The Unreal Fellowship, a learning experience conducted remotely, aims to help film, VFX, and animation professionals understand the state of the art in virtual production.
If you don’t know what to do the next month and want to learn more about virtual production and how it is changing storytelling, then Epic Games has a challenge for you: the Unreal Fellowship for film, VFX, and animation professionals. They are now accepting applications for this new curated educational initiative, a four-week intensive blended learning experience that is designed to help industry professionals learn Unreal Engine, understand the state of the art in virtual production, and be able to create new opportunities with leading technologies and techniques in the emerging field of real-time production.
Conducted entirely remotely, the Unreal Fellowship will accept 50 Fellows and kick off with an orientation day on Friday, August 21, with classes running from Monday, August 24 to Monday, September 21. All of the learning tools are completely free of charge, and Epic will provide each participant with a $10,000 stipend to ensure that they can dedicate ample time to successfully complete the rigorous curriculum. Applications are open until Monday, July 27 at unrealengine.com/fellowship.
Evolution from the Unreal Online Learning courses
The Unreal Fellowship builds from existing Unreal Online Learning courses for foundational skills, and also offers 22 hours of dedicated live training, weekly guest lectures from industry leaders, weekly mentorship meetings, open “office hours” with a live trainer, and a dedicated Slack channel for communication and Q&A. With an estimated 94 hours of content along with project-based work across the four-week program, Fellows will focus on learning Unreal Engine fundamentals, model ingestion, animation, mocap integration, lookdev, lighting setups, and cinematic storytelling. The curriculum was fine-tuned earlier this year through a pilot program with 15 Fellows.
“Technology can only be a great democratizer if it is freely available and empowers the people who use it. Epic not only has the first, but with their Fellowship program, has taken an active path to bring professionals and luminaries into their ecosystem. This is evidence of more than a passive interest in the Hollywood community, but an active positive force towards important storytelling and change,” said Daniel Gregoire, Owner and Chairman of Halon Entertainment.
“At Epic we have always believed in the transformative power of real-time computer graphics for film and television production,” said Kim Libreri, CTO of Epic Games. “With the Unreal Fellowship we are actively investing in visionaries who will be responsible for crafting the stories of tomorrow to ensure that they are armed with a deep understanding of the many ways that real-time technology can benefit their projects.”
Unreal Engine 5, Sony and the future
Epic’s LA-based team is driving the live training and real-time collaborative components of the Fellowship. A minimum of five years of experience in commercial film and television production, immersive entertainment or game development is required, along with the ability to commit to the Fellowship full-time for four weeks.
The Unreal Fellowship comes on the heels of the announcement, earlier this July, that Sony made a strategic investment of $250 million to acquire a minority interest in Epic through a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The investment cements an already close relationship between the two companies and reinforces the shared mission to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services.
Last May, the first glimpse of Unreal Engine 5 was a clear sign of the relationship between Epic Games and Sony. The demo of the upcoming graphics engine was shown running on a PlayStation 5. The investment made this July allows Sony and Epic to aim to broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators.
Build tools for content creators
Originally created for games, Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is now widely used by the entertainment industry beyond its original goal, as ProVideo Coalition has documented. Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Corporation said “Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.”
“Sony and Epic have both built businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology, and we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike,” said Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic.
The Unreal Fellowship now announced is a sign of things to come. With the release of a preview for Unreal Engine 5 announced for early 2012, and the full release late in 2021, supporting next-generation next-generation consoles, current-generation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, this is the right time to learn how to fully use the powerful games engine to create the stories we will watch in the future.