Learn From the Masters

At CG Masters, we believe that a great training program is more than just courses; it’s experienced and passionate instructors paired with the right students. If you’ve seen our student work, you will recognize the magic that can happen when we do this.

Below is a list of our carefully selected CG Masters and our amazing administrative team. Each master has been battle-hardened in production for ten years or more which allows them to bring far more than just technical skills to the classroom. They can give valuable insight into what it is like to do this type of work in a real studio.They know, because they’ve done it before at studios like Industrial Light & Magic, Sony Pictures Imageworks, The Moving Picture Company, Digital Domain, Double Negative, Method, DHX and much more.



Visual Effects Supervisor Nicholas Boughen has been a pioneer of the Vancouver visual effects community since 1995 when he began working with digital visual effects. As a veteran part-time instructor, he is the recipient of multiple Notices of Special Recognition as a “University instructor who has had a major impact on the academic life or goals of a student“.

An Emmy and Gemini nominated digital artist and a VFX Supervisor for many years, Mr. Boughen began his digital career after 18 years in live theatre where he worked as a Technical Director, Facility Manager and Lighting & Scenic designer. This is where he taught himself to use early 3D software for his design work. When the digital media industry came to Vancouver, he made the natural transition to digital as a CG Generalist in television movies and TV series which were the bread and butter of the local industry in the early days.

His feature film career began in 2002 when Rainmaker VFX (Now Method Studios Vancouver) landed the city’s first full feature. He spent the next 10 years establishing great teams and technological systems designed to handle the increasingly difficult demands of film and television visual effects.

Having completed 28 films, 4 television series and over a hundred commercials, Mr. Boughen is renowned as one of the world’s foremost experts in the art and science of computer generated lighting and shading; a field loaded with misperception and pseudophysics, widely considered to be a “black art” among many CG artists. Skilled lighting and shading artists are extremely rare and highly sought after. Mr. Boughen has been laboring for years in an attempt to fill this gap by publishing books, lecturing across north and central America and by teaching college and university classes on the subject outside of his professional career as a digital visual effects artist and supervisor.

    With a background as a scenic and lighting designer for the stage, he naturally gravitated towards Computer Generated lighting and shading. His books garnered speaking invitations across North and Central America. Mr. Boughen, a certified instructor, has been teaching Digital Arts since 2001 at various institutions and conferences and came to the conclusion that current teaching methods in this field need a big overhaul. Based on his years of experience training digital artists on the job to produce professional quality pictures, he and the faculty have developed a skills-oriented training structure that addresses issues with insufficient, fragmented or incomplete training commonly found at nearly all colleges, universities and private training institutes. He has gathered a wonderful faculty of industry veterans and leaders to help realize the vision of a new kind of training that is based on genuine job skills and on-the-job training methodologies rather than on the theoretical process-based methods of most schools worldwide. His goal is to create the best visual effects school in the world by running against the tide of popular but ineffective training methods and relying on his real-world training and production experience in the business of visual effects.
    1. Mr. Boughen lives in Deep Cove with his wife/partner Vickie and their two children. In is spare time, he is a rabid private pilot. He currently holds a first degree black belt from the World Traditional Taekwondo Union and practices SKF Kickboxing and Karate.




Houdini Dynamics Instructor

Ivan brings decades of experience creating software and tools for artists. He has extensive knowledge of feature film, game and commercial production. After studying at art school, Ivan moved to Hollywood and worked on several groundbreaking films. He saw a need for better visual effects tools and founded Martial Labs in 2000 to create software and produce visual effects imagery. His company collaborated with studios including Rhythm & Hues, Digital Domain, Method, Asylum and Entity Effects. He was awarded a Visual Effects Society award for his work on the TV series Smallville.

