July 02, 2017

Success Story of Shweta I (IITB Animation)

INTRODUCTION
About me:
Hello,
First of all I have to thank Prasanna Sir for letting me convey my own experiences and giving me a chance to help all those who want to pursue design. I am indebted to Prasanna Sir and all those who have written and contributed their own accounts of preparations and admission process before- it was a tremendous help.
I am Shweta, an Architect (passed out in 2016) and shall be a design student in a few weeks. I just have to say that I might ramble on quite a lot (get hilariously and shamelessly candid too… you’ll see!)  in the text below- so please bear with me☺.    
Where it all began:
A little backstory. I was born, raised and schooled (college and graduation too) here in Pune (Maharashtra) and had always been fascinated by Drawing, Reading and Cartoons! I mention fascinated since I still am learning and am pretty much in awe of people who draw amazingly well. So school is over and I am still confused as to what I want to do with my life. Family full of mainstream professionals, I let the designing, creative career options take a backseat. However, after the 12th Boards (I had taken science!), I knew I was done with it (even after a Mech Engg. Seat in hand). Got into architecture, a convenient option involving creativity and also technical enough to be the perfect mix of something I would enjoy doing.
I kind of got the idea about not wanting to go into mainstream planning around 4th year of B.Arch… I enjoy architecture and don’t wish to leave it ever!  However, I wished for more of a diverse career path that just plain graduation and masters in the same field… Hence, Design!  


PREPARATION FOR CEED:
I had heard about CEED from a friend and had missed the date to apply in 2015 Sept/Oct. This was a blessing in disguise since I would anyway have had to miss out the DATs and the Interviews in case I qualified since I had a lot on my plate with just the final year thesis project, and an ATKT (Allowed to Keep Term) of one major subject in my coursework (Architects who are reading this- I had a backlog in A.D.)  . Hence I applied for CEED in November 2016.
Next obvious step was enrolling in an entrance preparation class/coaching organizations. When I approached them in November 2016, I had been declined admissions since it was too late and they take students in the month of June itself. Some of them went so far to say that I should try next year since its utterly impossible for this year’s attempt. Truthfully that was quite discouraging too.  
I stumbled upon the Teacup blog since I was pretty sure internet as always shall give me some answers. (Also, since I was angered by the coaching centre guy’s reply). Internet didn’t disappoint me… (Found the Teacup Blog!) I spent weeks on this blog- amazed and utterly thankful to Prasanna Sir (and the Universe), reading through all of the study methods, portfolio preparations, interview experiences of the people who secured admissions in their dream colleges and their own success stories, Question paper answer keys in precise details- solved to make it all seem impossibly easy, sketching tips, and many references, links for design GK and such.

DATS AND INTERVIEWS:
After qualifying CEED (results declared on 10th March), I started the application process. I had applied for M.Des in IIT-B IDC (AN and VC), IIT Hyderabad for Visual Design (they currently have a single discipline), IISc Bengaluru- CPDM, IIITDM Jabalpur and IIT Guwahati too. I had also applied for MITID for Product Design.

IISc CPDM, Bengaluru:
DAT:
The DAT was conducted in the institute campus itself (not CPDM dept. building). We were provided with a booklet consisting of questions and space for answers provided beneath.
The 3 sections of questions in the test-
Part I: 7 questions… engineering and materials based questions- I cannot be considered a valid source for this since the questions literally flew over my head. The first question had 5 sub-questions based on 12th grade Maths- on topics like matrices, probability and work time problems and such. Another question that I had attempted consisted of bending moment and load transfer. Another question was about the strength of steel and yielding point. The rest of the questions- utter gibberish… (This a candid account of the DATs-hence the confusing details included too).
Part II: Design Aptitude- problems of picking the odd image, basic geometrical figures, aptitude questions like determine the line of the shadow of an object with the angle of light given, a couple of drawing and sketching/rendering questions. It also included rendering a line drawing with shadows with reference to an image.
Part III: Design and technological development awareness questions. These questions were based on general knowledge and technological advances in the fields of product design, materials and their usage in manufacturing and such. One of the questions was about listing the varied usage of titanium. Lastly, there were a couple of questions on designing products. One of the questions was to design an alternative to Styrofoam disposable cups, which shall be environmentally friendly and made with a better insulation.
INTERVIEW:
All the candidates who were present for the DAT were interviewed. They were conducted on 20th and 21st of April. Mine took place on the day of the DAT itself. Even though they had mentioned about just being present for the interview was enough and no need of a portfolio, I had an A4 sized folio with me for the interview just in case. My folio consisted mostly of my academic product design assignments, which Prasanna Sir advised me to include and would suffice in my case. (Basic Design- a subject in the initial years of B.Arch involving all of the design discipline based assignments which is how I had product design assignments in the first place).
The interview was pretty basic, and one common question which was asked very frequently was “why design?” This was a popular choice of question for all non-design background people making a shift from architecture/engineering streams. Also, they do switch over to the stream that you are acquainted with during the interview, so it isn’t something to be feared about. The rest of the interview went okay and vague though. (At times people do have an idea if they are in or not based on an interview but I would like to mention here that the interviewing panel had excellent poker faces and I stayed utterly clueless.)
(Do visit IISc in case you are shortlisted. The campus is worth visiting and a special mention of the IISc cafeteria- quite economical and good quality food! You won’t starve there at all!)  


