Hi Sketchfab! My name is Molly Entwistle, and I am a 3D artist from the North East of England, specialising in prop and environment creation. I am currently looking to break into the games industry and enjoying spending all of my free time working on my art.
I have had a keen interest in art and playing video games for as long as I can remember, but had never really thought of pursuing Games Art as a career until it came to applying for University. Originally, I was going to study Photography—but then I saw that Games Art courses existed and knew that it was the right decision for me.
Having absolutely no prior knowledge of 3D, the first year of uni was definitely a challenge, but I was determined to do well and eventually something clicked. I started enjoying the course more and more, and knew this was what I wanted to do. I ended up graduating with a First Class Bachelor of Arts in Computer Games Art from Teesside University. About a year later, I went back and completed a Master of Arts in 3D Games Art. Deciding to do a master’s has been one of the best things I have done, as I’ve seen such a huge improvement in my art over that time, which has been so motivating.
The typical workflow for my 3D art is 3ds Max, occasionally ZBrush, Substance Designer/Painter, and Marmoset Toolbag 3 for portfolio renders, or Unreal Engine if I am making a full environment.
When I am deciding what I want to create, I always go to ArtStation or Sketchfab to make sure that there isn’t already a whole load of that object or environment. I want to create things that are both interesting to me and haven’t already been seen a hundred times. I also like to browse Pinterest and save anything I find interesting to my Inspiration board, which I have broken up into categories.
Browsing on Pinterest is how I came across the 1920’s Mutoscope that I recently made. It was pinned from an antiques website full of really obscure, interesting objects. That website is now one of my favourite places to look for weird inspiration and references. I have also become that friend who, when out and about, takes pictures of some wear on a bit of wood as reference for a potential model.
After doing my high- and low-poly models in 3DS Max, I like to bake in Substance Painter. I then add any extra high poly details (for example the “pull lever slow” or “mystic mirror” signage) with the height channel. I export the Normal map and re-import it into Painter and use it to replace the previous Normal Map. I then bake the AO/curvature, etc. to include all of this additional detail, meaning that materials will apply correctly and look believable. I like to hand paint the majority of wear and tear on my models as this means I can get it to look exactly how I want, and achieve more of a unique feel.
The biggest challenge I deal with is imposter syndrome. It’s so hard not to compare myself to other artists and feel as though I don’t know enough or I’m never going to get good enough, but something to remember is we ALL feel like that! The best thing I do to combat this is just to keep working on things I enjoy and making notes of things I should learn or have a go at.
In my free time, I will always only work on the project I feel like doing that day. It may mean I have multiple projects going at once, but it’s a more productive way for me to work and it stops me feeling like I have to force myself to be creative. If a project isn’t working out, I leave it for a bit and then come back to it later, and I don’t beat myself up if it’s not turning out how I want. Something I often think about is that a piece of art might not always work, but it is always an opportunity to practice and learn.
Getting involved with the game dev community on Twitter and getting to know so many talented artists has been hugely motivating. Through Twitter I have also found the NE3D Discord for artists in the North East and the Beyond Extent Discord for environment artists. These are both great places full of artists giving and receiving feedback, posting WIPs, and sharing useful resources with the community. Joining these communities has been massively beneficial and I’ve learned so much from everyone.
There are so many different art styles on Sketchfab and I love having a browse and seeing what people have created. Some of the stylized pieces on here are so unique and interesting! It’s really pushing me to get out of my realistic comfort zone and want to have a go at some more stylized stuff. Having the option to look at a model from all angles, see all the materials and the wireframes is a really great way to see how things have been created.
Huge, huge thanks to Abby, Jasmin and Mieke for inviting me to join the Women on Sketchfab series. I love reading all the posts and am honoured to be able to share a little about myself and my work. I’m looking forward to reading more posts from talented artists!