We’d like to welcome Daily Render Guest Artist Allison House to our ongoing series of awesomeness. She will be taking over our daily render feed for the next 6 days. She is an amazing designer who cut her teeth in silicon valley with Dropbox, tackled a whole Tweedy music video in C4D, and now is spreading her love of 3D and design all over the world. Check out our interview with Allison below.
Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
What’s up, party people?! I’m Allison House, a designer, visual artist, and educator. I spend my days jamming on 3D art and illustration projects from my studio in Austin, TX. If you’re into lo-fi geometric art with an aggressive neon streak, you might dig my stuff!
I’m also on the road a lot for speaking events, where I show other creative people how totally not scary 3D can be. One of my big projects right now is 3dfordesigners.com, an introductory Cinema 4D course for designers and illustrators.
How did you get your start in design?
My background is in software and technology, so I got into design through that. I made my first website as a pre-teen, an ode to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and was hooked on that rush of making something out of nothing. Working on the web is so great for this—for very little cost, you can make something really interesting and beautiful. I’m still chasing down that feeling.
At 15, I started my first web design business. I called competitors from my bedroom and pitched phony projects, then undercut their quoted prices. That’s how I know teenage girls are cutthroat. I don’t mess with ‘em.
How did you go from 2D to 3D? What was that transition like?
A few years ago, I had a pretty decent design career in technology. I was shaping the future of storage as a product designer at Dropbox. Yes, from my bedroom in Florida to a Silicon Valley rocketship! That means I made it, right? Except… I was getting tired of designing apps. Everything I made was the same inoffensive shade of blue or gray. My rate of production dwindled.
Designing apps didn’t make me come alive any more. When I left Dropbox, I dug into my curiosity and endeavored to find out what would. Playing with Cinema 4D for the first time was like writing my first few lines of code. Earth-shattering, deep-down, gut-level excitement. Something out of nothing. Best day of my life.
Some of Allison’s most early work:
Can you tell us about the Tweedy music video? How did that come together?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned between hiring at Dropbox and teaching in the classroom, it’s that top performers have this in common: they produce an enormous amount of work. I’ve never had much luck scheduling or micromanaging myself, so I developed a practice that doesn’t require a whole lot of self-discipline. Rather than summoning the willpower to start a session, I make it automatic by chaining it on another activity I already do every day. I call that my “second shift”.
After a few weeks of this, I had already developed a portfolio’s worth of work. That’s when Spencer Tweedy reached out. He and his dad (Jeff Tweedy, Wilco frontman) had recently kicked up a band called Tweedy, and they were about to release their first single, Summer Noon. He asked if I could do a full-length music video for them.
Technically, I could not! The longest animation I’d made up to that point was 2 seconds. But I said yes anyway, downloaded a 30-day trial of Adobe Premiere, and figured it out over three weeks.
We noticed you’ve got a lot going on. How do you balance it all?
Chill hard, thaw hard. When I hear people talk about balance, it’s always scoped to the daily level. You do some work, then come home and do some life. I can’t operate like that. That’s context-switching multiple times a day! Instead, I work and play in long cycles. Two weeks knocking out a project. Three days playing a video game. Five days jamming on a project. Five days making my own stuff. Chill hard, thaw hard.
What’s in your Everyday Carry? What tools, hardware, drinks, foods can you not live without on a daily basis?
I’ve become a HUGE fan of Signal in the last few weeks. I was starting to do more still illustration in my practice sessions because it’s fast to produce. Now I’m like, “Okay, I’m done. What can I animate?” Signal just makes it too easy.
Do you have any advice for graphic designers looking to get into 3D?
Yes! To all designers and illustrators: 3D NEEDS YOUR TALENTS. You don’t need to have the latest hardware (I started learning on an old MacBook Air) or create realistic, chromed-out renders to be successful in this space. Bring your innate creative talent, excitement to learn, and find a deliberate action to take right now. 3D for Designers is a great place to start!
Follow Allison on Instagram