Women on Sketchfab: Agathe Préfontaine

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Hi! I’m Agathe, I’m from Montreal! I work as a 3D artist on VR games and I really like stylized 3D models! I’m a big fan of wholesome games with cute and chunky characters!

About Me

In high school, I only really liked the art classes and decided to complete a DEC in Visual Art before going to University. I wasn’t remarkably good at drawing or painting but I knew I liked to create stuff. At that time, I was playing a lot of Call of Duty Black Ops II, a not-so-wholesome game, and wondered if creating video games required some sort of creative skill. After doing some research on University programs in Montreal, I then knew it was what I wanted to do. As a result, I applied to two universities and got accepted at UQAT for video game creation (art profile). I graduated in 2017 and got a job as a QA tester, where I tested mobile games, to get a foot in the industry. I also volunteered in a lot of video game related events to create connections. After 10 months, in 2018, Trebuchet gave me a chance and I’ve been with them for almost 4 years now! We work on awesome VR games! Since last year, I’ve also been teaching at UQAT as a lecturer, guiding the students to produce a video game as a final project for their bachelor’s degrees.

The first three years at Trebuchet, I worked on two small projects before getting on a big one. The game is called Winds & Leaves and launched in 2021. At first, we were only 2 junior artists, and I always felt unsure about my work. Then, an amazing new artist arrived on the team—they had more experience and showed me a lot of tips to take my skills to the next level. Since then, I’ve been thriving and gaining confidence—that’s also around the time when I started posting my personal work on Sketchfab.

My Art

I’ve been on the Sketchfab platform since my first year at University, impressed by the quality of the models we could find on it. I personally enjoyed the dioramas, representing a small piece of an imaginary world that would be bigger, which is why I started with this kind of piece based on a drawing I made.

Once again, I modeled one of my drawings in 3D and had a lot of fun doing it. Since drawing isn’t one of my biggest strengths, I started to browse through a lot of concept art for inspiration. Eventually, I realized I had one on myself the whole time—a tattoo of an umbrella covering a stormy cloud; I thought it could be really cute to recreate it in 3D with a colorful palette. At the last minute, I decided  to add a twist and thought it would be fun to see ducks swimming in a puddle under it.

In my day-to-day, I work with Roxanne Chartrand, an incredibly talented concept artist. Since she has original ideas and we wanted to have fun, we partnered a few times on external projects. The first one we did was initially for the Sketchfab Modeling Challenge: Lighthouse. We came up with the concept together: something that would act as a lighthouse while still being imaginary and clever. Then Roxanne drew a great concept, which was how the Lunar Lighthouse came to life. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to finish the 3D model before the deadline.

I do try different techniques and styles for different concepts. I honestly just want to have fun and model something that is not like what I do at work. Sometimes I’ll want to model chunky stuff, try PBR or only stay in unlit, etc. I believe it helps my style evolve and helps me decide what I like best. When I look back at the projects I’ve made, I know that future projects will look better. The only thing that stays consistent is how I like to keep scenes simple and small. I don’t put too much detail in my textures—a good gradient will do just enough with good baked maps and the use of Substance Painter generators. Whenever you create something, it does not need to be big and complicated to share an emotion or a part of a world you imagined.

Challenges

The biggest challenge I have had to deal with was a huge art block during my final university year. I wasn’t really good at modeling, which gave me this horrible feeling when I had to model an asset. I would overthink things and freeze in front of my empty 3ds Max scene because I wanted it to be perfect immediately. The only way to break through was by looking at a lot of references, understanding how other artists did it, and just going for it. Trying to model something is always better than staring at your screen. It is okay if it starts out ugly—it needs time and work to become pretty.

My current challenge is doubting myself. Whenever I work on a personal project I always end up doubting that it looks good, especially if it’s based on my interpretation of a concept. Sometimes I do change things up if I think they look better in 3D, but more often than not I just wish my work was an exact duplicate of the concept. I need to remember to be kind to myself and in the end, I’m doing this because I have fun doing it.

Sketchfab

I’m really glad to be part of the Sketchfab community. It’s an amazing opportunity to have this platform to share my work easily and be seen. Whenever I receive a postcard with one of my projects on it, I frame it. It makes me proud and it is uplifting.

I often use Sketchfab for references because it lets me easily deconstruct how the model was made. I can see every map that is being used, the UV unwraps, post-processing, UV checker, the topology, and more! It is full of information that can also be posted on other websites, and I find it useful for my portfolio. It is a great tool to demonstrate that you understand the process of creating an asset—and it’s the perfect way to showcase a 3D project.

In addition to Sketchfab, you can also follow me on Twitter and ArtStation!

Thank you Abby, Mieke, and Jasmin for highlighting the works of women on Sketchfab with this series. I’m really grateful for this chance to write about my work and my journey into this field.

About the author

Agathe Préfontaine

3D Artist at Trebuchet in Montreal



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