MPG’s 2021 Art Internships

This year we took on two interns from the world renowned Digital Arts & Entertainment course at Howest University in Belgium.  MPG received over 30 applications for our internships, so we were delighted to be able to pick the two best students, Karina Dunikowska & Julia Platenkamp, based in Belgium and Sweden respectively. 

The both excelled as interns, creating content for AAA projects, and we’re delighted to have been able to extend job offers to both of them. 

Read on to see some of the assets they created, find out a bit about what they got from the experience, and what their plans are for the future.

Karina Dunikowska

Belgium

Julia Platenkamp

Sweden

In Spring 2020 I approached Howest University to get involved in their Intern Fair. They run a fantastic scheme that makes it easy for students and studios to interview each other and we were excited to be approached by so many outstanding artists. The quality of the portfolios we reviewed was exceptional, so we were delighted that our top two choices for interns, Julia and Karina, chose to start their careers with MPG. The best outcome of any internship is to want to retain the talent you've invested in, and for that to be reciprocated, so we were thrilled be able to bring Karina and Julia on as full time employees after their successful internships. They've proved themselves to be an integral part of the Art Team at MPG. We’re hoping this is just the beginning of a great collaboration with one the best game art university courses in the world!

Harvey ParkerHead of Art

Tell us about the course you were on before arriving at MPG.

Karina

Before I arrived at MPG, I followed the major Game Graphics Production in Digital Arts and Entertainment at Howest. It is a bachelor’s degree program that teaches students all necessary skills and prepares them for careers in the digital entertainment industry.

The training starts with learning basic technical, artistic, and teamwork skills, after which it becomes harder in the following years. You are always challenged to improve your skills due to the hard work and many deadlines.

DAE also provides the chance to specialize in a certain field. There is a wide range of minors to select from. Sadly, there weren’t as many minors available when I began my studies. I took the minor in character creation at that time (but quickly realized it wasn’t for me…). Yet, I learned a lot of useful and important skills. Fortunately, the university continues to evolve and adapt the curriculum to meet the industry’s current demands and the interests of students.

Julia

I was in my final year at the Digital Arts and Entertainment course at Howest in Belgium in the major game graphics production. At DAE I learned about a wide variety of topics regarding game production, we had modules teaching us about the artistic side but also courses focusing more on technical aspects.

How did you hear about MPG?

Karina

I learned about MPG during the internship fair in October. The internship fair is an annual event organized by DAE to help the students in their search for an internship. 

Different companies visit the campus, either to offer internships or to share great tips about landing an internship/job at the industry. It’s also a great opportunity for students to begin building their professional network.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this fair had to be held virtually over Discord this year.  To make it all run smoothly with all the students and the present companies, a booking system was created. So, if we wanted to chat with certain companies, we had to book time slots a few days before the event.

I think you can already guess what this means… The slots for the most interesting companies, including MPG, were quickly filled. And unfortunately I couldn’t book a time slot for a chat with MPG . But, I gathered up my courage and contacted Art Director Harvey in the hopes of a possible interview opportunity. And, thankfully, there was still some time left for that!

Julia

I first heard about MPG before the internship fair at the school. The fair would give us a chance to talk to different companies during the day. It was a nice experience to talk to people in the industry and I got lots of good feedback and advice.

What led you to choose to do you internship with MPG?

Karina

When I was searching for an internship, I had interviews with various studios. But each of these studios seemed so impersonal. It was hard for me to find something that would suit me too.

So, I was pleasantly surprised after the interview with MPG’s Art Director Harvey Parker and Technical Artist Calvin Simpson. It was a great chat! They gave out such a warm vibe, and they were so passionate about the company and what they do. I was immediately interested in MPG. The enthusiasm was contagious, and it left me with a big smile at the end of that day. 

The flexibility of choice given by MPG regarding your role and the projects was also what drew me in. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do in the game industry or whether I even wanted to stay in this field. So, it was a fantastic opportunity to discover more about myself without much pressure. 

What I also found very impressive how they valued the employee’s well-being; the importance of mental health, and pressure-free working. It was the first studio I talked with that spoke so honestly about it.

The company seemed ideal for me! It was a studio I had hoped to find.  I was overjoyed when I heard that I could do the internship here!

Julia

MPG went to the top of my list quickly after having a conversation at the internship fair. As I talked with them it seemed clear that they do things differently, it sounded interesting, and I had a feeling that it would fit me well. As someone who has a hard time deciding between the different options you have as a 3D artist, hearing about the variety in the knowledge they could offer me sounded great. They also seemed nice to work with and to value a good learning experience for interns, which was also important for me.

What were you expecting from your time with us?

Karina

During my academic years, I’ve heard a few stories about how it is to work in the game industry. However, experiencing it firsthand is a very different story, so I put a lot of hope into it. Since I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue doing this, I was really hoping that the internship would give me more insights into the industry and what I wanted to do after my graduation.

I also wanted to grow in my skills, try out more things and techniques. But also to work with a team, socialize more and make connections. It was something I was looking forward to.

Julia

I was not sure what to fully expect since it was probably going to be different from what I was used to while studying. In general, I expected to be pushed outside of my comfort zone, to improve on my skills, and to learn how to work in a company.

So how was your time at MPG?

Karina

It was a fantastic internship opportunity. I wasn’t expecting it to have such a positive effect on me. It was tough to get used to everything at first. I was so nervous, and there was so much information to digest. But, over the course of a few weeks, everything went a lot more smoothly. I also realized how lucky I was to have ended up here. The internship at MPG exceeded my expectations in every way.

I got to know a lot of great people. Everyone was so friendly and supportive! It was easy for me to feel comfortable here! The team treated me as a full member, not simply an intern. Many people also shared lots of valuable knowledge or feedback that helped me grow as an artist.

The work that I got to do was also so interesting. I was able to participate in many fun things and projects. I have learned so many new things in such a short time. It boosted my motivation and self-esteem, which had dwindled a bit throughout the years at university.

Julia

I had a wonderful time! I got to learn about all kinds of topics in the field and I got to work with a great team. It really felt like I was part of the team even though I was just an intern. I could voice my opinions and ideas, and I was also given space to explore how to approach things on my own. On the other hand, there was always guidance when I needed it and my mentor made sure I was doing alright.

Now that you've finished your internship, what would you say you’ve learnt?

Karina

I gained a lot of experience in a variety of areas. Some skills were more specific than others. I learned more about creating block outs based on concepts, but also to see more details and work with new methods for creating assets. 

There were also moments where I had to step outside of my comfort zone because I needed to consider solutions that were not immediately simple. This way, I learned to work with other programs and tools, even when I didn’t feel comfortable using them. Not only have I grown in my skills, but I have also grown as a person. I learned more about myself and definitely matured. I gained more confidence to speak up and share ideas. 

But overall, I can say that this internship was an eye-opener for me. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to stay in this field. However, this internship really encouraged me, which I didn’t expect to happen. 

Julia

Looking back on the internship, I think I’ve gained a lot from it. I got to improve my skills, my perspective changed, and it brought me outside of my comfort zone. I got to refresh different skills and learned new ways of working. For example, I was able to improve my concept art and create it more efficiently. Apart from that I also learned more about working modular and creating materials.

The internship has also taught me more about myself, and how it is to work in a team. Working together with the art team has definitely helped me to get more out of my shell. It was a bit new to me to work together so closely, I was used to just having my own tasks and that’s that. But it has been really enjoyable to be so involved in a project with the whole team.

The world is your oyster! What are your plans?

Karina

Perhaps it seems cliché, but at this internship, I rediscovered my long-lost passion for games. And I am grateful for it because now I know that I want to create awesome games in the future! Hopefully, I’ll be able to start my journey at MPG. 😊

Julia

Before graduating I was considering taking a break for a year to rest and re-evaluate if I really wanted to work in the game industry. My experience at MPG however, has helped me to realize that working on games is the right path for me. I’d say my main goal now is to learn more and explore, and hopefully continue with MPG remotely after the summer!