Melbourne-based CG Spectrum College today announced half a million dollars worth of scholarships in film and game subjects for their 2016-2017 scholarship season. The places will be linked to paid industry internships in award-winning local studios.
Applicants will choose from six accredited online diplomas across animation, concept art, visual effects, programming, 3D modelling and compositing, with the best students joining paid internships with industry partners League of Geeks. Talks are underway with local vfx studios to do the same.
Scholarship partners from 2015’s season, Iloura VFX, who recently won an Emmy for their work on Game of Thrones Battle of the Bastards sequence, have already started hiring CG Spectrum students.
CG Student Amanda in a portfolio review with Iloura VFX. She was recently offered a contract at the studio.
Securing paid internships with top local studios was a crucial part of the initiative. “There is a lot of abuse going on in the internship space at the moment, and we’re proud to partner with studios that actively go against that,” said Jeff Pepper, co-founder and Head of School.
“Close studio ties are what make CG Spectrum different,” said co-founder and Oscar-winning animator Nick Fredin. “Teaching online allows us to enlist instructors directly from the industry, and many of our mentors teach while still working at studios like Disney, Iloura and Bioware.”
League of Geeks, Australian Game Studio of the Year 2016 and creator of the multi-award-winning Armello, are offering three 6-month paid placements in Programming, Concept Art or Animation, choosing from the best of the scholarship intake. “Independent studios are doing some of the most creative work in games at the moment,” said Blake Mizzi, Director and cofounder of the studio. “We want the next generation of game developers to be excited about making games in Australia, and to make sure we're growing our best talent with opportunities here.”
League of Geeks accepting Australian Studio of the Year at the Australian Game Developer Awards 2016
CG Spectrum’s first batch of Australian students began in 2015, and several have already secured industry opportunities before their January 2017 graduation dates. Luma Pictures, the Melbourne & Santa Monica studio behind VFX for Dr Strange, Deadpool and The Avengers recently chose CG student Subhaan Asif as one of just two Australians to fly to Fiji with their team for their internship program.
“The quality of teaching and teachers at CG Spectrum is second to none,” said Subhaan. “I’m not only learning the essentials of VFX but also key networking tips from my mentor. In my opinion this is the closest to giving me actual industry experience since I’m working alongside an industry vet whilst being taught the fundamentals of my trade.”
Iloura VFX offered paid internships through CG Spectrum as part of their 2015 scholarship run, but recently made the decision to forgo internships and hire students outright. Amanda*, who was set to graduate in January, recently secured a contract at their South Melbourne studio. “CG understands the importance of a strong reel and supported me with great feedback and assets to use in mine, which I used to win a contract with Iloura,” said Amanda.
Half of the scholarships will be reserved for women and those from underrepresented populations, and CG Spectrum is actively seeking related communities and organisations to partner with them on seeking candidates. “We don’t see this as token diversity. We want to see those places filled, and we’re willing to tweak the programme to suit the needs of the communities who want to apply,” said Jeff Pepper. “Being online also means there’s a huge opportunity for rural candidates who may not always have the means to move to cities.”
While a relatively new entrant to the Australian education landscape, CG Spectrum’s Canadian school began in 2011, and saw a 90% placement rate for its online visual effects courses. Students learn online, but have individual live feedback sessions with their mentor, who works directly within their files, enabling them to see firsthand how professionals complete tasks. “I still use the workflow techniques I learned at CG Spectrum to this day as a professional,” said Lawrence Zalasky, a Canadian alumni who recently worked on Batman Vs. Superman.
The first round of scholarship applications is now open, and closes on the 14th of December. A second round will open in mid-2017. Interested applicants can register at cgspectrum.edu.au/