Exceptional Minds Levels Up

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 designed by Trevor Wallace. The character was created by Russell Sayre.

“The artists are getting comfortable with special effects and the game engine fairly quickly,” Tabansi continues. "Each artist is building their own level from home, remoting in to our computers on premise where we can watch and support their progress."

This is the first full 3D project for Exceptional Minds built with Epic's Unreal Engine, adding to the many new skills and tools used by EM students and artists including Autodesk's Maya and 3ds Max, and Maxon's Cinema 4D.  

Previously, Exceptional Minds Studio artists worked on 2D rigging projects for gaming mobile apps along with visual effects and animation projects for major movies and studios including Marvel Studios, Netflix, and Disney+.

Trevor, Russel, and Kenneth, in addition to graduating from Exceptional Minds’ three-year core program with a solid foundation in character animation and 3D design, now add gaming skills to their resumes at a time when the $200 billion video game industry is rapidly converging with movie production.

Disney, for example, used Epic’s Unreal Engine to render real-time sets in The Mandalorian. The Lion King also used game engine technology to create realistic fictional places like Pride Rock and to get the characters to move just like they would on the plains of Africa.

Now with on-site movie production still shuttered in many cases, gaming technology is creating new opportunities for 3D and 2D artists like Trevor, Russell, and Kenneth. There's simply no limit to what they can achieve in this new and exciting real-time production space. 

Exceptional Minds is a professional training academy and working studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. We are a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization based out of Los Angeles, CA, specializing in training young adults with autism spectrum disorder for meaningful careers in post-production and digital animation. Subscribe to our Newsletter here. To donate to our Scholarship Fund click here.

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