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Fine Tuning 2021 – Professional Development Series in Virtual Technology and Design

Explore new digital skills and learn how to apply them to your professional activities with the Virtual Technology and Design Professional Development Series. The series, which begins Jan. 13, 2021, covers intermediate to advanced topics with eight-week or 16-week options available.

Create a custom series from the courses listed below. Each course consists of three online 50-minute lectures per week with the exception of Advanced Character Design, which consists of one online three-hour lecture per week. In addition, students will follow Virtual Reality Lab sessions with a dedicated instructor at U of I Coeur d’Alene. Students will be able to log in remotely to follow the live sessions online. Video tutorials and class notes will be available after the live session.

Contact Us

For registration info:
Christina Cox

For course info:
Jean-Marc Gauthier


Courses cover a mix of virtual technologies, augmented reality, virtual reality, virtual worlds and character design. Choose your own selection from the following options:

Animation and Visual Effects

10:30-11:20 a.m. PST Monday, Wednesday and Friday, HyFlex and online

Explore the methods used for visual and experiential communication, problem solving and storytelling through linear and interactive 3-D computer-generated animation. Software covered: 2-D, 3-D and video processing software including Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere, Marmoset, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Maya (or similar 3-D animation software), Bifrost and Unreal.

Instructor: Jean-Marc Gauthier


  • Covers the creative process to produce high-quality visual effects and animations for games, video productions and films
  • Creating composite scene using blue screen, 2-D/3-D layers, camera match moving and 3-D motions in After Effects and Maya
  • Creating real-time 3-D interactive animations in Unreal
  • Creating a 3-D character animation using Maya and Unreal
  • Simulating and rendering animations and visual effects of air, fire and liquids in Maya and Unreal
  • Real-time physics of vehicles in Maya and Unreal
  • Full rendering of animations using Physically Based Rendering (Substance designer, Substance Painter, Arnold, Unreal)
  • Software covered: 2-D, 3-D and video processing software including Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere, Marmoset, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Maya (or similar 3-D animation software), Bifrost and Unreal

Cross-Reality Technology

11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. PST Monday, Wednesday and Friday, HyFlex and online

Building upon the foundational knowledge of Cross-Reality (XR) technologies, explore how current and emerging versions of XR technologies can enhance XR interactions (object-oriented and event-driven) and user experiences (story telling/presence/social/multiuser) in virtual worlds.

Instructor: Brian Cleveley


  • Incorporate 3-D characters into Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality environments (Unity3D)
  • Import character animations into Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality environments (Unity3D and motion capture libraries)
  • Create character animations within the Unity3D game engine (Unity3D)
  • Connect character animations to user input via script development (Unity3D)
  • Develop multi-user virtual reality worlds for users to interact with the environment as a group (Unity3D)
  • Interactive user interface knowledge via script development (Unity3D)
  • Believable lighting solutions (lightmapping)
  • Scale appropriate Physics Based Rendering (PBR) materials
  • Scale appropriate characters, environments and entourage (3DS Max)
  • Utilizing projectile-based physics in a multi-user virtual reality world (Unity3D)

Advanced Character Design

7-10 p.m. PST Wednesday, HyFlex and online

Explore advanced workflows and methods for entertainment-focused character design. This course will cover advanced digital painting techniques and basic image compositing in Photoshop while also covering digital sculpting and rendering using Zbrush.

Instructor: Rayce Bird 


  • Digital Painting (Photoshop)
    • Silhouette and shape development
    • Light painting and the illusion of depth and form
    • Primary, secondary and tertiary stages of visual communication
    • Brush development and manipulation techniques
    • Contextualized design principles – color theory, composition, balance, line, shape, form, etc.
    • Lighting solutions – local color, global illumination, key lighting, rim lighting, fill lighting, bounce lights
  • Digital Sculpting (Zbrush)
    • Creating volumes – blocking out the primary structure of a character
    • Personality through form – line of action, posture, active and passive character states
    • Secondary and tertiary form development
    • Layering forms and details that tell a story
    • Shadow manipulation and the transition of forms on a surface
    • Management and development of additional character peripherals and features
    • Character compositing and local compositions
    • Rendering passes – base color, specular, ambient occlusion, subsurface scattering and lighting
  • Compositing (Photoshop)
    • Document setup and resolution
    • Importing multiple render passes into a single document
    • Layer-by-layer construction of a scene
    • Modifying and manipulating layers using advanced masking techniques
    • Final touches – image adjustments, digital painting techniques, focal points and emphasizing characters

Introduction to Virtual Reality

10:30-11:20 a.m. PST Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Online

This course explores introductory design methods, history and theory of virtual reality (VR). Within this context, explore the technical application of VR in the fields of medicine, engineering, education, design, art, simulation, training and entertainment. This course is designed to allow students the ability to develop their cognitive sensibilities and technical design skills required to produce VR experiences.

Instructor: John Anderson


Each week, the course will build off student-led projects and assigned exercises that will explore the fundamentals of VR. During the first half of the course, students will explore the modern construct of “virtual,” with the second half of the class dissecting the philosophical human perception of “reality“ itself.


Virtual Technology & Design

Physical Address:
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2481
Moscow, Idaho 83844-2481

Phone: 208-885-4409

Fax: 208-885-9429