Visual effects is the process by which imagery is created or manipulated outside the context of a live-action shot in filmmaking and video production. VFX is no longer considered a fascinating and mysterious process, but today, this technology is available to us all. It helps you create believable new backgrounds or landscapes, scenery, and objects to enhance visual effects in the story.

Following is a handpicked list of the Free Best Online Visual effect Courses & Certifications to gather knowledge about this subject. The list contains both open source (free) and commercial (paid) courses.

Best Online Visual Effect Courses

Course Name Provider Duration Key Topics Link
VFX: Complete Houdini Bootcamp Udemy 13 hours on-demand video VFX Houdini Bootcamp Learn More
Fundamentals of VFX Udemy 3 hours on-demand video Fundamentals of VFX Learn More
VFX Techniques: Creating Particle Effects LinkedIn Self-placed Creating Particle Effects Learn More
VFX Keying: Master Course LinkedIn Self-placed VFX Keying Learn More
After Effects CC: Beginner's Guide to VFX Visual Effects Udemy 4.5 hours on-demand video Beginner's Guide to VFX Learn More
VFX Basics: Moving from After Effects to Nuke Udemy 1hr 14min of on-demand video After Effects to Nuke Learn More
Maya 2018 VFX - Learn to create Visual effects using Maya Udemy 12.5 hours on-demand video Visual effects using Maya Learn More
VFX Compositing with After Effects: The Complete Edition Udemy 2 hours on-demand video VFX Compositing Learn More
Creating a Short Film: 09 VFX Environments LinkedIn Self-placed Creating a Short Film Learn More
VFX Post Production: Rendered Passes and Channels Creative Live 15h 28m of class content Post Production Learn More
Learn Visual Effects: Adobe After Effects / PFTrack / 3dsMax Skillshare 4.22 hours. Adobe After Effects / PFTrack / 3dsMax Learn More

1) VFX: Complete Houdini Bootcamp

Houdini is a VFX application that is used in VFX, 3D animation, and game studios. This software helps you to create high-quality effects like fire, water, explosions, and sand. At the end of this VFX online training, you will learn how to use it for making games and graphics in game engines like Unreal engine or Unity.

Key topics:

  • Learn how to create professional explosions.
  • Solid knowledge on how to use Houdini.
  • Learn how to create realistic oceans.
  • How to use flip fluid solver inside Houdini.
  • Learn how to make a rain effect.

Features:

  • 14 articles
  • 31 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

Rating: 4.5

Duration: 13 hours on-demand video

Price/Fee: $18.99

Provider: Udemy

Level: Beginner

Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/houdini-create-full-cg-chocolate-commercial-in-houdini/


2) Fundamentals of VFX

Fundamentals of VFX is a course that sets the bar extremely high for visual effects artists. It is not easy to drop a 3D model into your composition, adjust the contrast, and change colors effectively. By learning this VFX training online class, you will be able to create realistic visual effects that take a lot of time to create.

Key topics:

  • Understanding of how Visual Effects are created.
  • You will learn what is needed to create photorealistic effects.
  • Learn about advanced VFX techniques like 3D Camera Projection, Deep Compositing, Planar Tracking.

Features:

  • 13 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Digital Certificate on completion

Rating: 4.0

Duration: 3 hours on-demand video

Price/Fee: $14.99

Provider: Udemy

Level: Beginner

Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/fundamentals-of-vfx/


3) VFX Techniques: Creating Particle Effects

VFX Techniques is a new course on particle effects for creating realistic situations like smoke, fire, explosions, and other natural phenomena.

The course designer Lanier teaches you Harry Potter movie-style special effects. This VFX class also explains how to develop particles with After Effect's built-in plugins, adjust your appearance, and color the scene to create a particular magical mood.

