Previs for Film Production | CG Master Academy

2021 | Spring Registration NOW OPEN!

Just a reminder that registration for our Spring Term is NOW OPEN!

Previs for Film Production

An 8-week course introducing students to the industry standard principles for previs art for film

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Visualize shots for film

In this course, students will learn the basics of previsualization shot creation. From composing shots to animating cameras to doing quick, efficient character animation and compositing, students will learn the skills needed to enable them to help today’s top filmmakers transform their stories from rough storyboards to fully-realized previsualization that is often not far from the finished product. Previs is increasingly becoming an integral part of the production process, helping filmmakers save time and money by having a very solid idea of what the film will look like even before production begins. Shot creators are often given a lot of freedom to design shots and to be an important part of the storytelling process.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Maya, AfterEffects, or any modeling and lighting software
Skills level:   Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Maya generalist skills: a fairly good grasp of modeling, animation, and lighting, but especially animation; basic knowledge of AfterEffects (though we’ll only deal with it for the last class or two of the term)

Previs for Film Production WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Students will learn how to best place a shot within an environment and choose a camera lens, etc. We will also review the basics of cinematography and how it is used in previs. This class will also include an intro into using existing camera and lens data to match the equipment being used in production.
In the real world of previs, you will encounter many situations in which you do not have what you need to create your shot—but you have to create it by the deadline anyway. In this class, we will go over how to quickly create props using pieces of the environment, how to extend environments quickly but convincingly, and how to work with an existing environment to come up with a good shot composition while being considerate of the rest of the previs team and the production (what’s okay to move around or fudge, and what’s not).
In this week we will go over camera motion, including understanding what will be available to production when they are shooting and how to be respectful of this while animating your camera. We will go over cranes, dollies, and other real-life camera set-ups. We will also cover “imaginary” set-ups and when you’ll want to use those. We will discuss how previs helps producers and directors plan and budget their shots in the real world, and the types of options you might be expected to give them at different budget levels, etc.
Block out the character movement in a shot using good, solid, dynamic poses that tell the story as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Take your blocking to full animation. In this class, tricks for animating quickly will be covered. Possible timed animation exercise in class- shot creators are commonly expected to finish 2 full shots in a 9- or 10-hour day.
This week will cover when it’s appropriate to spend time using or creating effects in Maya and when it’s faster/smarter to fake effects in comp. (This can sometimes be based on supervisor preference, but whenever the supervisor doesn’t favor “Maya only,” it can save you a lot of time to do your FX in comp whenever you can). A brief intro to AfterEffects will be included in this class. What you need to know of AfterEffects to do previs is fairly basic, but it can be very important, especially if you ever intend to do postvis as well as previs.
This class will include a brief introduction to postvis (a type of previs that occurs after live-action production and before VFX/animation production in which previs elements are merged with live-action plates to form an accurate idea of how shots might look after VFX production is done). We will briefly cover what to do with a live-action plate when you need comp one in: what to color correct ( and what not to) and how to color correct it; how to track and stabilize when needed; how to use masks to crop plates and to paint things out of a plate, etc.
Most previs and postvis teams are small and very interactive. Sometimes you will get to interact with directors, producers, and executives as well, and you will be expected to handle all kinds of potentially stressful situations. This week’s class will cover how to work together quickly without driving each other crazy, how to handle potential “unusual” situations (like collaborating remotely with supervisors on location in another country), proper etiquette for interacting with production, and how to ensure that you have a constant output of high-quality work while consistently meeting very tight deadlines.

Real heroes don't wear capes they teach

Bevin Carnes is an award-winning animator and previs artist who has worked in animation and VFX for 9 years, beginning as an apprentice animator at Disney and having worked most recently for the The Third Floor, Inc. where she did previs and postvis on a number of projects, including Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, and Doctor Strange. She is currently applying her previs skills to developing new methods for creating low-budget, high-quality films so that more aspiring filmmakers can realize their dreams and get their films made.


January 23rd!

Spring TERM Registration

Feb 8, 2021 - Apr 26, 2021




January 23rd!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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