Hey all! Austin Broder here, instructor & curriculum developer with Digital Media Academy. Happy New Year to you all! As I’ve done for the past 3 years now, I kicked off my January by visiting the wonderful students at The Nueva School in San Mateo to teach a couple classes during their Intersession. It’s the perfect way to start off the new year!

In the first workshop, I taught 3D Modeling & Digital Sculpting using some professional software and professional workflows. Students got the opportunity to use a program called Mudbox, a program for 3D modeling and painting that acts like digital clay. The program has a new feature named “Dynamic Tessellation” that allowed the student’s creativity to run wild. This feature allows the program to rebuild the structures of our models to accommodate the features we wanted to build. The options were limitless; tentacles, antlers, and other creature features were easily dreamed up and then modeled. We then painted custom textures onto our models using Wacom drawing tablets. Then, we brought our final sculpted and textured models into Maya, where we used a professional-level rendering plugin called Arnold Renderer which allowed us to experiment with lighting and texturing. The students had a blast and even though we only met for two days. Even with just a few hours each day, we still managed to cover an impressive amount of topics. I was proud of every student and I had such a good time teaching them.

The second week was a new set of students and new curriculum, this time in Filmmaking & Visual Effects. We went over how to shoot a film and how to use visual effects to enhance storytelling. We covered all of the main techniques for creating movie magic. Students learned the rule of thirds, how to operate a camera, lighting techniques, and editing workflows. The students were so sharp that we even managed to make a couple awesome visual effects shots on the first day! Everyone came up with an idea for a special power they’ve always wanted to have and we made that dream a reality (within the safety of After Effects.)

A big thank you to The Nueva School for always putting on such an awesome event and the students for always being so intrigued and hungry for new skills! Check out their work!