Today we’re talking to Sketchfab community member Robin Dao. Robin creates beautiful low-poly game art and we were keen to learn more about him.
Could you introduce yourself to our readers: Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Robin Dao, I am a part-time faculty member at the Academy of Art University, School of Game Design. I currently reside in San Francisco, California.
Can you tell us about what aspects of 3D you specialize in?
I specialize in 3D modeling, and sculpting for video games. I currently teach 3D modeling, sculpting, and texturing at the Academy of Art University.
How did you first get started? What was that ‘I want to do this’ moment?
I joined a game making class/club at Art Institute Los Angeles called “Game Wizards”. With teams of fellow students and amazing instructors guiding us we created games and mods. This is where I discovered the camaraderie among fellow development team members, It was awesome working with ambitious, and passionate individuals. It was great to see something you create in a playable game.
Do you have any academic training or are you self-taught?
I learned 3D modeling at Art Institute Los Angeles, but I self taught myself Zbrush, UDK, and hand painting textures.
Tell us a little bit more about your workflow/process?
My workflow for creating an environment goes as follows:
The process begins with an idea which I will quickly sketch out. Creating a concept helps me figure out what to model and how many textures I will need to create.
Typically I create my tiling textures first using photoshop, 3D Coat, and Zbrush.
Next I model/sculpt my props models. Create a game resolution mesh. Finally paint the textures for the prop.
My last step is assembling all of textures and models into a game engine such as Unreal Engine 4, light the scene, and take screenshots of the finished scene.
What project(s) are you working on right now?
I am currently working on a low poly, hand painted outdoor environment. You can keep up to date with it on my blog.
Talk a little bit in detail about your favorite model you currently have posted on Sketchfab?
My favorite model on sketchfab is my “Bunnie Warrior”. I rarely create character models, this guy was made purely for fun and it was enjoyable. I wanted to create something cute yet could defend himself if needed. Creating his fur texture was probably the most difficult part but in the end I thought it came out nicely.
I went even further and created a little carrot house for him.
What would be your personal advice to someone getting started in 3D?
Practice, practice, practice. 3D is culmination of creativity, technical know how, design, and an artistic eye. It takes a long time to master.
What are your thoughts on 3D printing, Are/Do you plan to work with it?
I think 3D printing is very cool! I did have my winning Easter Egg 3d printed, and it gives me ideas for the future. I want to create little figures to give out as gifts.
How did you come across Sketchfab and how does it helped with your project(s)?
I came upon Sketchfab when I saw a friend using it. I was amazed to see 3D model in browser that you could look at in 360 degrees, and move x,y,and z!
What inspires you?
Locations, and architecture inspire me to create fantastical environments. I am especially inspired by World of Warcraft because it IS a virtual world spanning several continents, it was the first MMO I played and the massive world..well wow’ed me. Having the ability to create 3D worlds gives me endless possibilities.