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Showing posts from November, 2020

Exceptional Minds Levels Up

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Exceptional Minds is leveling up.  A research grant by Epic Games (well known for their popular game Fortnite) is putting Exceptional Minds apprentices Trevor Wallace, Russell Sayre and Kenneth McLeod to work in our studio. This trifecta of nascent video game creators are led by  Exceptional Minds' 3D/Gaming Supervisor,  Tabansi Kufahamu. They  are doing game design and development using Epic's Unreal Engine along with the many 3D animation tools and skills learned at the Exceptional Minds academy.  This comes at such an important moment. The demand for real-time 3D skills are at an all-time high, so learning Unreal Engine positions our artists for even more career opportunities.   These artists are building a library of 3D assets such as doors, chests, walls, chairs, stools, pillars, and arches. The goal?  " Hopefully we build a popular game," says Tabansi.  A side scrolling endless runner game that may one day be published.  3D side scroller game levels desig

Social Distance Is Not Social Isolation

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Virtual Instruction Continues at Exceptional Minds By Kat Cutright  Academic Dean, MFA Exceptional Minds Like so many other schools, Exceptional Minds made a rapid shift to remote learning in response to the social distancing requirements put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And like so many other schools, we resumed with remote learning at the start of our 2020/21 school year. But unlike most other schools, Exceptional Minds academy is dedicated exclusively to the technical training, behavioral support, and career development of individuals on the autism spectrum. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about remote instruction at Exceptional Mind s, it’s that social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. Practicing Feedback   Our technical and vocational classes continue to be geared toward our population, many of whom struggle with communication and social skills. Before this year, our social skills and professional soft skills training utilized in-pers

“It’s Like a Little Superpower With Me”

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Jake Riess, Class of 2019 Graduation Meet Jake Riess, a 2019 Exceptional Minds graduate and 3D artist and animator who has completed internships and apprenticeships with The Third Floor, Inc. and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “I know that some people see autism as a disability, but I think of it as an ability. I use it to help me out. It’s like a little superpower with me,” said Riess, who was diagnosed with autism at 8 years old. He describes himself as more visually and auditorily inclined than most of his neurotypical peers. While a virtual intern for The Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences' competitive Gold Program over a most unprecedented summer, he created an animated ‘germaphobe’ character as part of a team project that passed committee review with flying colors and could move forward into an animated short. “One creative director said he liked that character so much, he could just hug it! That is exactly what I was going for,” said Jake.