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 Simon Kratz (essimoon).
Hi everyone! My name is Simon Kratz, I’m a German game developer, a proud part of Mimimi Games, and was a founding member of Klonk Games, a game dev studio me and 9 of my colleagues founded after our common study of game design 3 years ago. Our biggest hit there was Shift Happens. Currently, we are working on a new, still top-secret title after finishing our AA-project Desperados 3.
Before digging into game development and 3D art, I started doing video editing and VFX in Adobe After Effects sometime during my teenage years. I made my first steps in 3D in Blender before I began my formal study (which started in 2010). 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 its 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. 😀 It became our major modeling tool at both our initial start-up Klonk Games and Mimimi Games (where i joined in 2019) 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 Mimimi Games. My work that you see on Sketchfab can also be found on ArtStation.
After initially wearing lots of hats in our small team, I now have the chance to focus a bit more on VFX in a rather big production environment. Work didn’t become more easy or less, just a bit more focused 😀
For me there are a couple of core responsibilities that just came to be over time. Those involve 3D modeling, VFX, material authoring (shaders coding, yay), and, to some extent, technical art (solving technical issues to make things look good).
The things that keep me busy most of the time are shaders and visual effects while my colleagues take care of all the other parts that are needed to make a great game.
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—that variety is probably what makes it so interesting.
It’s only a rare treat for me, though, due to my other responsibilities.
Being able to work with 3D and show it to the world is one of the reasons I’m using Sketchfab. Being a VFX artist in a medium-size company is a pretty cool job but sometimes I just want to try other things, whether it’s exploring different art styles or trying new skills or doing things I rarely get to do 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.
Sketchfab Masters Projects
I really enjoy joining other CG challenges so during my first years in the Masters program I mainly focused on doing small-scale community challenges on the forum. I quite enjoyed that but they also were quite a bit of work and focus shifted a bit over the years.
These days my role mainly focuses on testing and giving feedback to new Sketchfab features as well as occasionally helping out people on the forum. I still actively follow the development and gotta say that it’s amazing how Sketchfab has developed over the past years and it’s great to see there’s a lot more to come on the horizon. 🙂