What is Stage 03 VFX?
Amarillo College partnered with the VFX industry leaders at Semkhor to create Stage 03 VFX - a state-of-the-art online accredited visual effects program at a very competitive price point. Stage 03 VFX students can earn an Associates of Applied Science Degree or an Academic Certificate. Alternatively, those who simply want to increase their skills without enrolling in an academic program can earn non-academic continuing education (CE) credits for individual classes.
Will I learn to create visual effects?
Of course! We offer in-depth courses that progress on all avenues of visual effects, from modeling and shading, matte painting, tracking and roto, rigging, animation and motion-capture, rendering and compositing. Your graduation reel, along with your class explorations and thesis work, will reflect your proficiency in visual effects that you can use in job applications to studios.
How do we differ from other schools, programs or video tutorials?
Stage 03 VFX offers many distinct advantages to other schools and online video services. Stage 03 VFX offers actual, accredited college degrees and certificates, not unofficial graduation PDFs. We have unparalleled industry connections and social gatherings. The faculty offer decades of experience and mentorship on how to improve and become the best artist you can be. The Stage 03 VFX advantage does not stop at graduation either. Your status as alumni offers lifetime career counseling services, cover letter assistance, demo reel feedback and much more.
Will I receive individual feedback on my work?
Absolutely. Every student in Stage 03 VFX classes will follow along with the video instruction files and complete the required homework assignments and projects. VFX industry veterans grade your work and give you individual, custom feedback and guide you on the career path of your choice.
Can I take all my courses remotely?
Yes. All Stage 03 VFX courses can be completed online, allowing students to reside anywhere there is a stable and reliable internet connection.
Can I speak to my instructor in real-time?
Of course! Our class instructors hold regular office hours that you can join via video conference. Many avenues of communication are available to students enrolled in the courses.
What experience do the instructors have?
Program instructors are veteran industry professionals with years of film and commercial work experience. This experience advantage is invaluable to deliver expert and up-to-date feedback and guidance to students.
Do I need prior experience to begin the program?
You do not. All classes and curriculum will provide ample opportunity to build foundational skills. However, those with some experience in the field who wish to enhance existing skills will also benefit.
Are there guest artists, actors and filmmakers and creators?
Hollywood actors, directors and producers enjoy a strong partnership with Stage 03 VFX, and these close relationships offer a unique advantage and experience for students. You can expect guest artists, actors and filmmakers to hold screenings, Q&A sessions, industry presentations and more for Stage 03 VFX students.
Will I have a demo reel to show upon completion of the program?
Yes, depending on the concentration of work, you may have a student film to distribute, visual effects shots to compile together, or a mixture of the two in order to distribute to potential clients, studios and job opportunities. The faculty and staff at Amarillo College will help each student build and tailor their reel for the target audience before graduation.
What are my job prospects after completion of the program?
Successful graduates from the program are fast-tracked to a variety of career choices from studio leads to VFX digital artists, computer graphics supervisors, and VFX supervisors.
What is the difference between VFX, Motion Design and Animation?
Although the three industries share a great deal in respect to skill-sets and software, there are some distinct differences. With visual effects, the focus is on photo-realism and the integration of live-action photography. Examples of this would be science fiction and fantasy movies. Animation normally has no live-action photography and is normally not concerned with photo-realism. Examples of this would be Disney and Pixar movies. Motion Design incorporates film, visual effects, and animation coupled with the aspect of graphic design. Examples of this would be broadcast sport animation and television commercials.
Is this an accredited program?
Yes! Amarillo College—which has been serving students since 1929—is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees and certificates. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Amarillo College.
How do I apply?
Steps to apply for the degree or certificate program can be found here: www.actx.edu/enroll/ Steps to apply for Continuing Education classes can be found here: https://www.actx.edu/ce/classes/login.php
What kind of credentials can I get?
Students have the opportunity to earn an Associate Degree or an Academic Certificate. We also offer Continuing Education (CE) courses which provide CEU credits upon completion that can be articulated toward a degree or certificate later, if you so choose.
  • • Visual Effects Certificate
  • • Visual Effects Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree
  • • Continuing Education credits
What is the difference between "Academic" and "Continuing Education (CE)" classes?
