Contributor Spotlight: Nick Campbell of Greyscalegorilla

Render by Greyscalegorilla.

by Kimberly Potvin

posted on 04-16-2018

Nick Campbell is the owner and president of Greyscalegorilla. He has studied design, film, and animation, and has created an amazing array of tutorials for artists and designers on motion graphics and 3D software. Greyscalegorilla recently joined Adobe Stock, with over 150 beautiful Happy Toolbox models. To coincide with the launch of these assets, we took some time to talk to Nick about his history, experiences, and advice for designers interested in learning 3D.

What inspired you to become a designer?

Throughout my career, I have always asked myself the same question — “How did they do that?” As a child, I was always more interested in how things were made than the actual thing itself. Once I realized that you could actually make a living as an animation and motion designer, something clicked inside of me. I dropped everything I was doing to learn Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, and to build my motion design reel. This eventually led to me working as a motion designer for some amazing studios. The most exciting words to me, even today, are when someone mentions “behind the scenes.”

See the Happy Toolbox Gallery of trees.

What led you to expand from 2D design to using 3D in your work?

Back in 2002, 3D software was still fairly new and primitive, and, in most cases, lacked the fun and interactivity found with many 2D tools. This meant that most creative programs were extremely technical, unintuitive, and expensive. Most of the early 3D demos depicted awkward alien walk cycles and poorly rendered spaceships which were not as interesting to work with when compared to 2D and 2.5D tools found in early After Effects. As time went by, a whole new generation of software came about that was more designer-friendly and actually fun to use. I started working with programs like Cinema 4D since these programs gave me more freedom and versatility in my work.

See the Happy Toolbox Gallery of architecture.

What led you to start your company, Greyscalegorilla?

I always loved to teach, so when YouTube and Vimeo came out, I started making video tutorials on how I used Photoshop, After Effects, and Cinema 4D in my work. I realized that I was having more fun teaching and playing with software than I was creating client designs. This prompted me to leave my full-time job and focus on would eventually become Greyscalegorilla. Little did I know that ten years later we would have more than 500 free online tutorials with over 40 million views and have helped over 100k designers and animators through our online training, 3D assets, and plugins.

How has working in 3D changed your work as a designer?

When you create something in 3D, you are like a photographer, director, and filmmaker all rolled into one. I love the process of capturing a 3D element or logo from various angles, with different lighting, without ever having to leave my office. 3D allows me to create a world, no matter how simple or complex, and use this to communicate an emotion to an audience.

See the Happy Toolbox Gallery of food.

How did you get into 3D modeling and licensing custom assets as stock?

There are a lot of great 3D models out there but finding 3D stock elements that work seamlessly together in the same scene can be almost impossible. This gave us the idea to collaborate with our friends at The Happy Toolbox to create simple and beautiful models that work well together, are fun, and are easy to use. We are extremely excited to bring models from The Happy Toolbox to Adobe Stock for use in the Adobe Dimension CC app and elsewhere.

What makes a good 3D asset or design?

When looking at designs or assets that include 3D, it should not scream 3D. Like any creative work, it should feel natural, tell a story, sell a product, or spark an emotion in the viewer. Design is about communication, and with 3D, you get to create and share with the world your exact vision. This is why we set out to keep 3D simple and beautiful — not only for the designer, but for the viewer as well.

See the Happy Toolbox Gallery of clouds.

What advice do you have for designers who are interested in learning 3D?

Learning 3D is easier than ever before, and nowadays there is an increasing demand from clients, brands, and companies throughout every industry to use 3D within their marketing, advertising, and products.

My advice is to try 3D out and see how it feels. It is much easier to learn than many beginners might think. In fact, if you have a Creative Cloud subscription then you have access to some amazing 3D tools right now. If you are an Illustrator or Photoshop user, Adobe Dimension is extremely easy to use and great for adding 3D into your current workflow. A link to our tutorial can be found here.

See the Happy Toolbox Gallery of weapons.

For more information visit Greyscalegorilla, The Happy Toolbox and their collection on Adobe Stock.

Topics: Creativity, Design

Products: Stock, Photoshop, Creative Cloud