FXPHD update/FAQ - it's still on!


Some updates bout my FXPHD class:

I just released Class #4 of my FXPHD course 'production rendering techniques with mental ray'. We are currently having fun doing SteamPunk Robots in a real SteamPunk location:

Perhaps you want to Join the Fun?

The questions I get most often about the FXPHD classes are:

Is it too late to join now?

No. The term may be called "January10", but it is not until 8:th week of the class (sometime in early March) is it actually "too late".

Classes are released once a week over 11 weeks (there's a break week in there), and you can download them at your leisure... however, the advantage of taking the class "live" is the interaction in the forum between the teacher (me) and the students (you, and many others).

Will this class be "Max Only"

NO. As a matter of fact, beggining Class 4 I've taken steps to include explicit information for both Maya and Softimage users, as well as amended one of the earlier classes with specific Maya and Softimage info.

I still do run the major demos in Max, though.

Will there be a lot of button pushing in Max that I will not have use of in Softimage or Maya

Not really. There will be some, but I spend a lot of the time in the class teaching theory and the why of things. How you see the world, why you need to do X, Y and Z. The actual mechanics of doing X, Y and Z is also shown - but frankly, that's in the manual! UNDERSTANDING WHY you do X, Y and Z, and UNDERSTANDING when not to do Y but Q, is where the real information lies. THAT is what I teach.

I had students that doesn't even use mental ray take the class (poor lost souls... just kidding) and enjoy it!

What does it cost me? This isn't free, right?

FXPHD has nice introductory information on their site, but here's the short Zaptronic description of how it works:

FXPHD supplies 41 courses this term (called "January10", even though it stretches over three+ months). One of these courses is my course, "production rendering techniques with mental ray".

To join a term, you pay $330. For this money you get to pick 3 courses freely out of the 41 available, plus are given on mandatory "Background Fundamentals" course, so four courses in all.

Each course has, as said, 10 classes, each class being a 30-60 minute video that you can download when you want (i.e. the class itself is not "live" per se). What is "live" is the FXPHD forum behind the class where studends (you) and the teacher (me) interact and discuss the classes.

Also, on top of your 4 * 10 classes you have chosen, you get access to the first two classes in ALL courses (so you can make up your mind before you choose the 3 you want to take). So that's 37 * 2 EXTRA classes that you get thrown in.

I once computed that this alone is actually 3 solid 24 hour days of video content! Not too shabby :)

Hope this straightens out some ?'s that people may have!



Daniel Broadway said...

You rule, Zap. MAYBE I'll get to take this class. I don't know. I'll see if I can find some money somewhere to do this. :)

Kirikou said...

I really like those courses. There is currently nothing really new to me, some grey zone maybe, but it is really useful to put all the pieces together and explained in human language :-)

Jose said...

Hey I am taking this class with Zap , And its a lot fun.
I have already several term doing courses on fxphd.
About the Zap course , I have to say that its amazing ,he touch a lot about what push and how its the best way to do things.

If you join you could refer me : joshem


brent said...

If Zap doesn't comment, could someone taking the class tell me if the class covers the proper way to composite render elements from mental Ray(in 3dsmax)? I don't mean a two or three pass approach, I mean splitting it up into diffuse color, direct and indirect lighting, reflections, refractions, shadows, motion vectors, etc., then putting them together in Fusion, Nuke, Shake, etc. Trying to talk my boss into paying for the course ;)

Master Zap said...


If you can, that will be If you can, that will be great. Tho I know you already know some of it, especially my incessant preaching about linear.... :)


Hey, you look familiar :)


Class #8 is on compositing. I hope that will help?


brent said...


Thanks for the reply, that will help get the company sponsorship rolling!

irwit said...

Hi Zap,

I'm just wondering on the fxphd, do you download the videos and watch when you like or do you have to stream them ? I have a long commute to work and was hoping I could sign up and watch them on the train.



Michael said...

I couldn't budget for the Jan. 10 term, but I am planning on the April term.
Are you going to be able to run this class again then?
I *might* be able to join the current term around the beginning of March, but that late into it, I'd much rather hold off for the April term so I can have the forum interaction from the start.
Please run it again next term, Prof. Zap.

@irwit, the fxphd classes are not streamed live. They are made available for download so you can watch it whenever you want.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Master Zap said...


They are downloads, you can watch them whenever you want.


There is some stuff going on at fxphd where you will be able to purchase certain older classes one and one (tho I think you still need to sign up for a term). This isn't really finalized yet so I don't know anything about the when, where, how and how expensive - yet.


Michael said...

Yeah, I read that fxphd may make available previous classes for d/l.
Any idea how inter-active the forums will be in that scenario?
Surely the enrolled students would be on it, but would you be as well?
Either way, I am signing for the April term (I really wanna expand my Nuke and Maya skills) and it would be really cool if you were available in that term as well.

Magian said...

So this course will not be offered again in April? I use Softimage 2010 and I was holding off because I had been told that the "Softimage guy" may be returning for the April term. I was also told that this person was the same one who created Pigeon Impossible (Lucas Martell I assume?).

However, I just discovered on your blog that you are making efforts to incorporate Softimage into the course. If I had known this I would have signed up at the beginning of the term.

However, like Michael posted above, I would much rather start with the rest of the class at the beginning of the term.

So is there a snowball's chance that this class will be happening again in the near future? Or will the only option be to purchase this as an older course?

Master Zap said...

I do not know if the class will be repeated for the April term or not; you will have to ask the FXPHD guys, not me. I havn't even completed it yet, it is quite exhausting, so I don't want to think that far ahead right now... :)


Rivai Chen said...

Hi Master...appreciate your hard work man ! Dont give up..i'm in your class too. And one of most favorites professor and lesson so far with fxphd ! I have been with them for 2 years i think.

id_labz said...

Hey MasterZ !

I made a post on the 'help' section of the fxphd forum but nobody has replied yet...
I'm looking to get some more training on lighting CG & Live action footage, I did Victors PFTrack classes last year, and now I need to light my CG !
Will your course deal with this kind of situation ?

Many thanks !

id_labz said...

If it does - I'm signing up today !

Master Zap said...

Yes, class #6 (just released) indeed talks quite a lot about integrating CG objects into real world scene. Half of Class #7 will as well, #8 is compositing, and #8-9 is "additonal cool stuff you never knew" :)


id_labz said...

Well count me in !
Signing up tomorrow morning ^_^

id_labz said...

Done !

Zaho said...

Hi zap, I am a student in SCAD right now taking my intro Maya class. I am trying to explore more than my peers. I have been reading your blog for a couple of months right now and I must say that I am really thankful for all of the tips You post. Especially valuable is the linear info that you give and all your "WRONG WRONG WRONG" approach to how people generally do it in Mental. What I was about to ask You is if you plan to teach a Mental ray class during the summer of 2010? That would be great !!! Thank you for everything Zap