Placement Blog #2 - Jakub Maziarski turn off the lights.

Placement Blog #2 - Jakub Maziarski

It’s incredible how time flies and I’ve now reached the end of my placement year. My portfolio of projects has grown massively since my last blog and I’m really happy with the progress made during my placement year. I have learnt so much over the last 12 months, ranging from our industry’s processes to life-long lessons. Looking back at day one to where I am now, I’m very thankful for all the support from my colleagues in helping me grow in my role as a creative developer.

Development Work

During my placement, I’ve continuously been given projects that allow me to push myself, particularly in using Storyline in various styles and formats. Through this I gained useful skills and knowledge which gave me the confidence to tackle bigger projects. I got the chance to work on a Pest Awareness module for one of the UK’s biggest retailers. This was a big turning point for my development work as I’d never worked on such a complex module. Being named lead developer meant I had full responsibility of its development.

The module was designed to teach staff how to spot signs of pests early while they carried out their daily jobs. With this in mind, the script was created to involve a detective-like game, which consisted of discrete signs of pests randomly placed around the elearning, encouraging the user to earn points while learning various processes around the topic. Once these were clicked, the user was presented with images of what these signs could look like around their store and given information about the particular pest.

As I prepared to build it was difficult to get my head around using so many variables and triggers, but with the help of my colleagues I was able to learn how to create complex slides that controlled and saved data throughout the module. As I became more comfortable working with complex triggers, I could focus more on asset design. My project manager trusted me and gave me all the creative freedom to decide how each slide was presented. Using Photoshop, I was able to create overlapping content with textures and gradients to make the content more eye catching.

In the long run, this module taught me new ways of using Storyline to create really effective elearning. I came out of my comfort zone and realised it’s where you learn the most. In my mind it completely changed the remainder of my placement and I’m really proud of this project.

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Filming for WeWork

Another highlight of my placement was getting the chance to feature in a WeWork photoshoot. The day consisted of filming several scenarios in Spinningfields, Manchester at the WeWork offices. It was definitely worth the early morning wake up as the WeWork offices were so relaxed and fun. On our break, we got to explore the huge space filled with cool architecture and neon signs.

I went on the shoot wanting to learn more about our camera equipment and hopefully get a chance to take some photos myself. I felt sorry for the lead designer that day because I was constantly asking questions. I was really eager to learn about the best practices and settings to take professional photos.

During change overs, I got the chance to get hands on and try these settings myself. Taking close-ups of items used in the scenarios was great practice. I was shadowed by our designer and got pointers as I experimented with different settings. This has made me want to buy my own camera and learn more about photography – I think I’ve found a new hobby.

Design Work

As I gained more confidence in my development work, I began to try more and more design pieces within my modules – first starting off with short motion graphics to eventually designing an off-the-shelf module from start to finish.

This off-the-shelf module consisted of various design pieces that would shape the script into an illustrated story. The user would learn about Competition Law as they worked through the different business scenarios. The idea was that our town was corrupt and needed cleaning up to ensure that all the town was fair to their customers. As the sections are completed the town would become more populated and livelier.

The hardest asset in my eyes was the isometric map which would be the menu. This particular menu had to include 7 major sections with distinct buildings to represent each case study within. As I’d never done any isometric design it took a couple of attempts to get the correct spacing between each building. Once comfortable, I started to experiment with different building types and making my own like the townhall clock tower.

After the map was completed, I created illustrated scenarios which would sit within the case studies. These were made to look like they were taken by a private investigator spying on the various businesses. With the help of the design team, I was taught how to use depth of field and perspective to make the images look realistic.

As a keen designer outside of work, I really enjoyed the process as it allowed me to expand my knowledge and skills in Adobe. I’m looking forward to trying even more design work in the future.

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Team Presentation

At the end of November, I was given the chance to present in front of the whole team at our monthly meeting. Before coming to Dynamic, I personally struggled with presenting in front of a
big crowd – despite that, I really enjoyed it. My presentation gave everyone the opportunity to learn a little bit more about me and showcased my work. While presenting at the front, I felt really comfortable and could have rambled on and on. The experience definitely helped me with my communication skills.

Job Offering

My job offering came as a complete surprise; six months into my placement, just after my team presentation, I was invited to a one-on-one meeting with my placement supervisor, Dan. At the beginning it felt just like a routine catch up, with Dan asking me how I was feeling and what work I’d been getting on with. I quickly realised this wasn’t the case as we started to talk about a long-term role at Dynamic. I couldn’t stop smiling for the reminder of the meeting. I quickly said yes – I couldn’t believe it! The moment I found out I shared it with all my family and it was so lovely hearing their reactions.

My placement experience has been great and I would push anyone to use the sandwich year to gain vital experience in the creative industry. I’m so grateful to be coming back to Dynamic and I can’t wait to push myself further as a developer for many years to come.

He’s got a great creative mind and is enthusiastic, conscientious and wants to do a great job and always happy to get stuck in, even when that means a new experience out of the comfort zone.

Dom Rogerson, Project Manager

He was very diligent in his approach and made sure he understood the exact requirements before starting the build. His communication to me was spot on and the work he completed was of a high standard.

Julia Gilbert, Project Manager

This general approach – offering suggestions and going beyond the initial requirement is a recurrent theme in the way that Jakub takes work onboard. In addition, his awareness, e.g. appreciation of timeframes and eagerness to aim to complete work before deadlines is commendable.

Alison Hadfield, Creative Development Manager

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