Overtime

Episode 5: Allison House

In our fifth Overtime episode, Dan is joined by Allison House. Allison is an independent designer and visual artist who has worked with tech startups like Dropbox, Codecademy, and Treehouse before diving into 3D illustration and design. See her work at allison.house.

In this episode, Dan and Allison discuss how she made the transition to 3D, how she’s working to help other designers do the same, and why it’s important to push yourself and get into uncomfortable territory.

  1. Volumetric Drive-by
  2. Tweedy's "Summer Noon" music video
  3. HOUSE RULES IDENT 06

Dan also asks Allison about a few of her Dribbble shots. She shares the stories behind Volumetric Drive-by and Tweedy’s “Summer Noon” music video.

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Transcript

Dan: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Overtime. This is Dribbble’s audio companion. I’m your host Dan Cederholm. And today we are talking with Allison House, and Allison is an independent designer, visual artist, and speaker. Super talented, and she had a successful career as a product designer—places like Dropbox and Treehouse. And then kind of left all that and set out to do 3D illustration and animation and motion design. She has a really interesting story, and really interesting career change to stay creative. We get into a lot of cool topics there. I think you’re going to enjoy it very much.

Before we get there, I just wanted to make a couple of announcements. One is we released something called Playbook recently, and I thought I’d mention it again in case you hadn’t heard about it. Playbook is for our designers on Dribbble and it’s basically a way to have an instant, lightly customizable portfolio from anything you’ve uploaded from Dribbble. It’s $48 a year, which is a steal. And it also includes all the Pro features. You’ll be Pro as well if you get Playbook. For more info on that, go to dribbble.com/playbook/info.

Secondly, I wanted to mention if you’re hiring designers, and I know many of you are, we have a very nice job board at dribbble.com/jobs, and this is where we advertise all sorts of positions for designers. And we just released a couple updates for posting. One of which is recurring job options, so if you’re always hiring, you can select that option as a subscription and have a recurring job that lasts until you cancel it, rather than paying per month.

And additionally, as an extra add-on, you can have your job featured in our Weekly Replay newsletter and blog post. It goes out each Monday. Those things hopefully get you a bit more visibility for the position you’re hiring in. Hope you take advantage of those. Check out dribbble.com/jobs to post a job and check out jobs for designers. That’s it for the announcements. Now we’re going to get to the main event, which is talking with the wonderfully talented Allison House. Welcome Allison House to Overtime. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Allison: Hey, Dan.

Dan: We’re so thrilled to have you here.

Allison: Happy to be here.

Dan: Where are you calling in from today?

Allison: I’m calling in from Austin, Texas.

Dan: Yes. I love Austin, Texas.

Allison: What do you love about it?

Dan: I love many things about it. Mostly the food these days, the barbecue.

Allison: I was going to ask are you a barbeque or taco fan.

Dan: I’m both. I totally love it. In fact, if you could stick barbecue in a taco then you got me.

Allison: They definitely do that here.

Dan: They definitely do that? I’ve been learning how to do brisket from Aaron Franklin’s book. He has a book out.

Allison: No kidding?

Dan: Yeah. Anyway, this is about you and your story, not about my barbecue. We could do a barbecue show at some point. It wouldn’t be Overtime though.

We’re really thrilled to have you on this little show of ours that we’ve started a while ago. Obviously, we’ve been big fans of your work. It’s been really fun to watch your journey as a designer. We’re excited to talk about what you’re doing now, and what you were doing before, and some of your Dribbble shots. So you’re in Austin now. Wonder if you could tell us about your background, where you’re from and all that stuff. I know it sounds like a cliché question, but I’m always fascinated by where people come from. I think that can get us into how you got into design too.

Allison: Sure. I often find you get all these big names, and they’re from San Francisco or New York City, but they always come from somewhere else. It’s usually not there that they started out.

