Epic leap for creative art skills 

Flinders University and CDW Studios have joined a select group of 100 universities worldwide to officially become an ‘Unreal Academic Partner’.

This follows recognition of the successful integration of ‘Unreal Engine’ into the popular Bachelor of Creative Arts curriculum in Visual Effects and Entertainment Design (VEED).

Developed by Epic Games, Unreal Engine is the world’s most advanced real-time 3D tool.  Used by creators in game design, virtual production, animation, and visual effect, it powered the creation of some of the most popular games, such as Fortnight, and has been behind state-of-the-art visual effects work on TV shows such as the Mandalorian on Disney+.

For almost 10 years, Flinders and Adelaide-based CDW have partnered to deliver courses in visual effects and entertainment design in Adelaide and online, instructed by Flinders lecturers and world-class teachers who are professional practitioners who have worked with some of the globe’s top entertainment providers.

The progressive course produces students who have regularly won international accolades for their outstanding work and gone on to contribute their exceptional skills at organisations like Warner Brothers and Technicolor.

Industry Open Day at Flinders University’s The Void put its remarkable Virtual Production and Motion Capture capabilities on show.

CDW Studios last year established itself as a leader in integrating Unreal Engine into its production work, receiving an Epic Games Mega Grant in 2020 which was used to produce an animated series using Unreal.

Flinders and CDW Studios have ambitious plans to add more courses as part of the Unreal Academic Partnership Program, with the development of a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Games Production, a relaunch of Masters programs on Visual Effects, and the development of the Bachelor of Creative Industries course in Digital Media planned for 2022.

“At Epic Games we’re passionate about supporting teams and organisations around the world that empower minds and cultivate creativity,” says Julie Lottering, Director, Unreal Engine Education, Epic Games.

“Flinders University offers an incredibly unique set of programs that accelerate learning and opportunity for their students, and it’s our pleasure to welcome them as Unreal Academic Partners,” she says.

“We cannot wait to see the positive impact this collaboration will have on Australia’s Unreal Engine community.”

Jason Bevan, Senior Lecturer in Visual Effects and Entertainment Design, says embedding Unreal Engine into the Flinders-CDW Studios BCA VEED adds to the instruction at CDW for concept art, animation, and 3D modelling.

“As well, Flinders University is a leader in South Australia for motion capture and virtual production, supported by the largest facility of its kind in South Australia The Void, where Unreal Engine is the method of production.”

“This is an ‘epic’ time for Flinders and CDW Studios,” he says.

Meanwhile, Flinders University graduate Bonnie Grant, who now works at Adelaide-based ModelFarm, a 3D architectural visualisation company, says she used Unreal Engine in her Honours year-final film project, part of which is featured in the clip below.

Bonnie Grant, who now works at ModelFarm, a 3D architectural visualisation company in Adelaide.

“The first piece  (above) is a sci-fi hanger, I was responsible for all aspects, from modelling and texturing to rendering,” she says.

“Unreal Marketplace assets were also used in a motion caption piece we did for the Australian Dance Theatre, in which I was responsible for motion capture and cleanup of the data.

“In my Honours project, I was responsible for the animation on the player character as well as all the blueprints scripting and assembling the level and setting up the non-player character AI. The assets that were used were sourced from the Unreal Marketplace.”




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