Wow. Jeez. I can’t believe this is my last day. I began working as a design STA a year ago, and now I am already leaving.
I have had such a wonderful time working at LAITS this year. Everyone here is so kind and nice, and I have genuinely enjoyed every single project I have worked on. Honestly, I wish I had known about LAITS’ design studio back when I was an underclassman. It’s such a great program that teaches invaluable skills. Besides graphic design, I have learned so much about client communication, collaboration, and numerous other soft professional skills that will help me as I navigate the corporate™ world. The STA program in general is a great stepping stone job for students, and I wish the best of luck to all of our STAs in the future!
Before anything else, I want to say goodbye to all our current full timers and STAs.
Suloni – Suloni you are so kind and such a talented artist! You have guided me on countless projects, and taught me so much about design and client communication. I cannot thank you enough for all your help. You are the glue that keeps the design team together, and a friend to everyone! Keep LAITS staying magical!
Also, obviously, I have always admired your eyeball slack photo.
Valerie – Valerie you are so talented and funny. You have been such an incredibly helpful manager, and your art advice is invaluable. I remember back when I worked on that art nouveau training, and you were so insightful in how I could edit my photo to better fit the style (that was also a lot of fun). You have wonderful options for office music, and are always able to keep good vibes going at the office.
Also – your illustrations are so wonderful, and I can’t wait to see what else you make!
In general, thank you so much for all your help!
Maddy – Maddy, you are super cool and such a wonderful graphic designer. I came here struggling to even understand how different text fonts complemented each other, and now I have work I can put into a portfolio! You are so sweet and helpful, and have an adorable cat (tell Shrimp I said hi). I’ve always admired how sleek and modern your designs are, and also how you can incorporate serif fonts and more “old-timey” styles into your designs without them appearing clunky. You also have such a keen eye!
Adrian – You were one of my first friends here at LAITS. Thank you so much for sitting next to me during those beginning days, and talking about books with me! You are so sweet and talented and have great taste in weird plants and alien things. I wish you the BEST of luck with your writing, design, and anything else you decide to endeavor into in the future. I hope you have a wonderful final year at UT, and I’m looking forward to see what you do next!
De’sha – De’sha, you are one of the most artistic, fashionable people I have ever met. You also have the best eye for shades of pink that I have ever seen. Your animations and designs are incredible, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what you do after graduation. I know the animation industry can be stressful, but I fully believe in you and know you will do great!! Keep doing what you’re doing, and please keep wearing those awesome butterfly sunglasses.
Estella – I know you have technically left, but I do hope you see this. I absolutely LOVE your art, and it was super fun having you in office as the resident web dev. Congratulations again on your new job in Dallas, and I hope your move has gone well! You are so talented both as a web developer and artist, and I know you will absolutely knock the socks off at your new job.
Louisa – Louisa, I know we haven’t known each other long, but you are such a kind, interesting person. I’ve really enjoyed helping you with the trainings, and talking with you on our down time. You’re a very talented designer, and I hope your graduate school search goes well AND is fun and exciting. And if you ever need advice about looking for graduate schools, I just did it last year! I hope you have a wonderful fall semester and you will do great things at LAITS – I believe it.
Leilani – Leilani, as with Louisa, I haven’t known you for too long. You are, however, super nice and very cool. I really admire your design skills, and I have also really enjoyed helping you as you began your career as an STA. I know that you will do great things at LAITS and beyond, and look forward to see what you make next!
As for everyone else who has already left a few months ago, thank you so much too! I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your new jobs and schools!
While working this year at LAITS, I have worked on a variety of projects. I wanted to list here some of my favorites that I’ve worked on:
- General Animated Stingers – This was one of the first projects I ever did. I really loved coming up with ways to animate the stingers created by Sheryl. I also learned quite a bit about taking items in illustrator and applying them to after effects. Previously, I’d really only used photoshop, so this was a huge learning experience. It was also super fun to work with someone as talented as De’sha on this project!
