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7 Tips to Transform Your 2D Skills into 3D Job Opportunities Creatives, your next job may be in the metaverse. Here's how to make sure you get started on the right foot.

Courtesy of Adobe

While the metaverse is still in early stages, people are already enjoying entertainment, social, and shopping experiences including Decentraland, Meta Horizon Worlds, and Roblox—each filled with a combination of user-generated and professionally created 3D content.

For creators who make creative content and promote it on social and online, virtual worlds are inspiring new opportunities. A new Adobe study reveals that 72 percent of U.S. creators believe the metaverse will bring new job opportunities as it continues to grow.

By "metaverse," we mean immersive, always-on digital spaces rich in connected, personal experiences, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) make up this new wave of digital interaction. These experiences are collaborative, can be co-created, and fully functioning shared economies, with shopping, job training, play and gaming, education, remote meetings, cultural experiences, and more.

Read on for seven tips, and a little positive inspiration, to help you gracefully leap from creating traditional 2D to 3D and immersive content.

1. Apply your current skills and experience to 3D.

Although moving from 2D to 3D creation may seem daunting, successful 3D creators build on 2D design and thinking skills. Popular design tools now let creators easily turn 2D sketches into 3D graphics.

Design thinking skills are especially useful for corporate projects, where clients move forward in measured, deliberate steps. You can easily create basic 3D content or even more complex work, by bringing the same design process to the virtual worlds: What does your design do, how does it compare to what's already in market, and more importantly, how can you as a designer communicate about what you've made? Moreover, great composition and workflow remain critical when translating 2D concepts into immersive experiences.

2. Take inspiration from animation and cinema.

To embrace the differences between 2D and immersive media, specifically to design for motion and space, revisit classic animation, storyboarding, and storytelling. Succeeding in VR and AR — more active, immersive mediums — requires creators to think more like film directors.

3. Let apps do some of the 3D work for you.

Apps now make it easy for creators to work in 3D. Adobe's Illustrator and Photoshop simplify conversion of 2D sketches into 3D graphics, so you can turn basic bitmaps into scalable vectors. Newer apps such as Substance 3D and Adobe Aero let you create 3D objects, cover them with artistic or photorealistic textures, then assemble them in AR scenes that people can walk through in real spaces.

4. Start small and test the waters.

Many designers begin their 3D and immersive creation journeys by developing filters – digital effects superimposed on real-life images. For instance, Adobe Aero makes it easy to create a swirling image that rotates over a user's face in a camera app, or a floating Pinterest-style board that can be used in AR.

When starting out, technique is less important than embracing experimentation. With AR, for example, you want to get comfortable mixing digital with the tangible. For VR, playing with interactions and behaviors between objects will help you grasp how to better design for in 3D.

5. Experiment first, analyze later.

After publishing, designers can track metrics like impressions, shares, and uses. Filters are a great place to start because you can count the number of times people apply them to photos or videos and then analyze and augment existing trends, or try to create new ones.

6. Build user engagement.

Designing stunning buildings is as impressive in the virtual world as it is in the real world, but there are audiences for simpler things. Up-and-coming designers and established brands are benefitting from one of the metaverse's most popular hobbies – customizing avatars – to monetize their work. Traditional artists have worked with Sotheby's to exhibit virtual art in a metaverse gallery, and Chipotle to authentically decorate a virtual restaurant.

7. Play in multiple virtual worlds.

Today's creators need to work across mediums – as much for creative reasons as business ones. There's no single dominant metaverse destination, and there may never be one, so it's important to port or reimagine projects across different platforms. That might mean adapting a more serious design into a cartoon version, or using social media to promote and distribute traditional art as a NFT.

The common thread across all of these 3D and immersive tips is simple: Keep experimenting! Over the next decade, millions of creators will be involved in building the metaverse. Regardless of where you're starting, you may be surprised at how quickly you can begin creating 3D content now, and you'll be well positioned for a more immersive future.