3D is continuing to take off throughout the creative industry, leaving a string of commercial projects in its wake. This includes the typographically driven, like Droga5’s That Reading Feeling Awaits for Amazon Books; bubbly blends of live-action and CGI, like Butt Studio’s squiggly campaign for Nike Kids; and endlessly experimental 3D animated title sequences. But as we come across more and more of these releases, it can be hard to see the woods from the trees where the evolution of the realm is concerned.
As software becomes more accessible, numerous creatives are adding 3D to their skillset. Lucky for us, this means an uptick in stylistic variety, from the organic and tactile to disarmingly strange. With that in mind, we’ve collated five creatives doing unforgettable work in the space.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into the evolution of 3D, we highly recommend checking out our last 3D trends report here.
Is there a portfolio more memorable – and weird – than 3D artist Damo? Closely akin to Yonk in their use of bizarre characters and squished textures, Damo is an artist destined to do delightful things in the world of 3D. What stands out most is undoubtedly the subjects that populate her world. Often transporting viewers to a stormy or sunny stretch of scenery, Damo introduces us to the likes of sinewy thumb humans, dogs-cum-tables and distressed pet rocks.
Though, Damo’s creativity doesn’t stop with her penchant for imaginative scenarios. The 3D artist is also an expert at creating seemingly tactile objects digitally. From clay to the curdling of papier-mache, Damo shows that the devil is in the detail just as much as in the unnerving eyes of their characters.
We’ve been thinking about Khyati Trehan’s work non-stop since witnessing how she tackled a recent unique brief for the Conran Shop (in partnership with us here at It’s Nice That). Turning real-life pieces of furniture into digital doubles, Khyati and a range of other remarkable future-facing creatives came up with creations like a dancing coat stand and flammable chair. The project served as a reminder of Khyati’s colourful, even chaotic approach to 3D.
In the past, the New Delhi-based artist has created AR experiences for clients like Instagram and illustrations for The New York Times, all the while showing technical mastery across the fields of design, 2D, 3D and more. This balancing act of disciplines is a good metaphor for Khyati’s style in 3D too. With delicate, often organic forms coming together to form an ecosystem, her work feels alive and all the more surprising for it.
Loulou João has had a busy few months. Turning in adorable animations for Nickelodeon Junior and interpreting book genres for Amazon Books, the artist, illustrator and animator continues to bring playful execution to 3D. But there is more running beneath her outlandish output; Loulou is an artist who believes in creating for purpose. Often difficult themes run deep in her work as she uses welcoming, safe scenes to unpack subjects spanning representation and identity. As the creative puts it: “My goal is to bring more representation into the industry and into the mainstream. Fundamentally, I’m just an Afropean girl trying to show her point of view.”
In the past, childhood toys and dolls have appeared in the artist’s work, with Loulou using play as a vehicle for both expression and protest. To hear more about how Loulou speaks through her work, check out our Nicer Tuesdays talk with the artist last September.
The use of 3D doesn’t have to mean a specific aesthetic. However, it often can. Shir Pakman is an artist whose work feels stylistically unique. A Tel Aviv-based illustrator, Shir’s work mixes together a great heap of creative elements, combining compositions plucked from art history – particularly the work of Lucian Freud – with engrossing character design. The effect is a hyperreal breath of fresh air.
Above all, Shir is a maestro of light and texture. Her 3D illustrations and animations often employ shadow to draw attention to a facial expression or delicate detail. Modelling her artworks in Autodesk Maya, then adding texture and lighting in Cinema 4D Octane, Shir’s textures drift between painterly and more lively and airbrushed. Keep an eye out for her classic take on the discipline.
If you caught Spotify’s campaign targeting Gen Z audiences over the summer, you’re bound to remember the work of Fromm – a 3D studio founded by Vince Ibay and Jessica Miller. A creative duo firmly lodged at the intersection between camp, kitsch and pop culture, Fromm’s work carries a sense of humour that is invaluable in any commercial project. Balancing jokes with more complex conversations has been a mainstay of Vince’s work since his foray into TikTok with his graduate collection – which you can read more about here – and the shared practice of Fromm is no different.
Producing work for The New York Times and Toro Y Moi, the 3D studio always brings a free-wheeling air of irreverence. Make sure to check out Vince and Jessica’s portfolio, and note the wonderful Ken doll-sheen of plastic across their characters.
Fromm: Bloomberg Businessweek (Copyright © Bloomberg Businessweek, 2022)
Loulou João: Bozar, Reworked (Copyright © Loulou João, 2021)
Damo: What a lovely dinner (Copyright © Damo, 2022)
Khyati Trehan, Ecotherapy (Copyright © Khyati Trehan, 2020)
Shir Pakman: Woman (Copyright © Shir Pakman, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.