CGMA Courses Picked Just for You

Check out a selection of CGMA's top-notch courses featured this week.

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CG Master Academy is committed to creating courses to help artists in today's ever-changing industry and environment. The instructors bring the necessary skills and experience to the table, while the CGMA team works to provide you with the most up-to-date curriculum and content.

Take a look below at CGMA's featured courses this week. These courses are a selection representing our many tracks, designed to guide students to develop a solid understanding of the field's core principles, tools, and techniques. All of their classes encourage artists to learn from and train with the best online arts education.

If you have any questions regarding registration or portfolio review requests, please contact the CGMA Admissions Department at or 1 (800) 959-0316.

Grooming for VFX

w/ Kristin Farrensteiner

In this course, students will discover the basics of grooming. Students will create 2 major groom projects, one haircut and one animal/creature. They will learn from scratch how to anticipate a groom, discover different grooming tools, and will be able to face common "big productions" situations. They will also take a look at the look-dev and texturing part of grooming.


Lighting and Shading for Film Production

w/ Frederic Durand

This course focuses on lighting, shading, and rendering in Arnold for Maya for feature films. Students will set up a simple lighting scene and learn the differences between Direct vs Indirect Illumination, light typologies, and designations. They will learn high-level transmissive materials: refraction, caustics, sub-surface scattering, and mixing materials. Students will take the skills they’ve learned and composite various elements together, reconstruct lighting and shading using Nuke, and cover good rendering strategies.


Motion Graphics

w/ Ferdinando Spagnolo

Motion Graphics is the perfect course for those taking a fresh leap into the world of motion graphics, those wanting to sharpen their existing skills, and everyone in between. Covering the fundamental principles that go into making exceptional motion graphics — concept, design, animation, 3D design, rendering and compositing — this course has been created with professional output in mind. The key to creating outstanding work is nailing these three key areas: concept, design, and execution. This course will cover the core processes involved in conceptualizing and executing a motion graphics sequence, using tried and tested industry-standard methods.


Organic Design in Houdini

w/ Sebastien Marsais

In Organic Design in Houdini, you’ll learn to use the power of Houdini to implement complex effects in an efficient way. During these 6 weeks, you'll see a bunch of different setups you can use to master motion design through several practical examples from scratch to compositing. After this class, you'll be able to play with the software with a clear idea of the techniques behind each effect, and then unleash your own creativity!


Organic World Building in UE4

w/ Anthony Vaccaro

In this course, students will create a game level from scratch in UE4. The course will cover UE4’s object placement and layout basics, foliage systems, and lighting systems. The course will help students better understand level and environment workflows, as well as how level designers, game designers, and environment artists fit into the game pipeline.


Previs for Film Production

w/ Bevin Carnes

In this course, students will learn the basics of previsualization shot creation. From composing shots to animating cameras to doing quick, efficient character animation and compositing, students will learn the skills needed to enable them to help today’s top filmmakers transform their stories from rough storyboards to fully-realized previsualization that is often not far from the finished product. Previs is increasingly becoming an integral part of the production process, helping filmmakers save time and money by having a very solid idea of what the film will look like even before production begins. Shot creators are often given a lot of freedom to design shots and to be an important part of the storytelling process.


Texturing and Surfacing for Films/Cinematics

w/ Chris Nichols

This intermediate-level class will focus on creating high-resolution textures and shaders with a film/cinematic approach. The texturing specifically will focus on a creature bust, pin-pointing major detail areas such as facial skin, teeth, gums, lips, and ears. Students will also be focusing on the more difficult and intricate portions of texturing, such as skin details and man-made materials.


Vegetation and Plants for Games

w/ Tragan Monaghan

During this course, students are going to create an environment for games, with a heavy focus on vegetation and plants. Over the course of 6 weeks, you will be going over the creation of plants, trees, rocks, and a few blend textures, importing them into the Unreal Development Kit and composing a final, lit scene. You will be using various tools, including Maya, Zbrush, Substance, and the Unreal Development Kit to accomplish the goals. The instructor will provide his own examples and help the students to narrow their style and focus on specific details that will help to create a stronger final piece. The class will discuss colors, composition, and shape language in order to form a cohesive look. This will serve as a valuable learning exercise that can then translate directly to modern studios. At the end of the class, students will have a final piece that can be used for their portfolio and a knowledge that will serve as a great foundation for their careers in games.


VEX in Houdini

w/ Johannes Richter

This course is a comprehensive introduction to the use of VEX in Houdini. Some of what you’ll learn includes: implementing collision deformers, Laplacian and Taubin smoothing, Perlin Noise, and implementing our own fBM noise, different shaders in VEX, volume manipulation, pyroclastic noise, terrain erosion, and more.


VFX Set Extensions

w/ Paul McWilliams

This 8-week course provides an in-depth look at the process for creating set extensions used in film and television. During this course, students will create a visual effects (VFX) set extension with a focus on 3D environment creation and matt painting integration. The course is suitable for someone looking to develop their 3D Generalist skills. Skills covered in the course will be layout, modeling, 3D/2D texturing, projection material setup, shot look development, VFX lighting, 2½D matte painting (DMP), and render pass compositing.


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