahoo!!! :thumbsup:

IF you can't make it for this round at least you have time to brush up on some traditional art courses if you haven't already done that. My next intake will have a little more room so more opportunity for everybody to try out.

This feedback has been awesome. I really appreciate everyone helping out to make this happen. :applause:

I'll urge my students to post their progress so you can keep an eye on how they are reacting to my teaching style.

Let's keep the flow going, there is still a lot of room for evolution!

Cheers!

M

When will you next intake be ?

mbenard
01-12-2006, 07:07 PM
When will you next intake be ?

The next intake is planned for September.

I want the first group through to have a little more of my attention so I'll only be running a single shift. :wip:

Everyone interested in the next intake, be sure to apply early to avoid dissapointment. Class size will still be limited.

Have fun working on your application portfolios! :arteest: I look forward to reviewing them. :thumbsup:

M

Severian
01-13-2006, 07:10 AM
Hey Mark! Congrats on the new venture! Just found this thread, and it looks like everything's shaping up nicely. Already filling up the first class huh? Your setup is looking pretty sweet. Almost makes me wish I was heading off to school again. Hahaha...oh, I crack myself up...

But seriously, for everyone who doesn't already know, this program is going to rock. As my mentor in visual effects he taught techniques and worklflow that is cutting edge at the biggest effects houses in the world. It'll be a great experience for anyone who's lucky enough to be a part of it.

Anyway, good luck with everything Mark. I'm sure it's going to work out great. I can't wait to see the work your students turn out.

Cheers,
Chris Paul

mbenard
01-13-2006, 04:51 PM
Thanks for the support Chris!

Yeah, you can come back for more s'Cool'n anytime buddy.

Or

As an industry-hot-shot guest speaker! :thumbsup:

Cheers,

M

pswitzer
01-20-2006, 05:06 PM
Hi there Mark,

Valley bread local here! :)

Quite an exciting endeavour you've got started there, it looks really quite good! I know there's been a few local attempts at private digital art schools, but yours here looks very strong given your experience and expertise.

I'm slightly more into the digital animation and 3d element myself (100% digital), so perhaps it's not exactly tailored for me (altough who knows what the future might bring), but nonetheless it's really interesting to see. While film has always been one of my interests I haven't had a focus in any sort of its new technologies.

Where are you running the school out of, if I may ask?
I'd love to take a gander at what you've got going on. Perhaps even help or volunteer!

Also, will you be running any open houses at all? I know you'll have a booth in the upcoming month at the career fair...

At any rate, best of luck, see you around the valley!

mbenard
01-20-2006, 09:42 PM
Hey Patrick,

What's YOUR excuse for being in the Valley?! LOL!

Yes, I'd love to show you the digs. Right now we're running out of the home Studio.

What's your schedule like next week? It's a bit hectic with the first intake starting a week from Monday but we could at least grab a coffee.

Shoot me an email at mbenard@lostboys-studios.com and we can work out the details.

Yes, currently I've taken some focus on Visual Effects Training. I don't want to spread myself to thin... Although, I have a big personal interest in producing more full 3D work. (And supplying some training for that too...) I just want to make sure the new venture is running smoothly first.

Talk to you soon,

M

pswitzer
01-21-2006, 06:57 AM
Hi Mark,

Hah! No excuse, born and raised here, graded 2 years back from highland, did a year a nic fine arts, been working a job to save up for school ever since.

I'll drop you a line when I've got an idea of exactly what's going on next week, pretty busy myself :P

ManujChandra
01-26-2006, 07:16 AM
http://photos1.blogger.com/img/72/6224/1024/Test-2.jpg
Respected Sir,



My friend recently brought to my attention that your reputed company – Lost Boys Studios has started a Learning center and in a word, I want to come there and study.



My name is Manuj Chandra Sharma and I have 1.5 years of RenderMan shader writing experience and total 5 years of experience in graphics programming. But in India I have hit a dead end. I was fired this month because our company no longer wishes to use RenderMan.



Before I tell you more as to how you can help me, I want to tell you my technical skills. Please see my blog at http://manujchandra.blogspot.com/ to see some of my work and current resume.



I have tried my hands on almost all 3D applications. I know shake. I have finished one book on it (Official Apple Shake 4 book) some 2 years ago and its Official Tutorials. I know GIMP. I have explored XSI, Next limit products, Mental Ray, Max, Maya and almost everything under the sun like Metacreations Canoma, Viewpoint 3D for web and AI implant for Maya. But that was a few years ago. Now I am only concentrating on RenderMan and DirectX. I’m learning Cg and Houdini too. I have worked on Lithtech Game engine for a scrapped game. Much of this stuff I have forgotten by now, but I can recollect them within a week because I have my notes with me. This is due to the fact that for the past 1.5 years I have been focusing on RenderMan only. So I am a bit rusty. Plus there is no where here where I can apply those skills. I like to be in an actual production environment to work. Its hard for me to sit at home and do anything else but study.




As you may have guessed, I am not a beginner and I have a natural capability to explore. But my environment is killing it slowly. In India, I am not able to find a suitable job for me. This is where I want you to help me.



I want to come to your school and do the Intermediate and Advanced courses. Because as you said, after 6 months I can get a working visa. I have full confidence in my capabilities and I have worked with international talents from Italy and Germany and they have appreciated my work. If you want, they can write a recommendation letter for me. But being an Indian, money is a huge problem for me. Right now I only have 2000 Canadian dollars with me(my toal life time savings). But I have talked to my bank and they are giving me study loan. I know once I come to Canada I will prove myself.



These are the things I want from you:

1)A letter to show to the bank so that I can get the loan.

2)Please see if you can reduce some fee for me. I can later repay it to you if I land a job. Or I can work for you.

3)Course Structure and Timings

4)Some words of inspiration and what to do next.



Looking forward to hear from you soon,

Manuj.

ManujChandra@gmail.com

mbenard
01-26-2006, 05:23 PM
Hi Manuj,

You sound like a good candidate for our program. I am sympathetic to your situation... I'll follow up in an email so we can discuss getting you some solid answers to your questions.

