When former Ōtūmoetai College student Ryan Ardern agreed to render a 3D design for a friend, he didn't realise it would end up taking him all the way to Switzerland - and dining with royalty.
The designs he was rendering were for the medals of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, held in Lausanne, Switzerland from January 9-22.
Ardern had no idea how to render designs using computer software when he was asked by Blenheim medal designer Zakea Page to do the job. The pair are students at Massey University in Wellington.
While rendering is usually a digital creation of what a product should look like, Ardern said he "cheated, in a way".
"I just said, 'Yes' and thought, 'I'll find a way to make it happen'," he said.
"I haven't really had any experience with rendering ... I thought I'd try to learn some 3D software."
In the end, he drew a rough outline, which he screenshot on his computer and used Photoshop to make it look 3D.
When he finally got a look at the medals, though, it didn't matter that he hadn't used proper rendering software.
"The final result was just as we imagined it," he said.
The idea behind Page's design was that five spirals would come together as the five continents, Ardern said.
"The lines through the spirals represent the different countries meeting together at one point, at the Olympic Games."
The 19-year-old said it was "mind-blowing" to have his and Page's medals chosen as the winning design from among 300 entries from 60 countries.
"It was consistently mind-blowing, just being part of such an amazing worldwide event, seeing so many people from all around the world," he said.
Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, presented Ardern and Page with a gold, silver and bronze medal in a commemorative glass case.
To honour Ardern's work in the design process, Page gifted him the bronze medal which he was "very grateful for".
A lot of people said the medal was heavier than you might expect, he said.
"They kind of pick it up [and say] 'Oh, it's got a bit of weight to it'."
Ardern said the highlight of his trip to Switzerland was being invited to a dinner at the Palais de Beaulieu, where he was seated with Prince Faisal bin Hussein of Jordan and his twin daughters, Princess Aisha and Princess Sara.
"Which I didn't realise at first," he said.
"Dining with them and shaking hands with them was so incredible ... I thought 'How did I get here?' "
Being surrounded by so many people who were aiming for great achievements gave Ardern, who is a distant relation of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, inspiration to achieve great things himself, he said.
While Ardern was enrolled in a Bachelor of Design at Massey last year, he's since switched to a Bachelor of Commercial Music.
"I'm almost already a designer," he said.
"Achieving this [the medals] already, I'm just going to continue to build my career."
After backpacking Europe and seeing the great architecture of Paris and Rome, Ardern would love to be able to travel the world as a designer, needing only a laptop to do his work.
"And hopefully tour the world as a musician as well," he said.
"That'd be kind of the dream, really."