Tell us a little bit about your decision to study at Media Design School?

Deciding to study at Media Design School was an easy decision for me. The school has an amazing reputation, and I was impressed by the amazing short films which the school is constantly creating. I wanted to be a part of that and learn how they were made. The school has amazingly talented tutors, who I knew would be able to teach me a lot, and help me grow as an artist.

What are you studying?

I recently graduated, but during my time at Media Design School I studied the Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects). My area of study was in the Technical Direction stream, which covered subjects such as rigging, modelling, texturing/surfacing, lighting, rigging, scripting and compositing.

What does a typical day as a student at MDS look like?

A student’s day can look very different depending on what year you are in. Regardless of year though, you will probably be in front of a computer learning technical skills as well as soft skills, which are needed in industry. For the first two years of study, you learn the core skills you need to know to succeed in the industry. During your third year, you work on a class wide production which will culminate with you being a part of creating an amazing short film. After this, you will have the opportunity to work with a smaller group of students where you will create a short film from start to end.

What I love most about the Rookies is the opportunity to see the work of so many talented artists from around the world, and be inspired by their work.

What is the school culture like there?

Students at Media Design School are focused on learning and becoming better artists. Together students create a friendly environment, where everyone is willing to help each other become a better artist. Visual Effects is a team sport, you are able to create far better work as a team than just yourself.

At Media Design School students share what they know with each other, to help each other grow together, and create better work. During my time studying at the Media Design School I made lifelong friends whose progression as artists I follow closely.

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MDS school won the GS Student Awards (now The Rookies) 2015 school of the year – are you ready to help make it happen for 2017??

When Media Design School won in 2015, I knew I wanted to participate in the competition when I had the chance. The Rookies is a fantastic opportunity to showcase what Media Design School is capable of, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

What do you love about The Rookies?

What I love most about the Rookies is the opportunity to see the work of so many talented artists from around the world, and be inspired by their work. It’s a fantastic opportunity to discover different artists and see what other schools have been working on, as well as being able to share my own work.

Tell us about some of the tools you use on a daily basis.

At Media Design School we are taught and use a wide range of tools on a daily basis. At any time during the day, I’ll either be in Maya, Mari, Nuke, Zbrush or Photoshop. Media Design School is great at teaching a wide range of software, and showing different approaches for achieving the desired results.

However, one of the most valuable tools for me is a notebook. I can quickly write down ideas, notes, or draw a quick sketch to explore an idea. You will learn so much on a daily basis at Media Design School, so having a notebook to take notes is hugely valuable.

If you put the hours into your craft and give your work your best effort, the results will come eventually.

What are some important lessons you’ve learned during your studies?

I’ve learnt countless important lessons during my time at Media Design School. Something which I think is incredibly important is getting other people’s opinions on your work, it’s invaluable. Often at times, we look at our work for countless hours and start to become blind to its flaws. Getting a fresh pair of eyes on your work, and listening to the critic with an open mind is extremely helpful.

Another great lesson that I’ve learnt is that Visual Effects take a long time to make, and you’re going to be around your peers and co-workers for countless hours, so treat others as you would like to be treated.

What traits or habits do you believe have contributed most to your success?

I think one of the most important things in any line of work is to love what you’re doing. You need to love what you’re doing, as you will be spending all of your time doing it. I think my love for visual effects is one of the things which has contributed the most to my success.

In my third year at Media Design School, in the class-wide production, it was a hugely enjoyable experience where I learnt a huge amount and realised that I want to do this for the rest of my life.

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Who do you look up to as a VFX artist?

During my time studying at Media Design School, the people who I looked who to most as artists, were my tutors. All of them come from industry backgrounds and are very talented artists. They were people I would look up to on a daily basis as they offered their help and support to my growth as an artist.

Where do you look for creative inspiration?

I seek inspiration from all sorts of areas: film, music, art and literature. Often at times when I feel uninspired, I will go back and watch some of my favourite movies, to remind myself why I love what I do. There are so many amazing places where artists share their work. The Rookies is great, it lets so many different artists from around the world share their amazing work. ArtStation is also great for this, artists post a huge amount of work that I draw from and look at for creative inspiration.

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What skill or piece of advice do you wish you’d been told before you started your degree?

I remember when I first started to learn rigging, I felt overwhelmed. Rigs can be complicated and daunting if you don’t know what you’re doing. One small mistake and the rig won’t work as intended. When I finally got something working correctly, I would be precious with it, not wanting to break it. However, the best thing you can do is to not be precious at all. You’re going to learn more from making mistakes, and problem-solving the mistakes, than just following what someone is telling you to do. The more you fail, the more likely you are to succeed.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other artists that want study as a VFX Artist?

Hard work beats talent. If you put the hours into your craft and give your work your best effort, the results will come eventually. Even when you look at your work and hate it, do it again. By the second time, the tenth time, it will only improve. Creating this work takes a huge amount of time, it’s important to be patient, and persevere with it.

The feature image of David Lynch, was created by Tristan Lewis.