IIT Hyderabad (Kandi Campus):
The Kandi Campus is still very new and upcoming and the transport from the main city to the institute might seem a bit of a hassle, considering the language problem as a major issue. The arrangement of hostels could be availed if informed prior to the date of the DAT. The hostels were located at the ODF (ordinance factory) 10 km away from the Kandi campus and there was a facility of bus transport to and fro, free, every half hour. In my case, I had residing arrangements in Hyderabad city and travelled to Kandi those two days taking the Hyderabad-Sangareddy (via Kandi) buses, since the frequency is really good. (Just to mention, if you start from Hyderabad, towards Sangareddy, you have to mention about getting down at IIT since it’s a ‘request stop’- in case you choose to travel by bus.)
DAT:
The DAT was quite a novel experience. It started with document verification in the main building, the first thing on the schedule, and then we were ushered into an auditorium. We were then briefed about the test and the closest thing to describe it was a ‘treasure hunt’ concept. The briefing lasted 5-10 minutes and we were handed a map of the campus, a half of a clue on another a4 sheet and told to set off from the main building towards the hostel blocks. Also, my half-a-clue sheet was from set of paper ‘c’, and apparently there were 4 sets of problems with 4 ‘treasure hunts’ mapped out so. The time was 10am to 1 pm while 100 or more kids were roaming around thrilled, through the campus and seeking out the allotted people to get the rest of their question for the DAT.
My question was about a fictious Keralite IIT Kandi bus driver, Mr.Nair, age 40, who happened to be involved in some accident with the Clinic of the campus nearby, and I, am instrumental in the story and have an important role to play in resolving the situation. In this case, we were supposed to depict the given situation visually/ graphically/ pictorially and also highlight the use of visual design or any improvements in graphics as a solution. I answered in the form of a storyboard and dialogue boxes included in the frames. The story went as following- I am walking along the campus road, I hear a blaring horn and a sudden screech of tires and turn around. There is a boy who had been walking lost in thought on the road some distance away and he hadn’t seen the oncoming bus. The vehicle had stopped in time but the boy seeing sensing the close shave had collapsed on the road, unconscious.  The driver sees the state of the boy, he gets panicky too and begins mumbling in Malyalam. Meanwhile I hear the boy mumbling in Marathi which I know too and try to pacify the driver regarding the situation since it isn’t really a serious accident after all. I see the name tag and shout at him to calm down and point out the plus sign indicating medical help is close. Together we lift the boy- still groggy and in shock- and lead him to the clinic and it’s a happy ending with no one hurt and all is well.
Upon getting the complete clue, an A3 drawing sheet, I chose a verandah of one of the hostel building and sat down for attempting the test. It was quite a pleasant experience getting few refreshments mid-exam (the staff, and the Design HOD himself was going everywhere distributing bottles of water and some treats for the students sitting literally anywhere giving the exams. It was such a friendly thing to do, and also it solidified what I had heard about the utter free environment and informal methods at IIT-Hyderabad).
After handing over the papers, the drawing sheets and the documents- Xeroxes of the score card, degree certificate and such, the schedule for the day was done and the candidates would be shortlisted and a list would be put up the next day in the main building itself.
INTERVIEW:
So around 50 people were shortlisted and I was among the ones who would be interviewed that day, on 27th of April. The interview was pretty straightforward and short. The panel included the HOD, the other teaching staff consisting in total of- four people. I was asked about why I chose the storyboard and which is a memorable project/ working experience or accomplishment for me. All four professors went through the portfolio glancing through it rapidly and later asked me what I did apart from drawing/designing or architectural work. I answered reading and went on about the change in patterns of conveying stories in classics and the current books trending today. Once again, poker faces! and I was even more confused since I was done within 5 minutes. All the candidates were then supposed to submit the portfolio once again downstairs in another room in the main building for a review for about 10 minutes and that was it.


