Featured Graduate: Darius Safani, Motion Design
Headed to Psyop
Darius, a Motion Design graduate, is headed to Psyop, which is a commercial production company specializing in animation, visual effects, and live action production for various forms of media entertainment. Before he jumps into this big career step, he gave us some insight into his past four years at Ringling and what he is looking forward to in the future.
Why did you choose Motion Design when you came to Ringling College?
I was originally touring Ringling for Computer Animation, but was introduced to Motion Design on my tour. I instantly knew it’s what I wanted to do once I saw the department and the work they were producing.
How did the Motion Design curriculum help you in landing the job at Psyop?
We’re very lucky as students to have a ton of great tools and powerful computers at our disposal, and we learn pretty much all the main industry standard programs for 3D and 2D animation over our four years. Of course, beyond learning the programs, there’s a heavy focus on learning the principles of animation, design, and concept, so we’re adaptable as programs change.
What is the most important lesson Ringling College has taught you both in and out of the classroom?
One of the most important lessons (and one heavily pushed by our department) is the value of finishing as much work as possible early. When you finish your work in half the time you’re given, you can spend a lot of time on polishing your piece, which is what will make it really stand out in the long run.
What is one lesson you would give to aspiring/future artists?
Find ways to love whatever you’re working on. Sometimes you’ll be given an assignment you’re not excited about, and some students will just go through the whole thing hating it. Find a way to love whatever it is you’re doing — find a way to turn it into a passion project. Look for a technique you want to learn that fits the project, and learn how to do it. If you can find a way to get excited about what you’re working on, you’ll not only enjoy your time a lot more, your final piece will likely turn out far better. At the very least, you’ll learn something for future reference.
How would you say Ringling College’s environment prepared you for the job search process?
The Motion department does a great job of helping their students search for jobs. Tons of recruiters looking for Motion Designers come to visit campus and give presentations, and we often got the chance to personally meet with those recruiters and show our work, as well as on-campus interviews. The head of our department, Ed Cheetham, puts a lot of effort into getting our work out there. He collects each student’s name, website, and resume, and sends out our work to recruiters. This was a big help for finding jobs.
How did you apply for the position at Psyop?
I actually didn’t initially apply — they were on my radar and they were one of my top picks for potential companies, but I had gotten an offer relatively early in the year for freelance at Nickelodeon that I was intending to take. Right before solidifying the contract with Nick, I got a message from Ed. He had shown Psyop my Senior Thesis, and they wanted to have a call with me. I felt bad about potentially backing out of my offer with Nick, but I knew I had to take the call. After a phone call and an interview, I got an offer for a full time position.
How did you feel when you found out you got the job?
It was really surreal, since it all happened so quickly. I had just been getting ready to sign papers with Nickelodeon, and just 4 days later the situation had completely changed. It’s really incredible to look back on where I was my Freshman year and how I never thought I could work somewhere like Psyop.
What part of your job are you most excited for?
The first great thing is that I’m working doing what I love to do. Motion Design is extremely fortunate to have so many graduates who don’t just have jobs, but jobs doing something they really enjoy. Psyop does a lot of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality work, which I’m very interested in and experimented with both during my Senior year. I’m also just extremely excited to meet all the talented people at Psyop, since I know there’s a huge range of different artists there.
Good luck to Darius on his journey, and congratulations! To see more of Darius’s work, view his portfolio at www.dsafani.com
This is the first post in a series of profiles of Ringling students about to graduate with incredible jobs waiting for them. This post was written by Olivia Ackerman, a second-year Illustration student at Ringling College.