I would like to address your comment regarding getting a work visa after six months. If I may have mentioned something that may have lead you to this understanding then I must correct this now... I'll follow this up on my next post. I just need to gather some information first.

Thank you for contacting me, I'll speak to you soon regarding your opportunities with Lost Boys Learning.

Best,

M

mbenard
01-26-2006, 05:47 PM
OK,

So after a bit of research I have compiled the following information for any Non Canadian citizens wishing to work in Canada.

And just for the record there are NO CG TRAINING INSTITUTIONS in Canada that can GUARANTEE A WORK VISA.

From Citizen & Immigration Canada website:
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/index.html (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/index.html)

Regarding Working in Canada, foreigners have a good chance of getting Approved for a Work Permit if they hold a University degree and have at least 2 years of related work experience. Without a University Degree, expect that the government would like to see up to 5 years of related experience and appropriate job-specific training. Each application is treated separately.

Lost Boys Learning can assist you in your job search, helping you find suitable companies with appropriate positions available that suit your qualifications. We DO NOT guarantee job placement, and we DO NOT guarantee approval of a Work Permit.

These steps must be followed before you apply for a work permit:

An employer must first offer you a job.
HRSDC must normally provide a labour market opinion or "confirmation" of your job offer. (The employer has to prove to the local HRSDC office that they have searched for a Canadian to fill the position, and found that only the foreigner has the skills/experience to fill that position).
After HRSDC confirms that a foreign national may fill the job, you apply to CIC for your work permit.
To get a work permit, you must fill out an Application for Work Permit (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/applications/work.html). A work permit is issued if the application is approved.

So to recap, you need the credentials, experience, and an employer willing to devote a little time and energy to help you to get the HRSDC's thumbs up.

With just experience and a cooperative employer it's still possible but it'll take alot more elbow grease.

Best,

M

xstijn
02-02-2006, 01:51 PM
I'm just curious...


Didn't the course started a few days ago? ;) Anf if yes HOW IS IT!!!? HOW IS IT GOING? :surprised :scream: Just want to know (if it's started, not sure :wise: ) how everything is going, and could you (mbernard) send some people to this thread to talk about everything they are experiencing? :beer:

Thanks :applause:

mbenard
02-06-2006, 05:01 PM
Hey Xstijn,

Hah!

Sorry to leave you hanging! It's been a whirlwind of a week! :thumbsup:

I have a great first class of 6 very talented individuals from a variety of backgrounds. So far we've just started to scrape the surface of Maya. Still a lot of digging to do!

Once we get everyone settled in I'll try to get them to post up some of their first impressions.

Also I'll try to get some updated studio photos up on the site ASAP.

And hey, just a word out to everyone to apply early for the Sept. intake. I already have 5 interested individuals and I was only planning on accepting 8.

Cheers!

M

digitalworkshop
02-09-2006, 05:32 AM
Hi Mark!

One seat is mine! And yes i know Kung-Fu and pls dont press me to take out my samurai sword!! ha aha hah! So anybody who is eyeing on my seat think again! i saw Kill Bill 7 times you see!
just joking....!

Yup...if all goes fine...(the Bank loan i mean--my only hope to join LBL) i am definitely gonna be the sep. intake class!
Hi Mark, i had sent a PM to you last week but then i thought that you must have been really busy and couldnt take out time to write to me. but i request you to answer to some of the queries. Meanwhile, i am here rushing to banks and checking out which one has the best scheme and lowest EMI! gosh...so much of documentation! thank god i am not a lawyer.....they will give you loan once yu have convinced them that you are rich enuff and you dont need it! he heh e

Thanks,
Digitalworkshop AKA Kamal
India

mbenard
02-10-2006, 06:14 PM
Hah Hah!

Well Kamal, you appear to have the right attitude towards getting "a-head" in this industry! :twisted:

And yes, I've been pretty swamped lately so I appreciate the patience with the communication.

The only reason I have time at the moment is we're spending the day at a local trade's fair. Wheee!!!

Anyways, good luck with the financing, sounds like banks are pretty much the same anywhere on this planet!

Cheers,

M

xstijn
03-12-2006, 11:04 AM
Any more news benard? :scream:

I saw some updates on your site, but not really anything about the progress.. except the few lines about that you have done your ... test in a record time :) Can you tell us some more about how it's going etc. maybe show some pics of what you guys have been up to? :wise:

Thanks! :thumbsup:

mbenard
03-13-2006, 11:08 PM
Hey Xstijn,

Good to hear from you! :scream:

Yeah, I'm currently speachless about how well these guys (and gal!) are progressing. Having such a tight class size is really amazing. I can afford the time to sit down for the one on one time that is really necessary for addressing everyones individual learning styles. :buttrock:

So far we've done 3 projects. (Logo Animation, Spoon Telekinesis and Simulated Commercial Product shot.)

We just wrapped the simulated commercial product shot today. I took on making a box of Spider Man themed Band Aids (I have kids...) and we also had a McFlurry, Lipton Cup'O Soup, an Energy bar, Smarties and Minute Maid Juice. (One student is doing two.) This project spanned about two weeks.

This week we started our fourth project which is to create a photorealistic insect and drop it into a live action or "simulated live action" plate. I'll be creating a jumping spider. (Something that I've always wanted to do!) So far the other firm selections are a Cicada and two different types of beetles. I'm really excited about this one! This will be our longest project so far with the production process spanning 21 days. :wip:

I'm getting a good vibe from this project based learning style. I have a feeling this works better because of our small class size but perhaps we're onto something here...

Up until now we've been spending a good chunk of the class time screening training videos but as of today we're now treating the training videos as homework assignments and spending the majority of class hours working on our projects. This will give me even more one on one time which is where the money is!

I'll be testing this theory out on this Insect exercise. It's just going to take a little discipline.

Anyways, thanks for checking in.

Keep in touch,

M

xstijn
03-14-2006, 03:22 PM
Sounds AWESOME! :cry::cry:(i wanna join :p )

CAn you show me some video's or pictures of the projects you have done or anything else.. im really interested in the level of skills the students are on...

Thanks ;)

xstijn
04-14-2006, 10:19 AM
Yes im still here... i sound like i'm the only one interested :scream:

But still, keep us updated! if you have time!

