Hello there, my name is Pavel Novak and I am a Creative Director at the award winning digital production boutique Madeo. I live in Zlín, a small town in the Czech Republic, doing the work for the rest of the world thanks to digital technologies.
One could say that I am trying to keep myself occupied, from building electric guitars, to digital designs, to illustrations, to motion graphics, to video mappings. But I enjoy creating video games the most. I simply love the creative process behind building virtual worlds due to the fact that you can always learn something new.
Since my primary job has become more about designing software for big corporations, I have decided to start creating video game assets in my free time. That way I am still part of the gaming community, and I have a space to experiment and most importantly I can relax, having full control over the final product. I have only one rule: it has be fun, otherwise what is the point of doing it.
For most of the modeling, I am using this awesome open source software Blender. I am a big believer that it doesn’t matter which software you use for your work, but what can you achieve with it. Also Sketchfab has a great way to upload and reupload your models right from Blender, which makes it easy to keep my asset packs updated. I never take my packs as finished, trying to improve and update them regularly based on customer feedback and requests.
For lowpoly models, I try to create two versions of each of them. One with a single shared texture atlas – great for mobile – and a second with multiple materials for prototyping. I am also experimenting with a combination of different textures of noise and materials to break from the common “lowpoly” visual style. The goal is to have unique looking assets, that are also usable for most users. Color is also my favorite tool and a very important aspect of my overall visual style.
Also I like to play with Sketchfab post processing filters at the end, tweaking the colors, adding a really subtle chromatic aberration and noise. The goal is to not overdo it. It has to be barely visible. I add my own HDRs and set the lights in a way that best serves the overall mood of the scene.
Some things I have learned the hard way. I tend to delete invisible faces like the bottoms of models just for the sake of speed optimization but discovered that some of my customers started to use models for VR, and that you need everything there. Also I learned the importance of giving your models unique names when you have more than a few hundred of them.
In the Sketchfab store I include the .fbx version of each model (standard for video gaming production), texture sources, and a blender file so that anyone can open the files and even export them exactly as they need.
I have established a small team called Polyperfect with my friend Elliot Padfield. We create custom rigs, animations, scripts and AI for Unity. You can see our work on our Facebook page.
I started to use Sketchfab for asset promotion quite early. Having the option to display my work anywhere has really helped. Also now I can sell models right from Sketchfab’s store, so it’s more convenient than ever. Sketchfab also has an amazing support team. As for the price, I try to come up with a reasonable amount, based on many factors, but most importantly on what I personally would be willing to pay and than I lower it.
For promoting assets I use Facebook ads and Facebook pages as well as YouTube videos and occasional cooperation with industry YouTubers. Good word of mouth and customer satisfaction is also key and is just as important as asset creation. I try to answer as many messages as I can even when it can get overwhelming sometimes. Creating user manuals and documents has really helped me cut down on the amount of troubleshooting requests.
Thanks to selling digital assets and my work, my wife can be home, taking care of our child and other family stuffs. I don’t see asset selling stores as magical money machines but rather, as with everything, the more work you put into it, the more you get from it. I would recommend simply creating things you love to create, have fun with it and don’t do it just for money’s sake, because it shows.
I would also like to encourage artists that are buying my assets to share their work with me. I have seen a couple of games with more than a million downloads made with my models and it’s a great honor.