IDC, IIT-Bombay:
When applying for IDC IIT-B, there were some tasks that all the applicants were supposed to submit on A4 sheets together with the application form and sent in as a hard copy. The tasks involved (A) critique writing, (B) An example of the design discipline you are applying for and its hand-done illustration and (C) some of your photography/ artwork/ comic strips/ designing work you have done.
I am not sure if this is the system every time but do look out for such tasks when applying and ask the people at IDC- they were really co-operative (mail them/ call them) in case of doubts.
DAT:
The DATs for 5 disciplines were scheduled on the 2nd of May consecutively throughout the day. I had applied for animation and visual communication with the preference in respective order. The question papers are also available online on the teacup blog and other websites too possibly.
Visual Communication DAT: Redesign the logo for Indian railways and its uses in stationery and such. I went for a simpler minimalistic design as opposed to the intricately detailed current one. Also, there were two subjective questions based on general awareness about demonetization and its effects on our daily lives.
Animation DAT: There was an incident which was to be completed and written as a full story on three a4 sheets provided. Also, the story was to be presented in a storyboard format with 8 panels of the standard video frame ratio. An additional question was an illustration of the main protagonist of the story, busy in his occupation, in this case, a ‘chaiwala’ making tea with a flourish- I also added dialogue boxes next to the character. I also ended up making a character design panel on the A3 drawing sheet. (2 A3 drawing sheets were provided).  
INTERVIEW:  
My interviews for both the disciplines were scheduled on 4th of May and were kind of around the same time. The staff members at IIT-B are quite co-operative and were very helpful to make sure all the candidates got to be interviewed without a lag in the schedules.
Animation Interview:
It was the first one I got to attend and I had no animation clip with me. (I was panicky and was actually considering not even appearing for the interview!)  I wasn’t aware about presenting an animation clip as such (and knew only when a discussion for the same was on a rage in a Whatsapp group of all the people who qualified for CEED and were in the same boat as me…) , since all I heard was sketching and good ideas/ stories and doodles were desired in an animation portfolio. I had included a storyboarded plotline of a film my film-making-student-friend was about to shoot, character design for the same film and some other sketches, doodles, comic strips I had along with that. A few sheets in my portfolio were also dedicated to an invitation I had designed for a kid’s birthday party and the comic strip and character design for that too. Overall I was sure that it seemed a long shot for getting in here in the first place since its IIT-B after all (nothing further to explain!) and also, the fellow candidates along with me had tabs/ laptops at ready to start screening the animated film they made for the panel.
So the interview was very- informal (?) and as I went in, both the professors of the panel, Sir and Ma’am went through the set of sketches/ doodles and Storyboard and the other person perused through the folio. It was quite an awkward silence and I started talking about the projects they were looking at. The flow on conversation was pretty casual. They hardly asked any technical questions at all although the last ones were along the lines of- what you did through the last year? (I wasn’t in college nor was I officially working in 2016-17) and another question was ‘why animation?’ I answered along the lines of working as both an architect and an animation designer and they seemed okay (Poker faces!) with that answer. And, that was all!
Visual Communication Interview:
Immediately after the animation interview I was called out for this one. This interview was particularly brisk and out of the panel of three professors, only one of them was asking question and conversing, while the other two professors were busy going through my folio and the rest of the stuff I had brought along. I had a similar portfolio as animation but more of location maps designs and typography projects in this one. I also explained about the storyboard project and the professors seemed interested and pretty much the entire interview went by discussing the plot of the film and its role for social awareness about taboo issues. I did mention it was a brisk interview right?

IIITDM, Jabalpur: I couldn’t attend, even though I was shortlisted for DAT since it clashed with MIT. (Jabalpur was on 9th and 10th of May and MIT DAT and interview were both scheduled on 10th May.)

MITID, Loni Campus, Pune:
DAT: the test was pretty hands on- practical based- A corrugated sheet (30cm x 30cm) and aluminum (not sure?) wire were the materials provided and just have to start making a desk planner-  a pen stand ish aesthetically pleasing design, to scale. Also to draw/sketch the idea, process on sheets of A4 and you can keep the model until the interview with you while you have to submit the sheets at the end of 1 ½ hour.  I had a Rhomboid design with me, varying heights and oriented towards the user, with aesthetic looking cut-outs in the sheet to make it look less bulky and didn’t think of ways to use to the wire at all.
INTERVIEW:
After the DAT, it was a long break of around 2- 2 ½ hours before I was called for the interview. The interview was quite pleasant and I was actually happy after I was done (not confused as was the case for the last interviews!) I also ended up getting everything here- right from the product design assignments I presented at CPDM, to the sketches, storyboards and the rest of projects to present separately apart from the folio. For the first time I was sure that I had some chance of getting in-  especially after one of the professors went “good sketching style” for a sketch of mine. I may sound like a brat but I was quite pleased about this interview out of all those I got to attend.
IIT Guwahati: I did receive a call letter for the DAT and interview but I was already offered a seat for an institute and hence, didn’t go for it. (IIT Guwahati Test and interview dates: 29th, 30th and 31st May 2017)


