please look below for answers to
the questions we hear most frequently.

(If there is anything else that you would like to know please contact us!)

Do I need a Wacom/Cintiq or other drawing tablet?

No - those are cool if you're into digital sketching but there's not really a specific reason you'd need to use one during one of our workshops. We do recommend getting yourself a good mouse though, pick something that fits your hand nicely. We really like the ones with programmable buttons so that you can do cool stuff with keyboard shortcuts. Think of your mouse as your magic wand though - you're going to be spending a lot of time using it, so the main thing is that it's comfortable for you to use and works smoothly. Having extra batteries on hand is important too if you're using a wireless mouse.

What kind of downloads are included with the workshops?

All students who sign up for the workshops will get a copy of the 3D characters, Environments, and other assets needed to function during the workshops.  If the workshop is online please check the specific workshop page.

What Gear do I Need?

Your computer is going to need to be able to keep up with the pace you're developing at, as well as the size of your project. For the kind of things we're doing in our workshops, you need a laptop or desktop computer with 6gb of ram (8gb or more is highly recommended) We work on Windows machines and highly recommend using a PC that's running Windows 10. 

Can we talk to you during the Online workshop?

We try our best to answer as many questions as we can during the workshop but we cannot answer all questions. If you have any questions that we were unable to address during the workshop, we ask that you email questions to us and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can

Where will I log in to participate in the online workshop?

48 Hours before the workshop begins, you will recieve a link to access the live event. When it's close to time for the workshop to begin, all you'll need to do is click on the link and you'll be ready to go.

A mouse that fits your hand comfortably. We don't recommend using the built-in touvhpad on laptops for this as Unity and most 3D programs are not set up to use them effectively.) A dedicated spot for your notes. We give a lot of tips and tricks as we go, so you're definitely going to want to jot a few things down. Erin keeps hers in a Moleskine, Elijah prefers to keep his notes digitally in Google Keep. Use what you're comfortable with, the important thing is to keep your notes in a way that's easy for you to look at and refer back to.

How much experience do I need to take this workshop? how much will I actually learn?

You do not need to have prior design and development experience to take this workshop, and we give you a foundational collection of skills and tools that will enable you to begin developing your own projects as well as showing you how to keep growing those skills independently long after the workshop has ended. You will also be able to download the entire workshop in video format after the live experience ends so that you can refer back to it at any time.

I'm trying to find an affordable laptop to use for class, do you have any recommendations?

Here are a few laptops we found in the $200 to $300 range that would work - https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1X0ODICYFVHA8?ref_=wl_share

(If you're looking for more of an investment machine for really heavy-duty 3D work, let us know and we'll give you some suggestions! The ones on our list can handle what we're doing in class though.)

What's Your Refund Policy?

Please email us at mittenpixels@gmail.com in order to withdraw from a class. If we have to cancel a workshop for any reason, we will offer you a credit towards a future workshop or refund you, your choice. If you cancel, registration is nonrefundable but can be sold/transferred or you can apply the amount paid towards a future workshop.

What kind of Students Should Take these Courses?

I'm a different type of teacher; my students will get the best of both worlds because I am both an introvert and extrovert. I have a lot of history in intense computer work coding, animation, design and film, as well as having a long background in sports and theater. For a much lengthier look at how I work with different types of student, please see my blog post about it here!

Do I Need to Know How to Code to Take a Class?

No! We'll be using visual scripting on C# in Unity

What Software Do You Teach?

I teach game development using the Unity development engine. It's currently the leading game development engine used by professional game studios, and is used to create over half of the games worldwide (along with between 70-80% of VR and AR games.) You can read more about Unity at https://unity.com/ and see some of the remarkable things it's been used to create Here. Unity is my game development engine of choice for a multitude of reasons, but some of the things that I love about it include:

  1. It's free to use until you make $100,000.00 or more off of what you've used Unity to create. After that (once you're making the big bucks) it's $125 a month. It's powerful software, and most of it's competitors are a lot more expensive to get started with and charge lifelong royalties on anything that you create. I really respect Unity for making it accessible to learn and establish a decent financial base before charging a premium. 
  2. You can develop your skill set around it in a way that allows you to work independently/in a self employed format, and there are a TON of high-paying jobs for Unity developers. Learning Unity is a way of investing in your skills that's really adaptable and has a lot of different ways to profit off of it.
  3. It can be as complex or as simple as you like. Unity allows you to develop games from the most minimal 2D sidescrollers to advanced 3D experiences. It can grow with your skillset and it truly does hold unlimited possibilities. 

Can you come teach my group?

This of course depends on my availability around normal classes and what I would be teaching.  Please contact me if you have a group or would like to talk about teaching Unity to a specific group of kids.  

What are your age requirements?

Generally I do not accept students in the group classes that are held publicly if they are under the age of 10.  Outside of that I welcome all kids, teens over the age of 10 to join in on workshops classes. Such as the ones listed here.

What kind of careers are there in game design and development.

Currently the game industry is worth a wooping 89 Billion Dollars https://www.statista.com/statistics/292056/video-game-market-value-worldwide/

So what kind of specific jobs are there.

Concept Artist

UI Designer

3D Modeler

3D Generalist

Character Rigger

Character Modeler

Lighting Technician

Renderer

Colorist

Code Development

Character Animator

And so on…

 

Where are your classes located?

