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Ashleigh Kuchnia Utilizes Her Skills with Internship at FSU College of Motion Picture Arts

Published July 31, 2019

From FSU Art BA ’19 Ashleigh Kuchnia:

“I interned with Tom Mikota of FSU College of Motion Picture Arts. We would meet once a week in person but communicated mostly through Slack. He provided a lot of creative freedom and independence for these projects, but he also offered opportunity for collaborating with other interns. I worked on three separate projects. The first was assisting one of his classes with designing and creating a logo for their class project as they needed an artist’s expertise. The logo needed to be vectorized, so I had to use Adobe Illustrator, a program I’d only worked with once before in the Digital Foundations class. However, I didn’t show my apprehension and said, “I can do that!” and then I did.

The second project was creating an animatic, or preliminary version, for a virtual reality game about firefighters and the various duties they have assisting distressed people. This was a collaborative effort with another intern. He created the 3D animatic in Maya (the scene and the characters) and I was responsible for collecting references for the visual identity of the game, collating those references into a new visual language, and I also worked on the user interface (UI) ideation. I presented the references in a “look bible” that was used to pitch the project process to the client along with a collection of concept art assets and a completed animatic I had put together in After Effects with the UI. The finished animatic imitated what the game would function like and included some mechanics that I simulated in After Effects. Before this project I had never heard of a “look bible,” had never created a concept page of various visual assets, and my experience with After Effects, like Adobe Illustrator, was minimal. But I didn’t show my apprehension and firmly said, “I can do that,” and then I did.

The third project was for Tom’s personal brand. He wanted an animated logo that was reminiscent of an 80’s cartoon opening, something that invoked nostalgia and the charm of that time. By this point, I was much more comfortable with After Effects and when Mikota briefed me on the requirements, offering a few references, I smiled and said: “I can do that.” And then I did. (And you can see here)

My time with Tom was a series of “faking it until you make it,” and I feel that I did “make it.” Going into this internship I had promised myself to not be defeated by what I didn’t know and I’m happy to say that this experience taught me perseverance, a few new programs, and a better understanding of working under a direct supervisor to create expected results by a deadline. I’m deeply grateful for Tom’s faith in my abilities. He was always patient and understanding, readily available to offer direction or insights to the visual effects process and was ready to talk about advice for life in general. This opportunity has gifted me with feeling much more prepared as an entrepreneurial artist, ready to greet clients and be able to tell them assuredly: I can do that.”