If You Build It, Ideas Come: 5 Creative Workstations

By: Shannon Sankey Filed under: Film & Production

March 3, 2016

Your workstation is an intricate ecosystem of order or chaos that enables you to make something new from raw material. From powerful software and precision tools to specialized gear and multi-monitor setups, digital creativity requires efficiency, flexibility, and of course, a lot of inspiration.

Students at The Art Institutes discover the tools and processes that support their individual workflows, and they begin to develop the unique environments in which they do their best work. We’ve asked Ai students and alumni to share their original workstations—from the high-tech tools to the quirky totems that bring inspiration to the daily grind.

Name: Ana Carolina Pereira

Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art and Design, The Art Institute of Houston, Class of 2016

“This is my usual setup in class. When working on my portfolio, I create multiple 3D assets and many digital drawings, which require many specific tools. My personal work computer has to be very powerful in order to handle the stresses of working in 3D, and I use a Wacom tablet when sculpting digitally. I use a special gaming mouse that gives me more control over my art and I rely on the school's monitor for picture reference and tutorials.”

Name: Allan Stallard

Program: Associate of Science in Music and Video Business, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, 1998

“Here is the workstation that we use for color grading and finishing/compositing [at Animal]. The monitor on the left is for the color applications GUI and the monitor on the right is for the finishing or compositing GUI. The center monitor is actually an HD-TV and it is shared between the two computers hooked up to a switch. The color panel and Wacom tablets are great tools to help with this kind of work.”

Name: Jim Kreitzburg

Program: Bachelor of Science in Visual Communications, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, 1986

“This is my multiple workstation setup at the office. I primarily do VFX Compositing with Autodesk Flame software, which is the left monitor. I also do some 3D animation as well as prepping assets for the Flame so the right monitor is a Windows workstation with Maya, Max, Cinema 4d, PfTrack, Creative Cloud, Nuke, and other software which are all used when the need arises. I’m a firm believer that you can’t have too many tools and I have periodically used all of them to solve whatever VFX problem I’m faced with.

Name: Shuhuei Lee

Program: Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design, Art Institute of Pittsburgh, 2002

“Here's a snapshot of my creative workspace. It's a combination of photography inspirations, mini comps of design comps, stacks of briefs and documents, and trinkets to get the creative juices going. And the dual monitor is a must - one for the graphics work and one for references. I think the setup is a good mix of fun and function.”

Name: Jeffrey Hilty & Nicholas Buchheit

Program: Digital Media Production, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, 2009

“This is our current setup in our client viewing suite. We run a Mac Pro 3 GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon E5, with (RAM) 32 GB 1866 MHz DDR3 ECC with an AMD FirePro D700 6144 graphics card. For monitoring, we use an Asus 4k monitor, a smaller Asus monitor for media bins, and a Samsung 47-inch LCD for client viewing. We also have a specialized keyboard for editing. This setup has been great for handling the workflow from our Sony f5 and a7s ii cameras. It also allows us to have a comfortable atmosphere for clients who come in for editing sessions. Also, we can’t forget to mention our Xbox One. Probably the most crucial piece of equipment we own.”


The Art Institute of Houston is one of The Art Institutes, a system of private, non-profit schools throughout the United States. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. The Art Institute of Houston, 4140 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX 77027 © 2020. The Arts Institutes International. All rights reserved.

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