In 2007, Ivan relocated to Vancouver, working with Rainmaker, Deluxe/CIS and The Embassy Effects on some of the first large VFX projects completed in BC. He opened his offices in what is now The Sawmill. The Sawmill is a company comprised of industry professionals from the visual effects, gaming, music, design and scientific disciplines, the intent of the founding group was to create a publicly accessible facility that would engage in research, development, and content creation for motion capture and immersive industries while providing limited production services.

After nearly two decades in film, Ivan began to focus purely on software development. Along the way he has helped Rainmaker create a Houdini/Massive integration tool and Solid Angle on their Arnold renderer. Eventually Ivan crossed over to the video game industry building procedural content generation tools for artists.



COMPOSITING INSTRUCTOR | Compositing Supervisor, Zoic Studios

Visual Effects Compositing Graeme, an Emmy nominated senior compositor, graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interactive Arts. His visual effects career started at Method Studios as a rotoscope artist before quickly moving up to a lead rotoscope artist and eventually moving into a compositing role. It was there that he first met CG Masters Founder Nicholas Boughen where they worked together on such titles as Night at the Museum, Blades of Glory, Invictus, Marmaduke and Salt.

Graeme currently works at Zoic Studios as a compositing supervisor on the TV series Once Upon a Time.  He has also worked as a senior compositor on feature films and occasionally as a lead compositor on television titles. As a lead compositor, Graeme has been nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects in Falling Skies and attended the 65th annual Emmy Awards in 2013.

He is passionate about exploring the world through hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, and traveling to far away places.

Nick says of Graeme “Why is he always so calm?….”




Saqib Ashraf Senior FX TD Saqib joined CG Masters this fall and brings a wealth of experience to our school. His most recent project was Thor: Ragnarok but he has also been involved in a variety of FX heavy films such as Spiderman: Homecoming, Logan, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Independence Day Resurgence, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Chappie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.



VFX Photography

Ryan has been a photographer for 18 years, turning professional 10 years ago. His work has been featured in magazines such as Tribute and Profiles Of Success. His primary focus is on portraiture, but dabbles in landscape and fine art. With the continuing evolution of technology, he has also begun to work in corporate video and multimedia publishing for smartphones and tablets, utilizing the latest advances in both DSLR video and software that only a few years ago would have been out of reach for many. He has worked in the visual effects industry as a rotoscope artist for the films Cowboys & Aliens and Battleship. He also works in the entertainment field as an actor and voice over artist, his original loves. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he is a director in residence at First Impressions Theatre in North Vancouver.


RIGGING/SCRIPTING INSTRUCTOR | Senior Cloth FX TD Sony Pictures Imageworks

visual effects rigging

Currently a senior Cloth FX Artist and TD at Sony Pictures Imageworks, Mr. Kim has been working in visual effects for over 13 years. Recent credits include Angry birds, World of Warcraft, Ender’s Game, Jack the Giant Slayer and Ender’s Game. During his broad career, Mr. Kim has worked as a lighting artist, roto artist, character finaler, rigger and currently as a cloth FX artist and Technical Director. We are extremely pleased to have Mr. Kim’s huge experience on our team.


ANIMATION INSTRUCTOR |  Animator, Bardel Entertainment

Patrick was chastised by his kindergarten teacher for drawing the same dinosaur over and over… and over. So it was no surprise when, twenty-ish years later, he graduated from Sheridan College and began working as a classical animator. He freelanced for six years, working in Canada and Japan on such television projects as Nilus the Sandman and Aeon Flux, and the feature film Werner: Das muss kesseln!!!
Patrick began teaching in 1996 and earned a Provincial Instructor’s Diploma the following year. He taught animation full time for nine years while continuing to freelance as an animator, designer and illustrator. From 2011 to 2012 Patrick returned to being a student, completing the Digital Animation Program at Capilano University. After graduating (again), he joined Nerd Corps Entertainment (now DHX Media) to work on shows including Max Steel and Monster High. Patrick is currently an animator at Bardel Entertainment.
In his free time, Patrick likes reading fantasy novels and practising tai chi.


MODELING AND TEXTURING INSTRUCTOR | Senior CG Generalist, Method Studios

3D Modeling

Mr. Peck is a senior modeler currently at Method Studios Vancouver. In his 13 years in the industry he has worked at numerous studios as a lighting, texturing and modeling specialist. In addition, he has several years of experience teaching his craft. His calm and good nature in the class room make him a fun and approachable instructor and we like that a lot. We have worked with Mr. Peck in the past on feature film projects and are absolutely delighted and honored to have this bright, talented artist teaching our modeling and texturing class.



COMPOSITING INSTRUCTOR | Senior Compositor, Various Studios

Danny Lee is a Senior Compositor.  As such he is in demand and works across many studios in the region including, but not limited to, ILM, Double Negative and MPC.  He is known for his work on Django, District 9, The Hobbit and Thor among many others

» Filmography


ANIMATION INSTRUCTOR | Animation Director, DHX Media

Mr. Poettcker is an Animation Director at DHX Media (formerly Nerd Corps Entertainment) where he has been animating for ten years. Among his credits are Storm Hawks, The League of Super Evil, Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5, Rated A for Awesome, Monster High and Max Steel. He has been a director on Endangered Species and Nickelodeon’s Blaze and the Monster Machines. He credits his passion for animation to watching the same 4-hour VHS tape of recorded cartoons over and over again through much of his childhood. Don’t try this at home.



VFX Drawing

Shelley was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  She began formal studies in art in 1989 at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Fine Art in 1995 majoring in Painting. She continued her art education in 1997 upon entering Graduate School at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and completed her formal studies with a Master of Fine Art degree in painting in 2000. She has had multiple solo, juried and group exhibitions nation wide, most noted being a juried exhibition at the Art Gallery on Ontario in Toronto in 1996 and a solo exhibition at the Nickel Museum in Calgary in 2000. Her work is represented in the University of Alberta Master of Fine Art Collection and The Alberta Foundation for the Arts Collection. And also, in private regional, national and international collections. Her professional experience includes teaching, doing demonstrations and workshops, giving lectures, serving as a jury member, serving on art gallery committees and board of directors, co-founding and organizing an annual art collective event, and exhibition design for various galleries. Shelley has been awarded the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Graduate Scholarship Award, The Mary Louis Imrie Graduate Student Award, three Lakehead University Juried Exhibition Awards and several provincial Exhibition Assistance Grants. The CG Masters are honored to have her on the faculty. Students who don’t think they know how to draw will depart her class corrected. »



VFX GeneralistFounder – The Embassy VFX,  Mr. Hebb is one of the founders of The Embassy VFX www.theembassyvfx.com in Vancouver Canada. The Embassy has been responsible for many world class visual effects including stunning work on Iron Man, District 9 (Academy Award nominated), Cowboys and Aliens, Battle L.A., Battleship and numerous other films and high end commercials. Mr. Hebb began as a digital artist in the early days and is one of the pioneers of modern digital visual effects work. He adds decades of experience and expertise to our advisory system, helping ensure CG Masters always stays up to date with current industry needs, methods and technologies. We are extremely pleased to welcome an artist and business owner of this calibre to our advisory board

» Filmography



Russell Smith

Russell started out his career in the last days of the Neovisuals software in the 80’s before a big bad US company bought it and turning it into….nothing. Finding solace in PRISMS by Side Effects, the next five years were a blur in Toronto, London, New York and Toronto again working in visual effects. A tow-month gig in Los Angeles turned into almost 16 years, the largest part of which was at the Walt Disney Company in Feature Animation. What does Disney pride itself with? Character work. So the effects side was left behind for the beginning of developing rigs for 3D characters capable of everything from realistic to Tex Avery style animation and more. For now, its back home and a return to visual effects. Might there one day be any animated feature movies made in Canada?  » Filmography


Rick Stringfellow

Executive Art Director – Electronic Arts Canada

Electronic Arts

Rick has been working in computer graphics for TV, Film and Games for almost 30 years. Starting with Channel 4 TV productions and at the BBC in London where he built up the News 3D animation department. In 1991 he moved to Canada working for Vertigo Animation Software. In 1997 he helped create the opening sequence to the Sci-Fi movie ‘Contact’ and VFX for ‘Starship Troopers‘ while working at Sony Imageworks. He then switched to the games industry with Radical Entertainment, and later EA where he art directed Need for Speed Underground and many of EA’s top selling sports titles.

