The Giant Glowing Lotus On Nadine’s Cover Was Actually CGI

And it was all created from scratch by a Filipina creative.

Loving Nadine’s first covers for NYLON Manila? Wait until you find out that the giant glowing lotus was actually CGI-rendered from scratch.

CGI or “computer-generated imagery” has been around for quite some time now. While we mostly see them through the big screen, CGI has slowly become a form of art, not only in fashion, but also in music. With the pandemic still setting limitations, brands and artists had to get creative when it came to promotions and tapping their market. Lady Gaga for Paper Magazine‘s “Transformation” issue, Congolese brand Hanifa’s viral 3D runway, Vogue Taiwan’s 100% digitally-rendered “Future Is Transit” issue, and of course, the controversial Billie Eilish cover on NYLON Germany were all CGI—and now, Nadine Lustre for NYLON Manila.

The artist behind it is 23-year old Filipino-Japanese CGI artist and director on the rise, Aya Reika Mayani. You might have seen her work in fellow Careless collaborator James Reid’s visualizer for SODA and on local music videos like folk singer Syd Hartha’s Hiwaga lyric video and hip-hop artist Because’s mv for BMW. She’s also gained quite the cult following along with her partner and co-creator, Zelijah, because of her surreal works that are out of this world. Now, she took on the challenge of creating 3D elements for Nadine’s first ever cover for NYLON Manila. We’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Aya Reika and below, she shares how she was able to establish herself and the struggles that she faced as a female creative.

What was the eye-opening project/moment/encounter that made you realize you want to work as a full-time 3D artist?

A very crucial factor on why I started learning 3D was the fact that my workflow (prior to learning so), felt very limited and two-dimensional. As soon as I’ve learned the ropes on my software, 3D felt like a purely limitless art form. It is powerful enough to visually translate a mental image, as well as my clients’ creative imagination.

What was the creative process like behind Nadine’s CGI covers?

Nadine’s CGI covers were a first for me! Being used to creating pure 3D artworks, it was a real challenge to incorporate 3D elements with a photo. Plus the fact that it was gonna be published on NYLON Manila definitely added to the pressure.

My creative process involved A LOT of trial and error, and admittedly a ton of YouTube tutorials and forums to achieve the look that I wanted. I’m glad it turned out the way it did.

What three words describe your work best?

Precise, vibrant, and surreal.

What are the struggles you’ve encountered as a female creative and director on the rise?

It can’t be denied that bias still exists, not just in my industry, but everywhere. I am often called “Sir” online, especially on my page where my photo’s not displayed. I’ve also experienced being looked down on just because of my gender and appearance. I don’t immediately take offense however, I know I am not an isolated case. When you’ve gone through a bad experience so many times, it only motivates you to become better. 

What are the milestones in your career so far?

When I think of milestone, Rico Blanco always comes to mind. I’ve grown up listening to his music, so the fact that I’ve worked with him will always feel surreal to me.

Another notable project is a children’s magazine which tackles Gender and Development. It reminds me that I am able to create art that could possibly make an impact on future generations.

Is there any dream project or client you would want to work on or with?

A dream project would be to work with an artist from the international music scene! It’s always been my goal to raise the bar high for locally-made materials; and working with an international artist will prove that anyone can do it as long as you persevere and strive to grow in your craft. 

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