Don't just take our word for it...
Check out what a few of our former students have to say about what they gained from training with us.
I have had the good fortune to interact and learn from Aaron Estrada in a number of different capacities - first as my compositing instructor in college, second as a mentor, and thirdly as my boss at Pivot VFX. Aaron is one of the most technically competent and well-rounded film professionals I have ever encountered. He knows how to take a project from fruition to completion to end up with a well executed, visually appealing product. In compositing specifically, his years of experience have given him a well trained eye, quick to spot inconsistencies and imperfections - and the technical know-how to fix them. I learned my technical foundation in compositing from Aaron, and use the skills every day in my current position at Industrial Light & Magic. I would highly recommend that anyone interested in compositing, or visual effects in general, jump at the opportunity to learn all you can from Aaron! -Carol Payne
I had the privilege of being both a student in Aaron Estrada’s compositing classroom as well as having him as a mentor for a short student film I was doing VFX for. Aaron always struck me as being incredibly generous with his time by juggling both a full time VFX career with spending much of his free time educating students such as myself. In the classroom and as a mentor he put a strong focus on learning the fundamentals of compositing theory, such as the history, mathematics, and science behind modern compositing techniques. Only after he established a strong base of understanding did he introduce more advanced skills and techniques. His deep knowledge in related fields such as camera technology, color spaces, and image compression only further reinforced the foundational knowledge that helped build my compositing toolset.
Aaron fostered a good work ethic, an eye for detail, and finding creative solutions to difficult visual effects problems within myself and other students. These skills are things I have taken beyond the classroom and the university and onto my career at Sony PlayStation. It was a pleasure to learn from and work with someone as intelligent and skilled as Aaron Estrada -Jeremy Bernstein, Front End Engineer, Sony PlayStation Gaikai
Passion, curiosity and relentless energy define Aaron's approach to VFX and filmmaking. He guided me from total CG noob to a solid demo Reel and job offer within 6 months. I am currently a lead modeler at Tippett Studio working on high end creature films and largely have Aaron to thank for it. In my time in the industry I have met very few VFX professionals with as broad a scope of understanding. I lucked out to have a big brother with such chops. Now any aspiring VFX artist is just a mouse click away from his world class mentorship. -Marc Estrada
I have been a student of Aaron’s, and I’ve been a TA for his compositing classes at the University of New Mexico. He is able to work with students with little or no compositing experience to teach them the fundamentals. Later he challenges them with assignments similar to real world situations that utilize the fundamental lessons he’s taught earlier in his class.
Through his class and mentorship, I was able to assemble, train, and work alongside a volunteer VFX team to complete VFX shots for my senior project. Before even graduating from college, I was able to complete a compositing shot from the feature Iron Man 3, using the skills I learned from his classes. At the time, I was finishing up my last classes at UNM and working part time at Pivot VFX. -Donovan Heimer, BFA in Interdisciplinary Film & Digital Media at UNM
I took Aaron Estrada's compositing course at the University of New Mexico. Aaron taught us in simple steps and emphasised the details of how things work under the hood in NukeX and the importance of quality in the final result. I found his class challenging and informative and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning compositing, especially considering Aaron's impressive production credits. -John Mulquin Jr
Aaron Estrada's passion for visual effects is strongly evident when he explains advanced concepts and workflows. He wants you to understand and become a better vfx artist than you were at the beginning of a lesson. -Paris Premdas
Aaron is an excellent teacher. I took his compositing class as part of a digital media degree program at the University of New Mexico, and I consider his class to be one of the best the program has to offer. He is able to communicate complicated information to his students in a way that is both interesting and relevant. It is rare that you run into someone who knows the subject matter as well as he does and is such a capable teacher. I highly recommend his class to anyone who is interested in developing an understanding of compositing and how it applies to real world applications. -Lael Tucker
Aaron's mentorship, guidance, and example have been a key part of my success in breaking into the VFX industry. I was a professional modeler and rigger at Disney Interactive Studios, Digital Domain, and Hydraulx. While Aaron's main hard skills are lighting and compositing, he has had significant experience in almost every other VFX/CG discipline. This gives him an added level of insight into how best to collaborate with other artists and technicians in a production environment. This perspective carries over in a major way into his ability to offer insightful, current, relevant mentorship, which I have personally benefited from in advancing my own career. Luckily for me, he's my brother, so I got the mentorship for free! In fact, his success in this industry gave me an example to follow on my own path. -Jeremy Estrada
Aaron has been my Lighting and Compositing mentor for over a year and has dramatically increased my specialized knowledge in visual effects. I attribute much of my success to Aaron's expert advice and amazing tutelage. As a mentor he has been able to guide me in my career based on my current level of understanding and knowledge. I would recommend Aaron to anyone seeking to learn visual effects, lighting, and digital compositing for film and commercial work. -Josh Goble VFX | Motion | Design at Reelz
...Aaron is an excellent instructor. Whenever a student was having trouble with an assignment. Aaron went out of his way to help that student either personally or via E-mail. Before each assignment, Aaron gave comprehensive directions about how the assignments were to be done. Aaron's instructions were easy to follow and never vague or unclear.
