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CMU in the Media


By November 24, 2016October 8th, 2021No Comments



matt-barnes-zbrush-headZBrush creature by Matthew Barnes.

The creatures lurking in the corners of your imagination are brought to life in the classrooms of CMU College.

The conceptual design of a creature or character contributes to great storytelling – be it in blockbuster films or the latest video game release. When designing these characters, a designer studies the character from the inside out. They have an understanding of the way it lives, how it moves, and how one pose can best express its personality and essence. It is within this conceptual design that many well-known creatures and characters, including E.T., Godzilla and the Mario Bros., are  born.    
For over 30 years, CMU College has provided training in character design and makeup artistry, preparing graduates to work in the entertainment industry. CMU College strives to provide excellence in educational and industry innovation. CMU is proud to announce that it has recently launched a groundbreaking new program in Toronto, that allows students to learn from the experts to conceptualize creatures and characters in physical and digital form for film, television, video games and more. This unique program provides students with highly in-demand skill sets in ZBrush and Creature Design to pursue creative careers within 17 weeks. The next start date for the Creature & Character Design program is February 27th, 2017.  

CMU College | Digital Effects Artist Program from CMUCollege on Vimeo.


According to the 2015 Toronto Economic and Cultural Report, the film industry created $1. 55 billion in direct investment for the city of Toronto. As more and more productions are coming to Toronto, there is an increasing demand for quality artists. CMU prides itself on preparing qualified and knowledgeable students for the workforce directly after graduation.  Recently, CMU released Alumni Success Statistics reflecting that 77% of their alumni are currently working in the Creature Design and makeup artistry fields and 70% of graduates were able to find work within 3 months of graduating. ZBrush instructor, Paul Wollenzien, has even stated,   “…the students coming out of this program are in a position to hit the ground running in a growing market.” The college is confident that the career opportunities for students completing the Creature & Character Design program will be vast.
This fast-paced diploma program strips away the complexities of coding or post-production work and allows students to invest their concentration on the development of dynamic characters that are production ready for film, television, gaming or 3D printing. With this ability, students can begin careers as concept artists with a professional portfolio featuring detailed and expressive digital and practical work.
The core programming consists of 12 weeks of practical sculpting in Creature Design and digital sculpting in the widely used film industry tool, ZBrush. The ZBrush course, taught by Rune Entertainment founder, Paul Wollenzien, focuses on character design from the skeleton outward. Students will learn to digitally sculpt every inch of anatomy of their character, colour and texturize the being and create a production-ready asset.  Additionally, students will learn about the 3D printing and scanning processes through the college’s partnership with Objex Unlimited. Throughout this experience, students will be exposed to a variety of career paths catered around this highly demanded skill set.
The intimate mentorship style of teaching in a small classroom setting (classes are made up of max. 10 students), enables instructors  to sit down with individual students and share their expertise to help students further develop their craft. With well over ten years of experience in the industry, a working knowledge of ZBrush since the tool’s inception and continued work outside of teaching with clients like Disney and Cineplex, instructor Paul Wollenzien offers a well-connected and powerful perspective of the industry.


CMU students developing the skeleton of their full-body creatures in ZBrush.

In addition to digitally rendering characters, students will also graduate with the ability to sculpt, cast, mould and paint physical creatures in silicone and resin. Learning from experienced creature designers and special effects artists, like Doppelganger/Form & Dynamics owner operator, David Scott, students gain a thorough understanding of the latest sculpting techniques, lab safety, and set etiquette. As filmmakers are frequently utilizing both practical and digital effects for a more realistic and relatable viewing experience, acquiring both skill sets is an asset in the industry.

Prior to taking the ZBrush and Creature Design classes, students begin by studying the foundations of digital and fine art through classes in photoshop, life drawing and figurative sculpting. This introduction trains the students to understand human and non-human anatomy, convey thoughts and ideas in 2D and 3D models, as well as explore digital and tactile mediums.
Recent graduate of the Creature & Character Design program, Tabitha Burtch explains “[this program] covers a lot of different bases starting from anatomy and you’re continuing and developing it throughout the whole program, which is a fundamental thing to have to do to be a good designer.”
In the final week of the program, students will focus on career planning. By creating a competitive digital portfolio, learning to market their skills through social media platforms and preparing for interview situations, students will be well equipped to set out into the workforce confidently.


Image by Hector Vasquez in a recent BlogTO Article by Amy Carlberg

To learn more about this exciting new program, CMU College offers personal tours of its new location at Studio City, 366 Adelaide Street East in Toronto. Tours will feature class demonstrations, students at work and the opportunity to speak with our industry expert instructors. To schedule a tour, contact the college at [email protected].
Spaces are limited for the February 27th, 2017 start date, however the school is still taking applications. To  register, fill out the ONLINE APPLICATION or contact the college for further details. This diploma program is OSAP qualified  for Ontario residents. For all inquiries, please contact CMU College.