Rangatahi encouraged to embrace digital space

Thursday, 5 May 2022
By Brenda Harwood

The steps used to create digital humans for film and gaming will be the focus of an Ōtepoti Youth Space workshop, presented next week by technology and game development professional Jeasy Sehgal.

The founder and creative director of Dunedin-based Virtual Production Dojo training centre, Mr Sehgal will lead the workshop next Wednesday 11th May 2022 from 4 pm at the pop-up youth space in Princes St.

Mr Sehgal is keen to inspire rangatahi to consider developing their digital skills in a field that is constantly growing and changing.

“The whole idea is to introduce to rangatahi the emerging technologies that are out there and are coming into New Zealand, and the career opportunities that can lead to,” he said.

It was possible for rangatahi to become product owners and product specialists in the digital field, as progress in software made it easier and faster to create, he said.

“What would take about three to six months for a team of five people to design a 3D character, we can now create a digital double of a real living person in less than four hours.

“This is thanks to AI learning technology and the new digital software packages.

“So, all of a sudden you don’t need big teams, and you don’t need to worry about funding from government departments or anywhere else.

“People can now have their own start-ups and having their design studios and film studios using these technologies … we can do everything inside the software.”


Through his Virtual Production Dojo academy, Mr Sehgal provides online, industry-specific training, focusing on creating virtual environments and character development for the screen and games sectors.

Founded a year ago, the academy provides training virtually, which has proven successful in the Covid era.

“Rather than wasting money on having fancy locals, we prefer to focus on providing high-quality hands-on training, to prepare people for being industry work-ready,” he said.

“When it comes to disparate technologies in the creative industries, we have a lot of rangatahi across Otago and Aotearoa who are not necessarily academics, who tend to get frustrated by an industry that does not have a capacity to develop this kind of talent.

“The creative industry is a very fast-growing industry, as things are changing so quickly with technology.

“So, what I wanted to do was establish a training programme that caters for people who want to have hands-on training, and become industry work ready in the shortest possible time.”

Ōtepoti Youth Space Workshops — Week One

Monday-Saturday, 4pm-6pm, FREE

  • Monday, May 9: Slam poetry on the theme of “Five Ways to Wellbeing” including developing writing skills and with a te ao Maori kaupapa. Presented by Adventure Development
  • Tuesday, May 10: Find out about the Mana Rangatahi app and how it supports youth leadership, aspirations and resilience, including creating your own pepeha (introduction). Presented by INNOV8HQ
  • Wednesday, May 11: Virtual Production Dojo presents the technology and steps to follow to create a digi-human — Digital game design
  • Thursday, May 12: Multiple activities including creative writing and movement, nature-connected art, and bath-bomb making. Presented by Stopping Violence Dunedin
  • Friday, May 13: Arts, craft and kai for mindfulness. Presented by the youth division of the Dunedin Public Library
  • Saturday, May 14: Canvas graffiti stencil lettering for self-care and self-discovery. Presented by Stopping Violence Dunedin

Ōtepoti Youth Space Workshops — Week Two

  • Monday, May 16: Join us for a reading of poetry and short fiction. Hear the latest work from the Young Dunedin Writers Association
  • Tuesday, May 17: “Creativitea’’ a zine-making workshop accompanied by drinking and sharing tea. Presented by Ōtepoti Collective Against Sexual Abuse
  • Wednesday, May 18: Fun Creatures: make your own colourful mini-sculptures using air-dry clay and paint. Presented by Artsenta
  • Thursday, May 19: Hip hop and drumming session with Te Hou Ora Whānau and Le Apatonga Performing Arts
  • Friday, May 20: Rainbow Youth Q&A and whakawhānaungatanga session, & Volunteer South clinic about youth volunteering in Ōtepoti
  • Saturday, May 21: Maori rock art drawing with Te Hou Ora Whānau Services.


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