Digital Tools of the Trade

Virtual Production—the art of mixing live-action footage with computer graphics in real time—is poised to create a major paradigm shift in the world of entertainment. With more and more major Hollywood productions utilizing Virtual Production techniques, it is extremely important that the next generation of filmmakers is taught using the tools of tomorrow. This course provides first-time Production students with a solid foundational understanding of the tools and techniques being used by cutting-edge filmmakers, such as pre-visualization and motion capture. Students will spend a large portion of the course working hands-on with Unreal Engine 4, a state-of-the-art 3D world-building tool that is currently being used by many of Hollywood’s top filmmakers to make feature films and television shows. Students will learn to build worlds from scratch populated by scenery and assets. This course relies heavily on small-group workshops to facilitate projects and allow for maximum one-on-one interaction between the instructor and students.

Course Structure

             Module 1: Manipulating Digital Landscapes
                 Module 2: 3D Modeling in Maya
                    Module 3: 3D Animation
  • Mixed format: pre-recorded lectures crafted by experts & live workshop component meeting weekly over Zoom.
  • Students who take three consecutive modules in one creative discipline will receive one semester of high school elective credit. 
  • Modules can be taken individually for non-credit. 
  • Prior modules do not need to be taken in order to attend the next module.
Tech Requirements:
  • Desktop PC or Mac
  • Windows 7 64-bit or Mac OS X 10.9. 2 or later.
  • Quad-core Intel or AMD processor, 2.5 GHz or faster.
  • NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX or AMD Radeon 6870 HD series card or higher.
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Or equivalent hardware.

Workshop Component
Meeting Dates & Times

2-hour live virtual workshop sessions will meet via Zoom each week on Saturdays @ 10:00AM-12:00PM PST
  • Module 1: October 16 - November 6, 2021
  • Module 2: November 13 - December 11, 2021 (no class on week of Thanksgiving)
  • Module 3: January 15 - February 5, 2022


Final projects for each module are due exactly one week after the last meeting date of respective module at midnight PST.

Meet the Instructor

John Inman

John Inman is a 3D Artist and Art Director with more than twenty years of industry experience specializing in VFX, commercials, games, real-time training simulations, theme park rides, augmented reality, and graphic design. John has worked on a wide variety of projects, such as heading video game level design and character animation for “Arms of Redemption” by Elder God Games, and an augmented reality project for the band Chainsmokers. 

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