Australian FX house Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) has shared one of the success stories from their 12-week intensive visual effects training program, Adelaide native Mike Ring, who left his good job at a financial services firm in Melbourne six years ago to go back to school.
Ring was looking for something more creative to do, so after earning a degree in design, animation and interactive media from RMIT University, he took RSP’s Graduate Certificate in Dynamic Effects and Lighting in conjunction with the University of South Australia (UniSA). After completing the course, Ring was hired by a local visual effects studio working as an artist on a character-driven VFX project.
More recently, Ring returned to RSP to work as a full-time technical assistant, writing software scripts to automate parts of the animation process, which requires technical savvy, problem-solving skills and creativity.
He credits his experience in RSP’s training program for an easy transition to full-time employment: “My previous university training was excellent in terms of learning the principals of design, and gaining exposure to different areas of animation, but RSP prepared me for industry,” he observes. “I learned how a studio pipeline works, where I fit in, and how to showcase myself to potential employers. By the end of the course, I knew I was ready.”
“I’m building custom tools for senior animators,” he added. “There are new challenges every day. It’s great fun and I’m loving it.”
RSP’s training courses are taught by working professionals—senior artists with credits on studio blockbusters—and classes mimic a real-world studio environment. Students work in teams with digital assets from actual film and television productions with very high expectations
“My instructors were very supportive but also very demanding. The pace was quick, but I was motivated and managed to keep up and get my work done by the end of each day,” Ring said about taking RSP’s program, which was inspired after seeing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and the work done by RSP’s VFX team on it. “When I was contacted by the other visual effects studio, they asked if I was interested in learning creature effects. It wasn’t dynamic effects, but it involved the same software, so I said yes. I loved it and am now hoping to do more creature work at RSP. In visual effects, the pathways aren’t always direct. It’s important to be open to learning and expanding your horizons.”
“In this industry, there are always innovations, new software and new techniques to learn,” Ring says about his continued learning experience at RSP. “I even keep a copy of The Visual Effects Society Handbook on my desk and whenever I have downtime, I pick it up. I can’t imagine ever being bored.”
“I take great pride in my work,” he says with no regrets about his choice to change career path. “The first time I saw a shot I’d worked on up on a movie screen, I was thrilled. At that moment, I knew that all the hard work had paid off.”
You can learn more about Rising Sun Pictures and its training programs at RSP.com.au.