Thanks :thumbsup:

mbenard
04-15-2006, 04:21 AM
Hang in there Xstijn!

I've been working all day on website updates. :wip:

I plan to have posted some samples of the in class projects that we've been tackling for Term 1 by early next week. (Logo Animation, Spoon VFX Sequence, Simulated Commercial Product Shot and an Insect VFX Shot.)

I'll send a shout once I have them ready!

I'm also working on a gallery page but that may take a little more time.

ALMOOOST there.

Cheers!

M

mbenard
04-15-2006, 10:25 PM
PSSST...

I've posted some Quicktimes of the four projects that I've had the first Term students working on...

To view go to www.lostboys-learning.com (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/) then navigate into course outlines and select Term 1. Down towards the bottom of the page you'll see four links to the Quicktimes.

Keep in mind that these samples are the ones that I DID MYSELF but I will have student work coming out shortly. Between you, me and any other followers of this thread I think some of the students did an even better job than I did! (But of course I do have a few other responsibilities on my plate!) :scream:

They will have been with me for nearly 2.5 MONTHS so keep that in mind. Nobody's going to be building King Kong for at least another few months!

Now, I really wanted to have the projects overviews written up BEFORE I made the samples public but I just couldn't wait. The WHY on those projects is very important so that you can see the method behind my madness. Each project is designed to solidify and put into context all our technical training that we are covering at that particular point in time.

MORE TO COME! Stay tuned!

M

Liquid Metal
04-19-2006, 08:01 PM
Hey benard,

Watching it as i speak (or write :) ) Awesome stuff mate! I'm watchin it all at the moment, will give some more feedback later... Keep up the great work man!

Greets,
xstijn :thumbsup:

xstijn
04-19-2006, 08:03 PM
A friend of mine was still logged in on the site.. So that was me! :scream:

xstijn

mbenard
04-19-2006, 10:35 PM
Thanks xstijn,

Yes, I'm dying to get these guys wrapping up their Term 1 projects so I can show you guys what they were able to pick up in just this first Term!

Gives me the giggles.

Keep an eye on the site!

TTYS,

M

mbenard
05-14-2006, 10:11 PM
Greets,

As of this past Thursday my students have completed their first Term (Foundation) and I am proud to share a taste of what they've been working on!

Here's some teaser Stills but I also have a 2 Minute Quicktime Montage available on www.lostboys-learning.com (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/). Be sure to check it out, still images just can't represent what they have achieved. (Please be patient in the case that the server is getting slammed...)

We are making history here! I'm very pleased with how well the students have progressed and to my knowledge I have never seen finer work coming out of any other related schools so early in their programs.

Please post your feedback. I'd like to keep this thread hot so that all that should see it get their chance.

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/LBL-T1_StudentMontage_SmartiesFlurry.jpg

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/LBL-T1_StudentMontage_CicadaBeetle.jpg

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/LBL-T1_StudentMontage_LiptonBar.jpg

Best,

M

Bartek|3D
05-15-2006, 03:58 AM
Wow, very impressive Mark! I really like the way your students rendered these assignments. Can't wait to see what they'll pull off next.

Cheers,

mbenard
05-15-2006, 04:50 AM
Thanks Bartek,

I've really been pushing the students on their Lighting and Shaders (Materials). It's safe to say we've gone beyond "Foundation" at this point.

I'm particularly proud of the iridescence shader that was created for the shiny green beetle. I've never seen anyone pull that off successfully before.

I appreciate the feedback!

Cheers,

M

mbenard
05-15-2006, 05:27 AM
One more note,

I’d like to thank all those who have already sent in their applications for the September intake.

We had mentioned a recommended date for application being May 15th due to the possible three month wait for foreign students to receive their student Visas.

We will be processing all the applicants’ paperwork early this week so those that are awaiting a response will hear from us soon.

Those yet to apply should do so immediately or at least contact me with a statement of serious interest. As I’ve been saying, a key ingredient to our success is keeping our class sizes manageable and personal.

Best,

M

KEdwards
05-15-2006, 03:22 PM
Absolutely stunning. :buttrock:

I can hardly believe that the students are only in their first Term.

Speechless.

K

BTW: Perhaps you could post some full rez stills for us?

mbenard
05-15-2006, 08:55 PM
Thanks KEdwards,

Here's comes the full rez stills. Everything was built for a DVD portfolio so the resolution max's out at Vid Rez but you still should be able to see the quality a bit better.

2 per post...

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/LBL-T1_StudentMontage_Lipton.jpg

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/LBL-T1_StudentMontage_Bar.jpg

More to come,

M

mbenard
05-15-2006, 11:01 PM
Images 3 and 4.

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/LBL-T1_StudentMontage_Beetle.jpg

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/LBL-T1_StudentMontage_Cicada.jpg

More in a bit.

M

mbenard
05-16-2006, 02:19 AM
The last two images for the time being.

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/LBL-T1_StudentMontage_Smarties.jpg

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/LBL-T1_StudentMontage_Flurry.jpg

Enjoy.

M

KEdwards
05-16-2006, 03:38 AM
Thank you sir! :applause:

Those bugs... And the rendering...

Wow, like I was saying... Speechless.

Must be the same for everyone else too! :p (Speechless that is.)

Keep up the good work guys!

Kev

pswitzer
05-16-2006, 06:28 PM
Hey, I'd just like to say great first term to the whole gang. Abiola, Jess and James, you guys were a joy to hang around in class.

I'd also like to thank Mark and Gill, you guys really did an awesome job providing a pleasant and fruitful learning (also working!) environment. I really learned a lot and you opened my eyes to the broader application of cg in an array of industries. Can't wait for Term 2 as to move on to greater and more ambitious projects :D

See you all soon!

JCarver
05-17-2006, 04:27 PM
Hey, I'd like to thank Mark and Gill for opening such a great school. I came into the studio with basically no knowledge of Maya. Everyone in the class is awesome, and Mark is always around to help with any problems. Term 2 is going to be great!

pswitzer
05-18-2006, 07:01 AM
Giant Pac-M... sorry inside joke :) Amen brotha

mbenard
05-18-2006, 10:18 PM
Shhh!!!

