This interview was conducted by Arti Burton and originally appeared on 80.lv. It is reprinted here with permission.
Hi, my name is Zack Ciminera, also known as Zacxophone in the world of 3D. I graduated with a master’s degree in computer science. I worked for a couple of companies as a Programmer in various roles in France (Android/iOS, Unity, Web, and data visualization). During one of my internships, I had to work in Unity on a serious game. I used the Unity engine to manipulate models, lights, and many 3D-related things. It was short but entertaining! Several years passed, and I alternated between multiple jobs. During these years, I was never really satisfied with what I was doing.
After looking in all directions for what I really wanted to do with my life, I remembered my short internship, in particular 3D aspects. Without any real goal at first, I decided to dig deeper into making 3D models. The best way to learn is to do things, so in 2019, I downloaded Blender and started experimenting with it.
Nature is my principal source of inspiration. I’m quite obsessed with the lifestyle of certain insects, animals, and plants. They have such complex and evolved ways of hunting, moving, or eating. It was a no-brainer for me to try to recreate some of them!
Selling Models on Sketchfab
I discovered Sketchfab early on my 3D path. I stumbled upon the website while searching for tutorial resources on the internet. Since then, I’ve been constantly visiting their website. It’s a valuable tool for my learning process. Sketchfab provides a very cool feature to look at the details of a model (such as the topology, armatures, or UVs). I also love the way to view 3D models in an interactive and immersive way, with the ability to pan, zoom, and rotate the model in real-time. You can literally inspect every vertex of a model.
I have dedicated a significant amount of time, and continue to do so, studying and analyzing the work of other 3D artists. I often browse through a variety of impressive 3D models and take the time to examine the methods and techniques used in their creations. In addition to this, Sketchfab makes it easy to upload and share 3D models with others, which is very nice to showcase your works to a wider audience.
After two years of learning, I had trouble using Blender for texturing, and I looked for an alternative. In the meantime, by spending time on Sketchfab, I often saw models for sale there. In 2021, I just told myself, why not try to sell my own model to finance 3D software? My first goal was to buy a Substance 3D Painter license on Steam. So I applied to become a seller on Sketchfab. The process is very simple, I just filled out a form provided by Sketchfab. The prerequisites are to have at least five models uploaded on Sketchfab, explain the main idea of what you plan to sell, and have a Paypal account.
In my case, I just said that I wanted to sell the animated models I already uploaded. After a few days of reviewing my application, I have been accepted! The last step is to link the PayPal account to the Sketchfab one to be able to receive payment for the sales.
The beginning was very slow, It took me several months to make my first sale, a low poly animated butterfly:
Since then, I have made a lot of new models and improved my skills. I found a nice balance, I use the possibility of income as an inspiration and motivation to push myself to finish and polish my projects.
In my opinion, when people are looking to purchase 3D models on Sketchfab, they are typically looking for models that are ready to use in their projects. For example, a fully optimized, textured, rigged and animated mesh is obviously more attractive because it can be used for games, virtual reality, and other interactive applications without requiring a lot of additional work to set up! Packs are also very coveted, because of the abundance of mesh at a good price.
They also need to be reassured about their purchase. For this, Sketchfab gives them all the tools they need to know exactly what they’re buying (inspect every mesh, texture, material, etc.)
My seller strategy is quite simple, I create what I like when I feel like it and put my final work on the store. If I have no ideas, I’m looking in the store for what might be missing. As for setting prices, I take into consideration the following factors:
- Time and effort put into creating the model
- Quality and detail of the model
- The complexity of the model
- The uniqueness of a model in the market
- Market prices for the same type of works
Once I find a correct price, it is very important to adjust it; depending on the frequency of sales. If I don’t sell it, I try to lower the price. If I sell it a lot, I increase it.
Tips and tricks on presenting Sketchfab models
As a seller, one of the most important things is to really take care of the model’s presentation and referencing. Here are my recommendations to cover a maximum audience
On Sketchfab, use all the features to stage your model. Here’s how I usually do it:
- Add a ground shadow for more realism
- Set a clear and faint Background
Use the post process carefully to your advantage:
- SSAO to accentuate relief
- Sharpness to improve the look of your scan
- Vignette to focus the vision on the model
- Color balance or tone mapping are also nice to add an atmosphere to your scene. Like blue tones for underwater scenes.
- Add annotations if you want to show specific detail
- Write a precise and clear description
- Put relevant keywords and generic tags related to your model
- Set a clear and attractive thumbnail
Last thing, you can also make videos and renders with your model and share them on social media. By doing this, you both advertise your work and provide an example of how it can be used.
If you have any questions, you can ask me anything on Twitter, Instagram, and Sketchfab. I’ll try my best to answer. Thanks for reading and take care.
Interview conducted by Arti Burton
Congratulations for being featured! Silhouettes, textures, animations… your works are always breathtaking.
Thank you for sharing, that’s really inspiring!
Thank you so much Akiko, Karolina. I really appreciate it, I love your work to both of you! 🙏✨