Current Students Log In »

Learn from home with live, online courses.

Get high-end visual effects training direct from Hollywood with the added convenience of learning from home. Our live, online courses put you in a virtual classroom with direct access to working industry professionals and your peers.

Courses cover a vast range of subjects within visual effects and game production, including concept art, modeling, animation, dynamic effects, compositing and more. Browse courses »

Classes start Apr. 6th See if online classes are right for you »

Note: Online courses are only available to residents of California and those residing outside of the United States.

Live, Interactive Classes

All class sessions happen live with the instructor. No out-of-date, pre-recorded videos.

Professional Instructors Direct from
the Entertainment Industry

Our instructors are working artists with experience from some of the biggest movies and games.

10-Week, In-Depth Courses

Get visual effects training with 10-week, in-depth courses covering multiple subjects.

Covering a Variety of Subjects

Find the exact training you need with a variety of specific subjects covering movies and games.

Real-World VFX Education

Learn the latest tools and techniques being used in modern, real-world studios.

A Brand New Interface

All of your courses, homework, forums and more are accessible in a brand new, easy-to-use format.

Technical Questions

Who can take online classes with Gnomon?

Due to a regulation released by the U.S. Department of Education for higher education institutions, Gnomon's online course offerings are only available to residents of California and those residing outside of the United States.

Are online courses right for me?

Gnomon is committed to delivering the highest level of instruction possible, whether that be via an online course or in the classroom. To ensure that you are equipped for success in our online learning environment, we have prepared a quick self evaluation survey that, if answered honestly, will quickly assess your readiness for online learning success.

Minimum Internet Speed Requirements

You will need a high speed internet connection to view the online lectures. A minimum 1.5 Mbps connection is required.

Where can I go to test my internet speed?

You can test your internet speed at

System Requirements

Students taking Gnomon Online classes must meet the minimum system requirements in addition to any additional system specifications required by the software used in the course. You will need a high speed (1.5 Mbps or faster) connection.

For PC-based students:

  • Internet Explorer 7.0, Mozilla Firefox 4.0, Google Chrome 5.0 (JavaScript and Java enabled) or the latest version of each web browser
  • Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
  • Cable modem, DSL, or better Internet connection (1.5 Mbps bandwidth recommended)
  • Dual-core 2.4GHz CPU or faster with 2GB of RAM (recommended)
  • Webcam

For Mac-based students:

  • Safari 3.0, Firefox 4.0, Google Chrome 5.0 (JavaScript and Java enabled) or the latest version of each web browser
  • Mac OS X 10.5 – Leopard or newer
  • Intel processor (1GB of RAM or better recommended)
  • Cable modem, DSL, or better Internet connection (1.5 Mbps bandwidth recommended)
  • Webcam
Can I use a WiFi connection?

Some wireless connections have a higher occurrence of dropped signals than others. Some issues are simply caused by interference, and others can be attributed to the wireless router. If you are experiencing an issue with dropped or faulty connectivity, it is recommended that you swap over to a hard wired internet connection.

Do I really need a webcam?

A webcam is required. This creates a more personal relationship between the student and instructor and provides a method for the instructor to verify that a student is indeed logged in and attending the class when they administer attendance at the start of class.

Will the lectures be provided as a video lecture to watch later?

Not at this time. Lectures are delivered live and in real-time. The interactive experience is, in our opinion the most effective way to learn. It is therefore the responsibility of the student to take notes and ask questions during the class.

What if I have questions or need technical assistance?

You will find most answers to your questions by clicking “Help” in the main menu bar of your student dashboard. Frequently asked questions and helpful links will be posted here along with direct email links to our support specialists. Each page on the system will also host a feedback link for students to report issues they are having. These issues will be monitored by our support specialist and development team to quickly respond to any issues you may have. If you need technical assistance at any time, you may also simply send an email to This email will be directed to our support specialist to have your issue resolved.

For questions specific to your class, please post these to your class discussion forum. These questions will be addressed, in most cases, by your peers in your class or by your instructor.

Questions or issues relating to hardware or software should be addressed with the software or hardware manufacturer. In some cases, your peers or your instructor may be able to help you.