Key topics:

  • Breakdown of final comps
  • Prepping and Repairing the Plate
  • Working with particles
  • Relighting the Scene
  • Motion Tracking Damage
  • Creating Smoke, Sparks, Blasts
  • Working with Green Screen and Clean Plates

Features:

  • 1 project file
  • Access to tablet and phone
  • Digital certificate on completion

Duration: Self-placed

Price/Fee: Free

Provider: Linkedin

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/vfx-techniques-creating-particle-effects


4) VFX Keying: Master Course

VFX keying course offers the most comprehensive and detailed VFX training ever produced on keying, covering every aspect of the VFX keying. You can follow along with NUKE software. The designer of this Visual FX tutorial Steve Wright introduces various types of compositing workflows and numerous tips, tricks, and different types of techniques.

Key topics:

  • Keying Workflow
  • How to process the Green Screen
  • Work with other types of keys
  • How to build the Uber key
  • Spill Suppression
  • How to do color correcting
  • Workflow Examples
  • Fixing Edge Problems

Features:

  • Unlimited library access
  • Certificate on completion

Provider: Linkedin

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/vfx-keying-master-course


5) After Effects CC: Beginner's Guide to VFX Visual Effects

After Effects CC: Beginner's Guide to VFX Visual Effects offers you a complete guide for each perspective effect of VFX. It emphasizes exploring and understanding the effects. The methods in this course help you to get better results from an effect.

This special effect course helps you to become a master of visual effects. You will also gain the knowledge and skills to tackle and work with many visual effects. All the examples and techniques about this course are researched and explained in detail.

Key topics:

  • Understand the concepts behind Visual Effects in After Effects
  • Work and Animate the Perspective Visual Effects Group
  • Create full Projects Using Various Effects, Videos, and Graphics
  • How to create awesome Visual Effects Animations/Cinemas

Features:

  • 14 articles
  • 13 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access to mobile and TV

Rating: 4.6

Duration: 4.5 hours on-demand video

Price/Fee: $15.99

Provider: Udemy

Level: Beginner

Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/visual-effects-in-after-effects/


6) VFX Basics: Moving from After Effects to Nuke

This beginner-level Visual effect course helps you get a head start with Nuke's interface or even helps you transition your compositing skills from After Effects. This VFX training online course is ideal for Film students and graduates interested in Visual effects and postproduction.

Key topics:

  • How to navigate and use basic nodes in Nuke
  • Understand the functional differences between After Effects and Nuke
  • Translate compositing skills from After Effects to do compositing with the help of industry software Nuke

Features:

  • Online video content
  • Instructor Q&A
  • Instructor direct message

Rating: 4.0

Duration: 1hr 14min of on-demand video

Price/Fee: Free

Provider: Udemy

Certificate of completion: Yes

Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/vfx-basics-moving-from-after-effects-to-nuke/


7) Maya 2018 VFX - Learn to create Visual effects using Maya

This visual effects online course helps you to learn how to create Visual effects using Maya. You will learn how to match your real camera's movement on the computer using Autodesk Matchmover software, available for FREE. This visual course helps you to create your shots using the same workflow.

Key topics:

  • Learn the VFX pipeline for a shot.
  • Matches move or track a camera's motion in Matchmover.
  • Learn basic hard surface modeling.
  • Composite using Nuke.

Features:

Rating: 4.1

Duration: 12.5 hours on-demand video

Price/Fee: $12.99

Provider: Udemy

Level: Intermediate

Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/maya-2018-vfx/


8) VFX Compositing with After Effects: The Complete Edition

VFX Compositing with After Effects is a course that talks about the key areas of visual effects production and explain complicated and technical concepts in an easy-to-understand method. This video effects online class makes your learning experience exciting and engaging.

Key topics:

  • 1 article
  • 6 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access to mobile and TV

Features:

  • 1 article
  • 6 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access to mobile and TV

Rating: 3.8

Duration: 2 hours on-demand video

Price/Fee: $14.99

Provider: Udemy

Certificate of completion: Yes

Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/vfx-compositing-with-after-effects-the-complete-edition/


9) Creating a Short Film: 09 VFX Environments

Creating a Short Film is an online VFX course where course designer Chad Perkins showcases what it takes to create a short film. This free special effect course explains the brainstorming stage all the way until opening night. This course explains how to use important tools like Mocha Pro and After Effects (AE) to create a compelling and believable world for your film.

