Hello there! My name is Fabiola, I’m 22 years old, and I’m a student in 3D animation (just about to graduate) from Belgium. I started my journey in 3D just two years ago and since then I have tried my best to discover more about it.
Since I was little, I had a passion for arts, drawing, making up stories, crafting things with my hands, and I always knew I would do something artistic in the future, even though I didn’t know exactly what at the time. When I was 11 and watching How to Train Your Dragon at a small theater with my father, it clicked as the end credits rolled. I never really realized that working in the animation industry could be a possible career path for me.
After finishing high school in my home country, Switzerland, in 2018 I was accepted to a university in Belgium with a Computer Graphics curriculum. I got to learn a bit of everything and ended up following a 3D generalist course of studies, focusing on the 3D pipeline for animated movies. Originally, I wanted to specialize in 2D animation and illustration, but I wasn’t confident enough with my drawing skills. So I turned to 3D, still new and unknown to me, thinking I could continue to use my drawing skills as a tool for various projects.
At first, it was a struggle for me to get and learn 3D tools, but I continue to learn and improve myself with every school assignment. Nowadays I try my best to practice as a beginner, learn new things and find inspiration for personal projects, too. I’m interested in animation, modeling and texturing, but I also love looking at illustration, concept art and storyboarding. I’m looking forward to joining the animation industry and gaining insights into the professional field while being open to any specialization possible.
During my studies, a teacher asked us to upload our assignment to Sketchfab. This is where I discovered more about stylized 3D, as well as hand-painted texturing; both are a great mix of 2D and 3D art, which I immediately loved and gravitate towards now.
After a few uploads for school, I was curious to experiment with new techniques on personal projects. This is why I don’t have a specific style or consistency yet since I’m trying out new things.
I like to reproduce 2D concepts in 3D. I find it interesting to translate an illustration through another medium and figure out how to mix the artistic with the technique.
Here is my first organic modeling and stylized texturing. It is not perfect in many ways, but I had fun trying to emulate the style of the initial concept by Edwardian Taylor, by enriching the colors and hand-painting the details.
Since this project, accumulating different sources of inspiration has become my new favorite hobby. I can spend way too much time analyzing concept art, figuring out how it would be in 3D, the challenges that it presents, and then saving it for later. My favorite sources of inspiration are Instagram and Pinterest, as they always help to motivate me, discover new styles, and feel inspired by new artists and possibilities.
During my graduation project, I was in charge of concept art and texturing within my group. Since we wanted to try out a stylized NPR look for our project, I used this opportunity to attempt a few texturing tests, like this simple and cute hot cocoa cup from the Pokemon Café Mix game. I tried a workflow between Photoshop and Substance Painter to get the best of the two. I would love to recreate more of these different cute dishes from the game.
Meanwhile, I had another school assignment to post on Sketchfab, too.
With this piece, I refined my ZBrush and topology skills while maintaining a balance with stylization for the sculpt and the texturing. I didn’t have much time to practice, but I’m still happy with the result.
I chose one of my favorite movies as my assignment subject, which again really helps me to stay motivated during the whole process.
Finally, here is one of my favorite projects that I have worked on so far.
I always wanted to try the outlining method that I saw everywhere on Sketchfab, especially. I picked this amazing concept from James Turner that I saved a long time ago—it was perfect to experiment with. I loved this cute and colorful style that offered some challenge to reproduce accurately. For example, I cheated in a few places to emulate the thick black outline, since it didn’t show properly depending on the camera’s point of view.
I had so much fun with it! I would love to lean more towards that kind of project in the future.
I’m still very new to this field, which is a challenge for me. As a beginner, I don’t yet know which of the animation industry’s domains I would like to settle myself into. I focus on staying open and curious about every new project that I can grab. Maybe with time, I will have a clearer idea of what I would like to put most of my time, passion, and efforts into. There are so many possibilities and options to choose from, even though I know it can be a tough industry. Further, having a good portfolio brings a lot of challenges, too.
Now I am working to overcome my rather low self-esteem, and to become more comfortable with different 3D workflows and softwares. Confidence has always been an issue for me—I feel like I don’t have enough ease regarding my work, or enough practice, to make it as perfect as I would like. But when I force myself to step back, I realize it’s been barely two years since I have been practicing in 3D… I still have plenty of time to grow and learn. I realize I need to worry less, chill out a bit more, and give myself the best possible tools and opportunities to enhance my skills.
Keeping my inspiration, and posting on Sketchfab, from time to time, will definitely help me on my journey.
I think that Sketchfab is a great platform where I can explore and find inspiration by discovering new artists. It’s also a good place to post a few creative projects, especially if they are your first steps in 3D.
I like being able to easily share my work with friends and relatives who are not really familiar with 3D. It’s easy to access, one can turn around and enjoy 3D in the most simple and intuitive way possible.
Additionally, I like the diversity and the discovery that the community offers. Sketchfab can serve as a learning tool to study artworks practically by turning the wireframe feature on, for example. I also like to view just the base color, to better understand creative processes and texturing. Actually, this is something I keep in mind with my art pieces now, so that they can be appreciated from different points of view.
I’m looking forward to having a spot where I can see my progression over time and be proud of my work.
Thank you very much to Abby, Mieke, and Jasmin. I’m very glad you came to me for this article opportunity, which was very new to me. You can find more of my work on my Sketchfab and ArtStation.
See you then and take care!