Don't spoil the surprise!

That concept is going to make VFX history!!! :twisted:

I'd better not see any copy cat projects. Our's WILL be better!

They can wait.

M

mbenard
06-02-2006, 08:42 PM
Greets,

Just a note that we've recently posted up some expanded discriptions for our Term 1 Project Based learning samples.

Link through to Outlines from the main page (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/) and then select Term 1 and you shuold see the updates towards the bottom.

Stay tuned for further expansion of Term 2 and 3.

Cheers,

M

mbenard
06-09-2006, 06:15 PM
Just another update regarding expanded Term 2 and 3 descriptions now found under Course Outlines.

Link through to Outlines from the main page (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/) and then select Term 2 or 3.

Cheers,

M

mbenard
06-19-2006, 04:33 PM
Greets,

We now have an expanded Gallery available on www.lostboys-learning.com (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/).

EDIT: Here's the Direct Links...

Facility/Studio Pictures (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/Facility/index.html)

Class Activities (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/index.html)

Project Stills (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ProjectStills/index.html)

You will find the beginnings of our image chronicles which should give you a better taste of the Lost Boys Learning experience.

On an additional note, we recently had the pleasure of having Kenneth Meyer (Animation Director & all round fun/creative guy.) join us to present the creative and pipeline on his current production as well as give us a workshop on Super Sculpey maquette and armature creation. Ken has a decade of experience in the entertainment industry working with clients such as MGM, Disney Television Development, Midway Games, EA Games, Vivendi Universal Games and the list goes on… See www.jackrabbit-pictures.com (http://www.jackrabbit-pictures.com/) for more information.


http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/medium/Maquettes-CarverMeyerJohnstonSwitzer-033.jpg
Stay tuned for upcoming images from our field trip on July 6th to Vancouver to tour select VFX, Animation and Game Studios!

Cheers,

M

xstijn
06-19-2006, 05:29 PM
Awesome stuff! Going to look at it now, it seems like a great course !

Greetings,
xstijn

MikeRhone
06-19-2006, 07:22 PM
Nice stuff Mark...! Pushing a polished 'professional' look is definately an area many schools fall short in, especially early on in the training. It's great that you have Ken Meyer coming around to share his skills and overall skater-ness. A very talented dude.

Keep posting student updates...!

M

LittleDragonsTao
06-19-2006, 08:18 PM
Hey, Mark! It's Shane. I don't know if you or Gillian looked over my application but I was accepted into the Fall program. I am tieing up all the loose ends to go to LBL but one problem I am coming across is getting finances for LBL. The banks listed on your site are for canadian students and any banks in my country, the US, require the school be accredited. Any idea on where I can get some sort of financing like a private student loan or a student line of credit for non-canadians? Thanks bud and looking forward to September!

-Shane

mbenard
06-19-2006, 10:06 PM
Xstijn, good to hear from you! Yeah, take a boo at the gallery and stay tuned!

Mike, it’s always great to hear you’re feedback. Maybe we can have you swing by as a guest speaker sometime as well?! The students at VFS always spoke highly of you.

AND Shane, yes, traditional student loan financing is out of the question until we can get accredited. It’s a bit of a racket if you ask me… As a new training center you can’t even apply for accreditation until you’ve been in business for more than a year. And then you have to continually jump through hoops of flame in order to keep everything in line. Understandable but frustrating none the less.

That said, there are other options. Most banks offer “Student Lines of Credit” which are almost identical to a traditional student loan. The only big difference is that with a student loan you don’t have to begin paying interest until after you’ve graduated. (Of course on a one year course the interest isn’t a big deal…) As with most loans the bank will look for security most likely in the form of a co-signer. (Parent, relative, guardian…) One of our Canadian students had success with the Royal Bank of Canada’s Student Line of Credit so we know this is possible.

I just took a look at Gnomon’s website and I see they are recommending private Career Training Loans from SLM Financial. (http://www.slmeducationloans.com/ (http://www.slmeducationloans.com/)) I can’t personally vouch for them without more research but they may be worth checking out.

Keep in mind we are keeping an open mind while we ramp this up. We can do payment plans if it makes life any simpler.

Gillian is going to look into the American Banks to see what she can find out. There should be something comparable.

Cheers,

M

LittleDragonsTao
06-19-2006, 10:20 PM
Yeah I was looking into the student lines of credit but the requirements on those were that you needed to be a canadian citizen. Hopefully Gillian can come across something because I'm having a hard time finding something as well. I'll keep up the search as well. Gnomon got their accreditation but they offer sallie mae which deals with I believe only US schools or accredited out of US schools. Ill keep searchin. Thanks man.


-Shane

mbenard
06-19-2006, 11:08 PM
What a fun Catch 22.

Now it's got my interest. There's always a way to make things work. We may just have to get creative.

We'll keep in touch about our findings.

M

xstijn
06-20-2006, 11:04 AM
Really cool stuff mate! :)

So you have a beautiful girl on your team eh? :p
Looks like really cool stuff, how many years of vfx do these guys have? I can't believe that they all created these beautiful insects/spiders etc. so fast! The shading work is absolutely superb! Did you teaach them that? or did they already know how to do so? Cool that you invite some people from the industry, that must be really interesting with such a small group. I'm currently playing with super sculpey too, so would love to be there too :scream:

Well keep it up, and i'll see you around! :thumbsup:
xstijn

mbenard
06-20-2006, 06:09 PM
So you have a beautiful girl on your team eh?
Oh beeehave! (...she's smart too…)

Looks like really cool stuff, how many years of vfx do these guys have? I can't believe that they all created these beautiful insects/spiders etc. so fast! The shading work is absolutely superb! Did you teaach them that? or did they already know how to do so?
Hah! Yes, it is easier to teach students that are already gifted with talent… But I like to think that I may have contributed to their new skills in a way that no one else could have.

Keep in mind the small class size really helps. I was able to spend ALOT of one on one time with everyone in order to bring things up to production level.

Have fun with your Sculpey. Everyone should have a small ball of it on their desks to kill time between renders!