THE RESULTS:
The selected candidates for IISc were directly informed (email and admission portals) and that kind of was explanatory that I wasn’t in- the portal looked same as it did after I got the call letter for selection of DAT. That wasn’t quite a shock since I knew how I had messed up the DAT badly. So, after a couple of weeks, I got a happy news that I was accepted at MITID on 16th of May and I had a week before I had to enroll and secure my admission. However I was curious about the IIT-B and IIT-Hyderabad results still. 19th of May- I wasn’t in at IIT-B for the first round. The real shock was IIT-Hyderabad when they randomly put out the list on 22nd May and I was in! That was a pleasant shock indeed. The real surprise was on 31st May, when I got the offer for Animation design at IDC. I kept refreshing the page to make sure I wasn’t on someone else’s account on the portal or it wasn’t a glitch with their system!
(Another tip- do keep checking your accounts on the portals and your registered email inboxes till the academic year of that institutes start- they have 5-6 days before they offer the seat to the next candidate!)
So, that is pretty much the story of how I got in at IDC, Animation design.
(I still recheck the email at times to see if it is still there)

The things I mention here might seem repetitive but I can’t help reiterating Prasanna Sir’s take on study methods:
-PREVIOUS QUESTION PAPERS!!! Sample papers, actual question papers, NID question Papers. (They saved my life- whichever ones I managed to solve- still regret not solving all of them).
-Sketching- Practice practice practice. I basically do like sketching a lot personally and being an architect that fuelled it a lot more. However, you can sketch and keep sketching anything and everything- it all depends on the expression- you don’t need to be a fine arts graduate level expert. Conveying stuff graphically and showing your flow of thought matters. Also, try making doodles, comic arts, storyboards- refer internet for help- whatever your level of sketching- if you can convey your journey from idea/concept to a product/character/story conclusion/logo/layout/form well, that is all!)
Tips:
Outdoor sketching: Carry a tiny A5 or similar size sketchbook when you go out. Practice sketching stuff anywhere you have time and you also get tremendous reference material to sketch from- vehicles, perspective scenes, logos, human figures outdoors. Another advantage- out of all those outdoor sketches you are bound to get a few masterpieces- document them and use them later in your review sessions as ‘anything else you would like to present to the interview panel’ apart from the portfolio.
(Check out ‘Urban Sketchers’ in whichever city you live in… Shout out to Urban Sketchers Pune! ☺ )
Time Management: Please be vigilant and mark calendars/sticky notes on the wall work too, regarding the application dates, the interview schedule, selection rounds and respective schedules of all the institutes that you have applied to. Don’t wait till last dates and the 11th hour for finishing work (I still procrastinate a lot but I am trying (not successfully yet☹) to be punctual!)

Some (vague) extra tips:
  • Internet is a blessing- Use it well!
  • Don’t listen to people or heed their words who say “it won’t work” or “you are reaching for something too high”. You don’t even have to respond, just try and keep trying to reach where you want to go. You will get there.
  • Practice, Practice and Practice! If you put in the efforts, you are bound to be compensated. It will not be from the same source at times too, but as Steve Jobs says, you can look back and then only connect the dots. No work goes waste- ever!
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t productive all the time.
  • Things fall in place- whatever the situation.
  • Also, stay connected on the social media- it helps to know there are people with you in the same boat. (in my case I knew only a couple of people who were going for M.Des in within my social circle- so facebook groups for CEED 17, whatsapp groups etc helped for updates of all the institutes throughout.)

(The above tip was the last of the serious ones…)

  • After you qualify CEED, someone asks you the score- it is always the part B!  
  • Keep reading this blog!


(CONCLUSION)
Concluding this text, (story?), if you have managed to read through all of it- (and have borne well with the rambling!) I have tried to cover lots of unrelated details from the transport issues and the dates of the exams and stuff too.  Since I think that this might help me paint you a better picture of how it all goes and it could be useful to someone who might ponder over those issues. I thank you for having patience and bothering to read my story. Lastly, I thank Prasanna Sir again for the Teacup blog, and the help I received during the portfolio prep and also for letting me reach out to all those who are reading this.
I wish you all the very best and peace! ☺

-Ar. Shweta I

3 comments:

Unknown said...

Hai to all? NID is my dream but I have a little bit lazy eye so I can not maintain proper eye cantact so can I get selected for NID

Unknown said...

Hai to all? NID is my dream but I have a little bit lazy eye so I can not maintain proper eye cantact so can I get selected for NID

Hari Jayan said...

It would've been really helpful if you shared some of your sketches.

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