As long as you don’t limit yourself, make bold attempts and seize every opportunity, you might as well broaden your career horizon. Jimmy Lam Yuen-yam graduated from IVE Higher Diploma in Computer Games and Animation. Starting his career as a junior 3D artist, he is now the production director of a metaverse music platform known as MUXIC.
From time to time, Jimmy came across challenges at work that entail creative problem solving. Not only do such occasions let him apply his knowledge in innovation and information technologies, but also help him keep abreast of the latest trends while developing good market sensibility. Throughout his career, Jimmy’s passion about his jobs, coupled with his flexible thinking, innovative spirit and willingness to seek changes, has elevated his perspective and aspired him to achieve greater height within the industry.
Going with the flow; broadening knowledge base
In 2007, Apple launched iPhone, which revolutionised the way humans connect with the world. Since then, palm-sized smartphones have become an important tool for the public to acquire information, entertain themselves, communicate and interact with others.
In the same year, upon graduation from IVE with a Higher Diploma in Computer Games and Animation, Jimmy joined the ever-changing technology sector. His first job was a junior 3D artist, responsible for rendering racing track scenes for an overseas game developer. Then the global financial tsunami hit the world and gave him an opportunity to join a local game company, but right after that, his employer decided to undergo some restructuring.
At that time, social media was increasingly popular and pet photos were one of the categories that earned the most likes. Considering how much dog and cat lovers cared for their furry companions, Jimmy’s boss anticipated a promising potential of the pet lovers’ market, thus planned to launch a Facebook page dedicated to pet-related news, services and information. Jimmy’s career then took a turn from a 3D artist to the editor of a Facebook page and an event promoter. To exploit the potential of related business, Jimmy visited pet stores all over the territory to promote the page and seek opportunities for collaboration. When asked about the sudden career change, he said he was fine with it. “At that time, I only wanted to explore new business opportunities for the company. It’s actually quite an invaluable experience to see the world beyond the gaming industry.”
100% devotion; courage to break new grounds
After his marketing job, Jimmy got employed as a 3D artist again. Working in a small-scale company with limited resources, all employees struggled to contribute to the promotion of a new game app. With his marketing experience, Jimmy believed the task could be accomplished with some creative twists and boldly made a suggestion to his boss. “The game was about aliens catching animals. We could generate buzz around it by getting people dressed in animal onesies in public places.” As the person who made the daring suggestion, Jimmy took the lead and showed up at the Ani-com & Games Hong Kong (ACGHK) in an animal onesie, helped gaining exposure for his company.
Looking back on those days, he said with a smile, “I was fearless, and I felt happy. Many people only focus on their job duties. Anything beyond that list is none of their business. But such attitude may not get you anywhere in career context or help you make a good impression on others.” Jimmy never cares about whether something is his duty or not. He racks his brain to make his products reach more people because he is passionate about his job and the innovation and technology sector. “Someone with no passion only tries to get it over with. On the other hand, passionate workers always push themselves to fully engage with their jobs and enjoy every minute of it,” he said.
Following market closely; acquiring new skills
With the emergence of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in recent years, large-scaled AR and VR game booths also sprang up in shopping complex. These interactive games let customers enjoy an immersive experience as they use body motions as control, while promoting a movie or an event for the distributor or organiser. Jimmy, who has extensive experience in 3D rendering, formulating and running promotional campaigns, as well as leading a team to develop VR business, makes the perfect candidate as the head of the production team. He was also in charge of setting up the hardware and operating system of a VR training simulator for forklift operators, in a collaboration project with the electricity company CLP.
Jimmy admitted that technologies advance at lightning speed, and all these years, he has worked hard to catch up with new knowledge while closely following the market changes. “To do my job well, I need to follow the trends closely. Otherwise I will be phased out by the market. Therefore, whenever I change jobs, I make sure I learn something new and equip myself.” In the next phase, he decided to invest his time and energy in the metaverse.
Beyond reality; dedicated to the metaverse
The concept of metaverse originates from Web 3.0 (or Web3) which has triggered keen discussions among the scientific and tech communities. Internet users wish to build a decentralised virtual network using blockchain, thereby giving rise to technologies like cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). According to Jimmy, this is “a future trend that can’t be ignored.” Thus, he joined a virtual toy store in 2021, leading the team and working with toy designers to convert physical objects into 3D virtual toy NFTs, which were traded freely in the metaverse.
Last year, he was hired by the metaverse music platform MUXIC as production director, and has since strived to help musicians release new songs in the metaverse. He also creates avatars for new artists who can now reach their audience via virtual and real-life channels simultaneously. In the real world, new artists face tremendous difficulties to kick start their career because of the hefty costs involved in the production, release and distribution of new works. MUXIC hopes to challenge the status quo with their platform and make life easier for these new artists.
A few months ago, his company took it one step further and co-organised a live concert that synchronised between real world and the metaverse, providing the metaverse crowd with different experiences. Such a show is highly demanding in terms of technical performance for it to run smoothly and convincingly. “In the past, most events on the metaverse were pre-recorded. Simultaneous performances by real life artists and their avatars were rarely done. Thus, this concert posed a major challenge to the technical team – every little gesture or even facial expression of a singer in the concert hall had to be simultaneously shown on the avatar in the metaverse.” In order to create a parallel universe between the real and the virtual, Jimmy’s team had to overcome one difficulty after another and they were glad that the concert ran smoothly.
Inevitably, there are public opinions that cast doubts on emerging trends like the metaverse. For instance, the CEO of Tesla Elon Musk once said, Web3 and the metaverse were nothing more than marketing buzzwords. But as someone who’s in the industry, Jimmy believes the virtual world will keep on thriving, technologies will keep on advancing and radically changing human life.
Embarking on innovation journey with inquisitive mind
Amid fierce competitions in the innovation and technology sector, how can one stand out from others? Jimmy agreed that VTC's information technology programmes are highly practical and prepare students to become job-ready as they master the latest technologies used in the industry. He believed younger VTC students should pluck up their courage to try new things, and explore their career path with an open mind. Sometimes, it might mean learning and improvising along the way like he did. As long as you keep up with the trends, you’d find a way to outcompete others.
ChatGPT is the latest example of ever-emerging technology. It is an artificial-intelligence (AI) chatbot that has recently gone viral globally. It is able to interact with users by human-like conversations, generate essays automatically, and even ride on other software to generate graphics. Jimmy reminds younger VTC students to make good use of these new tools, to enhance efficiency and quality of outputs. Don’t rest on their laurels. They must keep their finger on the pulse of the workplace and latest technologies, while upskilling themselves ceaselessly, so as to put their strengths to work in a challenging and fast-changing environment.