Becoming an Unstoppable Creative Force by Harnessing Your “Weirdness” with Anna Natter
by RC Woodmass
posted on 11-28-2019
Futuristic alternate universes, playful branding, refined interior décor — it’s difficult to sum up Anna Natter’s body of work in a few descriptors. Having explored several creative avenues throughout her adult life, this self-described “one person creative agency” and graphic designer draws from influences as disparate as sculpture, cartoon filmmaking, puppetry, and virtual studio work for TV.
“My work is changing all the time,” she says. Since Anna has managed to create and manage her own company (named Cinniature, after her favourite Sanrio character Cinnamoroll) she is able to stay in charge of her own creative trajectory. “Nowadays 3D illustration and concept art are my main focus. I also concentrate a lot on learning new things all the time, so stepping up in modeling and texturing is my next step. Specifically ZBrush is my next software to learn.”
Anna first discovered 3D design when she landed a job making animations and motion graphics for a television news program, and she spent eight years working there. Anna says this environment was great training for producing deliverables at a rapid rate. She was working with two deadlines per day, which were “absolutely non negotiable because the news went on air at noon and 6pm every day.” Feeling boxed-in by traditional 2D design, she now even uses 3D rendering for designs that are traditionally presented in two dimensions.
“It’s much more fun than PS mock-up creation. I started to realize that my projects have a better approve rate when I present them on my 3D renders. So using Dimension was definitely a big improvement in my day-to-day work.”
Read on for more stories from Anna and hear where she gets the inspiration for her weird and wonderful art, and check out this tutorial on how she created environmental designs for a pop-up cafe concept in Adobe Dimension.
You can also read more about how to use Dimension to create your own environmental design.
A speedy and prolific workflow
“I think the TV gave me a training that is very rare to get. So I like it when I can create the things right away that I just think about. That’s why I like to work with tools that keep up with this speed,” said Anna, and she’s not bluffing! Anna’s Behance profile is bursting with assets and creations, many of which have clearly been created for the love of it, or for skill improvement through experimentation.
In a series simply entitled “Daily Renders,” you can see her creatively responding to fine art pieces, such as traditional sculpture:
Testing light settings with a 3D scan of a sculpture in the Louvre. Anna used Adobe Photoshop and Dimension to create this incredible design.
And also, more modern pieces:
Virtual sculptures; an homage to the late multi-disciplinary modern artist and founding member of Dadaism, Hans Arp. Anna created these using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Dimension.
“Hans Arp had been such an inspiration throughout my childhood. I admired the way he worked with organic shapes, and the colors he used. There is something so special in the simplicity of his artworks,” she said.
But not all of Anna’s inspirations come from the world around us. Some of Anna’s Daily Renders are works that have arisen from an obscure corner of her waking dream world:
“We came in peace” Submission to the Apollo 50th Anniversary challenge on Artstation.
Anna notes: “I think there is a hint of weirdness in my concepts that people really like.”
…there definitely is, and we definitely do.
This particular “weirdness” has contributed to her success, as well. Those of you who have been using Dimension for a while now have seen her work on the Dimension 2.0 splash page (just recently updated for Dimension’s 3.0 launch in November):
Anna Natter’s chosen 2018 submission for Dimension’s splash page.
“I gave the title to this concept ‘Getaway’ because in the center of the story is the guy in the boat. When I first saw this photography on Adobe Stock while browsing for some inspiration, I had this idea that he found this place by accident and he always visits this mysterious remote location when he wants to clear his mind. So I created something that is kind of a view tower, where he can see far away,” she said.
In-progress screenshots during the 2018 Adobe splash page creation process.
“The spheres are floating around in the air and the birds and clouds give the whole concept a very interesting airy ambiance. I like to make people wonder when they see a composition, or a concept I created. In my opinion, the artwork is good if it makes you feel something.”
Adobe Dimension project entitled “They are watching us,” by Anna.
Having also done many years of client work in fashion, Anna has sometimes taken it upon herself to creatively re-imagine what that industry could look like. For example, she collaborated with Hungarian TV host and influencer Claudia Aryee using Dimension a few years ago.
Hungarian TV host Claudia Aryee poses in an image that has been composited with a 3D environment, created by Anna Natter.
This fall, drawing on a foundation of fashion influences, Anna used Dimension to create the incredible image below. An early adopter of Dimension, Anna has been pushing the envelope with new software and technologies her whole career.
Recent collaboration with fashion photographer Orsolya Hajas.
The practical aspects of 3D graphic design
Above and beyond creative exploration, Anna knows how to leverage programs like Dimension towards practical use cases, like environmental design.
“I think if someone would like to visualize what an exhibition stand or any other building/storefront would look like, Dimension is a great tool for that,” she said.
To demonstrate how Dimension can be used to visualize branding through architecture, we asked Anna to generate a concept for a pop-up cafe. Of course, she took it a step further, creating a second restaurant branding concept out of the same building design and owner name – Danny’s. With Dimension, a designer can quickly iterate with different logos and color themes based on their graphic design concepts, showing stakeholders multiple options with minimal extra work.
Seen from the angle of the front of the business, we see the boardwalk.
Outdoor view of Anna’s imagined café.
Here, you can see her clever use of the view and reflections in the round window to place this scene exactly where it would be in real life – and giving the fictional client an idea of how the whole brand identity of the space might look. Much easier for someone to visualize than just the flat designs that a graphic design might produce for an identity package:
Anna’s 2D branding concepts brought to life in the final render of an indoor space at our imagined café. Check out Anna’s Behance project to view all the final renders from this project.
So, what’s Anna’s favourite aspect of working with Dimension so far? It’s simple: the compatibility with CC Libraries. “It’s very useful to me that I can sync models from Adobe Stock and they appear in Dimension right away. I use this function a lot. Every project is different but this process is always the same. I like it that I can always find new models and that the gallery of models is continuously expanding,” she said.
So what’s next for Anna?
Anna, being the inventive mind that she is, has always got her sights set on the next conceptual horizon; right now, for her, that means actively engaging with augmented reality and virtual reality software.
“I think that AR and VR are the future for 3D and it’s very important to keep up with the newest developments in this field. I plan to jump into Adobe Aero too. I already tried it a few times and can’t wait to use it more often.”
If you’re curious to learn more about Anna Natter’s process, and how Adobe Dimension fits into her broader creative landscape, you’re in luck!
Here, you can check out her tips on how to visualize an entire building in Dimension, like the café pictured above.
Anna Natter’s virtual Baroque-style room.
For something more related to the fine art influences we mentioned, Anna participated in our project Rijksmuseum: The Beauty of Art in 3D, generating a virtual Baroque-style room similar to one on display at the Rijksmuseum. She has been gracious enough to share her process with that too. Enjoy!
For more from Anna, check out her tutorial, 3D Design Tutorial: Spatial Designs and Brand Visualizations in Adobe Dimension with Anna Natter and her Behance page, and for other Dimension tutorials, click here.
Topics: 3D & AR
Products: Photoshop, Creative Cloud