Dale Fay

Director / VFX Supervisor

VFX Supervisor Zoic

Mr. Fay has been working in visual effects pretty much since there were visual effects. Starting out as a miniature model-maker on Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future in 1985, one of the first programs ever to use computer generated elements, Mr. Fay has supervised a number of motion pictures including Blades of Glory, and I, Robot. Most recently, Mr, Fay has been heavily involved in television visual effects for such series as Defying Gravity and “V”. Currently he is on set for the hugely popular “Once Upon a Time“.

James G. Hebb

Founder – The Embassy VFX

VFX Generalist
Mr. Hebb is one of the founders of The Embassy VFX www.theembassyvfx.com in Vancouver Canada. The Embassy has been responsible for many world class visual effects including stunning work on Iron Man, District 9 (Academy Award nominated), Cowboys and Aliens, Battle L.A., Battleship and numerous other films and high end commercials. Mr. Hebb began as a digital artist in the early days and is one of the pioneers of modern digital visual effects work. He adds decades of experience and expertise to our advisory system, helping ensure CG Masters always stays up to date with current industry needs, methods and technologies. We are extremely pleased to welcome an artist and business owner of this calibre to our advisory board

Peter Bowmar

FX Development Supervisor – Double Negative

Visual Effects Dynamics FX

Peter Bowmar is a native Vancouverite and currently FX Development Supervisor – Double Negative Studios Vancouver. As a lad, Peter and his Dad and/or friends made stop motion Super 8 films, usually involving Lego, explosions and blood, not always in the same film. At the age of 10, Star Wars altered his life forever. This led to spaceships being added to the aforementioned Super 8 films, and lots of TIE fighters scribbled on notebooks. Cable TV volunteering led to a professional night cameraman role for Kelowna station CHBC, which taught him a deep and scarring fear of mistakes, as those made on live TV are seen by hundreds of thousands. Working on film sets in the late 80s and during his Ryerson Film degree days convinced him that he hated being on set. Fortunately the transition to digital effects conveniently happened to save him. An Amiga, Imagine and a Video Toaster launched him into freelance FX work in Toronto. His career took an unexpected turn when he went to Singapore to help set up the first film and animation school in that country. Being given $5 million to spend presented the chance to learn and teach all major high-end software packages, and Softimage 3D became the next package after obsessing on LightWave. During this time, he tried to learn Prisms (the predecessor to Houdini) but quickly gave up when he was introduced to an Alpha .8 version of Houdini. He left Singapore for Side Effects Software’s Los Angeles office, where he spent many years documenting, supporting and developing training for Houdini. He found occasional time to do some freelance work on shows such as The Cell, Master of Disguise and Minority Report. Peter then worked at Rhythm and Hues on such projects as Flight of the Phoenix, Electra, and Superman Returns. After his US work visa ran out, he and his family moved to England, where he spent a year completing his Masters degree in Animation at Bournemouth University. Another production stint followed, this time at Framestore-CFC in London, where he worked on the Academy Award winning “Golden Compass” as well as “Prince Caspian” and “Wanted.” While he and his wife both loved living in London, the opportunity to return home to Vancouver proved too tempting, and he returned in 2008. Peter spent several years as head of 3D and Pipeline Development at Method Studios Vancouver before moving to his current position at R&H.

