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Matt Burn's work

Matt Burn

BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration (now BA (Hons) Animation)  

Graduated 2004

Matt Burn

This course is for you if you want invaluable experience learning the animation craft from highly knowledgeable professionals with as much passion as they have skill.

For 13 years I have been working within the core of the post-production industry at Absolute Post, in the heart of Soho. Starting as a runner, I trained and progressed my career to the point where I’m supervising teams of super-talented artists, producing amazing results together and creating pretty pictures that I’m very proud of.

I recently relocated my family out to the beautiful countryside of North Wales. I have my own office out here, which I use to connect remotely to Absolute’s server and work as though I was still in London. A typical working day involves a lot of learning and serious head-down 3D VFX work time, interspersed with phone calls, emails and lunchtime walks surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Some of my career highlights have been working on a huge viral ‘TED 2023’ film used to promote Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, which was an amazing experience, as was working on a recent high-profile short film directed by Baz Luhrmann. The work I’m most proud of though is the unicorn-filled piece we created for a ‘First Utility’ advert a few years ago, which I was lucky enough to be CG supervisor on.

University gave me a vital grounding in the realities of working HARD for a living. I learnt how to be autonomous but also how to thrive as part of a team, absorbing my peers’ knowledge whenever I could – which is something I still do to this day. Knowledge is key; soak it up wherever you can.

My favourite memory at Solent was raising the trophy for “Best Film” at the annual Harbour Lights screening event, where graduates’ animation films are screened for students and industry professionals alike. That amazing feeling of pride completely validated three sleepless years of pushing my learning to the limit.

My advice for those wanting a career in the industry? Stick at it. It will get harder before it gets easier, but the results will be worth it. I get paid to make unicorns and weird creatures come to life, and that could be you – if you like that sort of thing! Mostly though, just don’t lose sight of how much fun animation is; the creative challenges never end.

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Amber Alexander's work

Amber Alexander  

BA (Hons) Computer Generated Imagery

Graduated 2015

Amber Alexander

Tell us about your job role.
I've been working for AECOM for around 16 months as a Junior Graduate 3D Visualiser. The visualisation department I work in, works mainly on ArchVis, producing still images, animations, fly-throughs, graphic design and motion graphics for the company as well as external clients. This may include projects ranging from individual apartments or airports, to large scale roads and city/town development.

Our department also produced marketing material for the Waterloo development that went on earlier this year as well as other major projects I'm not allowed to talk about. I work on many different areas of CGI such as texturing, lighting, rendering and compositing. I remember spending a while modelling a large chunk of Cardiff city!

A large part of the reason I was brought on by AECOM was because of my game development knowledge from university. I was hired to help the company develop Virtual Reality (VR). I have created a large part of the VR content that has been produced for Waterloo, the Serpentine Gallery in London and various other projects that have received less publicity. I've been developing some basic programming skills in Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4, producing interactive VR content that I've travelled across different parts of the UK demoing to staff and clients. 

What’s your career highlight?
My highlights so far have been the interesting places and people I've been able to see. I've had a meeting with one of the developers for Autodesk's 3DS Max, visited Epic Game's headquarters in Guildford that included an ‘epic’ lunch and VR demo session of the content they're developing, as well as an all-expenses paid trip to the VR World conference in London this year. 

What’s your favourite Solent memory?
My favourite Solent memory by a guest lecture by one of the VFX guys behind the movie Gravity. He went into great depth about what they did and what you need to get into the industry. It was very interesting and rather inspiring. 

This course is for you if you want the freedom to explore a wide range of creative 3D practices that can be applied to different professional industries.

What advice would you give to others wanting to get into the industry?
I would tell people to work hard. It's not always about just how good your work is but how committed you are to improving it. When you get into the industry you will continue to learn a lot; companies don't expect you to know everything from the beginning.

Also, if you don't find work straight away, don't be disheartened as this is common. It doesn't necessarily reflect on your work, it could just be the wrong time. Keep trying.

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Oliver Miles's work

Oliver Miles

BA (Hons) Computer and Video Games - now known as BA (Hons) Computer Games (Art)  

Graduated 2010

Oliver Miles

Before joining Solent, I was learning how to 3D model as a hobby, so I already had a passion for making art for games. The course helped me build up my skills base using industry standard tools, so I was able to get a better understanding of game development as a whole, and how the different disciplines work together when making games.

