Akiko Yamashita

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Akiko Yamashita

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You know that YouTube video you can't stop watching? Well, it could be your portal into a life and career you'd never imagined. That was the case with Akiko Yamashita — a designer, 3D animator, and creative director at the Los Angeles design firm VT PRO.

Yamashita had become obsessed with YouTube videos about projection mapping, a kind of 3D modeling that turns uncommon objects into display surfaces for artistic video projection. After watching the videos untold number of times, Yamashita took to Craigslist and formed a group of like-minded creators who wanted to learn more about the cutting-edge visual art.

Fast forward through years of honing her design and animation skills, and Yamashita now occupies a leadership position at VT PRO, a company where you're liable to see people both welding massive pieces of metal and hovering their hands in front of computer monitors, almost like voodoo. Hear more from Yamashita in the video above: about her education in Japan, the projects undertaken by her company, and how she turned a random interest into a profession.

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