VFX 490 Advanced Topics in Visual Effects

Christopher Olsen

Office: CDM 632A
Fall 2020-2021
Class number: 16129
Section number: 401
Tu 1:30PM - 4:45PM
OLSYN CH000 Online Campus

Download syllabus




Boost your lighting and cinematic skills for Games, Animation and VFX with Emmy®-winning Filmmaker (and veteran VeggieTales® Director) Chris Olsen, in this first ever Virtual Cinematography offering this Fall!


Course Description:

Learn real world cinematic techniques within a computer graphics environment and use digital tools to design and refine your shot framing, lensing, and overall look, through a variety of compelling creative lighting and camera exercises.


Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze usage of camerawork and lighting in historical and contemporary film.
  • Identify real world lighting cues to help guide CG to match live footage for VFX shots.
  • Discuss creative camera and lighting solutions for CGI/VFX projects.
  • Critique CG cinematography and lighting content.
  • Compose, light, and render camera shots for CGI/VFX projects.


Primary Software:

Autodesk Maya;

Suggested Prerequisites:

  • ANI 230 - 3D Design and Modeling
  • VFX200 – Intro to Visual Effects

Feel free to reach out with any questions!

Chris Olsen


Suggested Prerequisites:

  • ANI 230 - 3D Design and Modeling
  • VFX200 – Intro to Visual Effects


School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296