On a rainy Saturday Portland early spring morning, a dozen local visual effects artists – all senior level at their respective shops around town – crowded into a small makeshift classroom for the first VFX/PDX professional workshop.


This first invite-only “beta” class was a double bill of workshops for Compositing, as by some cosmic alignment of the planets we were lucky enough to get two professional level visiting instructors up from LA on the same day.  And did they have plenty to show!

The morning class – or “Mochas with Mocha” as I dubbed it – took us into new territory using the latest features in Imagineer’s Mocha Pro and it’s amazing tracker, taught by the official demo artist for Imagineer – Mary Poplin.  A juicy Nuke class followed in the afternoon slot showing some key features of Nuke 8, taught by Foundry Creative Specialist Deke Kincaid.

Lots of good buzz from the attendees – Skylr Chamberlain, our local resident matchmoving expert and TD, had this to say – “The Mocha class was really eye opening.  Now that I know it’s extended capabilities, I’ll be using it for 2D tracking and paint shots I wouldn’t have touched before.  Super quick.”  And he was equally gushing over the Nuke class.  “Wow, Nuke 8 integrated feature matching algorithms into their camera tracker.  Opens up a whole new way to survey a set solely with still photos and pop it right into Nuke, even doing rudimentary modeling there and instantly using it for projections.”  I especially liked how Skylr ended his survey – “I can’t wait for the next one!”


Artists from Laika, HiveFX, W+K, etc watch the show and work alongside the demo.

With that said, I am very excited to announce these beta classes were a success and we are looking to continue to build the workshop program.  These fill a void in Portland for live, in-the-flesh continuing education at the professional level.  And the workshop format can work better for most of us compared to long form classes at a community college on up to the fantastic online continuing education contant being offered through FXPHD.  Coupla hours on a Saturday in exchange for all the info we can immediately apply to our day to day work when we walk through the office door on the Monday?  Gold.

In our industry especially, we all want need to be kept current on new techniques and technology immediately as it’s released.  What we do is difficult.  Each new release of software brings ways to make our lives easier, but what you don’t know can’t help you!


Deke Kincaid of the Foundry shows off some high level Nuking.

So get on the bus!  Below you will find email signup links for all of the targeted apps.  The premise is simple – as each software releases a new version, we’ll run a workshop taught by a local industry professional or high level visiting instructor who was on the beta team and has been working with the software already for months.  They’ll know the ins and outs of all the new buttons and features, and the reasoning behind their creation.  They’ll bundle it all up into a tightly packaged demo that will be hands on.  As an attendee, you will have a workstation with the new software in front of you and have the option of working along if you like.

Several venues are being considered and the workshops will always be run essentially non-profit, with any admission $ going completely to the instructor for his/her time, and possibly a small amount to the venue for the weekend access + IT support.  We will try to partner with software companies where possible to subsidize these, and offer discounts on the software or upgrade.  I expect the typical workshop to cost less than $50 per person, and that price goes down as attendees go up.

Sign up now.  Let’s do this!  Take a second to click through below and sign up for the workshop notification list(s) you’re interested in, and watch for more info as this program gains momentum and moves forward.

Photoshop          Nuke               After Effects         Maya

Modo                  3DSMax           Houdini                  C4D

ZBrush                Mari                  Mudbox                  Syntheyes

Avid                     FCPX                Premiere Pro         Silhouette

Mocha                 Katana              Resolve                  Fusion