We are located in Howell/Brighton area currently we teach classes at different locations and right now we have classes coming up at the Howell Chamber of Commerce in downtown Howell, Michigan.

 

Do you teach 3D Modeling, Texturing, Character Design?

I can, right now we are putting a heavy focus on teaching the Unity application and designing video games.  I do believe that 3D Modeling and Character Design are definetly extremely important in pursuing game design.  So we may eventually do a character design or 3D Modeling session.

How is your class structured will the students have something to show when the class is over?

Each class session is structured in a way that we work on one project and at the end of our period we build that project into a PC or MAC game file at that point the student will be share it with whoever they want.

What Software will you be teaching from and why.

I am currently using Unity to build my game and at this point 73% made are being made with Unity part of the reason is because it is a reliable professional artistic tool for making games that works and has a trusted system being able to deliver games that are both stable, professional, and profitable to the market.

 

Unity also has several other advantages as a game building software you can read about this here on my blog.

 

How many students will be in your class.

This will vary depending on the workshop but the current workshops at Howell Chamber of Commerce will take on 30-35 students.

How do you start your classes.

I usually start with a creative drill that helps the students remember the how, where, and why we would use a specific tool in Unity either to animate, code, or build our  game.

 

What are the core elements that each student will learn?

How to manage the game building process - from planning, to designing,  to coding, to building, and to sharing.

 

My kid is new to the game design thing , should I sign them up what would suggest?

Well that really depends on your kid , I don’t mind if your kid is a beginner sometimes that is the best way to learn.  In all honesty game design has so many moving parts sometimes you just got to learn from wherever you can. But if they were to sign up I do not believe it would hinder the class and I am confident I would be able to make them feel confident and able to achieve the task.

What does my kid need to bring to class?

Right now just a laptop that has the necessary requirements which as fairly simple make sure they have.

 

4gb of ram at least

At least 20gb of hard drive space remaining at any given time

 

Is your teaching involve the students getting involved and interacting with you and the other students.

Yes, it’s encouraged in my class to have discussions in quick spurts but never lose focus of our goal. I also will take breaks to answer questions when needed.

How did you learn all of this?

I remember the moment when I decided to stay in my room to work on a design I was doing in 3D for the first time - I believe I was roughly 16 years old.  From that day I’ve been on the computer almost 20 years of learning through various industries i’ve worked as a computer engineer, graphic designer, game developer, website designer and developer - I’ve also had very supportive parents when I was young also that pushed me to be creative and just go for it no matter how hard it gets.  So with their persistance as well as my own I played many sports in my youth including football, basketball, bowling, and fencing. I was heavily involved in theater, drama, and the arts and started my first actual LLC when I was 16 1/2 . With my experiences and working in Chicago for 10 years as a VFX artist for film, 3D Artist and Photographer. I would also accredit a lot of my intensity of learning to my self learning habits.  

What would you say is the top 3 things you need to learn to be a game designer?

I would say that the most important things to learn as a game designer are

Animation and Storytelling

Reasoning and Logic

How to distill creativity or thoughts to an actual story (this will get you pretty far)

 

What kind of life skills do you teach?

Here is a list of overarching things that the students will learn in my classes some of these I will directly address others are seamlessly blended into the nature of game design.

Time Management

Organization and Project Management

Confidence through Repetition

Patience (games can take forever, you have to learn to live with it.)

Creative communication (the ability to take something from your head and communicate it effectively)

Repetition and Habits (Many parts of game design are about wash and repeat so showing students that doing the same thing over a dedicated period of time with a positive attitude towards something worthwhile creates good habits that increase productivity and health.)

Human Social Engagement (My classes effectively teach the importance of social engagement with other students this way later down the road the student feels confident in his or her ability to talk with professionalism and charisma.  This is effective not only in general business but especially when talking about or promoting your own game.)

 

What parts of game development do you teach?

There are many aspect of game development such as design, development, and deployment.  I teach all realms of the game design design and development. Including the below but not excluding others.

Planning, Organizing Game Story and File Backup Procedure

Creative Animation and Coding

Rigging and Character Lip Syncing

Promotional graphic design for the commercial market

Animation and Lighting

Texturing and Lighting

 

Erin's Favorite Books

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

Elijah's Favorite Books

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Mastery by Robert Greene

Eat That Frog - Brian Tracey

About Elijah

Elijah Hamilton is a versatile multidisciplinary artist, father, and husband who has worked with Good Music, Fidelity Investments, Music Hall Detroit. He is grand prize winner of Mofilm Whale Tale for 3D animation in commercial rewarded by Jon Landau of Titantic and Avatar. Is a 15 year veteran artist and expert in 3D animation, 3D Modeling, 3D Interaction and Game Development in Unity. He attended Columbia College Chicago before going on to create Black Superheroes and now is working on several video games The Oyster Hotel, Rosie The Riveter, John Henry, and The Tail of the Fox. Elijah was originally born in South Bend, IN.

About Erin

Erin Hamilton has worked in the creative field as designer , art director, creative director and game designer and STEM educator. Erin is creator of Gilmore Girls We Can DO IT poster series , The Listing Poster, and has brokered independent film deals for design and art from London to LA. Erin is an expert 3D animator and mixed reality and augmented reality expert. Erin's knowledge extends from design to technical design based on texture and atmosphere. Currently Erin is leading the creative direction and base coding and scientific exploration of the Rosie the Riveter Game. Erin was born and raised in Michigan.

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