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The students of Finland's first VFX specialisation education graduated

Published on 11.10.2023
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
VFX-koulutuksen opiskelijat Olli Pöykiö ja Ville Mäkilä sekä opettajat Juuso Kaari ja Samuli Torssonen.
The pace of the students' progress was a positive surprise to teachers. In the photo: student Olli Pöykiö, teachers Juuso Kaari and Samuli Torssonen and student Ville Mäkilä.
The growing and internationalising AV field needs new experts. In autumn 2022, Tampere University of Applied Sciences started the English-language specialisation education called VFX Artist for Audiovisual Productions, which is the first of its kind in Finland. The first visual effects specialists have now completed the education.

The closing session of the VFX specialisation education was organized in Mediapolis on September 28–29, 2023. The students presented showreel videos they had created during the studies. Showreel videos are used, for example, in applying for jobs in the field.  

Head of Competence Area Timo Kivikangas from TAMK's School of Business and Media is very satisfied with the pilot education. 

“The students' level of competence rose significantly, and their showreels were truly rewarding to watch. We invested a lot in this education and its curriculum together with the best working life representatives in the field. It was a pleasure to see how committed they were both in the planning and implementation.” 

In the feedback, the students praised the education and its teachers. They obtained the skills they wanted and felt that their employment opportunities had improved. The feedback also highlighted the importance of the education in responding to the skills shortage in the field, and similar education was hoped for in the future. 

The education brought together people interested in the same field 

Among the graduates are Ville Mäkilä, who works as a photographer, and Olli Pöykiö, who works at the Karu Films production company. 

“I've made a lot of videos over the years, but finishing and post-production was unfamiliar to me and I wanted to learn more about it. The education fulfilled my expectations really well,” says Mäkilä. 

Pöykiö has come across visual effects in his previous work at Troll VFX and occasionally also in his current work at Karu Films. He felt he needed more skills. 

“I have studied making visual effects independently, but this education offered me the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and to get a confirmation that I am doing things correctly. Glad I didn't miss this!” he rejoices. 

In Mäkilä's opinion, the most interesting part of the education was making visual effects for Poromafia series. The material did not actually end up in the series, but the purpose was to simulate a real VFX process. Pöykiö was pleased to get to know other people in the field. 

“The VFX industry is still very small, so it is difficult to find your own community. The education brought together people with different backgrounds and experiences, but still interested in the same thing,” he reflects. 

VFX-koulutuksen opiskelijat ja opettajat ryhmäkuvassa.
The VFX Specialisation Education offered the students an opportunity to get to know other people interested in the same field.

The students' progress surprised the teachers 

The teachers of the specialisation education were lecturers from TAMK's media studies and Finnish top professionals of the field, including VFX designer Samuli Torssonen from the production company Energia and freelancer Juuso Kaari

“The success of the education is indicated by the fact that the students master the basics very well and are able to make visual effects until the end. Simulating a real VFX project was useful, although there was no pressure from a deadline or money,” Torssonen states. 

“The pace of the students' progress was a positive surprise. They asked questions that you usually hear from more advanced professionals. It was a huge advantage that the students came from such different backgrounds and were able to share their knowledge with each other,” says Kaari. 

The teachers are happy about the interest aroused by the education, because new professionals are needed in the field. Teaching an enthusiastic and motivated group was rewarding for both. 

“I was really happy when I was asked to be a teacher. Such a good group may have qualified people for future projects,” says Torssonen. 

The students continue their work with new skills 

Ville Mäkilä and Olli Pöykiö plan to continue in their current jobs, but with the support of their new skills. 

“My paid job limits me from throwing myself into the VFX field, but I plan to hone my skills further. In my current job, I get to use what I learned in making videos. In the future, I could perhaps become a freelancer,” says Mäkilä. 

“I have used what I have learned all the time in my work and I intend to continue in the same way. This gave me a lot of new ideas and more confidence to my work,” says Pöykiö. 

The Ministry of Education and Culture's funding covered only one specialisation education, but its results are currently being analyzed for a possible extension. 

“We are thinking about what is the best way to continue education in the field. In any case, VFX teaching will be added to the curriculum of TAMK's Media and Arts education starting next autumn. We will inform about possible other study programmes in the field later,” Timo Kivikangas promises. 

What is VFX?

VFX refers to the visual effects of, for example, movies and series, which are added to the image in the post-production phase on a computer. Added effects can be, for example, flames, explosions, water splashes and landscapes. Things can also be removed from the image, for example tattoos on actor's skin.

More information: 

Timo Kivikangas, Head of Competence Area, Business and Media, Tampere University of Applied Sciences 
tel. +358 50 3291 888, timo.kivikangas [at] (timo[dot]kivikangas[at]tuni[dot]fi) 

Ilmari Huttu-Hiltunen, Lecturer, Business and Media, Tampere University of Applied Sciences 
tel. +358 50 4347 387, ilmari.huttu-hiltunen [at] (ilmari[dot]huttu-hiltunen[at]tuni[dot]fi) 

Read more about VFX Artist for Audiovisual Productions Specialisation Education 

Read the previous article: TAMK educates specialists for the growing AV sector 


Text and photos: Emmi Suominen