Thanks for joining us today in our team highlight series! Today we'll be chatting with Barbara Sotolongo, our 3D Environment Artist on the team!
This interview was conducted by Deana Galbraith, the Founder and Creative Director at Captilight.
Deana: This has been long overdue! Super excited to chat with you, let's start out by telling us a bit about yourself.
Barbara: I am a Cuban-American 3D Artist currently living in Miami, FL. I love video games, observing life, and using nature as an inspiration to create 3D art.
Deana: Love me some Cuban food, could you tell our readers how you got involved with Captilight?
Barbara: After I finished University, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do and what kind of game I wanted to work on. When I saw the opportunity to join Captilight as an Environment Art Intern, I immediately got to work and tried to mimic their style by creating 3D models based on Path of Kami 2D concept art. I wanted to show them that I had taken the time to study their style and that I was serious about joining their team.
Deana: Your first email to us was SO inspiring, I seriously teared up. We are so grateful you reached out and it's been awesome working with you!! What inspires you to make games?
Barbara: I have always had a love for art and a love for video games, but I never put them both in the same category until I played games like Journey, Bioshock Infinite, and Mass Effect that were rich in art and story. Games like these have challenged and paved the way for game art from its very “technical” origin. Art and storytelling go hand in hand and are sacred human elements that need to be preserved. I am committed to keep them alive through video games.
Deana: Love the perspective of "games as art." What are some of your favorite games?
Barbara: My favorite type of game is short and has a leading focus on art, story, and music. I appreciate games that lean into psychology in order to cultivate a meaningful connection between the player and the world they have created. With lengthier games, you have more room for art and a bigger story, but I personally lose that heightened emotional connection when real life interrupts, which happens a lot as an adult. xD
Deana: Haha, I hear ya there! When working on Path of Kami where do you draw inspiration from?
Barbara: When creating game assets, I try to imagine the calming simplicity of life back in the Edo period of Japan. I think about how items were kept until they would fall apart from use, compared to modern times where we prefer quantity over quality. Therefore, I try to find many references of common artifacts from that era and try to honor their value. As for textures, I draw a lot of inspiration from Child of Light that executed the watercolor style beautifully.
Deana: How do you go about your thought process around that?
Barbara: I try to really immerse myself in that world both visually and spiritually. I try to understand what the main characters are feeling. The world looks different when you are experiencing different emotions, so I try to reflect those emotions in the environment. I also prepare myself to be as open and fluid as possible as changes and revisions are constantly happening in early production.
Deana: Where do you think games will be in 10 years?
Barbara: Ten years will bring immeasurable progress when you consider how often new games and consoles are being created. I hope virtual reality gets a good boost so that I can finally live in Azeroth.
Deana: Agreed! What are you most excited about for Path of Kami?
Barbara: I’m excited about the effect this game will have on players. I know it’s going to change the way people think about video games and will expand the casual gaming community. I’m most excited to know that Kazeyo’s journey to reincarnation will help heal individuals, especially folks that have recently suffered a loss of someone close to them.
Deana: What gets you up in the morning? Is it a bunch of coffee?
Barbara: Haha yes, I look forward to my daily routines of making coffee and going on a walk with my dog.
Deana: Boots (my dog) always wakes me up promptly every morning for his walk! Last question, what advice would you give to someone wanting to work in the games industry?
Barbara: I will share a great piece of advice that was given to me by a professor: “figure out what you can pop some headphones in and get lost doing for hours”. Once you’ve found that, then create, create, create. Immerse yourself in the type of art that matters to you; this industry is big enough for you, if you are willing to work for it.
Deana: That's a great piece of advice, thanks so much for sharing with us Barbara! This concludes the interview, thank you everyone for joining us <3