CG Essentials 2022

Learn the essentials of CG by creating photoreal digital assets, gaining an understanding of the shot pipeline and creating an epic shot.

26.09.2022 - 16.06.2023
Application deadline
Open for applications


CG Essentials 2022 is a 9-month full-time online programme where students will be taught the fundamentals of 2D, 3D and Grading for a CG pipeline. Through practical hands-on learning via live lessons and workshops, we’ll cover a wide range of areas including Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production: Assets and Post-Production: Shots.

We’ll also discuss other areas of the CG pipeline that are integral to the success of any project, such as Production, Editorial, Grading, R&D, Recruitment, HR, Finance and Artist Management.

To underpin each stage of the CG pipeline and to push your creative, technical and problem-solving skills, we’ll study the fundamentals and the theory behind computer graphics. We’ll study traditional skills, art, cinematography, design, storytelling, form and function. This background research will directly feed into how we approach the creation of CG assets and shots.

The outcome of the programme is to provide a strong generalist skillset enabling you to have a core understanding of a CG pipeline and an ability to apply these skills to real-world projects. You will be prepared to move into the field of specialist training that appeals to you.

Tutors and Industry Partners

This programme will be tutored by Jahirul Amin and throughout the programme, we’ll have guest tutors join us such as Jonathan Reilly, Christopher Antoniou, Ace Ruele, and interviews and discussions from industry professionals working at companies such as Clear Angle Studios, ILM, DNEG, MPC, Framestore, Rebellion Film Studios and more.


To complement the teaching, CAVE Academy are extremely proud to be working with an exceptional range of companies and individuals. Throughout the programme, they’ll be joining us for in-person review sessions, tech demos, interviews, and discussions. Working with industry will also allow us to give you first-hand contact with potential future employers from the outset.

Term One | Assets

Autumn Term Schedule: Monday 26th September 2022 – Friday 16th December 2022

Term One Overview

For Term One, we’ll be diving into the nuts and bolts of creating photoreal assets for CG. To strengthen your technical skills, we’ll also be studying the fundamentals of topics such as storytelling, cinematography, art, and colour.


The aims of this term are to give you a solid understanding of the primary tools used in the CG industry and give you the skills and knowledge to create a believable photorealistic asset. Working from a high-quality scan provided by Clear Angle Studios, you will learn to:

  • Model and UV an asset
  • Texture and create photorealistic materials
  • Light and composite your asset into a CG environment
  • Grade and edit your final shot
  • Look at upcoming and game-changing tools and technology

To underpin the technical skills, we will explore fundamental topics such as:

  • Storytelling and observation
  • Form, function, relationships, and hierarchies
  • The science behind light and matter
  • Cinematography and the Art of the Cut
  • Art history
  • Colour fundamentals

Term One Curriculum

Term Two| Integration

Spring Term Schedule: Monday 9th January 2023 – Friday 31st March 2023

Term Two Overview

For Term Two, we will push our skills on the shot-side of things to design a photorealistic shot that combines miniature work, live action shoot photography, a digital set extension, and FX. All the elements will then be tracked and comped into the plate to create a believable and high-end result.


Throughout the term, you will learn to:

  • Capture onset data for the requirements of VFX
  • Process onset data within an ACEScg colour pipeline
  • Camera and object track
  • Clean up your plates using roto and prep techniques
  • Create FX elements to ground your CG asset into the shot
  • Light, render and comp the CG into the plate
  • Grade and edit your final shot
  • Get an understanding of industry trends such as Virtual Production

To strengthen the technical skills, we will underpin the teaching by exploring fundamental topics such as:

  • Cameras and lenses
  • Green v Blue screen
  • Physics for simulation
  • Using light to push emotion
  • Using techniques from the past in the present

Term Two Curriculum

Term Three | One Shot

Summer Term Schedule: Monday 1st May 2023 – Friday 21st July 2023

Term Three Overview

For our final term, we’ll be looking to push our character creation skills and integrate the character into an epic action shot. We’ll start by breaking down the creature design, concept sculpting, topology, rigging and surfacing. Following on from this, we’ll look at creating a believable performance and photorealistic render for final presentation.

Throughout the term, you will learn:

  • Concept creature sculpting
  • Creating suitable topology for deformation
  • Creature surfacing
  • Pitchvis, Previs and Techvis
  • Creature rigging
  • Creature FX
  • Motion Capture and animation

To strengthen the technical skills, we will underpin the teaching by exploring fundamental topics such as:

  • Breaking down a script for VFX
  • Anatomy and kinesiology
  • Muscle, skin and hair
  • The principles of animation
  • Newton’s Law of Motion
  • Mindset and Acting for Animators
  • Pushing the narrative

Portfolio Guidelines

For this programme, we are looking for individuals who can demonstrate a strong work ethic, dedication and self-discipline in order to produce the highest quality work. Your CV, cover letter and portfolio should demonstrate these qualities and below are some suggestions of what we are looking to see.

  • A mixture of final and work-in-progress projects.
  • A thorough sketchbook/portfolio book demonstrating private study and your creative interests. This could be drawing, photography, fashion design, film study, etc.
  • Imagination and creativity should be informed by research; your portfolio should illustrate your working process.
  • Your interests. This could be films, artists, etc.
  • Online digital show reel, if possible, but not compulsory (no longer than 2 mins).

Schedule and Fees


The programme is broken down into the following three terms:

  • Autumn – Term One | Assets: Monday 26th September 2022 – Friday 16th December 2022
  • Spring – Term Two | Integration: Monday 9th January 2023 – Friday 31st March 2023
  • Summer – Term Three | One Shot: Monday 1st May 2023 – Friday 21st July 2023


The weekly schedule for the programme will be as follows:

  • Monday: Lectures and discussions
  • Tuesday: Workshops
  • Wednesday: Self-study, 1-to-1 supervision and industry speaker session
  • Thursday: Self-study and 1-to-1 supervision
  • Friday: Dailies and Q&A


Programme fee: £5,499.00

CG Essentials 2022 is a full-time online training programme that requires dedicated time for both attending lessons and completing the weekly assignments.

A non-refundable deposit of £350 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place. Fees can be paid in full before the programme begins, in which you will be offered a 5% discount, or spread across the 3 terms (£1,833 per term).

Hardware Requirements

Students will be expected to provide their own computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, digital tablet and pen. We recommend a Windows machine with a minimum spec of 2.5ghz quad-core CPU with 32GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GPU with 4GB of RAM. CAVE Academy will provide all necessary software for the programme. Students will also need a microphone, web-camera, and headset for live online sessions.

How to apply

To apply for this programme, please start by submitting your CV and cover letter (in a ZIP file), and your online portfolio using the below form. Please see guidelines above on what we expect to see in your portfolio. Once we have reviewed your work, a member of our team will get in touch to discuss your application and if successful, you will be invited for an online interview. During the interview, you will have an opportunity to talk about your work, your aspirations and to find out more about the programme.

  • Max. file size: 3 GB.