Abhineetam Written by
from India

2019/2020

MA 3D Computer Animation

Whenever I have faced a complicated life choice, I have time and time again found myself going back to the quote,

“Good things happen to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln.

I was in a similar dilemma when the COVID-19 lockdown started and the biggest challenge of my masters was yet to surface. I had then finished the Group Project and was on the way to plan out and start working on the major Master’s project. Due to the complexity of the situation, the first two weeks were indecisive. Later all the students in NCCA were made an offer to either continue the course as planned (remotely) or defer it to next year (July 2021) when things would be a little more clear. With quite a lot of thought and consideration, I decided to follow through with the course and complete it in due time as planned, just a little later as the overall timeline was extended by a month to accommodate the change in delivery and set up remote connections.
So with 12 weeks in the bag, it was time to embark on one of the most important journeys in my academic life. All the lectures were shifted online and suddenly classes routine was taking precedent over normal home routine. It was a mixed bag of time management at home with chores and work going hand in hand. As fate would have it, I had made a very timely decision to buy a VR Headset just days before lockdown and with this new tool in hand, I decided to work on creating something that would help me share a narrative experience.

Virtual Environment and Assets.

Since there was no direct interaction with any of my colleagues, it was becoming difficult to share ideas and see what everyone was interested in pursuing. Together we all came to a decision of having regular MS Teams and Discord meetings and share our ideas and form groups. This was one of the keys that helped me connect with people and get their feedback. Michaela my fellow classmate got really interested in the project and we decided to create it together. She was responsible for art direction and animation, you can check out her beautiful artworks on her Instagram Art Account. I took charge of technical development and project management. This is the second thing I learned, asking for help, and having people for feedback is really important during the development stages. There are things that you miss and someone else’s viewpoint helps clear a lot of that up.

Concept Art by Michaela Kindlova.

I also decided to section my room into two areas following CGP Grey’s advice (Check out his video on productivity), such that my bedside would be just for relaxing and I pushed the desk to the other corner near the window and made it into a productivity corner. Only work-related tasks would be done there. This helped me keep my mind on track and compartmentalization really helped in managing my mental fatigue. I can’t stress enough how much late summer afternoon walks to the park next to University helped.

Screenshot from VR Experience.

Having a well-managed project with a focus on quality over quantity, regular communication, constructive criticism and a lot of handwork paved the way to the successful completion of my master’s thesis project which helped me and my partner receive a First Class result. The final submission is a VR experience where the player is an explorer and visited uncharted ruins of an ancient civilization. He finds different artifacts and even makes a robot friend. To see more details of the project please click here.

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