About two years ago, I signed myself up for 3D For Designers after seeing some chatter on the 3D twitter-sphere. Once I started the course, I was blown away by Devon's (instructor + founder) energy and joie (3)de vivre for all things three-dimensional. The course breaks down 3D modeling in a way I found approachable and oftentimes magical, really. Fast forward to a year later, I happened upon Christina's adorable Etsy shop, sent my best friend a couple of Yeet Hay stickers and then proceeded to develop a giant internet girl crush on Christina. The talent! I followed along her incredible journey from 2D to 3D artist in what seemed like a matter of weeks, and lo and behold, she is now a TA at 3D For Designers! Hey, simulation! You're getting a little lazy! A couple of weeks ago, along with a handful of incredible 3D artists, we released the Cute Pack -- a collection of warm and fuzzy holograms for all. I've had the pleasure to get to know Christina and can confidently say that this girl is is gonna go places -- in all of the x,y and z directions! I hope you enjoy getting to know Christina in this In-Depth post about her work, process, 3D for Designers & her furry companion, Kitty Cat 🐱
Hey Christina! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, I'm Christina, a freelance designer and illustrator from Queens, NYC. I’m passionate about community building, sharing knowledge, and all things cute! I run an online shop inspired by Asian childhood nostalgia and I’m also a Teaching Assistant at 3D for Designers.
Two of your holograms were featured in Cute Pack Hologram Drop. How did that come to fruition?
I’m part of a discord server called Creative Cuties that was made to be a safe and encouraging space for any creatives that enjoy cute aesthetics. Missy from Looking Glass Factory put an open call for artwork in our #3D-art channel so I replied and sent over my renders. I really appreciate that Looking Glass Factory recognized a community with a demographic that is often underrepresented in the 3D industry and gave us a platform to share our work. I’m so honored to be featured alongside such talented friends that inspire me to keep learning.
How did you learn 3D?
I started learning 3D about a year ago when I took Intro to Cinema 4D by 3D for Designers. I actually bought the course two years prior in 2018 after seeing some friends in a design Slack group post their coursework. It looked amazing, but I thought to myself, these are pro designers, I’m still just a student not even studying design, there’s no way I could learn 3D.
They all spoke so highly of the course though so I decided to check it out. I’m so glad I did because it was that decision that changed my life. What I found was the creator and instructor, Devon Ko, telling me I can do it, I can learn 3D, here’s how. I signed up immediately, did the first lesson, loved it, and then...well, *insert excuses* and I lost motivation.
Then in 2020, quarantine happened and a friend hit me up to say he was going to do the course. Over the next 3 days, he sent me his course artwork and again, it looked amazing. While he was building 3D skills, I was building intense FOMO.
I knew this time I just had to do it. So I did it! I flew through the entire course in 2 weeks and became absolutely obsessed with 3D. I wasn't even thinking about it as a skill for my career, I was just having so much fun learning and creating. The course is self paced and taught in bite sized videos which was perfect for my learning style.
By then, 3D for Designers had also set up their own Slack community for students and I ended up making a lot of great friends there. We formed a little study group called C4Dumplings to motivate and support each other.
What 3D software do you use and what's your set up like?
When I first started in 3D, I was working on a 2013 13” Macbook Air using Cinema 4D Lite which came free with After Effects. I was shocked such a tool was hidden away and really impressed with how much it could do.
After I finished the course, I knew this was something I wanted to pursue so I switched over to the full Cinema 4D and invested in a PC with an RTX 2070. (I know nothing about computers so I had a friend help me pick all the parts. No shame in reaching out for help if you need it!)
I also often use Adobe Illustrator since you can easily import shapes into C4D. I currently don’t use a 3rd party renderer but it is on my to-do list.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Looking Glass Factory office and now feel inspired to also learn Unreal Engine after watching the process of taking my 3D art and turning it into a hologram.
What's the day in the life of Christina look like?
First thing I do every morning at 10am is test my diabetic cat’s blood sugar and give him insulin. Once that’s taken care of, I go right back to bed and cuddle with my cat until late afternoon. Er... I mean to my desk to get my work day started!
Being self-employed, I don’t always have a regular routine but I love the flexibility to shift focus week to week. As a teaching assistant for 3D for Designers, I get to help guide students on their 3D journey! I’m also working on creating some free resources to share and show people that anyone can learn 3D.
Outside of 3D, I’m designing some new merch for my shop and gearing up for my upcoming pop-up event. I also enjoy going to my local climbing gym for a fun bouldering session with friends. It’s a great activity for getting off the computer and clearing my mind of any work stress.
By 10pm I’m back home for another blood sugar test and insulin shot. Then I binge watch anime until around midnight when my creative brain kicks in. This is when I’ll work on personal 3D projects!
What are you most excited to make with Looking Glass Portrait?
One of my favorite things to create in 3D is room interiors. As a kid, I loved making dioramas of my dream room and playing doll house maker games. With the Looking Glass Portrait, I can essentially create a portal to any room I want. I’m excited to level up my 3D skills and create a series of room holograms you can move around in and explore.
Follow Christina's work on her Instagram and Twitter if you want to follow along on her 3D journey ❤️