How I Made This | Online Video Game Animation Student Showcases Pre-Pandemic Nostalgia Project

Pre-pandemic nostalgia was at the top of Tian Claessens mind when she decided to design a nightclub-themed video game level for her third-term Modeling class at Toronto Film School.


“The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to kind of capture what things were like before Covid,” said the 24-year-old Online Video Game Animation student.



“I used to club before the pandemic, and I didn’t feel like clubbing could ever be the same after Covid, so it’s kind of a nostalgia piece…It made me miss clubs maybe more than I thought I’d missed them.”


For this month’s edition of How I Made This, Claessens agreed to give the Toronto Film School community a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Ultra Violet nightclub – a class project her instructor, Roxanne Resh, lauded as “amazing.”


Completed over the course of her Game Modeling 2 class, Claessens said she was very happy with the way her Ultra Violet project turned out in the end ­– especially considering she came to Toronto Film School with very little working knowledge of the making of video games.


In fact, it wasn’t until stumbling across an ad for Toronto Film School’s Online Video Game Animation program, that Claessens ever even considered pursuing her dual passions for art and gaming as her life’s calling.


“I’ve always loved video games since I was really young, but I never really thought of it as a career path until more recently,” said the GTA native, who previously earned her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science and Sociology.


“After I graduated from U of T, I didn’t really know what to do, so I started thinking about my passions a lot more and what I actually wanted to do. And that’s when I saw the opportunity at Toronto Film School for Video Game Animation.”


Now in her fourth term of the associate diploma program, Claessens said she’s excited for her post-graduation future and confident that a career in gaming is one that will make her feel happy and fulfilled.


“I’ve basically learned everything from scratch – I didn’t know anything about modeling or animation or anything, so it’s been really interesting,” she said of her Toronto Film School experience so far.


“I’ve had really great teachers and I really like the fast-paced course – you’re always learning something new and you can apply it. I’ve really fallen for it.”