This VFX course explains compositing and keying basics and how to remove objects with both AE and Mocha Pro.

Key topics:

  • The World of VFX
  • How to create great key
  • Motion Tracking and Other Core Skills
  • How to create CG Worlds
  • Creating Aerial Shots and Helmet Shot
  • Rotoscoping Out Characters
  • Creating Finale Scene
  • Shooting Visual Effects Shots

Features:

  • 1 project file
  • Access to tablet and phone
  • Certificate on completion

Price/Fee: Free

Provider: Linkedin

Level: Intermediate

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/creating-a-short-film-09-vfx-environments


10) VFX Postproduction: Rendered Passes and Channels

In this VFX online course, you will explore the step-by-step process of making a film from start to finish. You will also learn about storyboard, script, location scout, and cast films. This visual effect class also talks about the light you want for the shots, whether you are working with available light or gels and diffusion.

Key topics:

  • Writing Your Story
  • Script Breakdown and Shooting Schedules
  • Finding Cast and Crew
  • VFX in Pre-Production

Features:

  • 41 Video lessons in HD
  • Offers lifetime access, anywhere, anytime
  • Offline access on desktop and mobile
  • Offline sync with your iPhone & iPad devices

Rating: $29

Duration: 15h 28m of class content

Price/Fee: $29

Provider: Creative live

Level:

Link: https://www.creativelive.com/class/guerilla-filmmaking-ryan-connolly/lessons/vfx-post-production-rendered-passes-and-channels


11) Learn Visual Effects: Adobe After Effects / PFTrack / 3dsMax

This VFX course will give you all the building blocks that allow you to start using Adobe After Effects,3dsMax, and PFTrack to develop world-class visual effects. This video effects online course helps you to develop visual effects landscapes and the Gaming world!

After each chapter, you will be given a mint project that helps you to understand everything covered in that specific chapter to move on to the next chapter.

Key topics:

  • Creating Geometry
  • Subdivision Modeling
  • Animation and Keyframes
  • Texturing and the Material Editor
  • The Active-shade and the V-ray Renderer
  • How to use MassFX Physics Engine
  • Learn about Lighting and Shadows
  • The Graph Editor
  • Importing 3D Models
  • How to use Tracking Data from PFTrack

Duration: 4h 22m

Price/Fee: $29

Provider: Skillshare

Link: https://www.skillshare.com/classes/Learn-Visual-Effects-Adobe-After-Effects-PFTrack-3dsMax/551228387

FAQ:

💻 Where can you learn VFX online training for free?

You can learn VFX online courses from online learning websites like 1) Udemy, 2) LinkedIn, 3) SkillShare, 4) Creative Live and, 5) Coursera

❓ Is Blender good for VFX?

Yes, Blender is a good 3D computer graphics software application for developing visual effects, animation, games, and more. It is one of the best VFX software that allows you to import or export videos in MPEG, QuickTime, and AVI file formats.

⚡ Which skills are required in order to become a VFX compositing artist?

Here are some important skills for becoming a good VFX artist:

  • Visual Aesthetics
  • Drawing skill of shapes and figures
  • Sculpture & Anatomy
  • Mechanics and Movement
  • Real-world observation

🏅 How long will it take you to learn a VFX course?

The duration of the VFX course depends on the course type and the level of the course. There are many self-placed learning courses available in the market that allow you to learn at your own time.

❗ What is the main difference between Animation and VFX?

Here are some major differences between animation and VFX:

Definition Animation is a graphical design technique of applying illusions to the painting/ drawings/videos of puppet/cartoon pictures. VFX is a technique applied to real things, human beings, and scenes/ frames/ footage.
Software Autodesk Maya and 3Ds Max Nuke, Adobe After Effects, Autodesk Maya and 3Ds Max.
Applied On On pictures or drawings of cartoons/puppets. Real things/scenes/ people.
Applications Animated websites, Cartoon series, advertising campaigns. All Films and Documentaries.
Job Roles Animator, 3D Modeler, Graphic Designer, etc. VFX Artist, Lighting Artist, Layout Artist, etc.

 

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