Career Bites: animation, visual effects, and game design.

In our final Career Bites session of Term One, we delved into the thrilling world of animation, visual effects, and game design. Welcoming esteemed speakers Dr Jason Kennedy, Senior Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), and motion graphic artist Aishwarya Raman, we gained invaluable insights into these dynamic industries.

Dr Kennedy sparked our imagination with thought-provoking questions: Do you relish the opportunity to breathe life into characters and tell compelling stories? Are you drawn to technical challenges and thrive in collaborative environments? Animation and game design could be your perfect career path. He emphasised the abundance of game design and animation job opportunities, particularly in Auckland and New Zealand.

Highlighting the importance of the creative process, Dr Kennedy said that it’s not just about the final product but the journey. He urged students to showcase their design process, highlighting the significance of subjects beyond visual arts. English and mathematics are essential for developing logical thinking and problem-solving skills, while history and media studies provide a broader cultural context that is essential for storytelling.

Following Dr Kennedy’s insightful talk, Aishwarya Raman took the stage to share her experiences as a motion graphics designer at the successful Kiwi ed-tech start-up Kami. 

What exactly is motion graphics? Aishwarya’s answer was succinct yet illuminating!

 “Make pictures go zoom zoom.”

As a key member of Kami’s marketing team, Aishwarya plays a pivotal role in shaping the brand’s visual identity. She walked us through the various stages of project development, from pre-production to production and post-production, underscoring the collaborative nature of her work. Aishwarya’s passion for animation shone through as she shared her journey. “I’ve been a creative and artistic person all my life,” explained Aishwarya. What I love about my job is  that you get to bring visuals to life.” 

Aishwarya revealed that while she attended Elam, she didn’t pursue art for art’s sake. Instead, she was drawn to the challenge of designing to a brief – a sentiment echoed by many aspiring animators and designers.

As we wrap up another enriching Career Bites session, the allure of animation, visual effects, and game design lingers. With boundless opportunities awaiting those who dare to dream and create, we encourage students to explore these dynamic fields and unleash their creative potential. Who knows? The next great animator or game designer could be sitting right here among us, ready to make their mark on the world.

Artist and ex-Westlake student Sara Moana joined the team from Depot, Devonport’s Centre for Creative Futures, for an inspiring Career Bites session about careers in Visual Art. 

Sara Moana is a full-time illustrator. She has been commissioned to work on many projects for organisations ranging from Amnesty International to Converse. Sara graduated with a Master of Fine Arts, First Class Honours, from Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland.

 “I didn’t plan my career; I hadn’t given much thought to what I would do after Year 13,” explains Sara, “but my art teacher made a fleeting comment that I was ‘Elam material,’ which encouraged me to apply for Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland.” 

Sara encouraged students to pursue their dreams and be proactive about networking to make a successful career out of fine art.

Depot staff members Dilohana Lekamge (Exhibition Curator & Gallery Manager), Amy Saunders (Director) and Catherine George (Wayfind Creative Programme Manager) discussed how their art careers have developed. They also introduced the programmes at Depot that artists can use to develop their careers. Dilohana is a writer, curator, and gallery manager at Depot; she reinforces the importance of networking when it comes to career opportunities.  “Some of the work offers I have received have come from places I didn’t expect – from the network of people I have met and stayed in touch with,” explains Dilohana. Catherine George and Amy Saunders described some of the skills (e.g., marketing, accounting and business skills) that artists may need to develop to make a career out of being an artist. 

Depot runs a programme for artists that teaches these skills, as well as a programme to help artists find work. “You never know who is going to help you next in your career, so make good relationships with everyone,” advises Catherine. “I got my break in the world of television production by being organised and doing a little bit extra; people notice that.”  Catherine and Amy highlighted the importance of creative thinking in a changing world, “if you are creative, that means you can think outside the square and solve problems, which is what the future workplace is going to demand.”