Noah Camp, Typographic Alchemy
Filed under: Visual Design
August 8, 2017
If you are looking for inspiration, you’ve come to the right place — Noah Camp brings text to life! He works in 3D, 2D, calligraphy and just about any medium you can throw at him. From sweeping flourishes rendered to look like honey, to rigid 45-degree angled nails in plywood, Noah explores textures and light in a way that forces the viewer to question reality — is this a photo? How did he do that?
Noah has been freelancing for over 16 years for such clients as Mercedes, Colgate, Crayola, Direct TV and many more. We sat down with him to find out how he started his unique career.
How did you start blending the world of 3D and typography?
I was working in graphic design, and preproduction design for commercials, while starting to get into lettering on the side. I loved both lettering and working in 3D. I was creating these sets that were very lifelike, and I was wondering if I could build letters that seemed touchable too.
What makes for great 3D type is practicing both disciplines separately as well as together. My 3D work wouldn’t be half as effective if I didn’t put in a solid foundation in learning the principles of typography first.
Noah discusses his hand lettering skills in depth: http://www.noahcampdesign.com/faq
What sort of clients are looking for 3D typography?
All kinds of clients are looking for 3D typography. 3D lettering can be used anywhere a message needs to be communicated. Editorial, film, advertising, book covers, album covers, the list goes on and on. Impactful 3D typography can really stand out and stop someone in their tracks. That’s why it has become more popular as a medium.
What are your inspirations?
I have a lot of different sources for inspiration. There is so much great work out there that I am always consuming, and being awed by. I am inspired by thoughts in the shower as well as conversations with friends. I’m always looking for ideas everywhere, but not too obsessively! I am often filing ideas away to work on later.
Inspiration is not magic, and most of the time I will sit down to create without the spark of inspiration. Sometimes I will watch a tutorial or sit down to practice, and an idea will come. As long as I keep creating, I’m bound to hit on a good idea here and there. My one rule is to always be creating more than I consume.
What is your pre-production process?
My process always starts with sketching ideas. I will do thumbnail sketches to brainstorm. These are very rough and loose. Then a more refined sketch is done.
I never rely on the software to carry the weight of the design. I always make sure the the 2D hand-lettering or illustration behind the piece is able to stand alone before taking it into the 3D space.
On your website you show some of your process, why?
I think showing the process is really important for several reasons. One reason I show the behind-the-scenes is to emphasize that every design starts with a sketch, and that there are several steps, decisions, and hours that go into the final piece. Also, artists showing their process inspired me to do what I do. I want to give back in that way by doing the same. Another point of showing the process is when the piece is more photorealistic. When people think it is a photo, it is fun to prove their eyes wrong with a behind-the-scenes look.
Wonder how this was made? http://www.noahcampdesign.com/thatsmyjamcasestudy
What software do you use?
For 3D work, I use Cinema 4D mostly, with Arnold Render (C4DtoA) or Octane. Sometimes I also use ZBrush for sculpting, and/or Adobe Illustrator to create vectors to take into Cinema 4D. After a render is done in Cinema 4D, it always goes through Adobe Photoshop or Adobe After Effects for the final touches. And recently I’ve gotten into using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for sketching and refining ideas. I like the versatility of this new tool.
Which piece on your site is your favorite, why?
Each piece that I’m creating tends to be my favorite. I feel like my work is constantly improving, and I can usually find things I’d like to improve about my old pieces. I appreciate my old work though. My latest personal project, “26 Days of Food,” is my favorite. It really challenged me, while letting me explore my foodie and playful side. I have a related food project coming up that I’m very excited about, but can’t talk about just yet.
What are your goals for the future?
As long as I keep learning and I have the space to explore new things, I’ll be happy.
You can find Noah Camp’s design work on his website - http://www.noahcampdesign.com/ - or more frequently on his Instagram account - https://www.instagram.com/noahcampdesign/
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