What is FX TD?

FX Technical Directors (FX TDs) mainly create physics-based effects such as fire, smoke, water and various kinds of destruction. Sometimes an FX TD will be called upon to create non-physically realistic effects such as magical spells or physically impossible objects. Whatever the FX TD is creating, the basis will almost always reference a real-world simulation or object. Because of this, a good FX TD must have a great eye for motion, as well as an analytical mind and, because simulations often take a long time, perseverance and patience. The best FX TDs combine artistic and technical skills.

Our 12-Month Program

Our accredited Effects Technical Director (FX TD)  Diploma is an intensive 12 month program, preparing you to work within Effects (FX) departments on high end feature film & episodic visual effects (VFX) productions.  This program is the first of its kind, unparalleled in the depth of its highly specialized knowledge. The curriculum also compliments core craft skills by training students in advanced Houdini workflows while developing problem solving, time management, and career soft skills setting a foundation for long term career success.

What You Will Learn | Curriculum

These are the core concepts that will be covered in our Effects Technical Director program using the industry standard software from SideFX called Houdini. Our curriculum evolves and adapts to fit Industry needs.


Procedural Geometry & Shading >

This is the foundation of Houdini. Geometry, attributes, points, primitives, volumes. In this module we analyze natural phenomena and teach how to procedurally generate the subject matter using a variety of techniques and workflows in the most efficient way possible. This module arms you with an arsenal of Houdini knowledge to propel you into the world of dynamic simulations.

FLIP (Fluids) >

Here we explore how to simulate smoke, fire, and explosions and how to set up fluid and ocean simulations. From Honey to blood we study viscosity, motion, particle flow and everything else that falls under the category of fluid simulations.

Pyrotechnics >

In the Pyro module we drift away from the land of Geometry/Particles and explore the world of Volumes/Voxels to produce state-of-the-art high impact effects related to hot expanding gases such as fire, smoke, and explosions. Time to blow stuff up!

Destruction (RBD) >

By studying how things break, crack, and fracture, we explore the world of rigid body dynamics (RBD). Here we learn about mass, density, gravity, forces, constraints and all the necessary skills we need to destroy anything and everything in Houdini.

Particles >

In our Particle Logic module we study how to build relationships between particles, giving them an awareness of their surrounding environment and their fellow neighbour particles to produce crowd like behaviors that we can then attach animations and effects on to.

Soft Body Dynamics >

From cloth simulations to blood and lava lamps , we study the world of Soft Body Dynamics - Vellum PBD & Constraints. This module catapults you into the world of constraints and simulations in Houdini with the latest and greatest tools from SIdeFX which push the industry forward when it comes to Soft Body Simulations and Character effects.

Our Teaching Philosophy

We are firm believers that it is not proficiency in a certain software that makes a good effects artist, but rather the ability to continually problem solve and adapt to the task at hand.

It is the business of the FX TD to analyze natural phenomena and replicate them as photo-realistically as possible. The first skill essential to complete this task is a trained eye that is able to discern the characteristics and qualities of those natural phenomena. From lightning bolts to smoke plumes, to the intricate behaviour of a school of fish, developing a sense for breaking apart what drives nature is the centerpiece of an FX TD’s education and lifelong skill set.

Probably even more important is the skill of problem solving. A good FXTD will have to train their mind in the ways of critical thinking and structured troubleshooting of complex systems. Therefore, we focus on teaching the skill of finding solutions to whatever the problem might be. Houdini is a unique piece of software that allows for problem solving unlike any other VFX software platform. Throughout the FXTD program, we will continually strive to eliminate the phrase “It doesn’t work” from our vocabulary and develop a firm sense that anything we set our minds to can be built virtually.

At Lost Boys we train our artists to problem solve efficiently, equip them with the power to deliver effects on time, understand and digest notes, address critical feedback, and be pro-active in their communication with teammates and supervisors. This will prepare you for any serious FX department in todays VFX-industry.

Students of Lost Boys School of VFX at Vancouver, Canada campus working on VFX Compositing and FXTD shots.

What To Expect



Understand and participate in some pre-production and execution of live action plates for effect shots. Here at Lost Boys, we believe being part of the production prepares you for the visual effects production pipeline.



FX TD role involves a mix of art and technological proficiency. To become a strong FX TD, we will be teaching you technical knowledge required to master portfolio projects and to fully understand effects. This will include the science and technical ability using a variety of relevant software meeting industry needs.



Taking reference of natural phenomenon is one of the best ways to get started studying the visual imagery of FX. Photograph fire, water, rock patterns, wood fracturing, plant growth, clouds, and any other natural phenomenon that could be an effect on a movie. Use both large scale and small scale subject matter. Study it, draw it, and if able, try and reproduce it with digital methods.

Industry Insight

Industry Insight

Learn about the Past, the Present, and the Future of the Visual Effects Industry. Get access to Guest Speakers from the Industry, Studio Tour of World-Class Facilities, and gain access to closed-door Presentations.


Weekly Reviews

Weekly Review of student’s work, one-on-one mentorship, periodic script reviews, all given by the instructors with pixel accuracy to ready you for Studio Dailies.

Career Prep

Career Prep

If you want a career in visual effects, not only do you need to know how to do shots, you also need to know how to get jobs. Learn how to create a demo reel, breakdowns, portfolio site, manage your money, set goals, apply for jobs, and learn the art of soft studio skills.

Alumni Success

Graduates from our Effects Technical Director Program (FX TD) have been involved in projects that have shaped the world of entertainment. The main goal is to give our students the tools and skills to thrive in a studio-like environment in preparations to complete major featured films and television shows. Our alumni have been accredited over 100 films and continue to shape the industry with their artistry in an ever-expanding field. 

Select Student Reels

Visit our Vimeo to see more video content. 


Admission Info

Academic Start Dates

We are currently running Spring and Fall intakes – Contact us for specifics, be sure to share site and program.

What We Look For...

The following criteria provides a general idea of what we look for in the personal letter and portfolio that you must submit in the application process. It is important to note that the quality of these items are considered together with the general requirements needed to apply to Lost Boys

Tuition Costs

Our Advanced FX TD Program is a unique curriculum that is not offered anywhere else. From our veteran instructors who have moved the visual effects industry forward to our project-based learning system, Lost Boys provides the best education to aspiring artists who seek a position in the VFX industry. We are confident that the investment you make will be rewarding.


$41,900.00 CAD


$51,900.00 CAD

Find out more about admissions below!