Like many artists, Xin Yi says there was never a specific moment when she fell in love with the arts, she was born that way. She always loved drawing since she was a small child, taking her pencil to paper and books, even the walls and tables, much to the chagrin of her parents. As she grew, this passion only intensified, with little interest in anything else. She knew that she was destined to one day transform her love of drawing into a career in the arts, and now, as an in-demand 3D Artist in her home of China and abroad, she is living that childhood dream.
Yi’s talent in visual effects is evident in everything she works on. She has been a part of many different aspects of visual effects, including character rigging for Rocket League: Radical Summer trailer, character modelling for the movie Black Lightning, material for the virtual set of NFL Redzone, and textures for the upcoming film Is This Heaven, to name a few.
“3D is one element of animation that can be super lively and really let you use your imagination. It’s a great tool to use in storytelling. I am more of a visual person, and therefore feel that 3D is a great way to help me to pull out my imagination. It could be super realistic, it could be something stylized, anything that we want,” she said.
Last year, Yi had the opportunity to venture into the Esports world when doing the motion graphics for the World of Warcraft Arena World Championship, held at the popular gaming event Blizzcon in Anaheim, California. World of Warcraft is one of the most popular video games in the world, part of the Warcraft franchise that extends to books and movies. Being involved in the game’s biggest tournament was an honor for Yi.
“Being a fan of the Warcraft universe, and keeping up with the rapidly growing Esports scene, I'm happy to be making a contribution to this new medium that's been blowing up as much as this has in recent years. And when watching the tournaments, I always get excited when something I worked on pops up suddenly,” she said.
Working at the studio Capacity, Yi mostly worked on shading and lighting on this project. She also did some textures, transitions, materials, and rendering. It was a small team, making each person on it vital to the event’s overall success. Everything that they put out was extremely detailed and well-received by the audience.
“I really like the art style of the game. Especially their cinematics. On top of the original WoW art style, they love to try new styles in their storytelling. They are very detailed in their art and they have some really good stories in each character,” said Yi.
Before beginning work on the project, Yi studied the cinematic animation of World of Warcraft and analyzed the style. Upon doing this, she decided to make the lighting have a high contrast, but let it show all of the details.
“It is really fun working while learning a new process. I liked WoW’s art style and I learned how to do lighting and materials in Cinema 4D and an Octane render engine. It was a really fun learning experience,” said Yi.
Despite being made for the 2018 tournament, the animation was so well received that Blizzard chose to use it again for this year’s tournament, which will be held in November. It has been viewed millions of times by fans all over the world, who just simply can’t get enough.