Meet Gihan: an emerging talent in environmental design for games

26 September 2023

Far From Heaven artwork
Far From Heaven artwork

Student work: Gihan Fernando 'Far From Heaven'

Type: Text
Category: Student stories

With their first piece of work featured on The Rookies, Gihan Fernando (also known as Xing Yu) is an emerging game artist with a passion for building beautiful, realistic environments. We sat down with them to talk about their experience studying at one of our international partner schools, their hopes for the future and what’s next after their degree.

You’re currently studying BA Animation & Visual Effects Top-Up at one of our international partner schools, AMDT (the Academy of Multimedia Design and Technology) in Sri Lanka. How have you found the course so far?  

I have had a wonderful time at AMDT. It has been like a roller coaster ride, full of excitement and thrill. I have gained so much knowledge and skills in the last 9 months, more than I ever did in the previous 2 years! It has been an amazing journey.  

One of the best things about this course has been the people I have met along the way. I have seen people who are truly passionate about gaming, animation, and visual effects, and their passion has inspired me. What’s even more amazing is the friendships I have made during these 8 months. I have bonded with people I never thought I would meet, who share my love for creating animation environments and games. This journey has been incredible. 

However, it’s also sad to know that our time in this program is coming to an end soon, with only 3-4 months left to complete our top-up degree, but I believe that the friendships we have made during this time will last forever. When I think about the cultural differences between Falmouth and Sri Lankan universities, I realise how unique this experience has been. I do wish I could have had the chance to experience the UK culture while doing my whole degree, but I hope that in the future, I might have the opportunity to do my master’s at Falmouth, depending on the career path I choose. 

You’re already getting recognised, with a recent project featured in The Rookies. How did you find the experience?  

I'm really proud of the recognition I received from The Rookies for my project. It was an exciting experience to share my work on a platform that supports and celebrates emerging artists. But I have to admit, getting recognised in the art world can be tough. People have different tastes, and what I'm passionate about as an environment design artist might not always match what others like. 

A month ago, I made a decision. I stopped posting my art on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. I felt these places weren't the best for sharing my art and getting helpful feedback; even though I posted some fantastic pieces, not everyone appreciated them, and some comments were hurtful.  

So, I moved to ArtStation and The Rookies. These platforms seem better suited for artists like me who want to improve their skills and connect with fellow creative minds. I've been really happy with the results. On The Rookies, I posted just one project, and it got a good number of views and recognition. It was motivating to see that other artists and industry professionals appreciated my work, plus I had a chance to learn from their feedback and suggestions. The Rookies is a fantastic community that supports emerging artists on their journey to success. 

But I'm not stopping at one project. I know I have more to offer and more to learn. I want to create more artworks that showcase my passion and talent for environment design. I want to challenge myself and explore new ideas and techniques. I'm determined to gain more recognition from both the art industry and the audience. That's why I am putting in the hard work every day to improve my skills and build an impressive portfolio. 

What is your animation/artistic specialism, or do you prefer not to specialise just yet? 

I specialise in environment creation and look development, with a primary focus on lighting artistry. In my work, I bring digital environments to life by carefully crafting the lighting, textures, and atmospheres that immerse viewers in captivating and visually stunning worlds. 

I find great satisfaction in the intricate process of shaping how light interacts with objects and surfaces to evoke specific moods and atmospheres within a scene. This specialisation allows me to contribute significantly to the overall visual storytelling in various mediums, whether it's in film, video games, or architectural visualisation. My passion for this specialisation drives me to continually refine my skills and stay at the forefront of lighting techniques and technologies.

What are your career aspirations after university?  

After completing my university studies, my career aspirations are quite clear. Firstly, I plan to continue my academic journey by pursuing a master's program in a related field. This advanced education will help me further hone my skills and expertise in environmental and lighting design, allowing me to become an even more proficient artist. 

In the immediate future, I am determined to secure a job in an industrial company, with Blizzard being a dream destination. While I acknowledge that this might be a challenge, I am fully committed to working tirelessly to get there.  

Becoming an environmental and lighting artist in a renowned company like Blizzard has always been my ultimate career objective, and I am dedicated to making it a reality. However, my ambitions do not stop there.  

Beyond my professional pursuits, I have a deep desire to explore the world and experience its wonders. I firmly believe that life is a one-time opportunity, and we cannot afford to take it for granted. Traveling the world, discovering its beauty, and cherishing the remarkable places it has to offer is another dream of mine. 

I want to immerse myself in the incredible diversity of cultures, landscapes, and experiences that our planet has to offer before my time is up. It is a personal mission to appreciate the world we live in and make the most of this unique opportunity. So, alongside my career ambitions, I am actively working towards fulfilling my dream of seeing the world, one breathtaking destination at a time. 

Lead image credit: Gihan Fernando/Xing Yu 'Far From Heaven'

Explore more of Gihan's work:

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