Archive for the ‘CheckMate’ Category

CheckMate Pro v2: Inspection Process

Thursday, September 12th, 2013 by

As a CheckMate Pro inspector, I’d like to tell you about the steps we take when inspecting the models you submit for CheckMate Pro v2. Our goal is to help you get through the process as quickly and easily as possible. The procedure is a little different from Pro v2 because of our new focus on edge flow and clean topology. Knowing how we do inspections can help you pass the CheckMate Pro specification faster. You can also use the CheckMate Pro v2 Checklist to help you along.

Step 1. Determine the model type

When you first submit your model for CheckMate Pro, the first thing the inspector does is check to see if the model is being submitted as subdividable or as realtime.

In the Product Preview, the inspector looks for one of two things to be present:

  • The text “not intended for subdivision” in the product’s description, indicating that you intend the model to be used for background, real-time, or game use, OR
  • Wireframe thumbnails with subdivision applied to them and labeled with Subdivision Levels, indicating that you intend the model to be subdividable.

If one of these is found, the inspector can determine whether you are submitting for subdividable or realtime, and the inspector moves on to the next step. If neither of these are found (or if both are found), the inspector fails the submission and asks you to provide one (and only one) of these things in the product preview so he/she can tell which type of certification you’re going for.

Note that the inspector doesn’t check all aspects of the product preview just yet. That step is later in the process. This is a change from Pro v1 inspections, when we used to check the product preview first for sufficient rendered thumbnails, texture resolutions in the description, and so forth.

Step 2. Topology Check

If the model is specified as “not intended for subdivision” then the inspector checks that the model that has the minimum number of polygons possible to create the shape of the object, and excellent textures to make up the difference in detail.  If the model does not meet this standard, the inspector fails the model and asks you to reduce the number of edges around certain parts of the model to get it to the minimum number for polygons. See our examples of certified realtime models.

If the model is subdividable than the inspector checks for perfect edge flow, suitable for most customer needs such as editing, re-texturing, rigging, and subdivision.Possible fail points include poles and T-vertices as well as overall edge flow. If the inspector finds any issue that prevents the model from having clean edge flow, they take screen captures of these areas and circle the areas that need correction. You will find a link to these pictures in the support ticket. If you have trouble envisioning how to change your edge flow to fit the topology standard, you can ask the inspector for drawings showing possible solutions.

Once the model’s topology has been passed by the inspector (as either subdividable or non-subdividable) according to the specification,  then they move onto the next step in the inspection process.

Step 3. Product Preview

Only after your topology passes the specification do we look at the Product Preview, or the product as it appears on TurboSquid.  In this step we look at the rendered images, the specifications of the model, the description, etc. as described in Sections 1 and 3 in the CheckMate Pro Specification. If an inspector finds errors or issues with the Product Preview thumbnails or information, the Inspector fails the model and sends you notes on how to correct those errors.

At this point we also check to make sure your Vendor Information is filled out. This includes how and when you get paid for sales. Vendor Information must be complete before you can pass any CheckMate level including Lite.

Step 4. Native Model File

The Fourth step to the inspection process involves the native file format. This is the model that you chose in the Publisher as the model’s native format. This format should be the original format that you modeled the product in. The inspector checks the model against Section 2 in the CheckMate Pro Specification. Basically this is everything other than topology such as real world scale, textures present, objects in a named layer, model near origin, etc. Using the CheckMate Pro v2 Checklist before you submit can be very helpful in making sure you pass this step quickly.

If an inspector finds issues with the native format the model is failed, and you will receive notes on how to correct those errors. Once the native format  is up to the specification, the inspector goes onto the next step.

Step 5. Non-Native Files

Non-native files are other certifiable formats beyond the native format: Maya, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Softimage, or Lightwave. Inspectors check these files in the same way they check the native format in the previous step. They also look over the non-native topology to ensure there are no significant differences from native file.

If there is an error with a non-native file, the inspector fails the product and contacts you about your options:

  • You can fix the problem with the file to make it certifiable, OR
  • You can leave the file format as uncertified, meaning it will appear under “Unreviewed Formats” in the Product Preview. Note that any such file must pass the CheckMate Lite standard for files; it must open without errors and include all textures. The specifics are laid out in Section 2 of the Lite specification.

Once that question is settled and all non-native files pass one of the two points above, the model is certified for CheckMate Pro.

I hope you find this information helpful. We like seeing all the models coming in for CheckMate Pro, and we hope you’ll send more our way.

 

CheckMate Pro v2 Checklist

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 by

CheckMate inspector Corey Cambre has provided this quick checklist for artists who wish to submit their models for CheckMate Pro v2.

