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Let the Sparks Fly: Meet the SparkLabs 3D Team

by AppLovin on Feb 24, 2020

Much like the animators we highlighted in our last blog about the SparkLabs team, the members of the 3D design team at AppLovin are constantly challenging the status quo and what it means to be a designer —  leading to richer, more exciting ad experiences for anyone who encounters their creatives. This is the team that creates eye-catching 3D assets that make everything from playable ads to end cards feel more authentic.

And, how do they continue to push the boundaries throughout their careers with AppLovin? Saying yes, always. This small but mighty team truly believes every opportunity that comes across their desk is a chance to become a better technical artist, and this moment for growth is all the team needs to give a resounding “YES!” 

Working with some of AppLovin’s partner studios, the team has had the opportunity to learn how to extract usable assets from different platforms, and develop new animations for the games from there. 

“We welcome these challenges,” said Rodolfo Baez, Senior 3D Designer at SparkLabs. “It’s actually these different opportunities we like to work on the most.”

In fact, Rodolfo spent about a year and a half learning a whole new platform to automate rendering ads in his free time, and then he was able to share his new skills and findings with the rest of the SparkLabs team. To be a successful 3D artist you need so much more than a creative mindset — you have to be analytical with the mindset of an engineer or developer. 

It’s vital to understand the capabilities and limits as well as the inner workings of the tools and software you’re working with on a day-to-day basis. On the technical side of things, the difference between a good enough 3D artist and a superstar is the ability to understand and execute rigging. To be a standout rigger you must have a clear understanding of modeling, to be a great modeler you must be talented at sculpting and drawing — it comes down to having a deep foundation in traditional art to be a standout in 3D design. The 3D designers at SparkLabs are true masters of their trade — they have to be able to work and understand traditional design software, and have proficiencies and be able to problem-solve in more robust tools like Maya and Unity. 

On the other side of the coin, this team also has to be flexible. You can spend forever trying to perfect and polish a piece of work, but you also have to be aware of your timeframe. SparkLabs is such a collaborative team that it’s essential to be able to put the best work forward by a set deadline so that you’re not holding up your teammates, and delivering on our partners’ needs as fast as possible. 

While the team may have not been experts on ads when they began at SparkLabs, they have developed a deep trust in the leadership team to guide them to the right priorities. They also have learned that because they love what they do every day, they are motivated to constantly push themselves to learn how to be more efficient — allowing more time to focus on the parts of their job that they love most.

This is what drives the team forward: An insatiable desire for the next great challenge, and a drive to create the best work possible. 

“Our only constant is change,” said Alice Guillaume, Senior Director of Marketing at AppLovin. “We persistently evaluate and ask ourselves ‘what’s working, what’s not?’ For things that are not, we aren’t afraid to iterate or tear it down altogether to rebuild for something greater.”

Outside of the technical requirements that make a successful 3D artist at SparkLabs, you need to be ready to join a team that is filled with quirks — a group of individuals with a mix of personalities, fitting together in a way that not only gets work done, but allows you to be yourself. Sure, they come into the office to encourage and inspire each other to produce the best creatives on the market, but they also support each other just as much outside of the office. 

“You’re not just part of a work ‘team,’” said Erujie Sinchioco, 3D Designer at SparkLabs. “This is a real home where you can be yourself.”

For more information on SparkLabs, or to start your spark — check out the SparkLabs website.