The Sketchfab Masters are a group of super passionate and active community members. They are helping us run community activities, write tutorials and help out community members with support and feedback.
Today, we’re introducing game artist and serial challenge winner Simon Kratz (essimoon).
Hi Simon! Can you introduce yourself?
Hi everyone! My name is Simon Kratz, I’m a German game developer and proud part of Klonk Games, a game dev studio me and 9 of my colleagues founded after our common study of Game Design 3 years ago. We’re currently in the process of adding the final touches to our first big game project as a company: Shift Happens!
Before digging into game development and 3D art I started doing video editing and visual fx in Adobe After Effects some time during my teenage years. I made my first steps in 3D some time before my study (which started in 2010) in Blender. It was a bit overwhelming at first so I took quite a long break until I found a very comfortable introduction to the 3D world with 3ds max. It was really cool for me to work with max and while taking some time to learn it’s secrets I also had the opportunity to get comfortable with ZBrush, Unity, Quixel Suite (called nDo2 and dDo at that time) and various other tools. Our final exercise at college was to make a bust of a character in 3D and this is what came out using all of my knowledge at that time:
Now years later I’m back to Blender 😀 And after getting comfortable with it now all of us artists at Klonk Games use it to get our daily modeling jobs done. I use Twitter a lot to share my daily struggles with software, game development and my fellow colleagues at Klonk Games. My work on Sketchfab can also be found on ArtStation.
What is your expertise?
Being a member of a pretty small team it’s difficult to specialize in just one thing. There’s so much to do to release a quality PC game. Even though half of the team are artists sometimes it still feels that we can’t keep up with it.
For me there are a couple of core responsibilities that just came to be over time. Those involve 3D modeling, visual fx, material authoring (shaders coding, yay) and to some part technical art (solving technical issues to make things look good).
The things that keep me busy most of the time are shaders and visual fx so the modeling part for Shift Happens was mostly done by my colleagues Niko and Elena. My fourth colleague Nora is mostly responsible for the character design and animations of Shift Happens when she’s not busy getting cool trailers and cutscenes up.
One of the things I enjoy most during work is building a level visually on top of the functional work of our game designers and programmers. It involves a lot of different disciplines of art like composition, lighting, how to use motion, contrast and color to create a comfortable mood in the scene and that’s probably what makes it so interesting.
It’s only a rare treat for me though due to my other responsibilities so if you jump and run through the levels of Shift Happens the architecture there is probably the fine work of Niko or Elena 🙂
How do you use Sketchfab?
That’s also one of the reasons I’m using Sketchfab. Being game artist in your own company is a pretty cool job but sometimes I just want to try other things. Be it exploring different art styles or things I never did or rarely get to do before at work.
Since Sketchfab offers such a great renderer that is pretty similar to what game engines can do (with much easier setup though) and a like-minded community it’s the perfect place for me to get stuff out there.
What will you be working on for the Sketchfab Masters?
Did I mention that I love 3D art challenges? My first model here was an entry to the challenge Thomas Pasieka hosted in the Unity forum and many more challenge entries followed in the months afterwards. They are a great way for me to get motivated and get things done in a proper time frame. No matter if you win or not there’s always a nice piece of work you can be proud of.
That’s what I’d like to do here for the Sketchfab community as well. We already did some small modeling and texturing challenges on the forum as well as the recent collaboration with Gravity Sketch. I’m giving my best to establish these small activities as a chance for everyone to do something cool and have fun while doing so.