01 June 2023

His works from the first year have been chosen by the prestigious company Autodesk as the cover for the best student projects.

Ayman is a talented student at IED Milano, currently in his second year of the CG Animation program. Recently, he was contacted by the American giant Autodesk regarding two projects he created: "Amberfall Sanctuary" and "Rose Wood." Autodesk sought permission to use these projects in their communication campaigns.

We had the opportunity to speak with Ayman, who graciously agreed to answer our questions:

Tell us a bit about yourself. Your passions, interests, and what led you to IED.

I'm Ayman Nkira, 20 years old, born in Italy to a family of Moroccan origin. I'm currently in my second year of the CG Animation course at IED Milano.

I'm pretty certain that my biggest passions are art and video games because the more I look back on my memories, the more I realize that these two elements have been a significant part of my days.

During my last year of high school, I was about to take a completely different path—Economics. Choosing to enter IED was a last-minute decision, but in hindsight, I'm glad I made that choice. I would have pursued Economics for family reasons, but when I truly understood that I wanted to continue in graphics and discovered 3D, thanks to my graphics teacher, I decided that I had to take a different path from the one I had planned.

Tell us about your reaction when you saw that your first-year exam work, "Amberfall Sanctuary," was selected as an "Editor's Pick" in Autodesk's Gallery.

I felt really great, super happy. I had been wanting my work to be recognized for a while. I'm proud to have achieved such quick results right from the first year, and it allowed me to show everyone—my family, friends—that the chosen path was the right one. The first person I told was my aunt, who had tried to convince me not to pursue CG. This reassured her and helped her understand the profession I was going into. I shared both internal and external successes with her.

And when you received the email from Autodesk requesting permission to use "Rose Wood" for their communication materials related to their products, what went through your mind?

I was surprised. "Rose Wood" was a summer project that always took a back seat compared to the first one, even though it was very useful for me to challenge myself and learn new software on my own. So receiving an email from Autodesk was completely unexpected.

What was the most challenging part of the two projects?

For "Amberfall Sanctuary," the most challenging part was choosing the subject. I wanted to create a character based on the usual "urban legends" that circulate at IED (making characters leads to higher grades, all nonsense). I had started modeling the character from the legs, but during those weeks, I kept looking at environments, landscapes, and eventually decided to change the subject. The turning point and satisfaction came when I set up the lighting.

For the summer project, the greatest difficulty was having to interrupt my vacation to work on it, a real torture (yes, they gave us homework during the break to ensure we didn't forget everything in the two months off). The most challenging part was learning new software. During the end-of-year exam, the professors told me that if I used SpeedTree to create the vegetation in my project, I would achieve even better and faster results. Intrigued, I decided to learn it in advance on my own during the summer. From there, the choice of a subject with vegetation became inevitable.

How did you approach creatively and technically the two projects, and how did your journey at IED up to the publication moment influence your creative process?

For both projects, I decided that the main character should be the light, "drawing my images." The exploration of colors (I love warm tones), playing with contrasts, and setting up the composition all served the purpose of enhancing the lighting.

The first semester was crucial; it was the semester where I received my first setbacks. I scored zero on my first modeling submission, but it was also a turning point. The review ended with the teacher telling me, "Don't give up. Apply yourself more because you have all the tools and abilities to succeed; you just need to push harder." Those words were the right push.

From that point on, I changed my way of working. I tried to "steal" as much as possible from the professors, particularly from Denova and Squillace. Besides attending classes, I took advantage of every break to seek their advice on various matters. Don't think it was a walk in the park; both of them pushed and motivated me to the extreme, and I stressed them, they stressed me—it was worth it, and it still is. If you have the desire to succeed, there are countless ways to receive support.

Looking back now, nine months later, with the new knowledge I've gained in the meantime, am I still satisfied with the projects, or would I change something?

Definitely everything! It's been almost a year since I created the first of the two projects, and with everything I've learned this year, obviously, if I were to start them today, they would be very different.

For the first project, I would definitely change the vegetation for technical reasons, and maybe I'll do it when I have some free time. As for the second project, remember that I did the lighting during my vacation.

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