We are going to be interviewing 3D artists to give others an idea of their workflows and design processes. Our first artist is a regular contributing member of the Sketchfab community, and most recently came Third place in the first Sketchfast contest.
Could you introduce yourself to our readers: Who are you and where are you from?
Hi my name is Sylvain Bernard I live in Angers, France. I am also known as Mestaty.
Can you tell us about what aspects of 3D you specialise in?
I consider myself to be specialised in environments, and non-living stuff. I still do a lot of character models because it’s easier to tell a story with a character. I also like to do some research for examples on how to obtain a certain kind of render, or how to achieve an effect in real-time.
How did you first get started in 3D? What attracted you to it as a career?
I discovered 3D through video games on the PSone. I realised the structure of the models and tried to figure out how to model Squall from Final Fantasy 8. When I entered high school, I got a pretty decent computer and had a lot of time to research into 3D. I made friends who were into making demos and I tried to help them with my 2D skills and became part of a demo team. I aimed to show them that making a real time program like a game was not too complicated in terms of graphics.
Do you have any academic training or are you self-taught?
At first I was self-taught but it was only about understanding how the software worked and how to use it properly. After that, I tried to understand the principles of 3D and how it worked. I was mainly interested in real-time because rendering takes time and I am not very patient. Later I had academic training in Lyon, France. I learned how video games were made from both an artistic and technical perspectives.
Do you currently have a job in industry?
I don’t have a job in industry yet mainly because I am focused on one 3D modelling package which is Blender. I can use other packages like Maya and Zbrush, but I need to expand my knowledge to other packages such as 3D Studio Max. I would also like to improve my design and texturing skills.
How did you come across Sketchfab and how does it help you in your career?
In the past we worked together on a real-time demo with Cedric (CEO of Sketchfab). He introduced me to the site. I had been waiting for an online 3D viewer to show off my models. Sketchfab helped me proving my 3D models are clean and run smoothly in real time.
Tell us a little bit about your creative process and how you go about starting a project?
I draw a lot and then try to understand how to create the model in 3D. With that idea in mind, I try to do something I have not done before to give myself a challenge on a new project such as creating models that tell a story or fit within a particular universe.
Of all your current pieces currently on Sketchfab, which one is your favourite and why?
Of my current work, my favourite model is my Raceship. It was made for a real-time demo and was recently used to show off the Sketchfab service. I am quite proud of it because it was difficult to find good reference material and designs for raceships. Throughout the model creation process, I had 3 designs that I scrapped before I reached the final design.
Do you have any personal projects at the moment?
Yes, at the moment I am working on a concept design for the unfinished robot you can find on my Sketchfab portfolio. I left it a long time because I like to move from project to project, but it’s a bad idea if you want to complete work and release it. I’m aiming for the model to be a real demonstration of my design and texturing skills. I also have other projects that will probably be uploaded to Sketchfab when they are complete.
Do you have any hobbies that help influence your work?
I am really inspired by animated movies, especially short movie compilations like the Animatrix, Batman Gotham Knight, Genius Party Beyond (Studio 4°C) and Sweat Punch. One of my favourite creators is Koji Morimoto and I would recommend looking at his work, it’s amazing.
I love looking at other 3D modellers work and admiring their design and technical skills. I particularly like work by Erigo (Yaroslav Grigorash), Marat-ars, First Keeper and Slipgatecentral. I have a lot of respect for those artists.
I also enjoy listening to music and am open to different types. One song could be electronic, the next could be rap or pop music. I dont like listening to the same things over and over when I am working so I do a lot of searching on the internet for fresh music to listen to.
Do you have any hobbies that allow you to get away from the computer screen?
Nature inspires me, and I walk a lot so it gets me away from the computer. I also like to read some Manga, Bande dessinées and comics.
Do you work traditionally as well as digitally?
Yes I do some traditional art and used to paint. These days simple drawing is much more convienient and I do a lot of sketching or writing to help with the design work in my projects.
What is a normal day like for you?
A normal day for me… I wake up quite late like 10am then I check my e-mails and do some useless stuff on the internet. Then after noon I work till 4-6pm then I do some random stuff (go outside, play games…) and after dinner I rework till late in the night. My ideal normal day would be to wake up earlier, do some drawing on Photoshop to improve my skills. Work in the afternoon and go to bed at 11pm. But it will still be nice to get some free time.
Are you active in any other communities?
Not really, I am not a very talkative person, especially on the internet. I look at some forums but I never manage to post anything. It’s a thing that I really want to change to be more motivated and get advice about my work from other people apart from my friends. I think it could really encourage me to be more productive.
Have you received any great pieces of advice or inspiration from anyone to help you in your career?
I don’t really have one person that inspires me, I have many. There are a lot of people in my life like my friends, my professor, my family and all the others who tell me that I can do it, and help me to learn more and keep me interested. As a freelancer, motivation is the key to keep going and if you have that person who can motivate you, you can succeed. I really hope any of you reading this will do the same.
We would like to take the opportunity of this interview to say a big thank you to Mestaty for all the help and feedback he has given, particularly on testing (and asking for 🙂 features and the new material editor. There will be more featued artists from the community over the coming weeks.