João Jacinto is a 3D Artist from Portugal.
- Hi João, tell me who you are and what do you do as a freelancer?
Hi! I’m a freelance 3D generalist based somewhere in the middle of Portugal. Back when I was in school I was not the greatest student around, but there was a few things that I loved, basically everything that was art and sports (except football) related. So I would always give my best at those things. In 2008 I found that 3D Studio Max existed and that was a great tool and that it was possible to do amazing things with it, so I immediately got hooked to it. Since I was an art student and I also loved computers I knew that this was the way to go, and this was also the year which I’ve applied to college so this totally changed my path and my focus. After that I worked a lot on my skills but I had a difficult journey because my internet access was very limited. But I’ve managed to overcome the challenges and the difficulties. A lot of stuff happen in the past 10 years and as for now I usually do 3D modeling and sculpting (hardsurface and organic models) and some commercial animations.
- How long have you been working as a freelancer now?
I’ve started my career back in 2011, almost immediately after finishing my degree. But first I worked for a company for 16 months. So I accidentally started freelancing right after that, but in a very small way.
- Why did you decide to become a freelancer? Did you think about it for a long time or did your decision come suddenly?
When I left that company I thought that I should try to find a job elsewhere. But at that time Portugal (and some other countries) were in a financial crisis and that affects pretty much everything, especially anything related to audiovisual contents. So I then took the decision to work mainly on my portfolio for as long as I wanted, and then after publishing a few of my works I started to get involved with some clients. This was not regular at all, but it made me think a lot of what to do in the future.
- What is your competitive advantage, which makes your clients hire you?
According to my clients feedback for the past years, I know that I’m a fast, effective and flexible worker, this is due to my full time dedication and will to overcome the obstacles. I also feel the need to improve from one job to another, regarding if it’s personal or professional. I know that in the end if we work hard enough and put enough dedication in each piece, that particular client will come back, sooner or later and may also bring some more clients in the way!
- Who are your competitors? What do they have that you don’t?
To be honest I don’t know that many people that do freelancing in 3D, but there are some huge names with splendid work here in Portugal. They also are my inspiration to do some personal pieces. At this moment I’m working on a very specific thing which is kind of new to me so I really don’t know anyone that works in this area.
- Are there a lot of freelancers in your business?
Yes there are, the 3D world is getting bigger and bigger and there are more areas to work on than ever. So I guess that the number of freelancers will go up in the next years.
- What do your clients expect from you?
To deliver a piece that fulfills their expectations in a way that it’s fast, effective and in the end it looks good and has it should.
- Who are your typical clients?
Being a generalist involves a lot of different stuff, I’ve worked for games, commercials, architecture, animation, 3D printing/prototyping and most recently in the medical area.
- How has your business changed over time?
Quite a lot, I started with no real expectations but I’m having more work than ever. I’ve managed to filter some stuff along the years so my business would stay consistent and also avoid going too far out of subject.
- How did you gain your first customers?
I had a friend that had a friend that knew a guy that wanted some sort of 3D piece and that’s how it all started.
- John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half. Do you gain your clients by advertising or in another way?
Not at all, all the clients that I had and have are close and direct contacts.
- The best marketing move, you’ve done?
I haven’t done anything regarding this so we can ignore this question and the one below it.
- Do you hire outsourcing service providers for services, which you believe are a waste of your time?
No, I tend to do everything by myself, I like the challenges and when I have something bothering me I don’t rest until I’m done.
- How does your typical working day look like? What do you do when you are not working? How many hours/days per week are you working?
This is something that’s not easy to answer, I can work 4 hours, 6, 10, 12, 14… it depends on the amount of projects I have going on. But I really try to get some rest during weekends. When I’m not working professionally I can be working on some personal stuff or work in things that are no way related with 3D modeling, this helps me to clear my mind and have a fresh eye!
- Which books do you recommend to freelancers?
3D total has quite the books, also there are a lot of books that came from kickstarter. The ones I most recommend are books that talk about character proportions, anatomy, framing, look and feel, more like the artistic side of things rather than technical.
- What is your current inspiration that drives you in the business?
If I was working on some more artistic projects I would really have an inspiration but at this point it’s more of what is my current motivation.
- What would you do differently if you would start again?
I would be more proactive at the beginning. But it’s part of the process I guess, I didn’t know what to expect or what I was getting into, so, it is what it is, no major regrets so far.
- What would you advise someone who has an idea, but no money?
People need money, artists as well, so I advise not to bother anyone if they want to go forward with a project with zero money. When some pro bono work appears, it may go smoothly but when it comes a project with money, that will get and the way, therefor postponing that free work. So, money is key.
- What was the best business advice you received?
Not to sell myself for pennies and always keep a steady ground for decent payment. If it doesn’t pay my time I rather not do it.
- Do you have an online resource which you use regularly? Which one?
All the time, for researching purposes mostly, but not a specific thing. I start with google or pinterest and follow the path in some way that I found suitable.
- What do you often dream about when you’re not working?
I’m not really sure… I can’t recall anything at the moment, but I do think in a lot of random stuff!
- The place where you find your peace?
My living room right next to my ps4.
- Top 3 mobile app on your smartphone?
I do have a smartphone but I’m really not into apps, I try to avoid as much as possible and enjoy my free time with something else, but I gotta say, skype, Instagram and whatspp. This is quite useful when I’m not at home and I have to talk to someone about a certain piece.
- What do you do in your free time?
I like to keep active, the worst thing about this job is to sit around for long periods of time. So I’m into crossfit and when I feel lazy I play some ps4.
- Your last vacation?
Last August at a lovely beach in Portugal!
- Business plans for the future?
Improve my relationships and make my customers come back if they’re happy.
- Your plans for the future?
I wish to keep on working on this field for as long as I can or as long as I feel like it. My goal is to have good relationships with my clients and friends so I can aim for a “stable” working life.
João’s work and references: