CG Essentials | Shots 2023

The programme will teach you the essentials of the Post-Production Shot pipeline to create a photoreal images for VFX.

03.07.2023 - 24.09.2023
Application deadline
Enrol on Programme for £1,950


CG Essentials | Shots 2023 is a 12-week live and online programme where students will be taught the fundamentals of 3D and 2D to integrate CG assets with photographic backplates. We’ll also cover the process of replacing greenscreen with a digital environment and adding subtle FX to bring all the elements of the shot together. Through practical hands-on learning via live lessons and workshops, we’ll work through a wide range of topics covering the shot 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 VFX shots.

The outcome of the programme is to provide you with a strong generalist skillset enabling you to have a core understanding of a VFX shot 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 | Shot Preparation: 03rd July 2023 – 30th July 2023
  • Module 1002 | Shot Creation: 31st July 2023 – 27th August 2023
  • Module 1003 | Shot Finishing: 28th August 2023 – 24th September 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 | Shot Preparation

For Module 1001, we’ll be focussing on  prepping the plate and tracking the shot. Matching the movement of the digital camera to the shoot camera is integral to ensuring our CG assets sit within the plate believably.

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 shot. You will learn to:

  • Use 3d applications including Maya, 3DEqualizer and Nuke
  • Plate cleanup techniques using Nuke
  • Camera tracking tools and techniques
  • Object tracking workflows

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

  • Working with greenscreen footage
  • Understanding cameras and lenses
  • The fundamentals of tracking

Weekly Breakdown

Module 1002 | Shot Creation

For Module 1002, we will push our skills on the shot creation side of things. We’ll start by blocking out the 3d environment andadding 3D elements into the shot. For here, we’ll animate our CG asset to sit within the plate. We’ll then continue to complete our 3d environment by adding more detail and FX elements to bring the shot together.

Throughout the term, you will learn to:

  • Block out a shot
  • Animate CG assets
  • Create 3D environment assets and use library assets
  • Strengthen a shot by assing subtle FX elements

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

  • Shot composition
  • The principles of animation
  • Observing the world to create believable environments
  • Physics for FX

Weekly Breakdown

Module 1003 | Shot Finishing

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 renders.

Throughout the term, you will learn to:

  • Create a matte painting to fit with the 3d environment and the backplate
  • Work with HDRIs for VFX shot lighting
  • Match grade CG to plate photography
  • Composite 2D photographic elements into our shot
  • Multi-pass CG compositing
  • Complete the shot with a final grade

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

  • Perspectiveand projections
  • Light and shadow
  • Cinematography
  • Colour fundamentals
  • Understanding the camera (lens distortion, bokeh, grain and defocus)
  • 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: