Hey Sketchfab, I’m Jacinta Vu! I love telling stories through my use of colors and 3d models. My favorite things to visualize are super cluttered dioramas with lots of life and love in them.
I’ve been drawing since I can remember. There wasn’t a time when art wasn’t a huge part of my life and as I got older, my relationship with art only got stronger. Growing up, anime was a huge driving force behind my art and League of Legends was the game that made me super interested in pursuing art professionally. I was in love with all of it. The colors, the movement of the characters, the designs, and from that moment of captivation, I knew that I had to make something like that.
Before I went to college at the Columbus College of Art & Design, I had no idea how to do anything in 3D. College definitely opened my eyes to all the different jobs I could have in art. I didn’t even know there were so many specific jobs in the game industry. I just wanted to keep painting and make stuff that looked cool and I was honestly so lost for the first two years of my college education.
Loving my Work Again
In school, we mostly focused on PBR and high-poly sculpts/models. This was nice and all, and I’m glad I got this background so I have a good understanding of how a lot of different art works, but, it wasn’t for me. I enjoyed it, but at the same time, I didn’t. I found myself constantly thinking, ‘why does this need to have so many polys’ and I really really wanted to understand how games like League of Legends and World of Warcraft textured their models.
Because I had an illustration background, I was always wondering how I could make use those skills in my 3D work, and a good friend and upperclassman, Lexi White, actually recommended that I take up hand painting! I had no idea what that meant, but when she explained it to me, I felt like that was right up my alley. The first time I ever felt like I was taking the right step in my art journey was when I completed my ‘bedroom’ diorama on Sketchfab. That was my first time ever attempting to model low-poly assets and hand paint, and even though the textures are rather simple and my model isn’t perfect, it was a huge stepping stone for me. I am super thankful because as I was struggling with my art journey, I had so many peers, professors and mentors who helped me further my art. Being told that what I liked to do was good and valid honestly helped me create so much wonderful art that I would have never envisioned myself doing back when I was in high school.
Now I can confidently say that my focus is low-poly game props and environments with hand painted textures! My inspiration comes from food, colors, games like Katamari, Kirby, and Animal Crossing and simplistic shapes. My love for simplicity shows a lot in my favoritism towards low-poly models and since I love hand painting all of my assets, I can fake a lot of detail anyway!
Finding that Spark
A constant challenge that I deal with is my imposter syndrome. There are days where it is not as strong as others, but sometimes I find myself thinking, “why don’t you texture your models in a AAA style?” “you’re not good, look at all of these other people!” and that kind of mindset is very toxic to my mental and emotional state. Post-graduation put me in a slump too because I was constantly churning out art without taking care of myself physically and mentally and that led to burnout.
Getting involved with the game dev community through Twitter was honestly one of the best things I have ever done in my life. There are so many great people who make such inspiration work. Seeing them make the work they do and also tell me that the work I make is valid is a huge motivator for me to keep creating. They push me to try new things and I learn so much from them and use all of that new knowledge to push my art even further. Every day I count my blessings for having such a wonderful support group.
Sketchfab was also a key factor in me actually loving 3D and finding my niche. My intuition kept telling me that I belonged in the world of 3D, but I didn’t know why because I was not having a good time at all. Enter Sketchfab, the thing that showed me a world of so many different kinds of 3D models. I was finally able to see how 3D art worked. Seeing the real models used in some games and being able to pick them apart kind of helped me in a confusing way. It’s hard to explain, but without the context of the UVs, texture maps and topology, models can kind of seem unattainable. It feels like you will never be able to get to that level. Sketchfab helped me see how my peers and senior artists approach models and that was an integral part of my growing process as an artist.
I’d like to thank Jasmin, Abby,and Mieke for inviting me to this Women on Sketchfab series. When I first heard of the series, I was very excited to see that there was another platform whose mission is to elevate and make women more visible in the industry. As an artist who finds motivation in the community, I hope that my perspective helps someone, somewhere. I am beyond honored to share my story with everyone!