Cheers,

M

xstijn
06-20-2006, 07:27 PM
Hehe, well the question is: is she single? If yes, what's her phone number :p


Indeed, i do think you really contributed to their skillset. Oh man, i hope i will able to join you in the next years. How is it going with the next courses that are planned, are they full yet?

Greets,
xstijn

woods_word
06-20-2006, 07:47 PM
Hello, I just happened upon this thread and thought I'd make my presence known and say howdy. I previously had a pretty sour experience with a 2 year technical college that has left me a couple gen ed credits shy of a "computer art and design" degree (S.U.N.Y. Alfred... it got some pretty bad press recently about its restructuting of faculty... hate to say it but it deserved it). I'm curious, after looking through your site, how some one in my position might best approach an institution like the one that you have set up. I personally payed my way through my last college and only accrued approximately 5k in loans, but am currently broke, in a small town, living with the parents of my wife to be. I saw that you offer a bursary, which would be a godsend, but unfortunately have not recieved accredition so there's no government supplied financial aid. I suppose I'm asking whether you think I might be an acceptable prospect before I fill out an application. Thanks for any response you send my way. Best of luck with this venture.


Alex

mbenard
06-21-2006, 02:04 AM
Hehe, well the question is: is she single? If yes, what's her phone number
She says you can have it AFTER your Tuition has been paid in full. :thumbsup:


How is it going with the next courses that are planned, are they full yet?
It going very well! I have a couple seats left but we already have enough to run the next intake so I’m feeling great about it.

I saw that you offer a bursary, which would be a godsend, but unfortunately have not recieved accredition so there's no government supplied financial aid. I suppose I'm asking whether you think I might be an acceptable prospect before I fill out an application.
Yes, on a more serious note, financing private training outside your own country is not a simple task. As I was discussing with Shane (LittleDragonsTao) we are currently researching this and are trying to find the best option for American students. Most likely the financing may have to come through a few different avenues… I’ll be sure to post my findings online once we can find a suitable scenario. Until then hang in there and continue to look for creative solutions.

BTW: Congratulations on paying your own way through your previous education. Sorry to hear it didn’t pan out but I’m sure you learned a lot that will carry forward should you choose to continue your training.

Best,

M

LittleDragonsTao
06-21-2006, 03:51 AM
Thanks for the hard searchin, mark. I have been trying really hard to find something that us Americans can use to finance the education that you're offering. I am really psyched about going to LBL, its just finding a way to finance it right away. So far the only option that I found is to take out a personal loan with a bank but even that has its downfalls and payments cannot be deferred like a student loan or the canadian student lines of credit. I really hope you or Gillian find a way so I can definitely go up there to train with you guys. Keep up the search buddy and I'll do the same. Thanks, Mark!


-Shane

xstijn
06-21-2006, 07:13 PM
She says you can have it AFTER your Tuition has been paid in full. :thumbsup:



It going very well! I have a couple seats left but we already have enough to run the next intake so I’m feeling great about it.


Well are there any disadvanteges with this course? I get one of the best courses PLUS fro free (tax included) i get a very handsome and smart girl! :scream:

Seriously dude, what's her number, i want it, I WANT IT NOW! :twisted:

NO just joking, though she is very pretty. Great that you're class is filling up. I hope it will not become to famous, cause then i can't join :)

Really looking forward to some of the projects offered in Term 2,3. Keep us updated and informed!

Ps: The people you are teaching, do they wander around at cgtalk? Or aren't they a member yet?

Greets,
xstijn :)

Kisses to the lovely girl :love:

mbenard
06-22-2006, 04:34 AM
Xstijn, I try to get everyone using the Forums as an additional resource. A couple of them are right at home here and we should have a couple more converts coming soon.

BTW: I just updated my Bio on the website. It has a few more credits and links to check out.

Cheers,

M

mbenard
07-17-2006, 03:05 PM
Time to share more fun times from Lost Boys Learning!

We just came back from a great field trip touring select Visual Effects, Gaming and Animation Studios over in the Vancouver scene (one of North America's top production centres). There we had a whirlwind tour of a good cross section of possible careers for our future graduates.

Our day started out with a great tour through Bardel’s (http://www.bardelentertainment.com/html/index.php)animation studio.

http://lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/medium/FieldTrip01-Bardel-SwitzerCarverGBenardJohnston-010.jpg


“For over fifteen years, Bardel has provided animation services to the international market on feature films, television series, interactive media, commercials and web-based content. Some of the studio's clients include Dreamworks SKG, Warner Brothers, Fox, Nelvana, Disney Interactive, and Electronic Arts. Bardel has been contracted on 11 feature films, 2 home videos, 35 television series and specials, 15 interactive media projects, and numerous shorts and commercials. Bardel's Vancouver-based production facility produces both traditional and digital animation. The studio has utilized its diverse production experience by combining various animation techniques to develop " hybrid " production pipelines, which gives it the ability to provide its clients with unique, cost-effective animation services.”

It was great to see so many old friends. Paul Johnson, friend to Gillian from their Walt Disney days, was the host of our tour. Tony Power, a past employee of Lost Boys, now oversees the growing 3D Dept. making sure production meets its deadlines and runs as smoothly as possible. Barry Ward, President, addressed our students and was very supportive of maintaining future contact.

Bardel is working on some amazing new projects (both Flash and 3D). Their roots are in classical animation but they are enthusiastically embracing new technologies (never have I seen so many sexy Wacom Cintiq’s under one roof!) I wish I could say more but Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are very important to the entertainment industry so my lips are sealed.

