The other day I was in my classroom, just walking around and making sure that there was no garbage hanging around, when it hit me that I had been teaching in that classroom for ten years. I had been teaching for about a year when we moved from Seneca's tiny campus on Jane St, to a brand new building on the campus of York University (Seneca is one of the biggest colleges in Canada, and has several campuses around the Greater Toronto Area, mine is at York).
It's staggering to think about the amount of change that's taken place over that time. Ten years ago, the program was primarily a compositing course, teaching Combustion and Flame. We actually had four Flames at the school, which was pretty crazy if you think about it. It didn't take long to move away from them. The writing was on the wall for those very expensive systems, there was a clear shift towards PC-based workstations.
We changed over to Digital Fusion and taught that from about 2005 to 2009. The school didn't really want our program to move to Linux, so even though Shake was the dominant compositing package, we were on the pretty painful version 5 and 5.1 of Fusion for a while. Fusion was adding their 3D environment to the package, and it was quite buggy.
Along the way we added matchmoving to the program, first with Syntheyes and now with PF Track. Maya was added early on, which is still a mainstay of the program, considering that Toronto is very much a Maya city. Houdini was added in 2011.
We were the first program to add Nuke on the East Coast, and I'm pretty sure in North America but I can't prove that. I certainly didn't hear of any other schools teaching Nuke back then. This was just before Nuke swept the industry, but you could see it coming. I remember back then it seemed like every two weeks you'd see a press release saying that a site license of Nuke was purchased by some huge studio.
I just finished putting together this year's compilation reel. I'm always amazed and inspired by what the students can put together in eight months. Really, that's the secret of teaching, I get back far more than what I put in. Every year I have a fresh class of students that are so excited and eager to learn. Their eagerness is contagious, a true pleasure to be around.
To all my past students, cheers, here's to you. I hope the next ten years will be as nice as the last.