In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
Hello, my name is Nick aka Count Smackula. I work as a freelance 3D Artist, and my specialty is real-time 3D art assets and environments for Video Games and Virtual Reality. I am the creator of Jettisoned, a dystopian science fiction universe depicted through a series of 3D dioramas.
Inspiration & Influences
With Jettisoned, I wanted to to pay homage to my favorite science fiction from the 1960’s and 1970’s. I wanted to create characters to explore a wild and exotic future where every conceivable possibility inevitably becomes a harsh reality. I wanted Jettisoned to depict scenarios dealing with artificial intelligence, space exploration, and survival in a deadly universe driven by technology and bureaucracy gone haywire.
I also wanted to take advantage of the new wave of tools and platforms that have revolutionized 3D art since they hit the development scene. Texture-paint tools such as Allegorithmic’s Substance Painter and platforms like Sketchfab really opened my eyes to new possibilities for sharing 3D artwork.
Building 3D Assets for Real-time Rendering
For Jettisoned, I use a video game asset pipeline which means understanding a “High-to-Low-Poly” modeling workflow, UV layouts and Normal Maps. Assets modeled and textured this way will allow the most variety and surface detail for any given character, prop or environment while efficiently utilizing system resources.
After massive amounts of modeling and texturing, I end up with characters, props and an environment which can slot into Sketchfab and just about any 3D game engine such as Unity or Unreal.
Making A Scene
For Jettisoned, the most crucial phase is establishing an appropriate and interesting character pose. I want allusory characters poses that convey narrative cues while also serving as the scene’s focal point.
This phase demands a lot of patience and flexibility, and the real challenge is creating poses that feel balanced, deliberate and dynamic from as many angles as possible. But once I have established a pose and focal point, I am able to build my scene to convey information and narrative through additional characters and scene layout.
I then upload everything to Sketchfab, and this is where I create materials, build lighting, and utilize numerous camera settings and post-processing filters that bring my characters, props and environments to life.
With built-in PBR materials, lighting and post-processing, an artist can expect to achieve the highest levels of rendering quality which in turns enables a huge range of projects made possible and accessible through Sketchfab.
Sketchfab’s use of WebGL also makes it compatible with any web browser without the use of a plug-in. This contributes to its technical accessibility while being very easy to share, especially when compared to a game or even custom viewing software. Sketchfab’s portability definitely factored into my planning and approach when building my first scenes for Jettisoned.
More To Come
I am currently working on the next scene for Jettisoned and I am also developing a website to link all my scenes together. If you would like to see more, please follow me and Jettisoned using the links below: