CG Essentials | Assets 2023

Learn the essentials of CG to create photoreal digital assets for VFX and animation.

06.02.2023 - 30.04.2023
Application deadline
Enrol on Programme for £1,950


CG Essentials | Assets 2023 is a 12-week live and online programme where students will be taught the fundamentals of 3D and 2D to create photoreal assets for VFX and animation. Through practical hands-on learning via live lessons and workshops, we’ll cover a wide range of topics covering the asset creation process.


Throughout the programme, 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. This includes traditional skills, art, cinematography, design, storytelling, function and form. This background research will directly feed into how we approach the creation of CG assets.

The outcome of the programme is to provide you with a strong generalist skillset enabling you to have a core understanding of a CG asset pipeline and an ability to apply these skills to real-world projects.

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 and Christopher Antoniou, and interviews and discussions from industry professionals working at companies such as Clear Angle Studios, ILM, DNEG, MPC, Framestore, beloFX, Rebellion Film Studios, BlueBolt, Union VFX 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.


The programme is broken down into the following three modules:

  • Module 1001 | Modelling and Sculpting: 06th February 2023 – 05th March 2023
  • Module 1002 | Texturing and Look Development: 06th March 2023 – 02nd April 2023
  • Module 1003 | Lighting and Compositing: 03rd April 2023 – 30th April 2023


The weekly schedule for the programme will be as follows:

  • Monday: Lectures and discussions, 3hrs
  • Tuesday: Workshops, 3hrs
  • Wednesday: Self-study, 1-to-1 supervision, industry speaker session, 3hrs+
  • Thursday: Self-study and 1-to-1 supervision, 3hrs+
  • Friday: Dailies and Q&A, 3hrs

Module 1001 | Modelling and Sculpting

For Module 1001, 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, observation, and function over form.


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 model. Working from a high-quality scan provided by Clear Angle Studios, you will learn to:

  • Use 3d applications including Maya and ZBrush
  • Modelling tools and techniques
  • Sculpting workflows in ZBrush and generating displacement and normal maps
  • UV unwrapping


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

  • Storytelling and observation
  • Form, function, relationships, and hierarchies
  • Teamwork and softskills

Weekly Breakdown

Module 1002 | Texturing and Look Development

For Module 1002, we will push our skills on the surfacing side of things, with a primary focus on texturing and look development. We’ll start by learning about the fundamentals of light and matter before analysing materials to give us a foundation in texture and shader creation. We’ll then dive into a number of applications and use photography as the basis for the development of the look of our asset.


Throughout the term, you will learn to:

  • Create shaders
  • Create textures using photography and hand painted techniques
  • Work within a controlled look development environment
  • Test your look in multiple lighting scenarios
  • Optimise your textures, shaders and renders


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

  • Light and matter
  • Analysing physical materials
  • Understanding how the cameras sees the world
  • The importance of lenses
  • Real world look development v digital look development

Weekly Breakdown

Module 1003 | Lighting and Compositing

For our final Module, our focus will be to light and composite our asset into a photographic backplate. We’ll first get our hands on with digital lighting before breaking down a shot, how it was captured and how we can then re-create the lighting digitally. We’ll then take all the elements, inculding the AOVs, and piece the shot back together in compositing to create a final unified set of photoreal images.


Throughout the term, you will learn to:

  • Work with digital lights
  • Break down a HDRI for VFX lighting
  • Light a digital asset within a photoreal plate
  • Composite your digital asset into a photoreal plate
  • Bring all the elements together in Resolve


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

  • Visual Language and Artistic Principles
  • Cinematography
  • Colour fundamentals
  • Presenting your work professionally

Weekly Breakdown

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.

Students will also need a microphone, web-camera, and headset for live online sessions. CAVE Academy will provide all necessary software for the programme.


Programme fee: £1,950.00

Fees can be paid in full before the programme begins, in which you will be offered a 5% discount.

You can also pay in installments. After an initial 20% deposit (£390.00), the payment plan will allow you to spread the remaining cost over 2 equal further installments (£780 each). Payments will be requested 20 days apart.


If you have any questions, please get in touch and we’d be happy to organise a video meeting to discuss the programme: