Irena Šmitáková

Irena Šmitáková

Irena Šmitáková

Irena is a second year student studying on the BA (Hons) Visual Effects and Motion Graphics course.

What influenced you to do this course? And why here?
I am influenced since I was 16, I studied Photography and Media in Czech. Myself and one of my very good friends Michal were more interested about picture in motion than just still image and we loved films with a lot of massive Visual Effects. We used to say “Wow, that would be cool to know how to do it”. But it was just dream, far far away, we even downloaded After Effects, at that period version 3 and we had it just in our computers. I tried to film for myself, I have got still a lot of personal stuffs, that are waiting on my disk including experiences with directing videos for my friends or for my EU exchange program in Norway in Tromso. I was always closer to film then just developing photos or just making montages for my school projects. But then I saw Pacific Rim, Godzilla and cool short film Sundaysby PostPanic studio and my desire raised up again. I opted University of South Wales, because this university is “only 1” in the world (what I know so far), which offers a study Visual Effects together with Motion Graphics. Plus the fact, we have got covered 60% of our study fees by Welsh grant, is also very influential. And I always wanted to move from Czech to abroad and Cardiff is wonderful!

What have been the most valuable aspects (from a career perspective) of the course?
I really didn’t know when I came here, what part of this huge Visual Effects industry I will cover after 3 years of uni or how it even works in this industry. I felt just like Alice in her Wonder Dreamland surrounded by computers and new people. But since I came to 2nd Year, I have heard quite a lot of amazing stories from VFX and MG creators, who already work for big companies and some of them studied here a few years ago, and that shows me I am in the place I am supposed to be. They travel, meet new people and learn with each project/film something new. What more I can wish for.

What has been your favourite project?
My favourite project? It is really hard to say, because when I worked on each project, I was considering on a topic, which I like and I am interested in. I don’t like wasting my time. But if I must say what was the most, it was definitely 3D redesign of TV ident for Science Channel, because I love science, Maths and Physics, especially Space and its never-ending exploring and questions, and as another project definitely my FMP called Stolen, where I opted a way using green screen, vfx effects and work with actor. Even filming my FMP was kind of punk on attic with one spot small light. My teacher couldn’t believe how I did it, haha.

What have been the highlights so far from your time at university?
One of the biggest highlights are the teachers and their approach to students. Our perfect course leader Jason (hyper massive active enthusiast of Motion Graphics), Chris and cool lecturer Rosie (well experienced and she gives us the most she knows from her experiences working for big companies and on amazing films). We feel, they love what they are doing, I have never seen approach to students like here. I can’t talk too much about Czech universities, because I’m not studying there. Here they tell you opinions, advise you and you don’t have to be stressed by their words at all. Another thing regards to highlighting is considering on practise part rather than reading “40” books per semester to get credits. Theory is very important, but when you finish uni, is better to say “Yes, I have got experience with this” not “I used to read about it”. This is depending on which course you’re studying, obviously.

Anything else you want to mention?
Be open-minded, if you have the opportunity to learn, move on or meet, just do it. Appreciate you can learn, appreciate what University offers you, appreciate every opportunity you’re given, because you live just once. Create, travel, meet, talk, love and live from small moments, that creates after some time on big story, which you’ll be narrating one day to your children.