Interview with Paras Juneja, Creative Technologist, India

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Paras Juneja

As a fledging Creative Technology, Paras’s love for digital design allows him to create aesthetically pleasing designs with a strong color palette.

Interview with the 2020 Vega Digital Awards Winner - Paras Juneja

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I am a student at Miami Ad School, Hamburg pursuing a Masters Diploma in Creative Technology. I will graduate in December 2020. I have a Bachelor of Science in Animation and Multimedia from an esteemed Indian University, Birla Institute of Technology, MESRA. As a Creative Technologist, I possess a vast understanding of technology and its creative use in art and design. My role is to find creative ways to incorporate technology to solve modern-day problems.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a digital designer/artist?

While growing up, I have always been fascinated by technology. I remember I got my first computer when I was 5 years old and discovered MS paint on it. I know all kids are drawn to it but for me, it was the tool that got me hooked to digital art. I explored my creative side further by starting to sketch and going to art classes. The classes gave me a deep understanding of lines and colors. After some time I gained enough confidence to start participating in competitions. I actually won quite a few.

In high school, I had to focus more on my studies. Science was my favorite subject. I loved it so much that I almost became an engineer. While looking for colleges, I discovered a creative course in a reputed engineering college of India(Birla Institute of Technology, MESRA). It just struck me that I left my passion behind and I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Animation and Multimedia from the same institute. After completing my bachelor's, I joined Miami Ad School, Hamburg to get a Masters Diploma in Creative Technology. It introduced me to the advertising industry to showcase my passion as a Creative Technologist.

3What’s your favorite kind of digital design and why?

I love the combination of 3D with 2D in digital design. I incorporate my 3D renders with flat vector elements. The high contrast in depth created by the two is just astonishing to watch.

I also love motion design, Kinetic typography to be specific. It is very intriguing how words in motion are capable enough to portray almost everything.

4To you, what makes a “good” design?

I love the combination of 3D with 2D in digital design. I incorporate my 3D renders with flat vector elements. The high contrast in depth created by the two is just astonishing to watch.

I also love motion design, Kinetic typography to be specific. It is very intriguing how words in motion are capable enough to portray almost everything.

5Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

Personally I like to keep my design minimal and contrasting. I have an inclination towards dark themes. So, most of my artwork consists of a dark background. I am a fan of creating monochromatic designs with light and shadow play to segregate different elements. I consider 3D as one of my strong suits and almost always try to incorporate at least one 3D element in my design. It adds depth to my artwork and also helps to achieve physically accurate results.

6Tell us about your design process.

I approach every project very systematically. I have devised a system that helps me to be productive in graphic and as well as motion projects. I begin with a thorough read of the brief to highlight the needs and get a good understanding of the project. Then I move to research, in which I find references to create a mood board. This also includes creating a color palette. The next step is to play around with layout, size, fonts, and other design elements. I create several options to have a variety. When I have something I like, I render out the final product. When working with films or videos, I create style frames instead of mood boards.

7Where do you draw inspiration from?

I love to stay on top of my game by knowing what is out there. I often find myself going through works of famous digital artists and agencies on Instagram, Behance, Dribble, and Pinterest. Award-winning work done by both professionals and students is also highly inspiring.

When not online, I derive inspiration from the world around me. Watching people interact, learning from their experiences, listening to interesting stories that people share, attending seminars and workshops are a few sources of my inspiration.

8What current trends in digital design (or really anything digital related) are you most excited about?

Virtual reality is a platform that has not been explored much when it comes to digital design. I think that VR has immense potential and can completely change how one can view projects. VR can revolutionize 3D workflows for artists all around the world. An outstanding example of new creative use of VR would be in the movie Lion King. The crew used to wear VR headsets and check areas for lighting, texture, etc. Most of the camera work was decided in the virtual environment. They were able to achieve perfection just because of VR.

9Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 Vega Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

My team and I are honored to win 2 golds in Vega Digital Awards this year. Winning an award helps us understand where we stand amongst competition. It makes us realize the worth of our work. An award is highly rewarding after countless hours of hard work we put into these projects.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 Vega Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

We entered two projects, Afinity and Mayor. Both of them provide a rare use of their brand which makes them stand out.

Afinity - Virtual reality has not been used to its full potential as an empathy machine. So far, it has mostly dominated a consumer market. We wanted to expand its horizons in the B2B market. Hence, we came up with the idea of making a sensitivity training application for corporates, schools, hospitals, warehouses, etc. Sensitivity training exists as a video in most workplaces. It never makes an impact because it lacks connection. Afinity is a virtual reality application that is used as a sensitivity training tool for workspaces and schools. We make sensitivity training an immersive experience for the employees and students by making them see things from the perspective of a disabled person. Afinity makes them experience the challenges that disabled people face in their day to day lives especially at work. Afinity aims to make people compassionate and empathize with persons with disabilities.

