RIT Students Get Real-World Experience with Adobe Creative Cloud

by Karen McCavitt

posted on 03-18-2019

Hands-on experience is the best teacher. That’s the philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, where some students helped build a video game now available on Xbox and others designed their own augmented reality apps to help people find their way through hospitals.

Turning the classroom into a professional game production studio

The brainchild of Andrew Phelps, Professor in RIT’s College of Art and Design, “Fragile Equilibrium” is one part 1980s arcade shoot ‘em up fun and one part meditation on life’s impermanence. If that doesn’t sound like a typical student project, it’s because it wasn’t.

Over the course of two semesters, Phelps transformed his classroom into a game production studio, giving students roles as engineers, gameplay designers, production artists, UI designers, sound engineers, production managers, and team leads. That gave students a chance to jump straight into the realities of game design and development—not just the ins and outs of the technology but the ups and downs of a large collaborative project.

Students had access to state-of-the-art tools, designing the graphic elements with Adobe Creative Cloud apps and programming the interfaces on Microsoft’s Unity platform. And for the crucial prototyping steps, Phelps challenged students to experiment with a new app—Adobe XD.

“Working with Adobe XD to prototype the interface was fantastic,” says Phelps. “Students created a model and adjusted screens based on feedback very quickly. We immediately dove into discussions about button placement, navigation pathways, and information that users will need. It was so much faster than waiting for engineering to build an interface that they would need to rip apart and rebuild over and over again.”

To play Fragile Equilibrium, check it out on Xbox, the Microsoft store, Steam, or Itch.io.

Students envision the future of healthcare

RIT students also tackled a pressing challenge for the healthcare industry in their Interactive IV class with instructor Miguel Cardona. They were asked to envision a new way of helping visitors navigate through a hospital—specifically Rochester Regional Health Center—using augmented reality.

Fourth-year New Media Design majors Aditi Khazanchi and Haley King jumped right in, designing an augmented reality app called “Wave.” Check out their video and presentation for a glimpse of a futuristic hospital experience—where your phone guides you through the often stressful process of getting to the hospital, checking in, and finding the right room. It even connects with assistive devices such as hearing aids and helps you remember where you parked.

Adobe tools played a big role in the design process. Khazanchi and King pulled designs created in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop into Adobe XD for prototyping, then exported them to Adobe After Effects and combined the interfaces with video footage to see how everything would interact in the 3D space.

“Adobe XD allowed students to create very quick prototypes, so they got a much better sense of the scope of what they were building,” says Cardona. “That meant looking beyond the app to factors such as kiosk integration, HIPAA regulations, and the neurodiversity of the audience.”

Learning better communication and collaboration

With Adobe Creative Cloud, RIT students can show—rather than tell—how interfaces should work. That means a smooth handoff from designers to engineers, with less back-and-forth. It’s a real-world skill even professional teams could stand to learn.

Read more about Adobe XD at RIT.

Topics: Creativity

Products: Photoshop, Illustrator, Creative Cloud