Course Questions

What happens if a class is cancelled or re-scheduled?
As with any live class, at some point, a class will need to be cancelled or re-scheduled. If an instructor needs to push a class, the administrative staff will simply extend the class one week. A notification will be sent to the class with information pertinent to the re-schedule. The class will generally meet as scheduled the following week.
What happens if I miss a class?
If you are unable to attend a class session, simply notify your instructor to have the absence excused. As you will be missing out on valuable information, you will want to use the forums to see if other students in the class can share their notes or fill you in on what was missed that week. You may have up to 2 excused absences in a term. Three or more absences may result in a failing grade for the class.
How long are the courses?
Courses will generally be 10 weeks in length, meeting once per week on a scheduled day and time. Some courses may be offered in a variety of schedule formats, however. Please check the course schedule for course schedule information.
How long is each class session?
Each class session is scheduled within a 3 hour block. A class will typically consist of homework review, a short Q&A session, and lecture.
Will I be required to do homework?
Yes. You can expect to spend at least 7-10 hours per week on homework – this will vary depending on the class. This time is spent on weekly assignments, research, tests and final project submissions.
Do I get feedback?
Yes. Depending on the amount of information in a given week’s lecture, homework reviews may be limited to only a select number of students each week. Homework critiques will be performed in the live classroom session. Some weeks, the instructor may perform in-depth critiques of everyone’s work. If you require help or review on a specific assignment, please let the instructor know at the beginning of class or post your work to the course discussion forum for peer feedback.
How much time can I expect to devote to a class?
You should expect to spend 95 to 130 hours towards each class over the course of a term, or 9 and a half to 13 hours a week.
What equipment will I need to take classes?

Students will be responsible for supplying their own computer equipment, software, broadband internet access, and other materials for assignments. Many software developers offer free, personal learning editions of their software. Many also offer educational pricing directly through their web sites. Students may also purchase educational versions of most software through only after student verification is completed.

Some software developers require enrollment in full bachelor degree programs to qualify for the educational versions of their software.

If you are looking for Autodesk software, you may download educational versions of their software at

Will I receive a certificate after taking classes with Gnomon Online?
No. At this time, we do not offer any certificates for taking online classes. The only certificates we currently grant are for completion of our Digital Production for Entertainment and Entertainment Design & Digital Production programs. These programs are currently only being offered at our physical location.
Where can I find more information about Gnomon School of Visual Effects and its programs?
Visit our training options page for more information on our full-time programs and other options.


Can I apply for student loans while taking classes at Gnomon Online?
Yes. Student Loans are available in the form of a Career Training Loan through SLM Financial, a Sallie Mae Company. Please contact us for qualifications.

Financial Aid

Gnomon offers Federal Financial Aid. Can I apply for this when attending Gnomon's online courses?
Under the Department of Education restrictions, only students enrolled in the Digital Production for Entertainment and Entertainment Design and Digital Production programs are eligible for financial aid. The majority of these courses are taken at the Hollywood campus but students in this program can take a portion of these classes online.

On-Campus Programs

Can students enrolled in Gnomon's on-campus programs take classes online?
Students enrolled in Gnomon's on-campus programs may enroll in online courses for credit with the approval of the education department. Please contact for more information.

Over the past year, we've been working hard at developing a brand new online training platform for Gnomon. While we have been providing online training for years through both the school and the Gnomon Workshop, we wanted to create a new experience for our students.

For over fifteen years, Gnomon has trained thousands of artists on our campus in Hollywood. Through the live and interactive experience of taking classes with other artists from leading industry professionals, students not only learn the techniques necessary to create production quality work… but also create friendships with likeminded people. This personal network has been an invaluable asset to our students as they enter the job market, but even years down the road we hear stories of how these relationships continue to help students explore new opportunities at studios not just in Hollywood, but around the world.

