February 22 - April 22
Live online course
8 WEEKS, MON & THUR,
5 PM PST / 8 PM EST
February 22 - April 22
TECHNICAL ART
Become proficient in Python, VFX, basic blueprints, shaders, Unreal Engine 5, user interfaces, and more.
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AARON AIKMAN - Technical Art, Live online course elvtr
YOUR INSTRUCTOR

AARON AIKMAN

BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT

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THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU IF YOU NEED TO:
AARON AIKMAN - Technical Art, Live online course elvtr
Get from the ground up
We’ll delve into the core essentials — problem-solving, Python, VFX, basic blueprints, Unreal Engine 5, and shaders — and expand upon these topics in comprehensive detail.
AARON AIKMAN - Technical Art, Live online course elvtr
Get your feet wet
Whether you’re an entry-level game designer, FX artist, lightning artist, UX/UI, or graphic designer, this course provides a curated pathway to explore without having to drown in the sea of information online.
AARON AIKMAN - Technical Art, Live online course elvtr
Enhance your skills
Tailored for both aspiring tech artists and mid-level specialists, this course not only fortifies fundamental skills but also offers the flexibility to delve deeper into specific areas
YOUR ASCENT STARTS HERE
Bridge art & tech for creative solutions
Master Python for problem-solving, Unreal Engine 5 for blueprint scripting and shader development, and create captivating visual effects.
Level up your skills in real time
ELVTR advantages: interactive learning, instant Q&A, dynamic online classrooms filled with networking opportunities.
ABOUT THE COURSE / WHAT YOU’LL DO
Lots of practice
Practice hands-on, from crafting Python scripts for vector calculations to applying ghostly shaders to radio blueprint. Gain insight from demos on effects, light setups, and more.
Workshops & case studies
Break down the Fibonacci sequence and automate tedious tasks in class. Learn from iconic games like God of War and Elden Ring, exploring wind dynamics, VFX, and vertex animation.
Final course project
Your journey culminates in a massive portfolio boost. Craft a hero tool, shader, or effect, showcasing your skills and decisions. It's not just a showstopping project – it's your spotlight moment!
INSTRUCTOR
AARON AIKMAN
Lead Technical Artist,
Blizzard Entertainment
LINKEDIN PROFILE
PORTFOLIO 

Has 10+ years of expertise across AAA games, indie games, films, television, and even amusement park rides.

Shaped experiences in Diablo IV and major films like War for the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

Fueled by a passion for shaders, tools, procedural art, prototyping, look development, problem-solving, and team empowerment.

Finds joy in basketball, board games, and dancing beyond the realms of game development.
SYLLABUS
MODULE 1
Foundations of Technical Art
01
THU (2/22), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Introduction to Technical Art

In the dynamic world of game development, the identity of a technical artist evolves uniquely with each studio's vision. Let’s dive into the various roles they play, understand basic version control systems, and get an overview of this course.


  • Responsibilities of a technical artist
  • Specializations within technical art
  • Overview of the game development pipeline
  • Version control systems (Git, Perforce)
02
MON (2/26), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Problem-solving and Python

Practice writing clean code and work with variables, inputs, and functions in Python. Acquire a foundational understanding of Python basics and essential problem-solving techniques for diverse applications.


  • Algorithmic thinking
  • Abstraction & decomposition
  • Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
  • Demo: Using Python for math (using VS Code and Python)

Assignment #1: Create a Python script that calculates the length of a vector.

03
THU (2/29), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Functional Programming

The primary aim is to empower you to craft more resilient Python scripts. Grasp the intricacies of flow control and delve into advanced calculations using Python. We’ll jump into nested conditionals, scopes, for loops, and more.


  • Conditional statements (if-else, switch-case)
  • Logical operators (AND, OR, NOT)
  • Try & except
  • Workshop 1: Fibonacci sequence
    Break down the elements of calculating the Fibonacci sequence

Optional Assignment #2: Calculate the sum of odd numbers in the Fibonacci sequence lower than one million using Python.

04
MON (3/4), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Editing Files

Decrease time by improving streamlined processes. How? Leverage automation by identifying inefficiencies and creating time-saving solutions that benefit team members. Let’s master the art of file management and task automation using Python.


  • Imports (os and sys)
  • Reading and writing files
  • Debugging
  • Workshop 2: Automation
    Discuss something tedious you’ve had to work on and how you could automate it.

Assignment #3: Create a batch renamer Python script.

MODULE 2
Programming Fundamentals for Technical Art
05
THU (3/7), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Object-Oriented Programming

Uncover the practical applications and significance of object-oriented programming (OOP) within the context of game development. Gain a fundamental understanding of OOP concepts, their benefits, and when to use them.


  • Classes
  • Inheritance
  • Pros & cons of functional programming vs. OOP
  • Workshop 3: Object-oriented breakdown
    Pick a topic and organize it into “parents” and “children” components. 
06
MON (3/11), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
User Interface + Guest Speaker

Explore the realm of user interface (UI) design and its impact on tool accessibility. Understand how to effectively apply Python knowledge to enhance customer engagement through thoughtful UI/UX integration. Get ready to hear from a pipeline tech artist as today’s guest speaker.


