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Pavan Mankoo

BA (Hons) Video Game Digital Art student

What types of projects did you get involved with on the first and secondPavan Mankoo profile image year of the course?

The first year of the course helps students find their feet and get an understanding of the different disciplines in being an artist.

We tackled traditional art using only a pencil and paper before moving on to 2D games and eventually started within 3D practice. Within the first year we got a taste of different types of art,  which prepared us for our summer modules where we put our knowledge to the test!

The second year was mainly character focused, we learned how to sculpt forms using software such as Zbrush and build a character ready to be used within a game. Rigging was also covered in depth here and we had the opportunity to take the character you created and bring life to it. After this was the final module where the focus was on building a portfolio ready to take to job interviews.

What has been the most fun or interesting project or activity you have been involved with?

For me, the summer Game Jam was the most exciting as we got to meet up and collaborate with design and programming students on other courses and build a game entirely on our own. Unlike the other modules this one lets you run wild and try out whatever you want. You still get guidance from the course leaders but for the most part this module is your own.

What trips have you been on so far, and what did you do on them?

The main trip we got to go on was to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. We got see many different types of art from across the globe and use them as studies for sketching and visualising form. Seeing Michelangelo's David by Clemente Papi was the main highlight for me.

Besides that you get to explore Birmingham’s city centre and the botanical gardens and use them as inspiration for your art.

Have you had any opportunities to work with people from the gaming industry and if so, how?

We’ve had a number of industry guests speakers visit since the beginning of the course to help us out with our art and provide a better insight into the industry. Many of these guests provide talks and give individual advice in the form of Q&A’s. 

What do you enjoy most about your course?

Being part of a team. The difference between this course and most other university courses is the size, most courses have around 100 odd students whereas this only has a fifth of that. We all know each other extremely well and work together on everything we do - nobody is left out.

Have you had any work experience/ placement opportunities? If so, what did they involve?

Module 6 is what the course offers for work experience. On this module you work within specified hours chosen by the students (for us it was 10 till 4:30) and work in a simulated large scale game studio. You are provided a brief and Game Design Document based around the Masters Project and work on it the same way you would working for an actual game studio. This module is a very realistic interpretation of what it is like working in industry and gives you a great game to show off at the showcase that happens at the end of each year.

What is the community at the School like?

The community is one of the kindest I’ve come across. Students and lecturers alike are always in a great mood and are happy to help out with pretty much whatever you need.

What one piece of advice would you give to future students about your course?

Don’t be put off if you know nothing about making games. This course welcomes artists who know a lot about game development as well as artists who haven’t necessarily done a course in gaming prior. The good thing about the course is that the focus is on the fundamentals more so than the finished piece. Whether you have the experience or not you’ll always be pushing your work much further and coming out with something incredible!