Women on Sketchfab: Yara Rocha

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Hey, folks! I’m very excited about being here to share a little bit of my background and hopefully inspire some of you, it’s such an honor! 🙂

Background

As long as I can remember, I have liked to draw, represent characters, and play games. I was always very curious to know how all that magic of a game was built. How can a 3D character move in a scene, and how does the computer know what to do when I press a key? It all was so fantastic! At some point in my adolescence, I studied artistic drawing a little (literally draw what you’re seeing), which helped me a lot to train my skills of observation.

When I finished high school I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to study Game Development at PUC-Minas, and that was the first time I had contact with the 3D world. This course also gave me the opportunity to pass through all the game development stages, from concept art to animation and programming! Of course, the subject that I loved the most was 3D, and everything related to it made me want to learn more about it. 

At that time I started to get interested in hand-painting techniques. I saw a bunch of really good handpainted characters and props—mainly those by Yekaterina Bourykina and Miki Bencz—here on Sketchfab and I got totally amped up by this!  I believe I liked hand-painted work because it mixes 3D and 2D skills and, since I have loved to draw and paint since my childhood, it was just perfect for me to explore this kind of art for games. College to me was a good time for exploring tons of workflows to reach the visual results I wanted. By then I had found a lot of good handpainted tutorials on Youtube and Gumroad as well! I love the idea of making a 3D model that looks like a painting or drawing but then you can turn it in 360º and see it alive!

Contests

One of the contests I participated in in 2017 was a turning point for me. It was the Riot Contest 2017, and in this one, I concepted and modeled a skin for Darius, one of the League of Legends’ characters. It was a great learning experience for me! I got the chance to improve on my main weaknesses, which were male anatomy and using a consistent texturing workflow. I could practice a little bit of drawing and concept art skills. I also saved the whole production process and feedback that I received in my thread at Polycount, which is awesome! It was at this moment that I realized the importance of saving each part of the process in different files, and, if possible, in WIP images, too. We never know when we’ll need to demonstrate it to someone else or to remember something from the pipeline.

You can check my contest process here.

Working inside Studios

After college, I spent some time working as a freelancer while studying and building a portfolio. My main goal was to have a chance to work in a real company, and, in 2018, after I had submitted my curriculum to a lot of them, the first one that gave me an opportunity was Kokku, an outsourcing company based in Brazil. I spent 8 months there and learned a lot! But after all this time I realized that outsourcing was not exactly what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to just deliver an asset for others but wanted to be part of a full development process. I had done this for 4 years straight and I was missing it! So I quit my job to try again.

It went like a circle for me because I saw myself once more studying and building a portfolio with the kind of work I wanted to do at this point in my career.  I can say that it was a very important moment to level up my artistic skills and my portfolio. Luckily, the only piece of my portfolio that I had made at this time was enough to open up some good opportunities to me. I finally could start working at a company that actually makes games! I’m currently a 3D Artist at Wildlife Studios, mostly involved with character art. 😀

Being in the game industry officially as a character artist is still a real challenge for me. I wanted it since the beginning, but I knew that it would be really difficult, mainly because there are already a lot of great artists doing it, and to be considered for a role like that you need to be as good as those folks that are already working in the field. The learning and recognition process is very long, and sometimes can be tough. It takes time for people to trust you. Within our career path, we end up doing stuff that we don’t really like or doesn’t make much sense for the future that we’re aiming for. In these moments, I like to think calmly and abstract what I’m learning with these tasks, which would be useful to know and add to my workflow. Eventually, it’s a matter of time and patience to reach those goals, and I feel like I’m slowly getting more and more into the subject that interests me the most.

Staying Motivated

What helps me stay motivated is to keep myself inspired by other great artists, people that exist and are tangible. When I talk about 3D artists, fortunately, many of them are on Sketchfab! I think it is very valuable to have access to their work and be able to look at it up close, and not just from a single image. Also, it’s not just a 3D viewer—we can actually interact with each other’s works, and give and receive feedback. In other words, it has good community support, which is awesome. And I want to deeply thank every Sketchfab staff member for the excellent work that you folks have done. 🙂

You can find me on Instagram, ArtStation, and Sketchfab!

I hope you all are safe and doing great! Thank you for the reading 😀

About the author

Yara Rocha

3D Game Artist and absolutely passionate about game development process. I also like to draw and play the guitar in my spare time <3


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