Sunday, 16 March 2014

Graduate Showcase - Jens Kopke on animation, awards, motion graphics and careers in digital media

Jens Kopke is one of our talented animation graduates from Bucks, who has since found work in his native Hamburg as a motion design artist at DeliPictures. His short film (shown above) was completed right here in High Wycombe and combined live action with visual effects and motion graphics, winning an honourable mention at the D&AD Awards. We asked Jens to talk about his film, what he has been doing since graduating from university, and what it takes to forge a successful career in digital media.

Bucks: Your student film at Bucks won a D&AD award - how did that come about?

Jens: First of all - I'm not really sure if an "honorable mention" counts as an award.  But the project came about like this: One of the modules in Bill Schaaf's course at Bucks allowed students to get credits for non-course-related activities like building up skills or entering the D&AD awards.  So I teamed up with Yonca Yilmaz, since entering D&AD was part of her Advertising course. After first getting the approval of our tutors, our enthusiasm helped us to keep to a tight schedule of seven or eight days from first drafts to final product.

We progressed really fast, but we only managed to get very little feedback from our tutors due to our short timing. Relying much more than usual on our own intuitions and experience, we focused on a final product that we both really liked. Without worrying about things like - how to impress the D&AD judges. Which, in the end, made us even happier, when we got the honorable mention from D&AD.

Bucks: What software did you use to put it together?

Jens: We used a combination of After Effects, Cinema4D and Photoshop.

Bucks: Did you collaborate with students from the film and TV department or did you put it all together yourself?

Jens: We did not collaborate with students from the film and TV dept, but we did have help from another student from the Advertising course, Dunja Opalko. Her talent with photography (and her own privately owned equipment) helped us to get some nice footage to work with.

Bucks: Since leaving Bucks, what have you been working on?

Navigon // Garmin: "The Navigon App" from DELI PICTURES on Vimeo.

Jens: During my studies at Bucks I successfully applied for a job as a Motion Design Artist in Hamburg, Germany, at DeliPictures, where I still work today.

Since then I have mostly been working on commercial projects like Navigon ( or Weight Watchers ( Luckily, at DeliPictures we are encouraged to experiment and work on self-initiated projects during work hours, such as this St Valentine's Day card that I created with a co-worker. (

WeightWatchers Kampagne: Oliver Kahn from DELI PICTURES on Vimeo.

Bucks: What advice would you offer to any student at Bucks to get the most out of their time at University?

Jens: My advice would be twofold. Firstly, don't study to get a job, study to do something you really like to do. Secondly, what helped me most during my studies was getting out of my comfort zone and being interested in everything around me. Things like sitting in unrelated classes, using equipment you are afraid to damage, choosing projects that were way too big for me - and even failing from time to time - really helped to prepare me to handle difficult situations at work. In the end, Bucks New University had a lot to offer me.

(Editor's Note: For more impressive work done by our students and recent graduates here at Bucks, check out Ben Gray's Moonbeam, and the architectural visualisations of Sabah Masood. Also take a look at the work of Andy Thomas here, see our latest commercial project for Rocketseed, our short film done for a global aid agency, and take a look at the excellent work of designer Monika Dzikowicz, architectural visualisation specialist Krsytof Michalski, Alex Whitfield and the 3D artwork of Mike Swan.)

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