We are Blackspire, a small two person collective, based in Rome, specializing in assets for games and 3D printing. Our style is mainly cartoonish, but we always like to experiment with new techniques. Our skill sets are complementary: since we are a 2D artist and a 3D artist, our workflow is fast and optimized. It starts with a 2D rough concept, then the 3D model, the texturing, and finally the implementation in Unity. We use Unity a lot to light our scenes, and to preview how the assets will appear in a game engine.
We started selling 3D assets not so long ago, in February 2018. We thought it would be great to allow people to use our models, and since our production line for 3D assets is fast, we felt it would be a great opportunity to grow in the market!
We try to be as artistic as possible with all the projects we are working on; it’s not a matter of payment, it’s just to have a good final product. Obviously there are exceptions, some works are very mechanical, but we organize our work day to always keep a space for personal, more artistic works.
We usually choose which assets to make by drawing inspiration from things we like. We really like cartoonish games, and this reflects in our own style. We of course do a little bit of research before putting assets in the stores, trying to figure out if the subjects are a good choice for the market!
In the past years we worked on some indie games projects, and that gave us the chance to refine our production pipeline. We regularly work with game studios and advertising agencies, and our models are used for renders and real time videos and games. We also like to join online contests to further improve our skill range.
We try to keep our product prices rather low, with a price range of about 5-25 dollars, to let more people use our assets and allow us to grow as artists in the industry. Pricing also depends on the style we use, how many textures are in the pack, and the number and size of the objects.
Asset promotion actually starts before publishing the assets; we begin by setting up all the tags which will help people find our work. When published, we usually tweet the model on our Twitter account. We are also starting our Facebook and Instagram pages, to further improve our social communication.
Before setting up our products on Sketchfab, we try to make some demo scenes to let people figure out what they can do with the assets they’ll buy. Then we release the asset pack with all the elements lined up, often uploading project files and textures as additional files.
We created a store on Sketchfab because it has a great and large community, and its 3D viewer makes it easy to show all our works to a potential buyer. It is also extremely fast and simple to set up! Sketchfab viewer also has a model inspector with which anyone can explore the model before buying it, maybe activating the wireframe to see the number of polygons in certain areas, switching the rendering mode or isolating texture channels. It really gives anyone the chance to manipulate and interact with the model.
We think that the game industry is really a good marketplace, because it is growing and always in need of quality assets; a lot of people who make indie games are programmers, and they often search for assets they can use for their game. Making game assets is also extremely fun: you can make every type of model, and in any style you want. You can choose to be more specific, making some really particular assets, or you can publish kits to build lots of things. The choice is up to you!
Also, 3D printing is very popular at the moment, and it will be even more in the future. Making action figures and buildable models is great, and also gives you the chance to make very detailed and unique models.