Next on our list was the film industry giant Technicolor (http://www.technicolor.com/Cultures/En-Us/Home). Recently acquiring Toybox they have breathed fresh life into the Vancouver division.

http://lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/medium/FieldTrip01-Technicolor-ArlendEngar3D-CarverLevertJohnstonGenzelSwitzer-018.jpg


“Since bringing color to motion pictures 90 years ago, Technicolor has evolved into a global and diversified corporation that is now considered the preeminent worldwide provider of services to the media and entertainment industries. Headquartered in Camarillo (http://www.technicolor.com/Cultures/En-Us/Locations/North+America/USA/CACamarillo/CACamarillo.htm), California, Technicolor is part of the Services division of Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS). In addition to being the world’s most prolific processor of motion picture film, Technicolor is also the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of pre-recorded videocassettes, DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, and CD-ROM. On an annualized basis, Technicolor has the ability to process five billion feet of motion picture release prints, and the capacity to produce in excess of 1.5 billion DVDs, 330 million videocassettes, and 300 million CDs. The company is also a leading developer and supplier of comprehensive, end-to-end digital cinema distribution technology and services, and channel origination and broadcast playout services. Over its nine decades of operation, Technicolor has continued to pioneer the most advanced methods of delivering visual entertainment to millions of people through film, digital cinema, video, and optical technologies”

Yes, 1915->present, you could say they are pretty influential players in the film industry!

Again, it was great to see so many familiar faces (5 past Lost Boys!) Their Visual Effects dept. has really expanded over the past two years. They are primarily focusing on some larger VFX Films as well as handling some series work. These shops like to keep their clients work under wraps until official release so unfortunately I can’t give too many details but I can say that many a Visual Effects artist would be envious of the work they are currently producing.

Host to our tour was the lovely Brenda Levert, whom I met about ten years back during the MGM "Poltergeist: The Legacy" series. First we stopped into the Discreet Inferno Suite ($1 Million+ if you wanted your own) for some sneak peeks at their current R&D progress for an upcoming film. Then we moved on to see their Compositing area. Primarily After Effects 7.0 with a few seats of Shake were busy in action (maybe even a seat of Fusion?) We had a great little show and tell from one of their artists that was supplying Compositors with 3D tracking info from Boujou. Then up to the main 3D area were we witnessed amazing Maya fluid and particle simulations. The boys in 3D are definitely giving Technicolor’s enormous renderfarm a run for its money!

From there we had just enough time to grab a quick bite from a drive through and then move on to see Atmosphere Visual Effects (http://www.atmosphere-vfx.com/).

http://lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/medium/FieldTrip01-Atmosphere-HostTrevorAdams-BenardJohnstonSwitzer-006.jpg


Best known for their recent work on the VFX heavy BattleStar Galactica series these guys are a fun “artist-run” shop of about 25 full time staff. Starting out as a specialty shop for matte paintings and set extensions they have now branched out into servicing any Visual Effects challenge. Founders Andrew, Jeremy and Tom have created a great vibe for their studio. Tom and Jeremy both expressed need for fresh talent but they are just going to have to wait until my first class graduates this fall! ;)

Trevor Adams (you guessed it, past Lost Boy) hosted our tour and gave everyone a great taste of life at Atmosphere. He showed us some enhancements that he was working on for the new season's Cylon model. Very cool stuff Trev, keep up the good work!

Atmosphere’s weapons of choice seemed to be a mix of Maya/Lightwave for 3D and Fusion/Shake? for Compositing (don’t quote me on the Shake, I can’t say for sure).

On our way out the door we bumped into Pauline Burns (yes a Lost Grrrl…) who had recently relocated back to the west coast from Intelligent Creatures (http://www.intelligentcreatures.com/)in Toronto. Knowing her she’ll be VFX Coordinating and attempting to keep the chaos organized and neatly labeled.

Now it was time for a little taste of the Gaming world. One highly respected Developer in the highly competitive Vancouver game scene is Next Level Games (http://nextlevelgames.com/corporate_news.php). With a large emphasis on a healthy work/lifestyle balance they stand apart from the rest of the industry. Very low turn over and a tight knit staff leads to a very productive and creative environment.

http://lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/medium/FieldTrip01-NextLevelGames-JohnstonSwitzerCarverBenard-012.jpg

“Next Level Games is a full-service videogame developer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Founded in October 2002, Next Level Games has successfully assembled some of the best talent in the industry under one roof. Next Level Games continues to attract and reunite experienced developers from many well-established companies including Electronic Arts, Black Box Games and Radical Entertainment. Each member of our team has an average of five years experience in videogame development. Our company is a creative, energetic and positive place to work. We have built a passionate, spirited and productive working environment offering industry-competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and performance-based equity rewards for our top performers.”

Our host was Jared Johnson, a Producer for Next Level Games. Before our tour he gave everyone an excellent round table discussion about their company philosophies as well as his views on the future of the industry. Then he took us around the Studio and explained the layout and the importance of an open floor plan as being conducive to cooperative production. The teams were working on some very exciting projects which of course are heavily protected by the very real NDA’s that we all signed. Itching to say more but we’ll all just have to wait and see!

Oh and did I mention that Jared was on the ball? It makes sense considering how well Next Level is doing… Before I even had a chance to send off thank you emails he was already in my Inbox requesting feedback on his presentation and was offering his email to the students (which he addressed by name!) in case they had any further questions. We all left with a very good impression, awesome job Jared.

Last but not least, out to Burnaby to visit the The Bridge Studios, home of MGM’s "Stargate SG-1" and "Stargate Atlantis" Series. Running against the clock, fate threw some heavy road work in our way… Sonia, our host, was very understanding and let us know that she would be waiting for us. We made it through security without too much hassle and down to the VFX Offices we went. Production was currently on hiatus so our timing was good. Typically that Studio is very busy and will not have room for a mentor and his students. Of course Post Production never sleeps so we were able to take a good look at Stargate’s in house VFX team. They handle generating lots of on-screen playback (computer screen gack that may or may not support story) as well as many effects requirements for the show. It seemed that a big part of their work was doing set extension and matte paintings for all the exotic locations that the SG Teams end up in. 3D software wise, I saw lots of Lightwave and a little Maya. I didn’t get a good look at their compositing software but I imagine it to be After Effects and/or Fusion.

http://lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/medium/FieldTrip01-Stargate1-SwitzerCarverJohnston-017.jpg


Next Sonia led us out to the Sound Stages where the permanent and not so permanent sets are housed. We walked through the SG-1 gateroom but for the life of us couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights! Before you laugh you should know that that set has MANY light switches, some that go nowhere and some that control important set features. Not in any position to employ trial and error we quickly moved onto the Stargate Atlantis set. Wow, they have some very talented people on their construction crew. I’ve seen a lot of sets in my days Supervising and most do not hold up to close scrutiny. These were beautiful works of art.

