Wireframe Turntables: Do You Need Them?

by Michele Bousquet

Lately we’ve been kicking around modeling and presentation standards through customer and artist surveys, on our forums, in our Knowledge Base, and even internally at TurboSquid. One debate still raging is about the wireframe turntable, a 360-degree view of a 3D model in wireframe mode. You can see examples in the product previews for these 3D models.

One of our staff, one of the wisest and most experienced people here, thinks that all 3D models for sale at TurboSquid should have wireframe turntables. (Okay, I admit it, it’s me. But there has to be some advantage to writing this blog, right?) Other persons, equally as wise and experienced, think wireframe turntables are nice to have, but aren’t necessary.

Besides the fact that making wireframe turntables is a lot of work, some artists are concerned that such a detailed visual reference will make it too easy for lazy artists to copy their work. I don’t think it will make a difference; copycats will always copy, and those that don’t copy aren’t going to start because of wireframe turntables. However, enough of our artists are concerned for me to open up the question again.

I’d like to hear from some of our customers. Would you be more likely to buy a 3D model with a wireframe turntable if you were comparing two comparable models, one with and one without? Does a wireframe turntable contribute so much to the preview that you really want them in all the 3D models you search for, or is it fine to just have a few wireframe stills? When responding, please indicate whether you’re a customer, an artist, or both.

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13 Responses to “Wireframe Turntables: Do You Need Them?”

  1. Michele Bousquet says:

    Comments weren’t working for a short time, but are back online now.

  2. Paul says:

    A Turntable is good to see the model but is not a determining factor for the purchase, modelers should texture half the model with a flat color to hide the polys to reduce the opportunities for copiers to steal the models. Models required plenty of work to create them and it would be a shame to see the artists not be compensated for their hard work.

    Paul

  3. Andy says:

    For me personally, I only buy models for use as entourage where I wouldn’t be manipulating the model any further. With this said having a wireframe preview wouldn’t concern me that much (I would be concerned about the polygon count though). However, if one was to modify the bought model after they have purchased it; having a good indication on the state of the wireframe would be useful, one does not want to do a whole heap of cleaning up before they start their own modelling. Of course this is only speaking for my own experience with is limited to Architectural Visualization. Thanks.

  4. Wireframe turntables are a nice feature but not necessary, if a t leasta couple of wireframe images are provided. Even a not so experienced 3d artist can understand detail and mesh quality using simple-clear wireframe images. Really to much work involved. Thiefs and lazy artist? I think vendors should be concerned about the new huge preview images. Sorry to go off-topic but: I found my old 400x400s used all over the web as cliparts and so on. Really ugly personal experience. What will happen to those perfect and detailed huge preview images? Not everything can be watermarked…

  5. Gillissie says:

    I really like to see them, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re absolutely necessary. Part of it depends on the model and its intended use. For example, if I want a low poly game model, I’d like to see the poly layout. But if I’m buying a highly detailed model for movie visual FX, then I don’t need to see the thousands of tiny polygons.

  6. Gibson says:

    No… If I were to buy a model, having a turnable wireframe model, would not influence my purchase.

  7. VouVou says:

    A wireframe turntable definately gives the buyer a better idea of what he’s about to buy and not much of a hassle for the artist to include in his model’s presentation files. In fact, I am going to include one on all my next models.

  8. Jeremie says:

    Seeing multiple angles of the wireframe is a must have for me, I won’t buy anything without being sure the topology is good, I had too many bad surprises and hours of fixing ugly poly topology.

  9. Kristijan 3d says:

    Well,they are not necessary but they are good for customers when they want to see if there are some errors on model like ngons,triangles on polygonal model and its good because some artist try to hide errors by taking wireframes from angles that are good on one side but on other side are lot of triangles,ngons and errors,because I have some cases like that.For example with real car: You are going to buy a car and you need to see how it looks are there some scratches and bumps.So you go around the car and look it.Thats like wire turntables,you go around model and look for triangles,ngons and other crap.Also if you are buying model for game,you need to see polyflow,its polycount for your requests is it good for unwrap or it is to messy that is almost imposible to make unwrap.On car models you also need to see good wireframes,so another good chance for wireframe turntables,you need to see polyflow,there must not be ngons and triangles,also you need to see is mesh consistent for good reflections.So my final opinion is that this is good feature if you care about polyflow so you can work on model and texture,but if you dont care about polyflow and you just look for model that is good looking in render and when you buy it you will just set it in your scene and render,it just depends on your needs,how you plan to use your model,just for render or for texturing and working on it.

    Kristijan 3d

  10. billie says:

    It’s nice to see the whole mesh in the round – but i don’t think it’s a top priority- and it probably wouldn’t affect my decisions

  11. fas says:

    I do find them helpful in visualizing and understanding the complexity.

  12. Spectr says:

    I find wireframes quite useful, but not necessary. It all depends on details level that is needed in the project. In fact, an accurate designer would do the model at same level of detalization. That helps to avoid some of the troubles that usually appear when working with 3d models.

  13. Mellow Box says:

    I always wanted to present my models in the best way possible – so i often put as many wire thumbnails as needed. Usually i present overall wireframe from more sides and some detailed ones of more complicated areas. Turntable wireframe can give the overall idea of the mesh quality, however i can imagine many cases (very detailed and complicated models) where it just can’t be enough.

    I think I will stick to my multiple single thumbnails from various angles and level of detail thumbnails than to turntables. Because turntables take really considerably longer time to make, they take to much time to load (yes 3secs waiting is to much in 21th century i think :o) and as i wrote before, they not always present the mesh quality properly.

    Mellow Box, seller

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