I have also had experience with Aaron Estrada as a mentor. Aaron always gave positive critical feedback on different projects I sent to him. Aaron was always willing to give me advice in a caring way, on how to improve a project I was working on.
Professor Estrada's course has been one of six courses that I've actually enjoyed during my time at UNM (I am in my senior year). His class was extremely intensive, and by the end of the course I actually knew how to composite; furthermore, I was able to apply the skills I learned in the course to other projects with relative ease. It was great that the course wasn't just about learning Nuke, but rather, learning the concepts of composting itself. Because of his course, I feel confident that I can translate the skills I learned, to any project that requires composting that comes my way. -Brady Rigg
I was completely new to the art of digital compositing before taking Aaron Estrada’s course. He was able to describe the technical craft to me in ways that were clear and easy to understand. Compositing can be very intimidating for beginners, but Aaron Estrada’s course gives you all the fundamental knowledge to have confidence tackling even the most challenging shots. In this course, you start with simplistic projects, but your abilities will enhance quickly as you complete each consecutive project. I have known Aaron Estrada for over two years now and it is clear that he is genuinely passionate about educating the VFX artists of the future and progressing the industry as a whole. I am confident that Estrada’s course will always be up to date with the latest techniques because as a working professional he is always discovering new innovative ways to get the job done. I highly recommend Aaron Estrada’s courses to anyone interested in learning about the art of digital compositing. -Graciela Ruiz BFA, University of New Mexico
I am writing to endorse Aaron Estrada as an instructor and mentor. His professional experience and expertise really shows in his teaching, and his compositing class was one of the most comprehensive and worthwhile elective classes I took at UNM. He has also been an invaluable mentor on a couple of film/VFX projects I worked on, volunteering much of his time to assist other students and I in our work. -Colin Calek BFA, University of New Mexico
... completing Aaron Estrada’s 16 week compositing course swiftly became core theory in my everyday toolbox. Whatever the project I embark may be, I’m still finding that the skills I gained are always applicable in one form or another. I cannot recommend the techniques and knowledge that Aaron has to impart upon his students enough. -Ryan Knudsen
Aaron knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to putting together a shot, but what really makes him a great teacher is that he knows how to explain it all in ways that are easy to understand. To paraphrase: “Everything you’ll ever do in compositing is just basic arithmetic. If you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, then you’ll have no trouble in this class.”
… If you’re at all interested in compositing, I highly recommend any class taught by Aaron Estrada. He’s still one of the best teachers I’ve had during my time as an IFDM student. -Dan Green
I took Aaron’s live Compositing course in the Spring of 2014. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding classes I have taken in my college career. I learned a tremendous amount of information regarding the principles of compositing as well as how I would put those principles into use in a professional context.
I wholeheartedly recommend Aaron Estrada as a compositing instructor and mentor. Any student interested in compositing should jump at the opportunity to have Aaron as an instructor. -Jared Chavez
I have had the pleasure of working with Aaron Estrada for the past three years. Aaron has an extremely vast technical knowledge and an excellent esthetic eye. He also has thorough attention to detail which is very helpful in adjusting color and black level precision between shots . As a supervisor Aaron is attentive and knows exactly how to direct people in the right direction on a shot to get it done efficiently and precisely. In my time working with Aaron he has expanded my own technical knowledge and has consistently challenged me with new and interesting material. In this line of work there is always a new solution to the same problem, and Aaron has always challenged me to never attempt the same solution twice. Keeping this in mind this has helped me to build a better more versatile library of techniques to tackle problems. Aaron has also challenged me to take on objectives that are more generalist in nature which has helped me grow as an artist and to broaden the scope of my work. -Nicholas Hoyt
Aaron Estrada is one of the most professional and knowledgeable instructors I've had in my education. He was my instructor at the University of New Mexico, in the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media (IFDM) program. I graduated from UNM May 2013 with a Bachelors in Fine Arts. I took three classes from Aaron, and he was a post production mentor on 3 large projects in IFDM that I participated in. Aaron Estrada has mentored me through compositing, VFX supervising, and even with advice to begin and further my career in the film industry. Aaron is constantly encouraging his students to create realistic goals while at the same time challenging them with harder shots and better quality. His advice is sought after by both faculty and students when it comes to compositing and VFX in general, as his insight is thought-provoking and rooted in experience. He's knowledgeable in everything from panoramic photography to CG lighting, storyboards to animation, modeling to compositing, from lighting the greenscreen, to keying it. Every time I speak to him I'm certain to learn something new. I'm currently working as a film editor at a local PBS Station. Whenever there is any green screen work, or any corrective VFX that needs implemented, I use what I learned from Aaron. I've even conducted trainings with coworkers, showing them better ways to key a problem greenscreen. The lessons I learned from Aaron have little to do with programs, I learned skills that apply to a multitude of timelines, workflows, styles, and programs. Aaron Estrada taught me that the program doesn't matter as much as the concept, that learning how to key is more than knowing what buttons to push. -Casey Curtiss