Although the best part of that day had to be seeing the big grin on one of my student's face whose day-to-day personality can sometimes resemble an Android. “I watch EVERY episode of this show” he mumbles from under his shaggy mop of hair. Priceless!

An important part of preparing our students for future careers is building on their “Who you know’s.” Besides getting a better idea of how the industry runs, this trip provided them with valuable contacts and can serve them well into the future. In Term 3 we’ll return to Vancouver to meet even more faces.

If you are interested in seeing a few more select photos of our field trip check out this link to our Class Activities (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/index.html) gallery page.

Stay tuned for updates in the Project Stills (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ProjectStills/index.html)gallery on the Creatures that we’ve been working on!

Cheers,

M

Lost Boys Learning is a division of Lost Boys Studios Inc., (www.lostboys-studios.com (http://www.lostboys-studios.com/)), located in the scenic Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. More information is available by contacting admin@lostboys-learning.com.

pixelmonk
07-17-2006, 03:35 PM
the blonde is kinda cute... oh wait... cool update on what you guys are doing! :)

MikeRhone
07-17-2006, 04:14 PM
Nice collection of studios to visit! I am no longer at Bardel, but I will sorrily miss the pool table and rounds of 8-person matches in Mario Kart DS. The space probably looks quite cramped by now, but most of the people working there are kind enough to load up on the deodorant. I'm sure your students now have a good idea of just how small the Vancouver industry is now, Mark. Everyone really does know everyone, so be sure to remind them not to set fire to any bridges...!

It seems there are ex-LostBoys everywhere... and for some reason they are always the leads ;)

Mike R
Currently a puppet of another ex-Lost Boy

mbenard
07-18-2006, 03:45 AM
Hah! Glad you enjoyed my "update" PixelMONK. Don't forget your vow of chastity!

And yeah Mike, I'll be sure everyone gets a good handle on career politics before they leave me.

You over at Technicolor now? Must've just missed you... Watch out for Chris! That guy was the King of mega-rendertimes. It might be contagious.

Cheers,

M

MikeRhone
07-18-2006, 05:05 AM
No sir, I'm going to be with Mark on Supernatural. It's on set so it doesn't really have a company name... Or a big fancy studio. Speaking of which, if you know of any I/O editor type guys that are looking for work at the moment, please get them to contact me. It's the final piece of our CG puzzle. Other than that, Maybe I'll meet up with you guys on your next Vancouver adventure...!

mbenard
07-19-2006, 04:53 PM
Hey Mike,

That sounds like fun! Mark's a good guy to have on your side. Master Politician.

As far as and Editor/IO guy I recommend Julian Clarke. jules23@telus.net

He was Editor on a film I VFX Sup'd last fall. Younger guy, very talented Editor and VFX savvy to boot. I handled a crazy amount of shots on that film and he was instrumental to keeping everything organized.

Cheers,

M

Aruna
07-20-2006, 12:32 AM
Mark, looks like things are picking up for Lost Boys Learning! It's good to see a real production artist teaching the things that should be taught. ;)

Keep in touch!

mbenard
07-20-2006, 10:36 PM
Hey Aruna!

Good to hear from you. It's been a while... Sounds like you've been having quite an adventure away from the Vancouver scene.

Would you be cool with me stealing that quote for my testimonials page?

Thanks for the support!

M

Aruna
07-28-2006, 07:24 PM
Sure man! Sorry it's taken eight days to get back to ya. Pretty busy at the moment, haven't had a chance to catch up with any CG or VFX talk threads in a while.

mbenard
11-14-2006, 07:01 PM
Wow, it's been awhile since I've had the chance to share any updates!

Where to start...

Digital Environment Project - For one of our Term 2 Projects we built out an old archive photo of the local wharf circa 1917. Using the oh-so-useful camera mapping technique we fleshed out the old photo into a 3D scene as well as had some fun taking turns dressing up in period costumes and filming our actions over green screen. We also created some additional dynamic elements such as particle smoke for the steam ship, blowing flags, and flocks of birds.

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ProjectStills/medium/DigitalEnvironment_Collage_LBL-001-004.jpg


Looking for content for this project I headed down to the local museum/archives and took a peek at the display of archive photos that was part of a Comox 60th anniversary installation. Right away I could see opportunity for us to liven up the display with a fun little video installation. I selected an appropriate image looking for a shot that had nice depth, quality and would serve nicely as a blank slate for us to add elements to.

Taking the image into Maya we built out the meta geometry (Low rez) taking special care to estimate scale and distances accurately. Not knowing the original lens information, quite a bit of experimentation was made until we had everything lined up. (Lots of back and forth between object scale and focal length...) After optimizing the geometry to the bare essentials we camera projected the original image across the scene and converted everything to file textures. The camera animation was fleshed out and then we attacked the texture files in Photoshop until all the streaking was wiped out and the obscured details were added back in.

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/medium/DigitalEnvironment_MetaGeoBuild_Johnston-010.jpg


For our actor shoot we arranged a makeshift green screen and timed our capture to work with natural light. (Yes, simple is good!) We ended recording a ton of habitual actions one or two actors at a time. After screening through the mass of footage we keyed our selects and prepared image sequences to be used as animated texture maps in the Maya scene.

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/medium/DigitalEnvironment_GreenScreenShoot_JohnstonSwitzer-008.jpg


We headed down to the local estuary to see if any birds were willing to co-operate with us but soon found out that they were playing their own game... We even talked some kids into wading across to the sand bar and stirring them up a bit more but they seemed to know exactly how to avoid giving us anything useful. In the end I pulled up an old flocking plugin and rendered out some digital birds from Shake.

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ClassActivities/medium/DigitalEnvironment_ElementShoot_Carver-006.jpg


The four of us worked together as a team dividing up the responsibilities based on personal strengths/focus. Maya, Syflex, Photoshop, AfterEffects, and Ultimatte Advantedge were called upon to assist with the digital work. We worked periodically (Every Monday) over a period of six weeks to complete the final one minute piece.