Mayor - Touristification of a locale may seem beneficial but locals may not always agree with this idea. Apart from the obvious economic upside, it brings a lot more issues in the city like crowds, pollution, an increase in rates of commodities, etc. All this leads to friction between tourists and locals. To ease this friction, Niantic developed ‘Mayor’. It is an application that caters to both locals and tourists. The locals recommend their favorite spots and activities to tourists. Tourists can vote for these recommendations. Each month the local with the most votes gets to be the virtual mayor of the city. Being the mayor brings a lot of perks such as discounts, free parking, and the like. With Mayor, locals get a new way to enjoy the touristification of their city.

11What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The brief for our project ‘Mayor’ was given to us by Niantic. They are the pioneers of AR technology in the industry and have created apps like ‘Pokemon GO’ and ‘Ingress’. The challenge for us during this project was to find a way to introduce a gaming company to Tourism.

Our project ‘Afinity’ was built on a platform called ‘Unreal Engine’. It has a steep learning curve for a beginner. We took the challenge to create a working prototype to test out the efficiency of our idea. With the help of countless tutorials and documentation, we were able to complete the task.

12How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

An award is a badge of honor that sets you apart from the competition. Winning two golds in a non-student award really helped me to establish myself as a professional. I hope I will be able to join other professionals in an agency to continue making such projects.

13What are your top three (3) favorite things about the digital industry?

My top 3 favorite things about the digital industry are:

-The immense talent that the creator possesses to create beautiful designs and artworks.

-Anybody can express themselves in a way that is unique to them.

-The digital design community has a ‘give and take’ model. The more you contribute to it the more it will give back to you.

14What makes your country specifically, unique in the digital industry?

India is a developing country. We experienced digitalization in the 90s. Having the opportunity to learn the skills for just 30 years, India managed to have a huge population excel in the digital industry. There is also an immense growth of opportunities in the creative industry. Some internationally recognized and award-winning campaigns like “Touch the Pickle” show a great future ahead. India is starting to make its mark and I am sure it will soon be recognized as one of the top countries to work in this Industry.

15Where do you see the evolution of digital industry going over the next 5-10 years?

We are now developing new realities with Virtual reality, Augmented reality and Mixed Reality. I feel in 5-10 years, these realities will be the most commonly used medium/platform in the digital Industry.

I already see brands exploring these mediums to provide new content to the users. Just like how the industry made a major shift from print to video, I suspect a similar move from video to AR/VR/XR.

16 If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring Vega Award submitter, what advice would you give them?

We all take advice on our projects, one thing we forget after getting a lot of advice is our own opinion of the work. If you really believe in your idea then just be true to yourself. Your work will come through.

17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the digital industry?

Some of the resources I found useful to improve my skills were watching various tutorials on youtube. Depending upon the skill, You can find industry professionals who conduct webinars and live streams. They are a good source of learning as they share their worthy tips on software skills, communication, networking, and other useful areas. Apart from this, I recommend online courses to improve technical skills. Some of the platforms that I have used are Edx, Udemy, School of motion, MographPlus, GreyScaleGorilla and many more. There are also subscription-based websites that provide a wide array of high-quality templates, mockups, plugins, and other elements to boost your project’s time and look.

18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

I don't think pineapple or any fruit belongs on top of a pizza.

19Who has inspired you in your life and why?

My parents have been the biggest source of inspiration. They have supported my dreams and decisions every step of the way. I got the necessary push to get better by watching them work hard to succeed in their life. That also taught me to focus on the journey rather than the destination. I feel I have grown by working hard like them and not worrying about the reward.

20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

The moment you are born, you start learning and it continues until you die. You have to learn to stay relevant and updated in the field. It doesn't matter if it's big or small, I make sure to learn something new everyday. It has helped me to expand my thinking and gain opportunities.

21Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

You should take every opportunity that comes your way. Do not think that an opportunity is beneath you or you are not good enough for it. You never know what might hit the bullseye.

Just like Michael Scott from The Office says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

Winning Entries

Afinity | 2020

Virtual reality has not been used to its full potential as an empathy machine. It has mostly dominated a consumer market. We wanted to expand its...
(read more at Vega Digital Awards)

Mayor | 2020

Virtual reality has not been used to its full potential as an empathy machine. It has mostly dominated a consumer market. We wanted to expand its...
(read more at Vega Digital Awards)

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