I was born in the Midwest. I spent some time in Hong Kong. You were just mentioned those two words to me recently, so maybe we’ll talk about that more later. I spent about four years there as a kiddo when it was still a British colony.

Kind of witnessed the handover back to China. Then we moved back to the States. Of all places, we chose Florida to move back to. A bit of a culture shock to go from British Chinese-ish culture to the Bible belt. That was a surprise. Nobody liked the way that I said garage because I said [gair’-edge]. So I was in the panhandle for a little bit. I went to high school in southwest Florida and then college at UCF, University of Central Florida.

Dan: Wow. Florida, I could imagine it’s very different than Hong Kong. That’s a big cultural change. How did the design journey for you begin? Does it begin in Hong Kong or Florida?

Allison: For me, I got into design through the web, not just like I was reading about it but I was making it. My first website I built when I was 11. I was in some kind of computer class when I was in Hong Kong, and it was about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because that was the coolest American thing I knew of at the time. I was asking my teacher, “How do I change the cursor to a stake?” He was like “That’s a little complicated.”

Dan: That’s fantastic.

Allison: When I eventually moved to Florida, a buddy of mine in high school said, “I have a little web hosting space.” I’m like “I don’t know what that is.” He was like “Well, I’m giving it to you.”

So I started to read tutorials. I started trying to figure out how can I use this space I’ve been given. The notion of making a website had always been thrilling to me, but I didn’t know how to do it.

Because I had FTP—I got to figure that part out, and I started writing a bit of code. Eventually that became a web page. I think my first official personal site, my “About Me” site had Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes on it.

Dan: That’s cool. You’re already cooler and hipper than way more designers out there.

Allison: I don’t know about that. I was saying it like eh, not that cool.

Dan: There’s so much worse that could happen there. That’s pretty awesome.

Allison: That’s true.

Dan: That’s cool. Ditto for me in terms of how I got into design. The web totally brought everything together for me, and learning FTP. I remember working at this ISP and had no idea anything about the web. Watching this friend of mine who became mentor to me, but he’s on a command line which I hadn’t really seen before. He’s like doing FTP but he wrote “bye” and it exited. I was like whoa! He’s talking to the computer. It knew what to do. It totally blew my mind. All it was, was command line FTP. I digress. The web for you inspired design, or for you to create things.

Allison: Yeah, I think so. I’ve always thought about design in that context. I’m kind of curious if you can relate to this, that having been your path into design. When I eventually moved to San Francisco and started working for tech companies, a lot of people were like you must love data ramps, or you must love insert sort of traditional think here.

I was like who, what? I didn’t know about any of that. That wasn’t where my passion was. My passion was rooted in design for the web. That framed the way I thought about all of it.

Dan: Totally relate to that, absolutely. Did you go to school for design?

Allison: Huh-uh.

Dan: I think that’s part of it too. I didn’t either. I ended up dropping out of college. The web brought me to all those things, like typography, grids, and traditional. But I’m the same way. I didn’t know about it before the web. Designing for the web opened up all these doors.

I’m curious if this is similar. While the web brought me to design, now looking back to my childhood, I sort of realize I should have been a designer a long time ago. That’s what I was really interested in. Creating band posters and skateboard graphics, I was always interested in that part of things, more passion about that than doing the activity. I’m curious if looking back on your childhood, do you see hey, I’ve always had this interest in visual stuff, and just didn’t know it, or was interested in something else for a long time and then transitioned?

Allison: I think I was able to maintain that childhood interest in art throughout my teenage years. We had some piece of software that came with our printer. It was like a knock-off Photoshop but worse than whatever you imagine that it is. It was very basic functions, poor UI, totally branded for whatever the printer was called.

I made so many graphic pieces in that software. Since I was a kid, whatever my dad had on the computer I would use. If it was Excel, I would figure out a way to make something interesting in Excel. We had all kinds of apps, especially after we moved to Hong Kong. You can buy CDs full of pirated can I swear on this show?