3D Model Requirements

  1. CheckMate Pro Tool 1 script: Check for quads/tris only, no isolated vertices, other fail points.
  2. Decide if your model is to be submitted as subdividable or realtime.
  3. Real-world scale in any units.
  4. Model positioned near [0,0,0] and model includes a grouping or hierarchy such that entire model can be moved by selecting one object or helper.
  5. Objects in a named layer.
  6. Texture paths stripped.
  7. All extraneous splines, helpers, hidden objects, etc. removed.
  8. Transforms reset.
  9. Model + textures in a single ZIP file with flat file structure (no subfolders) for each file format offered.

 Publisher Step 1

  1. Product Name: noun or adjectives-noun, spelled correctly, first letter capitalized
  2. CheckMate Price
  3. Poly Count and Vertex Count for model without subdivision
  4. Geometry type: choose Polygonal Quads/Tris or Polygonal Quads only
  5. Fill out all other fields accurately
  6. Choose native format
  7. Choose option Submit model for CheckMate Pro

Publisher Step 2

  1. Signature Image
  2. Secondary Image
  3. At least 4 additional renderings from various angles, closeups, etc. 1200×1200 minimum and square
  4. Turntable
  5. Wireframe Images – At least 2
  6. If subdivision model, 2 or more wireframes showing subdivision levels
  7. If Unwrapped UVs = Yes or Mixed, include image of UV cage unwrapped over texture

Publisher Step 3

  • Description includes:
    1. Any third-party renderer used
    2. Resolutions for all textures
    3. Unit scale used, and size of model in that scale
    4. If realtime model, include the text “This model is not intended for subdivision.”

Note: Doing the items on this checklist will not guarantee you will pass CheckMate Pro, but it will get you close enough to submit the model and get specific corrections from a CheckMate Inspector.

CheckMate Pro v2 Checker Script

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 by

CheckMate-Tool-v2We are pleased to announce that a new MAXScript is available for checking 3ds Max models for CheckMate Pro v2 compliance. The new tool works with 3ds Max version 2010 and later.

CheckMate Pro v2 Tool 2 flags possible fail points such as poles and T-vertices. Please refer to these blog posts to learn how to determine whether the flagged topology is actually a fail.

Please note that CheckMate Pro v2 Tool 2 checks only for points specific to Pro v2. You will still need to run Tool 1 to check for specification points brought forward from Pro v1 such as quads, isolated vertices, etc. Tool 1 is the Pro v1 script, renamed to Tool 1 to differentiate it from the new script for v2.

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: Checking Edge Flow

Monday, September 9th, 2013 by

The CheckMate Pro v2 specification requires subdividable models to have excellent edge flow. Good edge flow means you can easily select edge loops and rings, and the model subdivides extremely well. Your 3D application includes tools for testing these features.

Testing Edge Flow

Loop-SelectWith your model at the base level select an edge at random, and use your software’s built-in tools to select loops and rings from that edge. Repeat the test for several more edges on your model. If most of the loops and rings continue along the object, then your model has easily selectable edge loops and rings.

Here is a quick guide to selecting edge loops and rings in three of the major 3D applications. Refer to your software’s Help system for more information.

  • 3ds Max: Select an edge from an Editable Poly and click Loop or Ring in Selection rollout.
  • Maya: Select a loop by double-clicking an edge; select a ring with Polygons menu > Select > Select Edge Ring Tool.
  • Cinema 4D: In edge mode, hold down V and choose Select > Loop Selection or Ring Selection.

Testing Subdivision

If you are submitting a subdividable model, it is essential that you test the subdivision before you submit the model for CheckMate Pro 2. After subdividing your model, check for:

  • Pinching. Indicates poor edge flow, coincident or near-coincident vertices that need to be welded, or tiny polygons that must be collapsed.
  • Whirling patterns of edges. Indicates poor edge flow over a substantial area.
  • Drastic shape change. Indicates that the base model needs more detail or holding edges.

After correcting your base model, look at it to make sure a customer can use it without subdivision if they wish to do so. If the model looks great with subdivision but the base model has hidden overlaps and strange pulled shapes, the model will not pass CheckMate Pro v2.  The base model with no subdivision must be usable on its own.

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: T-Vertices

Thursday, September 5th, 2013 by

Part of creating good topology for CheckMate Pro v2 subdividable models is to avoid T-vertices, the convergence of edges in a T formation, unless they are absolutely necessary for the flow of the model’s shape. T-vertices, or T-verts for short, when used incorrectly, will halt edge flow and cause poor subdivision.

Acceptable T-vertex

Acceptable T-vertex

T-vertex-Detail

Unacceptable T-vertex

Any vertex with only three edges could be consider a T-vertex; the crossbar of the T doesn’t have to be straight across. You can use them when there’s no better solution, but it is best to avoid them as much as possible. Here, we’ll look at at few T-vert situations, both acceptable and unacceptable.

Flowing Around Corners – Acceptable

When a model’s shape changes direction, T-vertices are necessary where the quad flow from one direction meets the flow from the other direction.

On this rabbit model, an acceptable T-vertex forms where the edge flow up the side of the ear meets the edge flow across the top of the ear.

