Orchid Creation's Bruno Alberto on 3D Design and Remote Collaboration
Orchid Creation is made up of a diverse bunch of talented creatives who excel at telling compelling brand stories. You've undoubtedly seen some of the work they've done for Google, Snapchat, YouTube, and many top brands. Bruno works out of the Sao Paulo office.
Can you tell us about your role at Orchid Creation?
I’m a 3D designer at Orchid and part of the creative team. We work together on the whole creation process, from ideation to execution of a project (concept, sketches, storyboards, art direction, and all 3D elements).
How large is the team and what’s the vibe like there?
We're a team of 24 professionals located across the world. There are 4 of us based in Brazil. I love Orchid's vibe, and we've built a strong relationship together: we learn, play videogames, listen to music, go out, etc. The work routine is both fun and challenging.
What are some of the benefits of having such a melting pot of cultures to kick ideas around with?
Our diversity is what makes us strong and allows us to deliver bold proposals to our clients. During the discussion phase of a project, we each bring very different perspectives and backgrounds, which helps widen our view of the subject.
We find solutions that wouldn't be possible without this dynamism.
Besides that, we learn a lot from each other! It's truly awesome to be a part of a team that's so willing and able to share.
Pre-COVID-19 did everybody work in the same office, or were some people remote from the get-go?
We've always been flexible on that front, so even with an office to go to, if some of us preferred to work from home on a given day, it's never been an issue.
Nowadays, we're all working remotely.
Does your team have any rituals or routines to keep everyone feeling motivated and connected while working remotely?
Our projects have always been collaborative (i.e., even though I'm based in Sao Paulo, I've worked with our team in Paris, Hong Kong, New York, etc.). In a sense, that made us more "prepared" for this moment. Other things have changed, of course, but we feel almost the same in terms of collaboration.
We've always liked sharing music and references, and we started a weekly happy hour to stay connected when the quarantine began.
Every Monday, we take some time to talk, inspire, and share the things we love or are working on at the moment. It doesn't have to be work-related; it's more about who we are, what we're facing, and the things we care about and want our friends to be a part of.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
The first thing I do is check Float and see the projects I have for my day. Then, I log into Slack, where all our communication happens. We always have a channel set up for each project we're working on, and that's where we post information and updates.
As the day goes on, I update my Float schedule with how many hours I've spent on each project, or add a new task if something unexpected shows up. Float really helps us track and analyze the team's planning and productivity. (Editor's note: We appreciate the unprompted shout-out! 😉)
Can you describe your workspace for us?
I don't have too much stuff in my workspace. I work with two screens and a drawing tablet. The only difference now is that I have a Lucio toy on my desk at the office. Lucio is the Brazilian character from Overwatch, one of my favorite games.
What made you want to pursue a career in design?
I've always loved to draw, play videogames, and learn about technology. I think my parents are the ones responsible for me finding 3D. My father introduced me to computer/video games, and taught me how to install software, add and remove gadgets, etc. When I was in high school and had no idea what I wanted to do with my future, my mom found a graphic design technical course in a public school that she thought I'd like.
The course completely changed my life. It was the first time I found my true gang, you know?
Then I started studying 3D online, with free tutorials on Blender, which is an open-source 3D computer graphics software. The community there helped make my goals a reality, and they're genuinely committed to making 3D design accessible to everyone.
What's something unique about working in 3D design compared to other design fields?
3D gives me the freedom to create anything I can dream of. From draft to final art, I can make almost anything I can imagine: a game, an illustration, a product, a movie, etc. It allows me to bring life to my ideas and test them without boundaries.
What were some of the early challenges you faced when you were just starting your career?
I graduated with a degree in graphic design and worked as a graphic designer for almost 5 years. I felt a little impatient back then because I knew it wasn't what I wanted for my life.
As I learned 3D by myself, I didn't really know how to launch myself in the market. Once I felt more confident about what I was creating in my free time, I started to publish it in Facebook groups. To my surprise, people shared my work on so many channels, which led to my first 3D professional opportunities. It's also how Iris, our traffic manager, found me and invited me to join Orchid.
Do you have any professional mentors?
I didn’t have a formal mentor at first, but some artists who really inspired me and gave me the tools to evolve in 3D were: Jonathan Williamson (CG Cookie), Andrew Price (Blender Guru), David Allen Ward, Pablo Vazquez, Allan Brito, and Jose Fernando Reinicke (Brazilian author of the book Modelling Characters with Blender 3D). They always shared a lot of tutorials and guides online, and that helped me learn 3D. Jose Fernando even answered my questions on Facebook!
After joining Orchid, I met our art director Flavio Montiel, and I consider him my mentor now. He introduced me to Cinema4D and continues to teach me a lot about art direction and project leadership.
Have you worked on any unique projects recently that you’re particularly proud of?
There are many projects I’m proud of being a part of, so it’s hard to choose!
One that I really enjoyed was the launch of the Indie Games Accelerator for Google Play. We made the trailer for its global launch, and it was a great challenge for our team and me. Furthermore, as I’m an enthusiast of indie games, it was a project that I connected with personally, and to see the positive results and responses from the public has been huge.
Do you subscribe to any particular blogs or podcasts to keep up with industry news?
Many of my friends work in 3D and design, so we share a lot of news, tutorials, and projects on Facebook and Instagram.
I also follow Facebook groups like LookDevers, Ten Thousand Hours, Motion Designers, Unhide School, and Blender Brasil, and Youtube channels Two-Minute Papers, Ask NK, Lessons from the Screenplay, and Pierrick Picaut (to name a few).
Do you listen to music while you work? Do you have a go-to playlist?
Yes, I can’t work without music! I don’t have a specific playlist—I trust the Spotify recommendations—and it works. When we are in the office, we like to listen to French radio network Fip.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in 3D design?
Allow yourself to try it without worrying so much. Most people you’ll meet in the 3D community are really friendly.
Don’t be afraid to show your project to the world: the constructive feedback you’ll receive will make a difference!
The most important thing is to study and practice consistently. You will improve with experience.