Regents approve new Visual Effects programs for Tech Innovation Hub

by Joe Wyatt
Published May 27, 2020

Amarillo College Regents on Tuesday, May 26 unanimously approved new associate degree and certificate programs in visual effects (VFX) to be housed in the Technology Innovation Hub being developed at the Downtown Campus.

VFX GraphicINBoth the Associate in Applied Science degree (60 semester credit hours) and the Certificate of Completion (30 semester credit hours) were approved by AC’s Curriculum Committee on December 13, 2019.


The newly Regent-approved VFX programs will next be submitted for approval to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).


These programs have been developed and will be delivered in collaboration with Semkhor, which specializes in the creation of real-world visual effects educational programs.


Amarillo College truly understands how to integrate education with industry and is ideally suited to create a nationally recognized visual effects program and local industry,” said David Shapiro, founder and owner of Semkhor.


“Visual effects is becoming more and more central to content production and this program is designed, from the ground up, to train students how to understand the entire spectrum of VFX techniques and strategies.”


Although the Technology Innovation Hub will not be ready for occupancy until sometime in the future, the College hopes, pending THECB approval, to begin offering some aspects of both programs in the upcoming fall semester.


Both VFX pathways are designed to help students become not only proficient in the use of various VFX hardware and software, but also in various leading-edge technologies that will lay the groundwork for attracting the jobs of the future.


“This is exciting. There is a technology link to it with myriad applications that will lead to jobs not just in a mediated field,” said AC President Russell Lowery-Hart. “We’re developing a tech-savvy workforce that will maximize the economic future of our entire region.”


The AAS degree is comprised of courses – from History of Animation to Film-Style Production – that provide a broad overview of the VFX workflow and pipeline in a studio-style environment designed for hands-on work and skills development.


Supplemental Continuing Education boot camps will support the program by focusing on in-depth aspects of video production, from the beginning of the pipeline to the end of post-production.


The certificate is a yearlong curriculum that stacks fully into the AAS degree, which allows students, upon completion, to proceed seamlessly onto the AAS pathway.