The first session of "The State of the Visual Effects Arts," a four-part seminar presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will be held tonight at 7pm, in the Academy's Little Theater. Matte artist Bill Taylor, of Illusion Arts, Inc., and production designer Henry Bumstead are the guest speakers for the session, which focuses on "Traveling Mattes & Matte Paintings."

The subject of the Tuesday, May 7 session is "Motion Control & Miniatures," featuring The Abyss visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman and Star Wars effects maestro Richard Edlund. May 14's program is titled "Special Effects and Visual Effects, What's the Difference?," with Apollo 13's Matt Sweeney. The series will wrap May 21 with "Computer Generated Imagery & the Future," with Ken Ralston, of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump fame; Titanic effects artist Robert Legato; The Perfect Storm's Habib Zargarour; and Jurassic Park's Eric Armstrong.

All sessions will be moderated by Jamie Price, visual effects supervisor on The Time Machine, and will include film clips, effects reels, and audience discussion. The series is $80 for the general public and $60 for Academy members and students. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, CA. For additional information, call (310) 247-3000, ext. 111, or visit www.oscars.org.