My name is Gareth West and I’m a self-taught artist, designer and programmer from London, England. My background is in game development, which is where I first started working in 3D, but I’m currently working as a freelance artist, designer and occasional web developer.
I began selling some of my models back when the Sketchfab Store first launched. It started off as a way to earn a little extra income for models I’d already created for past projects, but I soon started making original assets specifically to sell.
How I choose my projects
I don’t tend to choose projects based on how sellable I think they might be—instead I stick to projects that either interest me or provide me with an opportunity to improve my model-making process and to learn new skills, modelling methods and workflows. If the end result is sellable then that’s a bonus.
For some reason I seem to gravitate towards creating odd contraptions!
How I price and promote my work
When pricing my models, I take into account the time it took to make as well as the complexity and uniqueness of the asset. I also do some research to see what price points other artists are selling similar models for. The price needs to be competitive without devaluing the work of others.
I’m also a seller that strives for quality over quantity—I don’t necessarily make assets or asset packs that are going to sell at scale, so my prices have to reflect that.
How I set up my products on Sketchfab
When setting up my models on Sketchfab my approach is the same regardless of whether I intend to sell them or not.
It might sound obvious but I think it’s important to set up your models so that they look their best and are appealing to potential buyers, while at the same time to not overdo it with post-processing effects or stylized lighting setups that might be distracting, making it difficult to see the model for what it is.
To achieve this, my process is to carefully go through each tab in Sketchfab’s 3D Editor one-by-one, setting up lighting and materials before finally adding post-processing effects for some extra polish. My goal is to match as closely as possible, or even surpass, the test renders I’ve made in Blender while working on the project.
For models I do decide to sell, I spend much longer preparing them prior to final export so that the buyer hopefully has very little setup to do once they’ve downloaded them (although I appreciate everyone has their own workflow and my approach might be madness to others). For example, I always make sure my models have clean topology with no nasties like n-gons. I also like to keep my scenes organized by renaming every mesh object to make things as easy to find as possible.
On some occasions I will also utilise Sketchfab’s useful “Attach additional file” feature to provide additional meshes and textures that weren’t used in the real-time scene—things like an un-triangulated version of the mesh, ambient occlusion maps, alternative skins, etc.
How my models have been used
It’s difficult to know where most of my models end up once they’ve been purchased. One downside to selling my work online is that sometimes I’ll get a tip-off that somebody is trying to resell one of my models on another website, but a DMCA request usually puts a stop to that.
On a few occasions I’ve been commissioned to work on projects off the back of making a sale. One example is my Tiger Moth Airship model which the very talented animator Marvelous Media Engine turned into a Miniature Music Box scene.
He also used my Kaneda’s bike model for his Akira CG remake trailer.
Other noteworthy mentions include my Finn and Jake’s Tree Fort model, which was used for a VRChat game called The Land of Ooo; a voxel music studio which I created for the music producer Sermstyle; and numerous other smaller commissions producing one-off assets for various indie game projects.
Why I chose Sketchfab
I started using Sketchfab before the store was even a thing, and I chose it because its real-time renderer was, and still is, second to none, so it was a good way to show off my work. Being able to preview a model in 3D allows viewers to really examine your work closely and find hidden Easter eggs, something you obviously can’t do with a still render.
I also enjoy entering contests to experiment with modeling methods I might not have touched otherwise, and contests are a good way to get noticed. I generally find the community to be a far more laid back and friendlier place compared to other sites, where even Sketchfab’s staff are active and approachable contributors.
So when Sketchfab launched the store it was an obvious next step for me to start selling my models there. Sketchfab’s commission is also highly competitive compared to other 3D marketplaces.
What the future holds
I’d like to continue to make models that interest me and that I enjoy making. At some point I think I will also start producing game-ready asset packs that have a better chance of selling in larger numbers.
As far as producing 3D art into the future goes, it seems like using AI to make models and textures is going to be a real possibility fairly soon. But as long as people continue to derive a lot of pleasure through the process of making art, I don’t think it will ever take over entirely—although a bot to take the monotony out of rigging and UV unwrapping is definitely something I’d sign up for!
Thanks for taking the time to read my Seller Spotlight. If you have any questions or would like to hire me for a project, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can contact me via my portfolio website, my ArtStation page, and of course you can find me right here on Sketchfab.