A few weeks ago we started a blog post series on the Sketchfab team, and interviewed Marc. We are excited to now introduce you to Paul, who was the first to join the team!
How long have you been with Sketchfab? How did you hear about it? What’s your role here?
I’ve been with Sketchfab since March 2013. I first heard about displaying 3D models using WebGL from a tweet from @trigrou, whome I was following for his osgjs c++ to js conversion. I was immediately interested. As part of my job, I was seeing the use of interactive 3D media on the desktop growing, but it was definitely missing in the online experience. Right now, I’m mainly working on WebGL and shader code, as well as 3D format conversions.
How did you get into 3D? What interests you most about 3D?
Wow, that was a long time ago. I got hooked on computers and programming very early (it was with the Thomson mo5 with a stylus), and saw a documentary on Pacific Data Images (which would later become Dreamworks); it showed its movies, specifically Chromosauraus.
I instantly thought that was what I wanted to do. A bit later, I saw Eurythmy, in 1989, and it was like an epiphany; it made me feel the simulation hypothesis. That broadened my view, and got me into following not only 3D but also AI, physics etc. It helped me to go further and see 3D as a door to simulation. To this day I have “world simulation feeling” glitches now and then, where I see the world around me as triangles, ray tracing and other shader light equations…
Do you do 3D modeling yourself? How would you get started?
I do not do artistic modeling myself, but instead procedural modeling, where you code to get 3d shapes 🙂 And for that, I would get started by reading geometric formulas.
What do you do in your spare time?
Reading – computer graphics & simulation websites and papers mostly, hacking based on those readings when I have extra spare time…
Otherwise it’s some hiking and pastry cooking (My latest cooking obsession is trying to make a whole croquembouche, below).
That would be Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and lately the TV series “The Wire”. I really do like SyFy & fantasy movies, but being a hardcore sf & fantasy book reader, it’s hard to get the level of depth that a book provides through a movie. To that note, I do particularly recommends all Ursula le Guin writings as she is my favorite author, sharing 1st place only with the author of A l’autre bout du Rêve, from whom I eagerly await more books. As for my favorite selection mechanism, I do abide by the “Bad book leaves the reader intact” rule.
What do you listen to while working?
I choose music carefully, as a “Mood Machine”. So when deep into coding, silence is the rule, otherwise voiceless jungle/trance rythm based music when doing grunt work, or groove and jazz for creative and thinking sessions. And when killing heiseinbugs, its time for “Die, die, by my hand” or similar heavy-metal *loving* songs like “Rage against the Machines” to be let out of their cave.
Favorite model on Sketchfab?
I have a lot of those, and each week adding a new one to my fav list. The one I really like is the Octopus:
As it really does ring a bell for me, from the days of portable video game console… The minimalist execution is really perfect, while also achieving emotion and impact with a very simple set of techniques. That’s art for you.
Where are you from? How old are you?
From Paris, France, and now in the south-west of France, near the Pyrénnées. I’m 36 years old, and the balding process has begun…
What would you have as your last meal on Earth?
The perfect french cheese plate with at least roquefort, camembert, and a perfect red wine
Craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Falling from a in a 800 meters cliff, in the Alps, near Grenoble, for a hang-gliding session would be on top.
What are you most proud of?
Doing exactly what I like, which is working in my field of computer graphics and simulation.