CIIT and Keywords Studios Manila Join Forces for Curriculum Validation to Boost Industry-Readiness of Graduates

CIIT plans to implement necessary changes to its curriculum and operations, reinforcing its commitment to providing top-tier education and services to its students.

On September 15, representatives from Keywords Studios Manila and CIIT College of Arts and Technology convened at the former’s office in Pasig City for a Curriculum Validation (CV) session. This initiative is a breakthrough in the effort to train graduates to compete successfully on a global scale. 

Among the notable attendees from Keywords Studios Manila were Sharyl Emilio, Talent Sourcing Specialist, and Harvey Bunda, Studio Head, along with Leo Carlo Palileo, Lead 3D Artist. 

Representing CIIT were Anne Jarem Aguilar, Career and Placement Officer; Mario Serrano, Arts Program Head; Erica Ngui and Ma. Dolores Madaje, Arts Program Coordinators; and full-time faculty members Glenn Ramos, Kristin Garanchon, Dorothea Garing, and Sebastian Llamanzares, who also serves as Studio Technician. 

Aligning Education with Industry Needs in the Philippines

Photo by: Keywords Studios Manila

One of the key topics discussed during the meeting was the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the curriculum. Keywords Studios Manila recognizes AI as an invaluable resource, but they also stress how important it is to teach our students its fundamentals. 

Keyword Studios Manila also highlighted that despite having a very competitive curriculum, there are still hurdles for recent graduates who want to apply to AAA companies. In this case, they proposed revamping the system so we can produce graduates capable of competing globally.

This shift calls for a renewed focus on specialized subjects. In Concept Art, for example, students should adopt a more expansive approach, covering areas like traditional animation, character design, and conceptualization. It’s also worth noting that for aspiring concept artists, a strong understanding of anatomy, color theory, painting, and rendering is essential. To excel in environment creation, students need to develop proficiency in Blender and core 3D modeling skills. However, out of more than a hundred candidates, only a handful exhibit the required mindset and skillset.

Preparing for the Professional World

As students move from school to the workplace, there are important steps they need to take to improve their chances of getting a job. Preparation is key, Keywords Studios’ advice is for students to read up on the interviewer’s or art director’s history, look at their most recent projects, and make a sample asset that aligns with the company’s style. 

Improving their portfolios is another vital step; students should ensure that these are easily accessible with clickable links in CVs for effective demonstration of their work. It is also beneficial to be familiar with the hiring procedures of companies, particularly in creative industries where talent exams, character evaluation, and skills assessments are often a standard part of the process.

Recommendations for Curriculum Enhancement 

Keywords Studios’ highlighted that students should have a good understanding of 3D concepts, starting with the basics of Maya and learning how to create environments using it. They should also get a solid grasp of making basic shapes and forms before they move on to designing characters. Furthermore, environment modeling should be a part of the curriculum right from the start. 

In terms of software proficiency, several tools were recommended. Blender is valued for its versatility and the ability to transfer skills across different platforms, while ZBrush and Maya are preferred for digital sculpting and printing. Other tools, such as Toon Boom Harmony, Substance Painter, and Unreal Engine, were also mentioned. 

What’s Next?

The next stage for CIIT is set to gather and analyze feedback from Keywords Studios Manila and other industry partners. This analysis will be instrumental in the development of CIIT’s yearly comprehensive Competency Map Report. Once completed, this report will serve as a guide for our academic plan, so we can regularly produce graduates who are professionally qualified, globally competitive, and values-driven. Additionally, the outcomes of these sessions are pivotal in determining the school’s placement rating, which is a key metric of educational performance.

Moving forward, CIIT plans to implement necessary changes to its curriculum and operations, reinforcing its commitment to providing top-tier education and services to its students. This also shows how dedicated we are to bridging the gap between what students learn in school and what employers need, so our graduates are not only informed but also highly employable in the global market.

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