From board games to immersive VR experiences - during his studies at Animationsinstitut, Dimosthenis Gkantzos was able to try out a wide variety of media formats collaborating on many different interactive projects. For his diploma project, for example, he experimented with projection mapping and installation art and created the powerful audiovisual performance R U Still.
Read on and learn about Dimosthenis’ journey from the field of Computer Science to the endless worlds of Interactive Media.
Interview with Dimosthenis Gkantzos
Experiment, explore, enjoy, evolve. Experimentation for me is the core of interactive media. There is so much you can try, new technologies, different kinds of projects, the sky is the limit. During my studies, I experimented as much as I could getting my hands on 2D and 3D animation projects, VR, AR, and XR projects, projection mapping, app, and pc games, board games. I even experimented with having different roles in various projects like producer, director, artist. Having access to top-notch industry professionals and high-end technical equipment are two factors of crucial importance making the whole study program a playground with everything you can wish for in order to be creative, relevant, and realize every project you set your mind to.
After completing my Computer Science studies and starting on my first jobs I could feel that this wasn't enough. I had seen what happens in the back-end, the architecture, and engineering about it but I realized it was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I knew I was very much interested in games and visual design, storytelling, and being creative so I decided to start a journey. I have family in Germany so I flew there without really having a plan other than finding a job and seeing what life is like there. Long story short I ended up participating and doing the programming for an Interactive Media project at Animationsinstitut and got to see up close how the studies are a simulation of the industry, how qualified, professional, and supportive the staff was, and it felt like this was the right thing to do. So I applied and I'm so glad I did.
Together with an Interactive Media alumna, Caty Davis Blättermann we started Glam Games, a games studio, and further developed Memo, an augmented reality project that we started during our time together at the Animationsinstitut. With Memo we wanted to make visits to the museum more informative and immersive through exploration, using AR technology, and storytelling. The Interactive Media program and the people behind it were very supportive and connected us with Klangerfinder GmbH and the Kunsthalle Mannheim so we already had an important client from the beginning. While all this was happening we also applied and are immensely grateful to have been funded by the Digital Content Fund of the MFG. Besides that, I do freelance production and design work and am currently working with TRU LUV, an AI tech company on a mission to heal our relationship with technology. This is the next step of my journey and none of this would have happened without Interactive Media.
Interactive Media was a lot of work but I was generously rewarded with experience, a diverse portfolio, exhibiting two projects at SIGGRAPH, participation in many other festivals, visits to top animation, VFX, and game design studios but most of all I am grateful for the people I met. I consider the amazing, inspiring people I met during all this to be the greatest gift whether it was on a professional or personal level. I don't have any big tips for applicants other than simply give it a try. Do your best, schedule focused work to prepare your application, and trust the process. Show your skills and what you can do but also what you want to discover, where you are willing to grow. Think about why this program is the best for you and maybe it will be part of your journey too. It wasn't easy and there were rough times but looking back, it was all worth it in the end. If you are applying and reading this, I wish you the best of luck!