Dan: Sure, yeah.

Allison: I was going to say pirated shit.

Dan: Please do.

Allison: It was just you go into a regular store. The wall is lined with CDs and they will have 100 different programs on it.

Dan: That’s wild. Is that easily accessible in Hong Kong versus the US?

Allison: Piracy, yeah.

Dan: I figured as much. I didn’t want to offend our Hong Kong listeners.

Allison: When I was around 11, I found this T-shirt at the mall, and I was so excited because it was a South Park shirt, but all the colors of the characters were wrong. Cartman was black and he had a purple hat. But I still got it because I liked South Park and I could afford it on the money I made from Chinese New Year. That was like my annual income for the year, like my red packet income. I’d be like yes! Time to go to the mall and buy some pirated stuff.

Dan: It was easier and cheaper than finding the actual thing there.

Allison: I’m not even talking stalls. This is a store in the mall and the walls are lined with 

Dan: Like a legit store selling software.

Allison: Yeah.

Dan: That also meant software?

Allison: Lots of software, games. You’d go in there and look for interesting stuff.

Dan: That’s fascinating. I want to get back to what you said about Excel and how you were using that to create, which I think is brilliant. Right now, all the tools we have seem so complicated and there’s so much to learn. So many different ways to create stuff. I wonder if looking back on that time where you’re using what you had available, those constraints that you had there  were those almost in a good way, like you might be looking back going wow, it was easier to be creative then because the tool was so primitive, or had these constraints that you couldn’t control?

Allison: I think for me it always comes back to finding a delight in being creative with technology. When I was really young, like five or so, and I shared a computer with my dad. Okay, he owned a computer that I used sometimes. Really early on, early Windows systems, when he was just figuring out how to use it, he made me a folder. And he saved a file to that folder. It was like “Hey Allison, I’m just trying out saving a file on this new operating system.” That was it.

He would always leave me these little notes, or to encourage me to write he’d write half of a story and leave it for me. My all-time favorite was he wrote a diary of my cat, as if my cat were sneaking up to his office and writing on the computer. And then he would leave that for me to find. It was hilarious. It was always like “The Big One came home last night. He seems very anxious from work and doesn’t like to talk. But the Little One loves to play, and I got one of her hair ties and …”

It was so cute. At the time I was just so entertained by it. But looking back, it’s so clear to me how it showed me computers are a way to play. Even though what I played with was often Microsoft Word, or Word Perfect at the time, or Paint, or a whole Corel suite you  interior design apps, and just little things that had no immediate professional use to a five, six, or seven-year old. But the introduction, that seed, that idea that you can do something creative in this space has stuck with me for my entire life. It’s just been so satisfying and worth chasing down.

Dan: Well said, wow. I totally agree with all that. That is what makes this fun. I think I’m in the same boat, in that technology is cool, and I’m fascinated by it. But at the same time, the real passion is getting to create things with it. First of all, your dad sounds like an awesome person for doing that.

Allison: He really is.

Dan: That’s really cool. That lit the spark to use what you had in front of you to create stuff. That’s amazing. Tell us about later. Your career path in terms of coming from product design to what you’re doing now, which is mostly 3D illustration and motion design, right?

Allison: Yeah, 3D illustration and animation.

Dan: It looks from the outside like you’ve made a real conscious effort to say I’m changing things up and doing this now. Not only learning it but I’m going to be teaching it too. What was the transition like for you and was there anything or anyone that triggered that transition for you?

Allison: I think this process started for me toward the end of my time at Dropbox. I started to feel kind of disenchanted with product design. I kind of felt like I love design, I love making stuff, but I never got into this stuff to build “products”. In the last several years, my profession is a very commoditized thing.

It’s so easy to slip into that group-think mindset that is perpetuated really in every facet of  not necessarily tech culture as a whole, but maybe in Silicon Valley, the way people think about and talk about stuff. We’ve got to set aggressive deadlines, and we have to hit them, and we need to be paranoid about our competitors. There’s a lot of these kind of lines that get repeated over and over again. It was always extra bizarre to me when someone at one company would say the exact same thing that someone at another company said, but they’d never met. I would realize they had the same investors that were telling them what to think. That always tripped me out a bit. I was like oh  Oh!

Dan: That’s eye-opening. Who’s pulling the strings here?

Allison: Yeah. That realization was not a quick process for me. It was definitely a slow process because it was so tied up in my identity. On the one hand, I was seeing it. On the other hand, I wanted to be a part of it. You want to be successful. You want to fit in. You do want to onboard the ideas of the people around you so that you can work with them.

But I think toward the end of my time there, I knew that product design wasn’t going to be the “next thing”. That I had to find something I was passionate about because it wasn’t this anymore. That was kind of weird for me.

There’s this double difficulty with it where I also had developed a reputation in that space. People know me for product stuff, or for Dropbox, or something. That made it even trickier in a way because my value or perceived value to others is aligned with something I didn’t think I wanted to do anymore.

Dan: So you’ve built this career being a great product designer, and people know you for that. Then you realize it’s not fulfilling the creative 

Allison: Wellspring.

Dan: That’s exactly what I was searching for. This is why I love doing this show, because I get to learn. Selfishly I get to learn about all this cool stuff. So it wasn’t fulfilling the creative wellspring, so you decided to change it up, right?

Allison: Yeah.

Dan: Was motion and 3D something that was sort of always in the background for you or was it literally like a quick whoa, this is something that’s really exciting. I’m going to put all my effort into this? I think this is interesting because I think a lot of people hit this wall with what they’re doing. This is fascinating to hear your thought process on getting there. Making it over to the “other side,” essentially.

Allison: I think my feeling was that I needed to figure out as quickly as possible what I was excited about, not because I need the next paycheck but because I needed that for myself. I don’t think I’m good at doing work if I’m not excited about it. If it’s not fun I already know it’s not going to get done. I try to account for that situation ahead of time.

Dan: Ditto.

Allison: What was I going to do? I had this big list of things I was interested in. It’s kind of interesting because Dribbble is this great narrative. If you look at even just the colors  I was thinking about there’s this little app that I’d love to make sometime if I could find a minute. I was thinking about you know how you have the color bars that pull the colors for each shot? What if you could do a timeline of how someone’s colors change over time?

I feel like that would be so interesting. It matches trends, but for me I know it would go from kind of beige/green stuff, it’s more grungy, and then it goes to Dropbox blue for a while, and almost nothing but white and Dropbox blue.

And then when I “rebel,” so to speak, against this notion of oh, I’m sick of predictable colors and inoffensive blue and green and neutral this  forget all that. I tried to tear out of my bonds mentally and creatively with an explosion of color. So suddenly things are overwhelmingly purple and orange and pink and turquoise. It changes very quickly. But you can also see it just looking, scrolling through my stuff.

Dan: That’s fascinating. That’s really interesting about the colors. If you just looked at what your colors were, you could see the progression of what you were making or creating. That’s really cool. We’ve got to build that.

Allison: And in this story, purple represents the middle finger.

Dan: I’m actually thinking how you would visualize it. There’s so many different ways you could visualize that. The color changing over time  that’s a fun project.

Allison: I had this big list basically of things. Not even a written down list but what’s some stuff that looks cool. Let’s just try some things. Let’s get curious. Whenever I hear of people who are way younger than me talk about I don’t know what my passion is, I often think the next move is not to sit and think about your passion and what it could be, but it’s to take action. Get curious about the world. Try new things. Try something and maybe you won’t like it but give it a shot.

It’s not going to just come to you. It has to be developed, is my feeling. So I try to find new things to put my energy into, to try to develop a new passion. I took JavaScript classes. That was the wrong direction. I was doing more digital painting.

