New class is opportunity to explore world of visual effects
November 15, 2018 By:MHS Piper
By Nadia Lopez
Mr. Jason Heimerdinger’s long awaited idea for a visual effects for digital media class is finally here and in action.
He noticed that students had a lot of fun doing visual effects in his video classes, but he only spent about three weeks in beginning video production doing that. The computer program, Adobe After Effects, is an industry standard, but Heimerdinger’s curriculum never covered it. In response he generated the curriculum for the new class.
After three years of trying to get it added to the course catalog, this year Heimerdinger dream is a reality. It is now there with the full name of Visual Effects for Visual Media. The prerequisite is Introduction to Digital Media.
He and the students are having fun in the course, but he wishes more students were enrolled.
Students should not expect to be producing the next Lord of the Rings in the course, however. Students will be taking it a step at a time.
The earliest product they would create would be on par with George Melies’s 1903 silent film “Trip to the Moon.” By using establishing shots and mattes to create composites, students soon grasp basic film concepts.
The visual effects engines in movies today are far more advanced than what he uses in his class, Heimerdinger stated, but most television shows, commercials, and YouTubers, use Adobe After Effects. With this program, students can animate titles and effects, and add PhotoShop type elements to videos. It is adding graphics and visual effects to dynamic media, he said.
To have the capacity to watch youtube videos about after effects techniques and be able to follow along with them. There are so many things to do, that he wants students to learn enough about the program to be self sufficient learning more.
Heimerdinger said, “ I want students to feel that they need a strong story and effect to go along with it. Everyone in the class has fun. My main goal is to help people understand how many different pieces could have a lot more to it, I also want students to think outside box.”
“The class itself is going well and my favorite to teach is how much fun they can have with camera tricks and with matt shots,” he said.
Preston Smith, a junior at McNary and also a student in Heimerdinger’s class said, “ I’ve always enjoyed making videos, I wasn’t expecting a lot of work in this class. In this class I learned how to use a green screen and in this class it’s really helpful and I am currently working on a short video on making something shrink using special events”.
Ivan Alarcon, a senior at McNary said “ I was expecting this class to be challenging so that way I was mentally prepared because I really enjoy working with cameras and different edits. I also have always wanted to do stuff like this for my future, so the knowledge I’m able to get from this class is really going to help me for what I want to do later on.”