Growing up in China, Xin Yi always had a passion for drawing, but always considered it to be a hobby rather than a career. However, when she first saw the Pixar hit Up, everything began to change. She was instantly attracted to the stunning animation, with its fresh style, characters, and colors, with a beautiful story to tell. She immediately began envisioning creating similar content one day, combining her passion for the arts with her desire to tell stories. That was when she began considering a career in animation and visual effects, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Yi is now a 3D Artist, creating beautiful effects, animations, and motion graphics that have been enjoyed by millions across the globe. A 3D Generalist does a little bit of everything, whether it’s making 3D objects, texturing, shading, lighting or rigging, which is like setting up the controls to prepare them for animation. However, Yi dedicates most of her time making 3D images look as realistic as she can using those skills and techniques.
“It is really exciting for me to have the opportunity to work with some amazing artists and use my skills to bring 3D to life. I also enjoy working with and learning from the best artists in the industry. I can learn a ton just by listening to them talk,” she said. “I really want to use my skills to tell stories and becoming a 3D Artist made my dream come true.”
Yi is known for a plethora of hit projects, including trailers for the video game Rocket League, the World of Warcraft Arena World Championship, NFL Redzone, Black Lightning, Call of Duty Black Ops 4 and Black Ops III, and many more. Every project she takes on is different, and no two days are the same.
“I face challenges almost every single day and that’s why I love what I do. It helps me learn something new every day and improve my skills. I enjoy the process of solving problems. Sometimes, of course, it can be frustrating, but just by thinking of the things that I am going to create makes it amazing. All the tiny learning pains go away, and all of the patience comes back. No matter how difficult I feel it is, I just keep in mind that I am going to make it,” she said.
Yi encourages anyone looking to get into visual effects to learn something new every day and set small goals. She used to write down her daily goals on stickers and in notebooks. This helped her maintain focus and continue to refine her skills, which she attributes to her quick growth in the industry.
“I’ve met many artists who are afraid to show people what they are doing. They think that they are not good enough or people are not going to like what they’ve created. Many times, I personally think their art is truly amazing. In my own opinion, I’ve never felt like I am super good at one thing either, but the goal is to be good at many things eventually. Everybody has different tastes; some people will like your work and others won’t. I often try to find many useful methods to improve myself so that next time when I am making a similar thing it will be even better. Just by imagining the next time, I am already happy,” she said.
Yi made it to where she is today by putting herself out there and listening to her mentors’ opinions and advice, even if she didn’t initially believe in it. Even when she doubted herself, the guidance of others pushed her to keep going. Everybody has different ways to feel motivated and finding what works for you is key.
“I originally realized that I wanted to get into art by reading and listening to fairy tales. All of the little creatures started to form in my brain, and I would just draw the little creature out or make some 3D models of them. I like to see a lot of stunning art from others, whether in the form of films, books, or paintings, etc. So, for me, I always like to check out other artists’ work and find it important in helping me grow as my own artist. There is so much amazing art in different mediums all around us. Just by looking at them I find motivation,” she concluded.
By John Susnik