Kristina Huang received the Weta Digital Scholarship to cover the costs of studying our Master of Design Technology (MDT) earlier in the year. She’s very thankful for it, she says it’s encouraged and motivated her to work hard as well as provide her with new opportunities.
“I deeply appreciate the support from Weta Digital and feel absolutely honoured to be awarded this scholarship, it shows that my hard work has been recognised.”
Kristina was born in China, she moved to New Zealand with her family when she was 12, and is very passionate about visual effects (VFX) so decided to study MDT with us. Her favourite part about the programme is the quality of one-on-one support from her lecturers which helps drive her forward. Kristina believes that self-motivation and self-learning are very important in the VFX industry so she’s thankful to have a supportive environment to learn in.
Weta Digital Human Resources Manager, Brendan Keys, said the scholarship is an extension of the enduring relationship between the company and school as well as help to “encourage Kiwis into the visual effects industry as it is a dynamic field.”
“One of the big challenges we face is finding crew who are industry-ready, and this programme [MDT] is aimed at graduates who have identified design and technology as an area of interest and wish to take the next step with focused, hands on study in this area.”
Our Master of Design Technology builds upon students’ existing VFX, gaming, animation, and extended reality (XR) skills. Weta Digital supports our programme in many ways, including through guest lecturers and mentorship. We have multiple lecturers who have previously worked at Weta Digital including Programme Director, Raqi Syed, as Senior Technical Director on big films like Avatar and The Hobbit Trilogy. MDT is taught at the Miramar Creative Centre (a partnership with Miramar Creative) among the Weta group buildings on Park Road and offers unrivalled access to work experience and professional connections.
We also offered two partial scholarships, from the Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design, which went to Conner Allen and Sri Shanthanakrishnan.
Conner is loving the programme, which started in March, and feels like it’s “the first time I truly have felt a love and passion for going to class and really enjoying the content that’s being taught.” He’s particularly enjoying his simulations class, which explains both the theory and technical aspects of FX to understand how and why simulations work.
“I think the great thing about this course is that it opens your eyes and mind to the pipeline in VFX and how many different opportunities there are for us.”
Sri said receiving this scholarship meant a lot to him, he worked hard to receive it and believes the financial aid has benefited him greatly. He said MDT is the perfect pathway, from his Graduate Diploma, to continue learning advanced techniques in “muscle rigging to achieve photo realistic deformations with the help of python language.”