"Gnomon's new online platform has been in development for over a year and is truly the closest experience possible to taking a course on campus."Gnomon's new online platform has been in development for over a year and is truly the closest experience possible to taking a course on campus. Our team has worked hard to create an intuitive and user friendly training system that, aside from offering a clear backend system to participate in private forums, download assignments, upload homework and read course notes or syllabi… has one feature that was critical for us to engage in this project. All course lectures are 100% live and interactive. Through screen sharing and webcams, students actually see all of the other students, can view the instructor's screen in full HD, while also being able to share their own screens for homework critiques and technical assistance with software. This is truly very cool and we can't wait to hear what our students think.

While creating a new experience for online training was step one, clearly the most important next step would be the curriculum. For me personally, this has been my primary role… to develop a diverse range of categories and courses, covering a range of techniques and software that emphasize the arts and technology of the entertainment industry.

Since Gnomon opened our doors in 1997, we have always been true to our mission – we educate students for careers in the industry. With a 100% placement rate* for our full-time program students, we feel so fortunate to have such amazing support from our instructors and the studios in which they work. Gnomon has always been defined by our stellar artist-instructors, and for online, we needed to maintain this high standard.

When online launches, Gnomon has dedicated itself to designing courses taught by talented concept designers, visual effects artists, and game artists many of whom have worked on countless projects including Avatar, The Avengers, Starcraft, God of War, Lord of the Rings, TRON: Legacy, and many more films, games, commercials and TV shows.

In addition, we have organized our curriculum to represent different aspects of the industry: Entertainment Design, Foundation 2D and 3DTools, Modeling and Sculpting, Texturing and Shading, Lighting and Rendering, Animation Tools and Techniques, Character Rigging, Character Animation, Dynamic Effects, Compositing and Motion Graphics, Matte Painting, Scripting and Programming, Games Tools and Techniques and Workshops.

Courses cover various techniques and tools such as Photoshop, Maya, 3ds Max, Houdini, Cinema 4D, BodyPaint, Mari, After Effects, Nuke, Mental Ray, V-Ray, Unreal Engine, ZBrush and more. We have also organized courses into Foundational through Advanced levels. These levels represent how a student should move through the curriculum as they develop their knowledge.

"There is always a good chance that a fellow student will be not just someone getting started, but someone with years of experience."Every term at Gnomon, for fifteen years, scores of industry professionals not only teach our courses, but take them as well as we train artists from such studios as Dreamworks, Imageworks, Blizzard or Digital Domain. There is always a good chance that a fellow student will be not just someone getting started, but someone with years of experience. Again, through live courses, there is no better way to network, make new friends, and discover the diverse range of amazing people who are interested in, and work in, the visual effects and games industries.

In order to create such a diverse curriculum for Gnomon's online platform, I have spent months working with six producers, each an industry leading professional with years of experience, to identify and collaborate with scores of artists who could teach with Gnomon. The list of talent that we have created is truly inspiring. Take some time to browse the new online catalog as there are too many courses and artists for me to mention them all here.

With over 55 courses from over 50 instructors, I personally am extremely excited to about this new opportunity to continue to learn. As many of my friends will say, some extremely talented and successful artists, this feeling never goes away. The more you learn, the more you become aware of how much more there is to study. I got my start in the industry back in 1993. After almost 20 years, I would say that I am more optimistic and excited about where our industry is going than ever… and yet I remain humbled by the talents of so many, including our students.

We hope that Gnomon's new online platform becomes a valuable resource for artists looking to level up their skills. With a diverse curriculum, and many new courses coming next year, we are proud to have created an experience that is as close as possible to being on-campus. We look forward to seeing you online!

Alex Alvarez Founder/Director, Gnomon

*As required by national accreditation standards of the Council of Occupational Education.

Our Instructors Work on Blockbuster Films and Games

Gnomon instructors are working professionals that have worked on countless projects including Avatar, The Avengers, Starcraft, God of War, Lord of the Rings, TRON: Legacy, game cinematics from studios such as Blur and Blizzard, and many more films, games, commercials and TV shows.

Browse all Instructors »

Kevin Hudson Digital Effects Artist, The Dark Knight Rises Teaching Character Modeling and Sculpting

Craig Elliott Visual Development, The Lorax Teaching Photoshop for Concept Design