I love Dribbble for this. I’m glad I’m talking to you about this specifically. You can see some digital painting abstracts right at that switch moment. There’s some watercolor painting. A fricking watercolor, I haven’t touched a physical  that was the last time, but I was like I’m going to do some watercolors now. I was trying to make a typeface. That was kind of cute, but I’m glad I didn’t finish it because it’s not that cute.

Dan: It was awesome. You should finish it. You’re trying a bunch of different things based on what excites you, what would get you up in the morning to work on more of.

Allison: Yeah, let’s give it a shot.

Dan: A lot of this was on your own, like these were projects that you were just experimenting with to find your niche again.

Allison: Exactly, I picked up some product design work freelance during the day. I had a great client, this ex-Google guy who was interested in childcare and trying to build a really empathetically rooted childcare app. I had such a good time working with him and learning about neurology for kids. It was great. I was satisfied with what I was doing in the day but as soon as I was done, I was jamming on as many experiments as I could. I knew I needed something that would be next.

Dan: That’s awesome. Then you found it.

Allison: Yeah. When that bomb GIF shows up on my feed, that’s it. Everything after that is 3D. If it’s not clear enough that’s what I want to do.

Dan: That’s the marker.

Allison: Remember the first time you wrote a bit of HTML or the first time you saw the result of what you had written? And it’s like your stomach drops a bit, your heart rate  what am I describing here  you have such a fundamentally human reaction to it that is only initiated by a response to your own satisfied creativity. Like I did that. I made that and wow, I got a jolt from it. It’s like a shot in the veins.

Dan: Yes. They totally do. I remember late nights learning HTML on my own, and doing my first JavaScript rollover image thing. I remember the victory I felt when I saw it work. I was like man  I’m coding! I’m like a programmer now.

Allison: Basically a hacker.

Dan: I’m a hacker now and this is awesome. I had the Matrix screensaver.

Allison: Oh, yes, it was around 1999?

Dan: Exactly, late ’90s. I totally relate to what you’re saying. That kind of feeling like being really excited about the result, I think that’s absolutely crucial for fueling more of what you’re doing, and confirms I’m doing a good thing here. This is going to make me happy.

Allison: Totally.

Dan: This is cool. I love that your Dribbble feed documents this journey you’ve had, this transition. There’s a couple shots that I wanted to specifically ask you about, to get a story behind how they came about or what was going on at the time. The first one is “Volumetric Drive-by,” and this is actually from way back in May of 2014, so a couple years ago now.

I remember loving this shot because it’s a perfect GIF loop, which is a talent in itself. Something that loops that doesn’t seem like it’s looping but looks natural. It’s these three windows with the light coming through. I’m particularly amazed by what you’ve done with light there and the motion in there. I wonder if there’s any memory creating that, and if this was one of those early experimentations that you were playing around with, or if this was for a specific project.

Allison: This was definitely super early, in the first two weeks of me learning 3D. The Tweedy video came at the three-week mark, so if you look you can kind of imagine the timeline. This was really early. I had discovered a couple things that made this come together from a technical perspective in cinema.

One is how you can do perfect isometric grids, so those windows are perfectly isometric, which give this really nice forms to those light beams as they pour through. And the second of course is volumetric lighting, which I just desperately wanted to know about. How do I juice up  I know how to put a light over an object but how do I really juice that up?

When I figured it out, it kind of reminded me of when I was a kid. I was lying in my bedroom and still awake. I’m supposed to be asleep. My parents are like go to bed, and cars would drive by. So instead of sleeping, I would watch the light kind of flit across the room, and make shapes and shadows and all that stuff. It kind of reminded me of that.

I wanted to make a simple GIF in this evolving style, newfound style that captured that nostalgia. I was telling you this was around the time I’d gone back to where I spent time as a kid. I think trying to get back in touch, have the work I produce relate more to who I am and not who a brand is. Have it be me on a plate.