On cell phones and other electronics, an acceptable T-vertex forms when the quad flow from the side of the phone form a corner with the flow from the bottom of the phone.

On cell phones and other electronics, an acceptable T-vertex forms when the quad flow from the side of the phone forms a corner with the flow across the bottom of the phone.

 

Insets – Acceptable

The method of creating extra detail described in the Oblong Cutouts video creates T-vertices. These vertices are acceptable because this method is the best way to increase detail within a specific area while still maintaining easily selectable edge loops.

The recommended method for increasing detail creates acceptable T-vertices.

The recommended method for increasing detail creates acceptable T-vertices.

Such a construction results in easily selectable edge loops.

Such a construction is easy to edit. It results in easily selectable edge loops.

You (or the customer) can easily select rings of edges...

You (or the customer) can easily select rings of edges…

...and create a new set of edges by connecting the ring selection.

…and create a new set of edges by connecting the ring selection.

 

Transitioning with Other Methods – Usually unacceptable

Artists sometimes use T-verts as a solution for going from an area of high detail to lower detail. This is acceptable as long as the transition uses insets as described above. If insets are not used, the topology is probably not the best it can be, which means it fails CheckMate Pro v2. A straight T crossbar is often an indication of poorly planned topology.

T-vertex-Detail

A T-vertex with a straight crossbar is usually not the best solution.

Original 2_option

It’s better to extend the edges…

Original 2_element_new

…or make the sleeve and arm separate objects…

Tverts-Inset-arm

…or rearrange the edges so the inset method can be used.

Unnecessary Use of Inset Method – Unacceptable

Just because all your T-vertices are a result of insets, does not mean the model will pass CheckMate Pro v2. In order for insets to be acceptable, they must be necessary. The model below fails CheckMate Pro v2 not on T-vertices, but on unnecessary and excessive edges. When the edges were removed, the model kept exactly the same shape.

Although the T-vertices (yellow) are created with an inset structure, the red edges are unnecessary for this object and should be removed altogether.

Although the T-vertices (yellow) are created with an inset structure, the red edges are unnecessary for this object and should be removed altogether.

Bent Polygon – Unacceptable

A bent polygon can result from the use of T-vertices, with the polygon bending along a hidden edge following from the supporting bar of the T. This is poor topology that will cause undesirable effects in renderings.

Poorly planned T-vertices can result in a bent polygon.

In this case, an edge should be added in place of the hidden edge, and the resulting topology should be adjusted for good edge flow.

These are just guidelines for T-vertices. As with all your topology, you should be constantly asking yourself, “Is there any way this could be better?” The existence of T-vertices in any situation other than the first two listed here is usually a sign that your topology could be (and should be) better.

If your model suffers from T-vertices and you don’t know how to fix them, you can submit your model for CheckMate Pro inspection and ask the inspector for assistance.

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: Realtime 3D Models

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 by

Part of the CheckMate Pro v2 specification allows for realtime models. A realtime model has the minimum number of polygons possible to create the shape of the object, and excellent textures to make up the difference in detail. Such a model is also not expected to be subdividable. In fact, if holding edges are added to the model, it adds unnecessary detail that causes the model to not be ideal for realtime.

2.2.3.4.3      Exception for realtime models: Models intended for game engines, realtime display, or background elements must have the lowest number of polygons possible while still retaining the model’s shape… For such models, a high percentage of triangles is allowable, provided they are necessary to make the model shape with the lowest number of polygons possible.

 

Here are some examples of CheckMate Pro v2 realtime models.

T-55A Medium Tank by ES3DStudios

751844-Tank-Render 751844-Tank-Wire-Detail

 This tank model has just the right amount of detail on round areas that realtime users or game players will be likely to notice, such as the treads and turret. The gun has just enough segments to keep it round at a medium distance, and the flat plates on the tank body have a single bevel to catch light detail and add an extra touch of realism. There are no holding edges on the treads, or anywhere else. The textures and UVs are also superb. It’s clear that this model was carefully thought out and modeled with realtime use in mind.

 

Rubble Debris Complete Scene by 3D_Multimedia

758887-Debris-Render 758887-Debris-Wire

758887-Debris-Render-Car 758887-Debris-Render-Lights

Is there anything better than a big pile of debris? This busy scene consists of several low-poly objects for a game or realtime environment. Great time and care was taken to make each object as low-poly as possible, while providing great textures to make a rich scene.

Triangles and Realtime Models

If necessary, a realtime 3D model can have a large percentage of triangles. Appropriate realtime topology is all about making a model that customers can readily use for realtime or background purposes, especially in situations where poly count is an issue. When preparing a realtime model, ask yourself if there’s any way to reduce the poly count even further and still retain the shape of the model.

Realtime Submissions for CheckMate Pro v2

When submitting a realtime 3D model for CheckMate Pro v2 certification, be sure to indicate in the Description that the model is intended for realtime and not subdivision. This tells the inspector what to look for when inspecting your model.

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