Whether you choose the academic degree/certificate route or the continuing education (CE) route, the classes are exactly the same! In order to take academic courses, you must be enrolled as a student at Amarillo College (complete the application for admission, etc.), while CE classes only require you to sign up for the class itself. You can take the CE classes you're interested in but there is no academic credit given, however you still get to complete the projects and build your professional portfolio.
Additionally, academic courses are eligible for financial aid while CE classes are not. Academic classes will cost less since they receive partial funding by the State of Texas.
What's the difference between the AAS degree and a certificate?
The Associate of Applied Science degree prepares students for project supervisor positions in the VFX industry with additional general education coursework necessary for an associate degree such as math, science and english classes. The Visual Effects Certificate prepares students for positions in the VFX industry without the additional coursework necessary for an associate degree.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The Visual Effects Certificate program requires 30 credit hours (two semesters). The Visual Effects Associate of Applied Science program requires 60 credit hours (four semesters). During the fall and spring semesters students can earn up to 15 hours during each 8-week semester and an additional 6 hours per summer term.
How long are the average classes?
Stage 03 VFX's standard classes follow the semester model of Amarillo College. There are two 8-week terms per fall and spring semester, and one 8 week term per summer. Instructors are available outside of class for additional consultation.
How many classes do I take per semester?
There is no minimum number of courses a student can take. However, students are encouraged to take 15 hours (5 courses per semester) as this has been shown to increase success rates for degree-seeking students. Enrollment options and class structure varies between programs. For more information about courses and registration, give us a call or set up an appointment to chat.
Can I enroll in this program part-time?
Yes, students may enroll on a full- or part-time basis. You can enroll with the intention to complete the entire program, or simply take one class to enhance your skills.
Can I take just one class?
How much does it cost?
A degree from Amarillo College costs approximately one-third of the average tuition for a four-year institution. The overall cost of a student's education depends upon the number of semester hours they are taking and their place of residence. For a breakdown of costs, please visit: actx.edu/business-services/tuition-basic-fees
CE classes are $1299 per class.
Is financial aid available?
Yes. Financial aid awards for academic programs are made on the basis of financial need, academic progress, achievement, or other qualifications required by the donors of the funds. For more information about financial aid, please visit actx.edu/fin/. Financial aid is not currently available for CE courses.
Can I take a tour of the College?
Tours of Amarillo College campuses are available throughout the academic year. Interested students should complete the online tour request form found here: actx.edu/contact/campus-tour. Or, take part in the virtual tour offered here: actx.edu/nhm/pagesmith/3. Students also have the opportunity to tour the campus during in-person New Student Orientation.
Do I need to be fluent in English?
If you need to improve your English, Amarillo College's English as a Second Language (ESL) 'Career Ready You' program is the place for you! Amarillo College's CRU ESL program welcomes individuals at the low-beginning to advanced levels of English comprehension who want to better their English. Academic- and career-focused, non-credit classes are offered to citizens, permanent residents, refugees, and others who want to improve their English reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students enrolling only in ESL for CRU courses are not required to meet any college admission requirements. Students who successfully complete the ESL CRU program should be proficient enough in English to begin contextualized High School Equivalency (HSE) studies, start I-BEST supported academic classes, or initiate a career training program.
What equipment does the College offer for students?
Remote students will be required to supply their own computer (Mac or PC). However, computers equipped with high-powered processors and industry-standard software are available to local students in The Underground—AC's state-of-the-art technology and collaboration lab.
Does Stage 03 VFX supply the required software?
All the required software is either offered free to the students (with their Amarillo College email address) or at deep educational discounts. Instructions and videos on obtaining software will be made available to enrolled students.
Do I need my own computer?
Students are required to have their own Mac or PC computer. Minimum specifications are:
  • • 64-bit Intel or AMD multi-core processor or Apple Mac models with M series chip
  • • 16 GB RAM (32+ GB recommended)
  • • 4GB of GPU VRAM. (8GB or more recommended)
  • • 20 GB free disk space
  • • Three-button mouse
  • • Reliable internet connection