I used to joke that whenever I watched Master Chef, Gordon Ramsey would look with disdain at peoples’ dishes and be like “Is this you on a plate?” I would be like oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry, Gordon. It’s not.

Dan: I was about to go into my Gordon Ramsey impression but I will stop.

Allison: Please do. I can’t do it. Otherwise I would have been all accent there.

Dan: I’m remembering Hell’s Kitchen I particularly got into. There was a lot of great yelling in that show. “You idiot!” Totally demoralizing, or dehumanizing these chefs. Incredible, but anyway.

Allison: I love that he just shakes his head like something is such a shame and just goes “Dumb!”

Dan: That’s almost hurts more than him yelling. Him disappointed.

Allison: I’m not mad. I’m disappointed.

Dan: Like he knows you’re capable of better and just really disappointed. That’s really rough.

So I love the story behind this. It makes me like this shot even more, because the whole childhood watching light coming through the windows. And you figuring out how do you make the light more interesting. It’s like this color change coming through the window, right? I’m blown away this is two weeks into your I want to make motion things. That’s pretty impressive.

Allison: It was pretty fresh. The actual setup  this is part of why I’m so excited to share 3D stuff with designers. They have visual chops already. But they haven’t looked inside the black box that is 3D. They don’t know how complicated or not complicated something is. And so when I demo stuff, instantly they know. And for a lot of folks now they have the confidence to give it a shot, and then they keep producing work, and it keeps going. Then I’m like oh, six months later they’re still doing it. I mentioned that feeling earlier that I’m chasing down, that spark. Being able to connect other people with that is so satisfying.

Dan: We’re lucky you wanted to share that. Tell us about Tweedy’s ‘Summer Noon’ music video. This is a 3D video you created for Tweedy the band, which I’m a fan, because it’s Jeff Tweedy. I was a huge Uncle Tupelo fan back in the day, and also Wilco. His son Spenser, awesome drummer.

Tell me how this came about. I think you mentioned earlier this was like three weeks into you learning this stuff, which is kind of mind blowing. There’s a lot of complexity here with following this balloon through awesome world. Tell us how this came around.

Allison: This music video was a huge challenge for me. At the time, I had done approximately the amount of work that you see on Dribbble, which was a lot of production for the amount of time I’d been working with 3D, and I was trying to make something almost every day, and posting in other places as well.

I think it was the shot before the Tweedy one where there’s a lake scene and the stillness and I think it’s called “Stillness”. It was what caught Spencer’s eye. He had been following my newfound productivity in the 3D animation realm. Reached out to me about doing the music video.

It wasn’t completely out of the blue. He was interested in design and apps when he was in high school, which he just graduated. This kid is way ahead of all of us. He’s really a great person, really thoughtful, and extremely intelligent. I had a really good time working with him.

I had at least produced enough at that point to prove what I could make. I got in touch with Wilco’s management and started breaking down what I need to do with them. I’m just sitting here like okay, on the one hand, the longest animation I’ve done is two seconds. I don’t own any video editing software. I’ve been doing this for about three weeks. I’m going through all these things in my head. But on the other hand, it’s Tweedy. So I was like yes, I’ll figure it out.

Dan: Did you have a deadline for it?

Allison: Yes, three weeks away. It was to launch the single. This is their first single. It was bananas. There was a ton of elbow grease that went into that. But in terms of how I approached it, I only could rely on how I approach any design project. I built a prototype to test whether I could make certain visuals or animations work. I did a bunch of concepts. I sent those over and they were like oh, we like this. I was like oh, my gosh, it’s working.

Dan: You didn’t go off into a dark room for three weeks and say here’s the video. It was more collaborative?

Allison: Very. I think I’m fortunate to have had prior design experience because one of the big things is the constant communication. You really don’t want to blindside anybody when you show up. Oh, I’m done. Here’s my magnificent piece of work. If you’re going to work iteratively that means collaboration needs to work iteratively as well.

