Where to go online for video and visual effects training?

Get learning in your pajamas with these powerful online learning resources.


Video production is a rare industry, as there are as many homemade experts as there are school-borne ones. With technology changing so quickly, how can one get themselves trained at home without breaking the bank?

There are many options online, but we’ll take a look at a few of the popular destinations for web-based training and tutorials for video production, motion graphics and visual effects.

Lynda.com - bought this year by LinkedIn for a number starting with a “B”, Lynda has set the bar for web-based training, covering topics from business to 3D animation.

Lynda’s strength is in delivering consistently-high end training content by video, featuring industry experts adept in making complex subjects digestible. Additional training materials are provided in many of the courses, and an integrated certification element make Lynda the internet’s favorite place to go to learn all things creative.

fxphd - fxphd offers a somewhat more structured environment for those looking to have more of a defined start and finish to a program. As they put it “fxphd is a subscription-based online vfx, production, post-production training program led by professionals”, with courses running during set times like semesters or terms. The subscriptions range from a couple of courses to as many as 5 courses. For paid, high end effects training, fxphd is the gold standard.  

Video Copilot - Visual effect juggernaut Andrew Kramer has gone from offering occasional Adobe After Effects tutorials on CreativeCow.com to working with JJ Abrams on feature films such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the Star Trek franchise.

While the site has grown to offer products for creating visual effects, Kramer and Video Copilot still dish out plenty of what made them famous in the first place: excellent free video tutorials for After Effects and some related effects software. Kramer’s fun and jokey delivery combines nicely with his technical mastery and ability to explain complex workflows in a straightforward manner, making Video Copilot a must visit for anybody with anything better than a passing interest in visual effects.

Film Riot - Ryan Connolly is the man behind Film Riot, a web-based show demystifying many of the techniques behind video production, while also offering a healthy dose of product reviews and some business insight for the budding video pro. With an approachable demeanour, and a bevy of valuable lessons, Ryan has built a legion of devoted fans who wait with bated breath for the next awesome Film Riot video to land. Some of the highlights of his recent videos include “Lighting Cars at Night”, “Make Blood Digitally” and “Writing Comedy and Getting Sponsors”.

Graymachine - in the motion design world a few names rise to the top, and Harry Frank is one of them. His blog, tutorial and product site, graymachine, brings much of his knowledge to the table, offering up healthy doses of high end visual effect techniques and workflows. His ability to take simple concepts and bring the viewer down the visual effect rabbit hole to the point where they’re creating effects the wouldn’t have thought possible a few minutes earlier.

Rampant Design Tools - We’re big fans of Rampant Design Tools’ visual effect product library, but behind those effects is three-time Emmy award winning visual effect artist Sean Mullen.

Sean takes the experience he gained working on television shows like Charmed and feature films like Any Given Sunday and shares it through tutorials for creating cool videos. Tracking titles through scenes, creating monster faces and many other highlights make the Rampant Design Tools site a destination for learning.