- AFR – I loved working on the course graphics for AFR with Sheryl and Abriella. They are both such talented graphic designers, and I learned so much about infographics by working on this project. The hardest one was definitely the venn diagram:
If you scroll back far enough on my blog, you can find the process I did to create this. It took some time as there’s so many ideas overlapping, and looking back on it now I would’ve definitely spaced things differently (Nationality is too far to the edge), but overall I was very happy with how it came out. In general, AFR really helped me gain skills I needed for other tasks at LAITS.
- Animated Stingers – GOV Courses – Over winter break, I created two stingers for GOV 360 and GOV 371. These were based on the AMAZING designs by Adrian, and were really fun to create. At that time I was quite stressed applying to graduate school, so it was really enjoyable to have something to work on to take my mind off of it.
- Dana Center Template/Infographics – My largest project I worked on at LAITS were infographics and page templates for the Dana Center. This project spanned almost 4 months, and was incredibly educational for me. Between the InDesign trainings and this project, I went from barely comprehending the software to becoming quite comfortable with it. I am still quite proud of how my templates came out, and I hope to use them in a portfolio at some point. We never did hear back about the infographics, but those were quite fun to make as well.
- CoLA Turtles – This was a smaller project, but near March I got to work on some animated turtle designs for the CoLA graduation video. I had a blast working on these designs, and I think they came out quite cute:
- Orientation Posters – Another more recent project I helped out in was creating photoshopped orientation posters. The main one I focused on was the Sci-Fi poster, where I photoshopped the Orientation Advisors to look like the cast of the film Interstellar. I also helped finish up the sit-com poster, which De’sha had begun. For this, I changed out the heads (and bodies separately) of several characters to look like characters from the Office. It was definitely a difficult task, but quite rewarding.
- Psy Labs Banner – My most recent larger project that I completed was the banner for TIES Psychology lab headed by Dr. Timmons. I picked this project up from Cristina, and worked on it from mid-may until now. This is the final edition (as of now):
- This project took quite some time to complete, but I am very happy with how the banner came out. Marianne also aided me in placing it on the website, so I got to actually see how it looks!
I worked on many other projects during my time as an STA, as well as quite a few trainings. While I did not get to finish up my trainings, I found them invaluably helpful, and I hope STAs in the future do as well!
A few other things I really enjoyed doing as an STA:
- Photo IDs (I just really find them satisfying to work on)
- Working with my teammates and helping problem solve
- Creating my blog!! I really enjoyed personalizing my blog, and seeing everyone else’s every week.
I realized yesterday as I walked around campus that it was the last time I would do so for a long while. There’s something inherently different about visiting a place once you’ve left. I see my old high school all the time (it’s close to where my parents live), but it never feels the same as when I was a student there.
I will honestly, wholeheartedly hold my experiences at UT and LAITS dear to my heart. I hope I can come back and visit some time. I am coming home over my winter break (early December to January), so I may stop by then if possible!
As for me, I am going to attend UCF’s Animation and Visual Effects Masters program starting this August. This next week, I am going to Hilo island in Hawaii with my parents, and then we are driving to Orlando. I will also be working part time as a TA, and rumors suggest they also use Harvest to count their hours (I wonder if they use Workday too)?
After I get my masters, I’d like to work in a studio or maybe teach (or do both). I will have to see where the wind takes me, I suppose. I’d also like to create a webcomic for fun some time…if I ever have the time.
Anyway, I’ve been rambling on this blog post for some time. It was actually hard for me to write this due to how sad I was getting, so I had to write it in bursts and work on other things while I did it. I think I’ve covered everything I wanted to touch on – but I just want to again say how much I appreciate everyone here and how much fun I’ve had working here. I wish everyone the best of luck, and please, keep on designing!
(Additionally, if you would like to email me, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I check my email VERY frequently).