They were on tour, so I was probably trying to buy more of their time than they had. Basically I was nonstop on this. That client I mentioned earlier, I was working with him at the time, and I asked him if he could do me a huge favor and give me a break so I could only do this for those three weeks.

I was dawn to dusk  up working on it and asleep and then I’d get up in the middle of the night sometimes because I was like oh, my God, it’s due in three weeks! I’d work on it some more. It was not really until the last couple of days where I could breathe a bit. I’m actually going to make it.

There’s so many scenes and I was learning so much along the way. In that next shot you see after that one, where the frame for it  the first frame where the balloon is going up, that started out really dense and blocky looking. I think there’s a scene that made it in that kind of still looked that way.

But I had time. At the end of it I was like oh, my gosh, done is better than perfect. That totally worked. Now I have three hours left. I’m going to fix this. So I was able to go back and revise a few scenes. I think that approach  if you’ve ever been on a deadline for software you know you can’t miss it. It’s going out. There’s no choice.

Dan: That one wasn’t flexible at all. It had to be done. That’s some serious pressure. Considering you’re still learning how to put this together.

Allison: Always, yes.

Dan: What did you use primarily to create it, in terms of software?

Allison: Cinema 4D, I used a 30-day trial of their Adobe Premiere.

Dan: I love it. We will not tell anyone. Wait, we just did. That’s amazing.

Allison: It works.

Dan: You did it. You pulled it off, and it’s awesome. I assume the band was happy. This was their first single too. It was kind of a big deal.

Allison: Yeah, and they were a pleasure to work with too. They were so supportive. Everything I sent them they would give me good feedback, but in terms of the direction I wanted to go, there’s a ton of freedom there, so I really appreciated that.

Dan: That’s so cool. So this is way impressive. I’m glad we’re talking to you about all this stuff. Watching it on Dribbble or through other channels, I don’t think you’d ever guess you’d just started doing this type of work mere weeks before that. That’s pretty amazing.

Allison: Thanks.

Dan: It’s cool, you said earlier static visual designers that are intimidated by 3D and motion should probably dip their toes in it to see how the visual chops can be applied here.

Allison: I’ve noticed that when people talk about animation for CSS or UI or anything, there’s a tendency to get so technical about it. I’ve read some posts people have written about that topic and it almost reads like a piece from a textbook or something. Here’s what you need to know about it. There’s this type of motion and this type of curve. This is the formula for … and I think if you just want to try it, you don’t need to know any of that.

I want to move something from point A to point B. How do I say this is state A and this is state B? Then get it to move in between. That ain’t that tough. As long as you don’t get bogged down in your own mind palace of anxiety things are a lot easier. Animation is not an easy thing by any means. But getting started is not that difficult.

Dan: That’s encouraging. This whole conversation has been encouraging in terms of people that want to get into this, that are already doing visual design. You might have encouraged a whole next generation of this type of stuff. It’s awesome.

Allison: I think 3D needs us. I think 3D needs exceptional visual designers. I of course can’t help but see the parallels with tech, but there are a lot of 3D gearheads. They’re determining what the software looks like. I’ve been in some interesting conversations recently with people who are maybe going to put out NDAs. I’m trying to say this as ambiguously as possible.

But I’m hoping to see more user-friendly software in the future, that isn’t quite so technical and complicated, and you have to know all these panels, and there’s huge lists of things, and why are they there. Oh, it’s a legacy thing. I can do what I can as an educator, to make this easier and more accessible, but I would love to see the software match that inclination.

Dan: So you think that’s part of it, maybe the tools look intimidating from the outside, and maybe that discourages some people from creating stuff.

Allison: Sure. If I had just opened Cinema and looked at it, I would not know where to go, what to do, what anything is.

Dan: I wouldn’t either. As opposed to Excel, which you can open up and start playing around with.

