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By Design: Getting Really Nerdy with Yong Ho Kim


Carbon's motion design specialist on well designed images, exploring uncharted territory and the heavy influence of design on culture

By Design: Getting Really Nerdy with Yong Ho Kim

Yong Ho Kim is a motion design specialised designer at Carbon. Originally hailing from Korea, Yong Ho cut his teeth supporting the teams working on award winning Super Bowl commercials and high profile brand campaigns at The Mill and Psyop in New York. Now a designer at Carbon, Yong Ho works across look dev, design, CG, and motion graphics for the studio’s advertising clients. He also collaborates with brands in Korea, helping them create content and launch products. Driven by a love of design, all things moving and breaking new ground through advancement in tools and his R&D process, explore Yong Ho’s favourite projects, images and inspirations below. 

LBB> Tell us about your current role and design specialism(s)?

Yongho> I am a designer at Carbon, where I specialise in 3D design. 

LBB> What drew you to design in the first place and how has your design career evolved?

Yongho> I have always loved well designed images. Especially in films and commercials. Being a kid in the middle of the rapidly growing pop culture in Korea, I developed a huge interest in its vibrant visual and sound elements. 

My career began as more of a traditional CG generalist, where I worked on various VFX commercials and animation projects. I loved the experience, but with my huge passion for design I knew I had to pursue it. I was always working on personal projects full of design exploration. When I made the move to Carbon, I was able to weave this design work even more into my career. For example, working on the look dev for Google’s first ever 3D Billboard in Times Square, starring a fully CG Ludacris has been a creative highlight.

LBB> What aspects of design do you get really nerdy about personally?

Yongho> Colour, shape and motion are the key elements that really drive my work. And the initial design, style frame and R&D stage has always been key to my process. It is where I can definitely say I ‘get really nerdy’! 

It is the moment when I really start to absorb information about the brand I’m working with and visualise it with shapes and colour. Having concrete style frames also helps guide the brand to figure out key visuals for their campaign. This is my favourite part of the design process and the main reason why I wanted to move into design. I love to explore uncharted territory.  

LBB> There are so many new design tools out - what tools do you like to use and why? (whether digital platforms or old fashioned pen and paper!)

Yongho> I used to be a Maya artist but now I am a Cinema 4D and Houdini lover. These two packages really compliment each other. Cinema 4D is the best tool for 3D motion graphics. Houdini has a bit of a learning curve, but I believe it is one of the best tools for 3D artists. I usually go back and forth between these two on a motion design project. I test layouts and ideas in Cinema 4D and then bring the scene into Houdini when any complex simulations are needed. Combined, they are an amazing playground! 

LBB> How do you think about the ethics of design?

Yongho> Design has a huge impact on so many aspects of our world. From product design to UI, architecture, interior, apparel, and film, design has a heavy influence on our societies and culture. As Spider-Man says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” As designers we need to be mindful if this in our work. In the end, the influence should be for what is best for our society.

LBB> Which design projects throughout your career have been the most satisfying to work on and why?

Yongho> I always try to put affection into all the projects I work on. Some of the most satisfying ones are the ones I concept and direct myself. I work with a lot of brands in Korea like Laneige, IOPE, and Dr. Jart+ to create key visuals and 3D motion graphic films to launch their new products. 

A few of my favourites, include: 

1. A multifilm social campaign for Health-Ade’s Kombucha. This was a fun project to explore compositions with, balancing the character, bottle, and ingredients with the color palette and shapes was key. The character is meant to depict a cute intestine character hugging a kombucha bottle to illustrate the benefits kombucha that has on our digestive system. I bet you didn’t know intestines can be cute!? 

2. I made a film for Laneige. They wanted to emphasise the unique container design and benefits that each ingredient has. It is always an enjoyment to get an opportunity to listen to ideas from the creative team and help visualise them in my own way.

3. A brand film for Gemini. Gemini is an interesting brand that creates glass cups and plates with blowing techniques. They reached out to create a brand video using their colours and products to also depict the transformation of their gemstones (glass blob before craft) into the product. I came up with a concept that the gemstone morphs into a cup then a plate. Each unique shape was the main key that drove the film forward. I designed each shot to show the unique shape of each product and I used the morphing moment of each product as energy to tell the story.  

4. Paramount + 'Roll call' Super Bowl 2021

This spot is one of my favourite VFX projects I worked on at The Mill, creating a CG environment Creating a snow environment was quite challenging but it was definitely a fun task to work on. The best part of working on this spot was that I got to texture and look develop the hero Paramount mountain. I grew up watching Paramount produced films and saw the paramount mountain numerous times. Getting involved in creating the hero asset was a great experience as a film lover.

5. Coloso. I had a great opportunity to open an online class for Coloso, focussed on an intro to lighting and rendering in 3D. The class is a compact course of learning the fundamentals of lighting and recreating photography in 3D. It starts with a fundamental understanding of how light works in the real world and how we can mimic that in 3D software. For each photography example, I broke down light and materials to show what the key aspects are in order to render photo real images. I designed the course to start with basic scenes, then more complicated ones so that each student can follow along as they progress. View the work here.

LBB> What’s going on at the moment in design that’s getting you particularly excited?

Yongho> To me, it is always when new design tools are developed. The tools for the 3D and motion graphic industries are evolving rapidly. When a new tool is developed, it’s usually accompanied by a new fresh wave of style. I’m always excited to see how each new development will influence artists, and to play around with new tools in my own work too of course! I love exploring tools and finding opportunities for fresh ideas that will push me in to a place I have not been before.

LBB> Who are your design heroes and why?

Yongho> I was greatly influenced by the work of Simon Holmedal, who was introduced to me when he was working at Man vs Machine. At the time, I was a VFX student at SCAD, learning the basics of 3D modelling and rendering. My first impression of 3D was that it’s used in animation projects like Pixar films. I still remember the day my friend first showed me a few spots from Man vs Machine that Simon Holmedal worked on. It really opened my eyes on what can be achieved with 3D. I initially went the VFX route after graduating, but I have kept on being drawn to personal projects using 3D and motion design. I am still on my journey and will probably go on forever. I am truly grateful for artists like Simon who brought 3D motion graphics to another level.

LBB> Thinking of people at the beginning of their career, what advice would you give them for navigating this constantly changing field?

Yongho> I always recommend any artist or student to first, put as much time as possible in getting used to techniques. Especially in the 3D world, there are quite a lot of things to cover, from modelling assets, to animating and rendering beautiful images. Learning techniques takes time, but creativity is best achieved when there is no limit on an artist’s understanding on the complex tools they use. Having that core skillset allows each great artist to execute what’s in their mind. 

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Carbon, Fri, 03 Mar 2023 17:12:39 GMT