Visit Tour: Microsoft Studios Vancouver

(Guest post by Tarunika Gaur, DD40)

As part of the industry IQ lesson in term three of the Digital Design course at Vancouver Film School, my class, DD40 got the most amazing opportunity to visit the office of one of the most distinguished multinational companies in the field of Information Technology, Microsoft. We were all so excited and curious to know what it had in store for us, as only a week before, we had visited the office of Electronic Arts, which had left us dumb-found and wanting for more! This experience too was impeccable and was everything we had imagined it to be!

Microsoft Studio is located in the heart of Downtown, on Granville street and the office speaks for itself! Upon arrival, we were given our visitor ID cards, which looked so professional and made us feel like we belonged there! We were then greeted by Henry Chu, an alumnus of the Digital Design program. He has been working for Big Park Studios as a User Experience Designer since he graduated from VFS. Big Park studios is one of the many creative studios of Microsoft and they are working on apps in order to lay the groundwork for their big futuristic project related to Mixer reality.

Henry took us to their conference room and gave us an introduction to the project that they’ve been working on lately. He showed us their latest app called Paint 3D and it’s applications in the real world. This app has been designed for Gen-Z users and it enables them to create 3D models without having to learn all the complicated software like Cinema 4D or Maya. After creating your 3D model, one can display the same in the real world using Mix Reality Viewer. The Mix Reality viewer is a great app for showcasing ones’ prototypes in realistic settings. He explained to us how this would affect all the aspects of ones’ life, be it social, student, or work life.

After this informative session about what the future entails, we had a question-answer session during which Henry and one of his colleagues answered all sorts of questions ranging from the importance of AR and VR in the future to life at Microsoft (which happens to be splendid, by the way).

We also got to know about the internship program at Microsoft. They accept UX and UI designers, as well as web developers twice a year for four months. Around fifty young people from colleges all around Vancouver get together in this creative process and design an app based on the pitch that they have been provided with. This project works like a start-up and the interns have to go through each phase from conceptualizing to creating an end product which fulfills the requirements of the pitch. Working like a start-up is an insightful experience for all interns as they get a glimpse of how the development of a new product actually works. Seems like a once in a lifetime experience!

After the Q-and-A session, we were taken to “the Garage” which is an open studio for everyone at Microsoft. It is a colorful studio which shouts innovation. With all kinds of tools and machines, big and small, sewing kits and even 3D printers, it’s a room where one can let their creative juices flow!

 

Whatever little time we got to spend at Microsoft was exceptional and we got an insight into how such a huge tech company works. The tour was inspiring and so informative, but most importantly, it fueled us with motivation and gave us a clearer vision of our future.

 

Our visit to Habanero

(guest post by Karam Mahmood)

As design students, we value the time we can meet and be inspired by industry professionals. Vancouver Film School provided us the opportunity to visit an industry leader of user experience and interactive design. This was an opportunity to get hear stories and get advice from the interactive team of Habanero.

Studio visits are a part of our Industry IQ course, and it was great to see VFS alumni during our tours of Motion and Interactive Design studios. At Habanero, we were warmly welcomed by Bradley Smith, a Senior Interactive Designer, who can trace his roots from the first intake of the Digital Design program. Accompanying him were Christopher Parsons, Senior Front End Developer aka “The Coding Wizard”, Zak Woytowich, Interactive Designer and a Digital Design alumnus, and Senior Interactive Designer Kurtis Beard.

After we had all settled down, we were given insight into the process of a how a project develops from the initial client meetings to the final delivery. It was great to see how well the VFS Digital Design curriculum is devised to cater to the industry standards as we followed similar steps. Habanero has very strong views in building authentic relationships with clients. Getting to see inspiring projects that they worked on gave us a really positive vibe from them towards their clients in building a long-term relationship.

We took a tour of their office and got to see the rest of the team, all fully focused and involved in their tasks. We also learned about Habanero’s approach in occasionally shuffling seating arrangements so employees can collaborate and be inspired working with different minds.

Thanks to Louise Lee for arranging our visit, and many thanks to Habanero for hosting us!

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