I now work for PlayFusion as a 3D artist, and was involved in a large portion of creating the physical toys on Lightseekers – the game uses real life toy interaction to play. It was a challenge because everything had to be absolutely perfect before it was sent off to the manufacturer. This meant close collaboration with the concept art team to really capture the magic we wanted to deliver.

It’s really rewarding seeing something you worked on turned into a toy, so that’s my career highlight so far.

If you’re interested in a career in the 3D games industry, you have to put your own time in. A university course will show you the tools and point you in the right direction with like-minded people, but you have to take the time to master your trade. If you don't, someone else will - and they'll get the job.

It’s very hard to make big money in this industry, and moving jobs is a harsh reality that happens a lot, so this line of work is for someone who really enjoys what they do.

Be social. People hire people they would like to work with, so make friends, go to the pub, and have other interests.

It’s a small industry and managers will hire people that either they’ve had good experiences with or who they think they can stand to spend eight hours sitting next to.

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Claire Oliver

Claire Oliver

BSc (Hons) Computer Games (Software Development)

Graduated 2016

Claire Oliver

How did university prepare you for your career?
Before uni I had never seen a line of code, let alone written one and I had been out of education for ten years. By the end of the course I was able to write code extremely well and make games of my own. My course gave me the skills I needed to change my career path from hospitality to the games industry. The lecturers also helped me prepare for the interview process - what was going to be expected of me, what a coding test was, how to present myself, what should be on my portfolio and even how to dress for an interview.

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?

Work hard. Everything is important, even if it doesn't seem it at the time. Speak to professionals and use their advice to shape your own work. Build a portfolio and make sure you believe in yourself.

Tell us about your career story so far.
After graduating, I worked for the University as a graduate associate for the computer games courses. A few months into working for Solent, a job became available with Unity Technologies. I contacted the recruiter and asked how I could apply. Instead of a formal application, he looked at my LinkedIn profile, my CV and my portfolio, which are all online, and decided that I was perfect for the role. I then had multiple Skype interviews, a programming test and a two hour interview in the office. A week later I was told I had the job.

Tell us about what you are doing now and what it involves.
I do a multitude of different things depending on what happens that day. Recently, I’ve found and successfully reproduced and reported a bug to the right people so it can be fixed; supported large, well-known companies with day-to-day account management, bug reporting and troubleshooting. I've also supported small indie companies with services integration, showing them how to make the most money off their games; and helped debug code to highlight errors in companies of varying sizes.

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Connor Banks's work

Connor Banks

BSc (Hons) Web Design and Development

Graduated 2017

Connor Banks

I’m the Managing Director of CrankTech Digital Marketing, a business that specialises in website design and development, search engine optimisation, content creation, social media management and marketing strategy.

I started my business in my first year of university, which allowed me to apply the skills I learned on real world situations. I continued with the business and created a full time job out of it, which gave me the freedom of working for myself.

Creating and building a business is something I always had on my list of things I wanted to do, and it seemed right to give this a go while studying. After a lot of hard work and long hours, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.

I loved the atmosphere of university: the welcoming feeling, freedom to use facilities, and access to all the resources I needed.

Solent prepared me for my career by teaching me the skills I needed to be independent, goal drive, and gave me an understanding that the learning process is never over. 

My biggest piece of advice for those interested in studying web design and development would be to ensure you’re doing something you love, and then practice as much as you can. The best you can do is always better than someone who isn’t doing anything.

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Westermo equipment

Antony Lane

BSc (Hons) Computer Network Management  

Graduated 2014

Antony Lane

This course is for you if you want to understand how data communication impacts our daily lives.

Tell us about your career story so far.
I’m a field technical support engineer at Westermo UK Technical Support, and I haven’t stopped since I started three years ago! I’ve been all around the country numerous times, run many training courses to help educate customers about Westermo, and presented at several seminars (some hosted at Solent). I’ve also spent a few weeks in Sweden visiting the factory where we manufacture our products.

I spend a fair bit of time on the road working with customers on site around the country. My day to day role is answering the phone/emails, pre/post sales and running the Westermo Certified Engineers course.

How did university prepare you for your career, and what’s your favourite memory?
Solent helped me understand what professional organisations are looking for in an employee. My favourite memory has got to be inviting my CEO and Managing Director for Westmo’s 2017 Kick Off, which was hosted at the university.

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?Never think you’re underqualified for a job.

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