A free five-day course with virtual production or real-time VFX placement opportunity
ScreenSkills High-end TV Step Up To Unreal in association with Escape Studios
Monday 23rd to Friday 27th May 2022
Learn Unreal Engine for free and get the chance to take a paid placement with some of the best VFX film and TV studios in the UK!
Escape Studios and ScreenSkills are collaborating again to ensure the VFX industry gets the talent it needs, in the booming areas of real time and virtual production.
As an Unreal EngineAuthorized Training Center, Escape Studios have produced this Step Up To Unreal course for experienced* artists wanting to upskill in Unreal Engine. Not only that - a selected number of successful participants on the course will have the opportunity to join a paid placement with a leading company over the summer.
This course is free to participants thanks to funding from the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund with contributions from UK high-end TV productions and also by the BFI awarding National Lottery funds as part of the Future Film Skills programme.
Companies interested in offering placements to Step Up to Unreal attendees currently include: Framestore, Halon Entertainment, Garden Studios, Lux Machina, Dimension Studios, Untold, The Mill and Technicolor, and more are to be confirmed.
*Participants will need at least two years of proven professional experience.
More and more, those working in VFX need real-time and virtual production skills, especially with the advent of Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) and the explosion in new work being commissioned by the likes of Netflix and Prime.
As it’s a games engine, there’s plenty of online tuition in Unreal Engine, but nothing beats being taught on a course designed to understand the particular needs that VFX artists have. Escape Studios have designed a number of Unreal Engine courses specifically for VFX and Animation professionals.
After you’ve learned the basics of Unreal Engine, you have the chance to put your skills into action and gain practical experience - your details will be shared with a group of studios who are looking for talent and are offering placements.
As an Unreal Engine Authorized Training Center, Escape Studios works closely with Epic Games, (creators of Unreal Engine and the world renowned game Fortnite) to ensure course content is up-to-date and includes exciting presentations and advice. In 2021, Escape Studios ran the ‘Summer of Unreal' for Epic Games, a four-week free programme for Animation professionals across Europe, and ‘Pick and Mix’, a free modular Unreal Engine course for VFX professionals.
We are online, but with small numbers to ensure a personal touch you usually only get in a classroom.
Whilst Unreal Engine 4.27 is still the most prevalent, the next-level UE 5 is increasingly used. To mirror this industry practice, we will be teaching UE 4 whilst preparing our participants for UE 5, with sessions on Lumen and nanite, game-changing new components in UE 5 you should know about.
If you’ve just started in the VFX industry (with a couple of years of experience under your belt) or are looking to re-skill from another part of the screen industries, like games or motion graphics, then this might be just what you need.
We want to attract a diverse range of people, so the course will be online. All you’ll need is a decent internet connection and a machine capable of running Unreal Engine. We’ll do the rest.
We expect this offer to be popular but availability of spaces will remain small so we can ensure quality output. We will prioritise those who are interested in a paid placement over the summer.
Send your CV/resume and an online portfolio, with a cover letter saying why you are interested in stepping up to Unreal.
This training is free to participants thanks to funding from the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund with contributions from UK high-end TV productions and also by the BFI awarding National Lottery funds as part of the Future Film Skills programme.
Register your interest using the form below. An email will follow with instructions on how to submit your application documents.
For your application to be taken into account, you will need to submit the following:
A CV/resume with evidence of at least two commercial projects undertaken.
A 300-word statement explaining why you want to Step Up To Unreal and why you think a placement will help you.
A statement that you are (assuming dates can work) willing to partake in a placement.
You will also need to set up an account with ScreenSkills to confirm your participation.
Applications close on Friday 6th May at 4pm (UK time).
There will be 18 placements open for application at the end of this course. Please note that there are 45 spaces on the course, so not everyone will be able to take up a placement and there will be an application process involved.
We would like everyone who applies for this course to be available to take up a placement.
As part of the initial course application process, you will be asked to write a short motivation statement, explaining your experience in the industry, why you would like to take the course and why you think you would benefit from a placement. You will also be asked which company you ideally want to be paired with and why.
Only participants who attend all five days of the course will be eligible.
You will find out whether you have been successful in getting a placement at the end of the course.
The placements can start any time after the week of the 6th June 2022, depending on the company. This can be subject to negotiation with the right applicant, but all must be completed by the end of September. Each placement will ideally last for 10 weeks. There is scope for a placement to run for less time, but it would be a minimum of 5 weeks full time.
We are working with our industry partners to secure these placements. Companies interested in offering placements to Step Up to Unreal attendees currently include: Framestore, Halon Entertainment, Garden Studios, Lux Machina, Dimension Studios, Untold, The Mill and Technicolor, and more are to be confirmed. By the end of the course, we will match candidates with studios in what we hope will be a partnership which works for both parties.
Please fill out this form to apply to this programme. We will send you a confirmation email shortly after with instructions on how to submit your application documents. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be prioritising applicants who want to make the most of the opportunity but there will not be places for everyone. Depending on demand, we may take on a few people who make the case that they need to learn Unreal Engine to extend their work. However, this cannot be guaranteed.
Our job is to fill the placements – what happens next will be up to you and the host organisation. There is no obligation for Escape Studios, Screenskills or the host company to offer any commentary on future employment chances. We hope these placements will provide great experiences for future work attractiveness.
Sorry, no full-time students may apply. The funds are to help those people already on the early career ladder who want to progress into Unreal Engine. If you are a degree student, do look at Escape Studios’ other Unreal Engine courses. Also plenty of VFX companies have internships and placements themselves, so check out their websites.
Yes, as long as there is interaction with a wider team on the placement, and that you are being socialised into the company, meeting others online and learning, rather than just carrying out orders. Many companies are still working remotely, and they are eligible to offer a placement too.
New entrants, early career applicants and those from related areas of expertise have particular barriers to gaining access to training in Unreal Engine, often lacking networks of support or collegiate advice and expertise. Also, they are more likely to accept a placement which, although paid, won't replace paid commissioned work that experienced VFX professionals can command.
ScreenSkills is the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen industries - film, television (including children's, unscripted and high-end), VFX, animation and games. They are supporting future innovation and growth across the whole of the UK by investing in the skilled and inclusive workforce who are critical to the global success of the screen sector. They are funded by industry contributions to their Skills Funds, by the BFI with National Lottery funds awarded as part of its Future Film Skills programme to help people get into the industry and progress within it, and by Arts Council England.
From Visual Effects (VFX) to Game Art, Animation to Motion Graphics, we are recognised as a first-class education provider for the creative industries since 2002, now approved and endorsed internationally as Rookies and Houdini Certified schools. We work with an impressive list of industry partners to design and deliver our highly vocational, industry-focused training courses, and are one of the UK’s few accredited Unreal Engine Authorized Training Center, and one of only a handful across Europe. On this Step Up To Unreal initiative, we are partnering with ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the screen industries, and Epic Games themselves.
Traditionally, games engines have been used to create workable games that play in real time, but recent advances in even basic hardware now means this technology can be used to build photoreal environments that can be explored in real time for a variety of purposes. The technology is now adopted by major VFX, animation and film production companies, as well as those industries that need to visualise assets in real time, like architecture or biomedical.