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/WebsiteGallery/ExtraCurricularActivities/medium/DigitalEnvironmentInstallation_CarverJohnstonSwitzerBenard-013.jpg


It was great to hear the feedback from our quiet little town. It was an unexpected discovery for most museum visitors so we were happy able to spread a little magic and learn some new tricks at the same time.

Click to download versions of the FINAL CLIP (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/movies/term2/DigitalEnvironment_LBL-001.mp4) or the BREAKDOWN (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/movies/term2/DigitalEnvironment_LBL-001_VFXBreakdown.mp4).

(Yes the music is highly annoying... It's authentic and the Museum appreciated it... You can just turn down your volume.)

I'll be back as soon as I can with more updates. We just returned from another fun field trip to Vancouver to visit a cross section of the industry... Our seniors just contributed to Disney's new Peter Pan Platinum DVD by modeling London in a week for a virtual fly through... I've added a couple more projects into Term One... Stay tuned!

(Check out the website if you can't wait...)

Cheers,

M

mbenard
11-15-2006, 12:02 AM
Bump... For some reason this wasn't showing up so I'm giving it a kick.

M

universehead
02-28-2007, 07:16 PM
Hey Mark, I am very seriously considering applying for your training program and I just wanted to know what options I would have for shelter.

Thanks

Drew

sorry if this question has already been asked. I haven't gone through all the threads.

LittleDragonsTao
03-02-2007, 05:32 AM
hey mark. How is everything going? I just wanted to find out if you guys have any updates on getting financing for people in the US? That was the main reason I couldn't go for the second class. I was bummed. I was accepted, got the bursary, passport, and everything. Just there was no way to finance it. You guys gotta get Sallie Mae! lol. Let me know. Thanks!

Shane

gbenard
03-13-2007, 07:06 PM
Hey Shane, great to hear from you. You want a seat for 2007?

An update on the accreditation process - now that it has been a year, we have submitted our initial application to the PCTIA, they have cashed our cheque, now we are waiting for a site visit from their inspector, THEN we finish preparing our report for the application. This could still take a few months at least.

My understanding is that once we are Accredited, students from other countries will have better success applying for student loans from within their own country. I have spoken with representatives from Sallie Mae Financial in the US and this is the case, although I'm sure they still review each case individually.

More to come...

Gillian

LittleDragonsTao
03-15-2007, 07:04 AM
Hi, Gillian. I would definitely love a seat for 2007 but I need to be sure about everything and that I can take a private loan out through sallie mae. Like I said, I had everything together and accepted with you guys as well as the bursary but it was impossible for me, a US citizen to get a loan unless it was a standard bank loan which would not have worked. When do you think the review will be done and possibly Sallie Mae will be done? I'd love to get everything squared away right away to guarantee my seat. Thanks again!

Shane

gbenard
03-15-2007, 05:36 PM
I've now spoken with the PCTIA advisor, next step is a site visit here where they go through all of our files... this could hopefully happen in the next few weeks but possibly not until the end of April. As soon as I have a date I'll let everyone know.

mbenard
05-02-2007, 12:36 AM
Greets,

Just wanted to send a shout out to anyone still watching this thread that I've recently posted up a new Student Montage!

I'm really excited to share what the students have accomplished, definately worth checking out if you want to see the results of project based learning.


http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/Spring07_Montage.gif (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/movies/LBL-StudentMontage-Spring07.mov)

Download Spring'07 - Student Montage (75 MB QT) (http://www.lostboys-learning.com/movies/LBL-StudentMontage-Spring07.mov)



http://www.lostboys-learning.com/images/youtubelogo.gif (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXEU9gthEYg)
You Tube Mirror (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXEU9gthEYg)
(Lessor quality but an alternative if the server is getting swamped...)


Let us know what you think!

Cheers,

M

Hammy
05-02-2007, 01:54 AM
Hey Mark, looks great as usual. Glad the teaching thing is going good.

graham.

mbenard
05-04-2007, 05:38 PM
Hey Mark, looks great as usual. Glad the teaching thing is going good.

graham.

Hey Graham!

Good to hear from you.

So you're working for Side Effects Software? Awesome. Where do they have you based out of?

Keep in touch,

M

zafio00
05-05-2007, 07:54 PM
Hi, I just found this thread yesterday and read all of it, I have to say, I'm very interested in your school it looks just like the kind of place I would love to be in. I'm currently a modeller in Maya but my heart is on VFX. Your webpage says tuition is 18.5k cdn, what about people who are a bit over bigginers not taking the whole year and skipping to higher terms? How will they be charged?
or what about custom tailored training how do you calculate that?
I might not get the 18k for the full year but would love to spend a couple of months training in specific areas if that could be possible, or would it be more expensive?

Well thanks in advance.

mbenard
05-05-2007, 11:28 PM
Hey zafio00,

Glad to hear that you can appreciate what I'm offering through Lost Boys Learning.

Good question regarding being able to skip ahead to more advanced Terms but unfortunately that is not the way the program works.

The beauty of project based learning is that there is a little bit of everything blended together into each challenge. Each project covers topics that range from simple to advanced with a focus on one particular area.

Essentially you'd be pretty disappointed if you were to miss out on my term one projects...

I'm glad to hear of your previous experience modeling in Maya. This would give you an excellent advantage. (It's not uncommon for my students to have previous Maya exposure.) Keep in mind that this is not meant to be a course for button pushers, my emphasis is on training Visual Effects Artists, not Software Operators.

I welcome you to apply for our Bursary. Please refer to the website for further details.

http://www.lostboys-learning.com/paymentmethods.php

Let me know if you have any further questions, feel free respond in the forum or email me directly. (mbenard@lostboys-studios.com)

Cheers,

M

krisbfunk
11-25-2007, 04:51 AM
hi mark, when do you figure the accredidation will be going through?

gbenard
11-26-2007, 09:04 PM
Thanks for asking about Accreditation. We are proceeding with the paperwork after a bit of hiatus while we got the current class up and running (and here it is almost December already...) so it will still be a few months before it is reviewed. Our application deadline is April, 2008, so of course my goal is to have the Accreditation approved by then. Please let us know if you have any questions.

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