Another season has come and gone, we find ourselves saying farewell to another group of incredibly talented interns. Here’s what our design interns Muzi Li, Amy Wallace, and John Hughes & Production Intern Andrew Hague had to say about their experiences.


Where did you (or do you) go to school?
Muzi: I had my bachelor degree in Communication University of China. Now I am in Savannah College of Art and Design for my Master's degree.
Amy: I graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design in May 2017.
John: I graduated from RISD in 2014.
Andrew: Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. But I’m from Chicago.


Why did you want to intern at IF?
Muzi: I think everyone will agree with me that IF is one of best motion studios. Before I came here, I saw many attractive and creative artworks made by IF. I really want to explore how do IF create these works.
Amy: I learned about their work in classes at school and was intrigued when Alan Williams gave a lecture at a networking event at my school. I wanted the opportunity to work with and learn from all of the talented people here. The work that IF produces is inspiring and I wanted the chance to work with the artists behind it.
John: I’ve always been impressed by IF’s diverse range of projects and the unique approaches to each. With such a variation from project to project, I figured it would be the perfect studio to learn a wide range of skills from a talented network of professionals.
Andrew: I was digging through the different internships my school was offering at the time, and I liked “Imaginary Forces” as a name for the company. I watched the SXSW 2016 Gaming Awards opening sequence on the website and it reminded me of Journey, one of my favorite video games, so pretty much at that point I knew I was going to apply.


Best IF memory?
Muzi: Audrey called us to see the beautiful sunset in the meeting-room. I took a beautiful picture.
Amy: There were many: the IF meet-ups outside of work, The Stranger Things Halloween party, and first Thursdays. There's a lot more but it's really all the friends I've made and talented people I have worked with and learned from that have given me my best memories.
John: I don’t think it’s any secret that IF’s Stranger Things-themed halloween party was a costume party to end all costume parties. The decorations and everyone’s dedication to the characters will definitely be hard to beat.
Andrew:Talking movies, projects, ideas, etc. with the other interns, artists, and staff at IF. Everyone at IF is bound to have an interesting perspective considering the type of work we do here.


What sort of projects did you work on?
Muzi: Modeling, texturing and type animation.
Amy: I worked on concept and design for projects such as title sequences, commercials, large screen visuals and typography for an internal project. I also animated and roto-ed scenes for a range of other projects. I mostly did design work but learned a lot of other valuable skills.
John: I mainly focused on design work for large commercial screens. These were fun and challenging because each of the brand has a specific design philosophy to keep in mind while creating concepts. With Audrey, Theo, and Will’s direction, I think we were able to come up with some pretty exciting ideas, even if some of them didn’t make it to final production. I also enjoyed having creative freedom with IF’s Holiday card and getting to practice my storyboarding skills on some upcoming projects with Alan.
Andrew: Lots of internal projects. I had some chances to work on some bigger projects for iconic brands.


What did you learn?
Muzi: I learned how to work in a big group. I am sure it is very helpful for my career in the future.
Amy: I learned a lot about working in a team and how a project is developed and completed. As a student working by yourself or in small groups, it's good to learn how to collaborate with others and create a workflow that moves the project along smoothly. I also learned a lot about the industry and what it's like to work as a freelancer. The staff at IF is extremely helpful and sets up intern meetings to give us a chance to ask questions and discuss everything that is going on.
John: I think the most important thing I learned is that very few people in this industry, and especially at IF, are one-trick-ponies. I was amazed by how versatile the staff at IF truly is; designers can jump from style frames to basic animation with ease, and everyone communicates, critiques, and listens to directors and co-designers alike. I learned that all of the skills—the technical and the interpersonal—are key to making the very best work in the industry. Also, I’ve gotten over my slight fear of asking ‘stupid’ questions. Everyone at IF is almost unreasonably kind, and one gets the sense that everyone is constantly learning from each other. This kind of environment makes it a pleasure to work in what can often be a very challenging industry.
Andrew: Just how much goes into producing the smallest and the biggest projects. I admire the work ethic of the producers and creative directors, the grind is real and the job requires a lot of passion and great amount of detail.


What do you wish you spent more time learning or doing?
Muzi: I wish I could spend more time on designing.
Amy: I wish I had more time to work with all of the directors and producers. They each have different styles and ways of thinking and it would have been good to get to know all of them better.
John: I enjoyed getting to take a crack at a few animations in After Effects. I spent the bulk of my time making style frames for this particular project, so it was really exciting bringing them to life at the tail end of my stay at IF. If I had a little more time left in my internship, I would’ve loved to continue working and learning in AE.
Andrew: Getting a chance to work on a pitch and/or a title sequence, anything that involved early concepting. I definitely feel like that would have played to my strengths. I want to direct, so it would have been nice to have worked more closely with the creative directors.


What was the biggest challenge you faced during the internship?
Muzi: I think biggest challenge is making city space. There is a huge amount of building models. It took me some time to put these building together, and make the space look logical.
Amy: The biggest challenge I faced at IF was being too shy to ask for feedback from a director or designer when I first started. Critique is essential to moving on with a project, especially when you are stuck on an idea.
John: I think my biggest challenge was also the thing that made me so excited to come to work everyday—filling the tall order that comes with being an IF designer. After observing the afore-mentioned versatility of the IF staff, I knew I would need to have an open mind and be willing to jump out of my comfort zone. Working on a variety of projects ranging from design work, animation, and even product photography has definitely been intimidating at times, but I know the breadth of experience will be invaluable to my career.
Andrew: Balancing front desk work and shooting/editing work. Before starting my internship I knew my strengths lied in creative work, so I wanted to learn about what it takes to be a producer. I felt challenged on some level every day to be honest, mostly because I felt like I needed to have my producer’s hat on at all times. It was a little tough handling different responsibilities, but I also try to welcome difficult situations. and work through them, because I know that these experiences are going to benefit me down the road.


What advice would you give to new interns at IF?
Muzi: If you have any question about work, just ask those talented individuals around you.
Amy: Get up and talk to people. Ask questions. Everyone is amazing and always willing to help out, and having all of the resources we do here at IF is a wonderful learning experience.
John: Everyone’s a little shy when they start working at a new place, but I learned that IF has the most approachable, knowledgeable and motivated staff in the business. I was not only blown away by how talented the freelancers and directors were, but by how much my fellow interns knew. Who knew Amy could make design concepts in 3D then turn around and make about 100 vector illustration style frames, or that Andrew could edit the hell out of an entire feature film if he wanted to? And pretty soon I’m sure we’re all going to be living in Muzi’s world after he builds the entire Matrix in Maya. I would tell new interns to be confident in their skills and to pig out on the tree of knowledge that is IF.
Andrew: Smile, be friendly and personable. Be yourself. There’s never really a problem, only a challenge. Also maybe try to not break things around the office like I did.