Allison: Oh, I can click into this  oh, okay. Yeah.

Dan: I know what you mean. This is a good segue into another project you’re working on, which is 3D for designers. Tell us about this. Right now it’s a semi-mysterious landing page where you can enter your email for updates. Tell us what that’s going to be. I have a feeling it’s going to be really interesting, from what we were just talking about.

Allison: It is an introductory 3D course that is specifically geared toward people who already have the visual chops, people who are not new to design, but are beginners in the 3D world. It covers a lot of the basics of 3D, but comes from the perspective of beautiful visuals. Often simpler visuals, flat visuals even. Isometric is another thing we mentioned. More stylistic 3D that isn’t the Michael Bay stuff. It’s not for broadcast or that type of media. It’s to be used in design, whether that’s in illustration or a GIF or short animation or something along those lines. But it’s for the designer to learn.

Dan: That’s super good. I think that’s what 3D needs. The stuff we were just talking about, if the tools out there are intimidating and no one’s come at it from a purely visual standpoint, then that’s probably why you don’t see more of it. This is exciting. What’s the plan for the next step for that? Is it something you’re working on behind the scenes or something that’s coming out soon?

Allison:A few things are happening. One, we’re just talking to the people who are signing up for the list to get an understanding of what their goals are, what they want to learn. For anybody who signs up, if you get an email from me, write me back.

Secondly, this summer in Austin I’m going to be launching a series of workshops. I think it’s going to be at the Iron Yard but TBD, where we’ll do half-day workshops covering a lot of the same content that’s going to be eventually in an online course.

I have a history with education. I have taught in the classroom before, and it’s really important to me that this isn’t just a content marketing thing or let me make this course really quick and then write all this long-form marketing copy for it. It has to be tested. I need to make sure I cover every angle. I need to understand where students are coming from, so I need to do this in person first so that I can really shape the course into something that’s going to be incredibly valuable. That’s where I’m at with it right now. Then after the beta testing period we’re going to film the real deal.

Dan: Wow. This is exciting. People need to keep an eye out on 3dfordesigners.com. This is going to be awesome.

Allison: Thanks. I’m excited, for sure.

Dan: We’re excited to see it. From someone that could pick this up and create something within weeks that conceivably hundreds of thousands or millions of people have seen, this is the person I want to learn from. I think this is going to be really valuable for everybody.

Thanks so much for joining us, Allison. This has been pretty awesome talk about all sorts of stuff. Really appreciate you being on the show.

Allison: Thanks for having me. I had an absolutely blast talking to you and getting to know you better. So this has been great.

Dan: Yeah. And so where can people find you, other than the 3D for Designers, where should people go find you to get in touch or learn more about what you’re doing?

Allison: Twitter is usually the easiest because I tend to update that the most. I’m @House on Twitter You can’t spell that wrong.

Dan: That’s great that you have “House” as a handle.

Allison: On Dribbble too. Everywhere important, and on GitHub.

Dan: People call you just “House” sometimes, right?

Allison: Yeah, a lot of people just call me House.

Dan: So House on Twitter and Dribbble.

Allison: Instagram @allisonhouse. My website is allison.house.

Dan: I didn’t realize House is a top-level domain. That’s incredible. There’s one for everything now, right?

Allison: Yeah, John Gold has john.gold. I thought I was unique but there he is.

Dan: I know what’s next, it’s going to be .cederholm. It’s going to be really popular.

Allison: I don’t understand why you don’t have that already.

Dan: I don’t either. It’s kind of ridiculous. We’re working on it. Yeah, thanks again. Everybody should check out 3D for Designers and sign up for the updates and go check out Allison’s work, obviously on Dribbble, and follow her on Twitter and stuff. I can’t wait to see what you create next. You’re not in the early stages of this stuff, but in a way you are, over the course of your career. We’ll be watching. It’s going to be fun to watch.

Allison: I appreciate that.

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