MDTScholarshipsStudent Stories

Our design scholarship recipients’ minds are blown

By October 27, 2020 No Comments

We teamed up with Weta Digital earlier in the year to offer three scholarships for our Master of Design Technology (MDT) programme. The calibre of the applications we received was high but three stood out and these scholarships were awarded to Brock Trewavas, Lucy Jaegers, and Marcus Karamanolis who are now halfway through their studies.

Brock Trewavas, who is from the small town of Motueka, was awarded the full-tuition scholarship graciously provided by Weta Digital. Brock spent a lot of his time growing up exploring the outdoors, playing games, watching tv shows and experimenting with technology. “I was always inquisitive and wanting to know how things worked and how to make things” Brock said and he went on to study a Bachelor of Design (specialising in Media Design) at Victoria University of Wellington.

One of his lecturers, Byron Mallett, saw he was interested in VFX methods like proceduralism and motion capture so suggested Brock further his studies in our Master of Design Technology. Camden Wright, an MDT alumni, was also one of his tutors who shared his positive experience with the programme and helped him get in touch with MDT lecturer Kevin Romond who helped him with a project on performance capture. Brock said he felt like “those three people cemented my place to study the Master of Design Technology and I’m always grateful for their wisdom.”

Our MDT programme is even better than Brock expected, he said that “the things we’re taught are completely mind blowing and we’re constantly being challenged to push ourselves every day.”

“We were taught by several different Weta Digital artists from the different animation departments, which was a very surreal, inspiring and motivating experience to meet and be taught by those who are actively working within the industry on the big films.”

Brock’s very thankful for the scholarship, he said it initially gave him a “sense of accomplishment and getting closer towards my goal but now I use it as a driving force to keep myself on track of my continual self-improvement.” He said that you need a lot of determination to push through any problems and to continually improve to make sure what is being produced is 100%.

Some advice Brock would give to people wanting to follow is footsteps is a) that having a small but fundamental understanding of programming/coding is helpful, b) learn the software Houdini by SideFX because it’s a powerful industry standard tool, and c) know how to persevere through challenges and self-motivate. He said to make “sure you’re working regularly and steadily on projects to continually refine your skills and craft but also manage your time so you don’t burn out.”

Lucy Jaegers received a full-tuition scholarship offered by the Victoria University of Wellington School of Design Innovation. Lucy would love to be a video game environment artist in large studio, she’s loved games and drawing from a young age so it’s a dream come true for her to be studying with us. She’s absolutely loving our MDT programme so far, especially that it lets her focus on 3D digital art from an industry angle and is impressed with the incredibly accomplished teachers.

“Their support has been so valuable, not just with learning technical skills but also helping us as artists. It’s been really great having their help in figuring out career goals and artistic directions for our work.”

The scholarship has helped Lucy immensely as it’s alleviated some of the pressure she would otherwise have had entering the workforce with student loans and it’s given her the confidence to pursue her passions. “I really nervous and unsure of myself but it’s acknowledgement that I’m on the right track,” she said and recommended anyone in a similar position should just go for it. Even if you feel unqualified or inexperienced, it doesn’t matter because you always have opportunities to learn.

Lucy thinks the most important skill to have in her industry is an openness to learning because technology is always changing and being able to change with it is essential. She also advised to be open to feedback and critique from other people, especially when collaborating with other artists.

Marcus Karamanolis, who grew up in Wellington but did his undergraduate studies in the United States of America, received a partial-tuition scholarship from the Victoria University of Wellington School of Design Innovation. He’s very grateful for this opportunity as it’s “enabled me to dedicate my time and focus fully on the course without having the financial burden” weighing over him. Marcus’s favourite thing about the programme so far is learning the software Nuke and about different lighting techniques. He said he was, initially, overwhelmed by the amount of course content but the support his teachers and fellow classmates gave helped him build confidence to overcome these challenges.

We wish these students, and the rest of the cohort, the best of luck with their continued studies and if you want to study our Master of Design Technology you can enrol for February 2021 now.

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