  • UI/UX
  • QtDesigner & importing UI files
  • Connecting buttons to functions
  • Checkboxes, reading & updating fields
  • Demo: Using QtDesigner to create a UI for Python scripts
  • Case Study: God of War wind tool in Maya

Assignment #4: Give your batch renamer a GUI.

07
THU (3/14), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Introduction to Unreal Engine 5

Dive into the fundamentals and discover the latest features of one of the gaming industry's leading engines, Unreal Engine 5. Familiarize yourself with its interface, essential features, and the integration of Git for effective collaboration.


  • Interface & asset types
  • Blueprints
  • Nanite & Lumen
  • Using Git in Unreal
08
MON (3/25), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Game Engines Scripting

Uncover the transformative power of node-based scripting through Blueprints to enhance your prototyping capabilities and tool development. Embrace the versatility offered by this approach to address uncharted needs, making the workflow smoother for your team.


  • More Blueprints
  • Scripting in Unreal
  • Demo: Creating a three-light setup (using Unreal Engine 5)

Assignment #5: Create a radio blueprint

MODULE 3
Advanced Graphics and Shading
09
THU (3/28), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Introduction to Shaders

Examine the world of pixel shader manipulation. Understand that shaders are the backbone of everything you see on your screen, responsible for captivating visual effects. Build the foundation for crafting stunning visual experiences.


  • Texture samples and UVs
  • Lerp
  • Sine and cosine
  • Demo: Create a lerping shader (using Unreal Engine 5)
10
MON (4/1), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Shaders and 3D Math

It’s not as complicated as you think. Simplify the complexities of shader functionality by grasping key concepts and explore the practical side of 3D mathematics to create captivating visual effects.


  • 3D vectors
  • Dot product
  • Fresnel
  • Demo: Creating a Fresnel shader (using Unreal Engine 5)
  • Case study: Shaders in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Assignment #6: Apply a ghostly shader to your radio

11
THU (4/4), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Rendering and Performance

Understand the intricate process of rendering a frame to the screen and delve into performance considerations for games. Gain insight into the underlying mechanisms of rendering, bridging communication gaps.


  • Render architecture overview
  • Geometry buffers & spaces
  • Vertices and pixels
  • Profiling & bottlenecks
  • Workshop 4: Performance issues
    Discuss a time when you’ve seen performance issues in a game and what you think might have caused it. 
12
MON (4/8), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Introduction to Visual Effects

Discover the essentials of creating eye-catching visual effects in Unreal Engine 5. Delve into the technical and artistic aspects of VFX, bringing magic to your game development.


  • Niagra
  • Particles, ribbons & decals
  • Timing & payloads
  • Principles of color
  • Demo: Creating an aura effect (using Unreal Engine 5)
  • Case Study: VFX in Horizon: Forbidden West
MODULE 4
Specialized Topics and Professional Development
13
THU (4/11), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Vertex Shaders

Learn the art of vertex manipulation to breathe life into dynamic animations. Experience the excitement of creating flowing animations, such as lava or water, through vertex shaders.


  • World position offset
  • 3D noise
  • Interpolation
  • Demo: Making a lava shader (using Unreal Engine 5)
  • Case Study: Vertex animation in Elden Ring
14
MON (4/15), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Visual Effects Continued + Guest Speaker

Explore the advanced realm of visual effects and prepare for the final project. Delve into GPU particles, beams, and potential insights from a VFX Artist, whetting your appetite for industry insights.


  • GPU particles
  • Beams and lights
  • Guest Speaker - VFX Artist
  • Paired or peer final project review
15
THU (4/18), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Tooling in Unreal Engine

Unlock the potential of automation within Unreal Engine, applying Blueprint and Python knowledge to streamline development processes and assist other teams.


  • Blutilities
  • Python
  • Batch-processing
16
MON (4/22), 5 PM PST/8 PM EST
Professional Development for Technical Artists

Prepare for career growth and success beyond this course. Learn the art of building a standout portfolio, acing interviews, and presenting your work effectively.


  • Career trajectory and growth opportunities
  • Building a strong portfolio
  • Interview preparation & techniques
  • Continued learning & skill development
  • Tips on presenting a product to a customer

Assignment #7: Finalize your portfolio piece

WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY
“The group activities, they allow us to interact and exchange ideas, plus the way it is structured is challenging and mind twisting as we collaborate in different parts of the ideation.”
CARLOS ANDRES
BECOME AN ART DIRECTOR
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“Overall I'm impressed with the level of detail and explanation around particular topics and subjects. There's a real depth to each module which for learning allows the information to stay in your brain.”
HAYLEY SMITH
BRANDING 101
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“I really enjoy the format of the course. Lectures with real life examples and an ongoing case study. Also built in 20 minutes at the end of each class for questions is helpful.”
REBECCA KOUWE
HUMAN RESOURCES ANALYTICS
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