VFX 200 Introduction to Visual Effects

Christopher Olsen

Office: CDM 632A
Spring 2020-2021
Class number: 30783
Section number: 601
Th 1:30PM - 4:45PM
OLSYN CH000 Online Campus

Download syllabus


  • Description: Introduction to the fundamental techniques, use, history, and methodologies of visual effects production, explored through a variety of compositing and effects-based projects.
  • Topics will include: Photographic principles, Green Screen, Compositing, Rotoscope, Basic Animation and more.


Reading Materials (all are available via D2L)

  • The VES Handbook of Visual Effects, Chapter 1 “Introduction”
  • The Art and Science of Digital Compositing, Chapter 2 “Learning to See”
  • The Visual Effects Producer, Chapter 2 “Digital Effects: The 15 Minute Version”
  • The Visual Effects Producer, Chapter 3 “Who You Gonna Call: The VFX Team”
  • The Art and Science of Digital Compositing, Chapter 3 “The Digital Representation of Visual Information”


There are NO course prerequisites. However, this is an online course, and you will need at a minimum:

  • Frequent access to a Mac or Windows computer that connects to the Internet, with the following suggested technical specifications: Intel® 7thGen CPU or equivalent, 16 GB of RAM, Graphics card with 4GB+ VRAM, 1920 x 1080 or greater monitor resolution, 30GB disk space for installation. (Specifications lower than this should be tested in advance of class to ensure a good experience. Instructions to find out the specifications of your system are available here: Finding Out Your Technical Specifications)
  • A working e-mail account that you check regularly (and is updated in Campus Connect)
  • Adobe Creative Cloud software (and more specifically: After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop and Media Encoder.)

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