John Gajdecki

VFX Supervisor

VFX Supervisor

While growing up in Ottawa, John Gajdecki spent much of his time photographing scale models while his brother blew them up. You think this would have led to way more trouble. Today Gajdecki is one of Canada’s leading visual effects supervisors with three Emmy nominations and three Gemini awards spanning almost 20 years. He has both theatrical and television experience with a history of technological innovation, on-budget deliveries and award winning creative, Gajdecki has spoken at all of the major production schools, as well as at assorted conventions and industry events, including NAB in Los Vegas. He also established a scholarship for fourth year production students at York University in Toronto.

William Vaughan

Senior CG Generalist, Instructor, Owner Apple head Factory

William Vaughan - Master 3D Artist

William Vaughan’s CG work can be seen in all forms of media over the past 20 years. He’s worked on projects ranging from children’s books to toys, video games, broadcast, and film, and for clients like Rolling Stone magazine, Hasbro Toys, and Pixar Animation Studios. William has always had a passion for creating as well as teaching. For over six years, he played a major role in the evolution of the industry-leading software, LightWave 3D. While working for NewTek as its LightWave Evangelist, he helped write the manual and provided the training for CGI artists all over the world, authoring more than 300 tutorials and instructional
videos. His online tutorials are required reading for anyone interested in learning 3D. William has been published by every major CGI magazine and has contributed to 17 books. However, his writing is not limited to tutorials and case studies. He has also written and directed several award-winning animated short films, such as Batman: New Times, X-Men: Dark Tide, and the Tofu the Vegan Zombie animated short, Zombie Dearest.
For several years, William was the Director of Industry Relations and Head of Curriculum and Academic Director at the Digital Animation and Visual Effects School at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. He has personally trained hundreds of students to become professional animators at major studios, such as Rhythm and Hues, Digital Domain, Weta Digital, Monolith, and EA Sports. Among his prized pupils are the art department at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and actor Dick Van Dyke. William has created content for Nickelodeon, SyFy, Spike TV, and others over the years but it his immense body of mentorship that will probably be remembered by many.

Vickie Boughen

Co-Founder | Director of Operations

VFX School

Vickie is most likely who you will first speak to when you are thinking seriously about studying digital animation and visual effects with us. She will answer your admission questions and help you complete your application process. Vickie has over two decades of experience in medical office management, property management and project/special event management, accounting, and office administration. She also has extensive experience dealing with government applications, confidential files, accounting practices, records archiving practices and project supervision. Her very strong interpersonal skills outfit her for interacting positively with students, parents and staff. There are few better suited for such a position. And she is just a lovely person too. We think we’ll keep her.

Nicholas Boughen

Co Founder | Director of Education

Visual Effects Supervisor Mr. Boughen is responsible for the training of every individual who crosses the CG Masters’ threshold. He employs nearly four decades of entertainment industry experience in continuously developing and delivering this remarkable training program. As a Film Industry Visual Effects Supervisor, he spent many years developing effective production teams as well as technical and administration systems to ensure timely, quality delivery of visual effects. He carries a deep understanding of industry’s need for well-trained, professional commercial artists, not just people who have taken some courses to learn software tools. This understanding is what drove the development of a training system that is centred on real studio operational procedure, team production and best practices. You are unlikely to find a better versed expert in the arts, sciences and procedures of studio production.

Ryan Crocker

Programs Coordinator

Ryan Crocker - Programs Coordinator

Mr. Crocker is the first face you will see when you come to check out our visual effects school. He brings 25 years of customer service experience to his role as Programs Coordinator of CG Masters Academy. His professional experience as a photographer and visual effects artist give him the ideal balance of service orientation, practical knowledge and organizational skills. He’s a skilled multi-tasker. That’s good because he’s going to need it. He brings a skill set including accounting, scheduling, and communications to the front desk of our school. A positive attitude and a “can do” mentality will serve the students well. We are pleased to have Ryan also instructing our Photography class.

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