Archive for the ‘CheckMate’ Category

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: Objects in Layers

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 by

Part of the CheckMate Pro v2 specification calls for objects to be placed in a named layer within the scene file. This helps customers a great deal when they merge your 3D model into a scene with many other models. Rather than having to search around for all the bits and pieces of your model, the customer can find everything easily within the named layer.

If you use 3ds Max, please note that you can’t rename or delete the default Layer 0. You will need to create a new layer and name it after your model.

The layer must be named to pass CheckMate Pro v2, but you cannot rename the default layer in 3ds Max.

The layer must be named to pass CheckMate Pro v2, but you cannot rename the default layer in 3ds Max.

Create a layer specifically for your model, and name it with the same name as your model.

Create a layer specifically for your model, and name it with the same name as your model.

You should also use short names on your objects if possible, and avoid using the same prefix on multiple objects. Then, when the customer opens up the layer window, all your object names are obvious and readable without having to scroll over.

 

Topology Tools for CheckMate Pro

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 by

Both Autodesk Mudbox and Pixologic ZBrush have recently introduced new tools to retopologize heavy 3D models to evenly spaced quads. These tools were created so users can quickly retopologize intense meshes and replace heavy detail with normal maps. The resulting mesh is much easier to edit and retexture than the original.

3D scan model before and after being retopologized with Mudbox.

3D scan model before and after being retopologized with Mudbox.

Even though these tools were originally created to treat the heavy meshes created by these applications, there’s no reason why you can’t use them on 3ds Max, Maya, and Cinema4D models too! 3D scans and older models in particular can benefit from a quick quad retopo.

3D Coat and Blender also have retopologizing tools. You can find comprehensive reviews of all these applications around the Internet, and even YouTube videos showing you how to use them.

With CheckMate Pro v2 now having a more stringent topology standard, you can explore these tools and see if any of them will help you meet the standard. As with any automated tool, be sure to visually check the results yourself before assuming the tool did a perfect job.

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: 3D Text

Monday, August 19th, 2013 by

One of the things customers love about subdividable CheckMate Pro v2 models is that they can zoom in for closeups on just about any part of the model.

Many hard surface objects such as appliances and electronics include 3D text extrusions or cutouts. If the text is quite small or thin compared to the overall object, you can simply use a normal map to represent such text. For times when you really do need to create 3D text, you can use the text tools in your 3D application… as long as you check the geometry afterward and clean it up.

In the image below, auto-generated text has been extruded and subdivided. The text has far more edges than needed on curved letters like S and G, while not having enough detail on straight letters like A and M. Subdivision causes several of the letters to lose their shape, meaning a customer can’t subdivide for a closeup on the letters.

3D text created with automated tools is hard to edit, has unnecessary detail, and does not subdivide well.

3D text created with automated tools is hard to edit, has unnecessary detail, and does not subdivide well.

In just about any 3D application, after generating text with a text tool, you’ll need to remove unnecessary detail and add holding edges for subdivision. This topology gives customers the maximum number of options for how they’ll use the model, including closeups of the letters.

Holding edges on corners and intelligently-spaced edges on curves keeps the poly count reasonable for easy editing, while still providing enough detail for subdivision.

Holding edges on corners and intelligently-spaced edges on curves keeps the poly count reasonable for easy editing, while still providing enough detail for subdivision.

 

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: Poles

Friday, August 16th, 2013 by

One of the most common questions we get about the CheckMate Pro v2 standard is about poles. A pole is a set of edges coming into a single vertex, the way edges are arranged around a vertex at the top of a sphere primitive.

Sphere

A pole at the tip of a sphere primitive.

In CheckMate Pro v2, we do not allow poles with 6 or more edges on curved surfaces. The reason for this requirement is that such poles can cause problems in renderings. The renderer interprets the pole as a sharp point, causing a break in highlights and textures. Such rendering problems are usually evident only from certain angles, so you might not see why we make this requirement. However, we want CheckMate Pro v2 models to work perfectly for customers no matter which angle they choose for a rendering.

If your 3D model has poles with six or more edges on a curved surface or in an area that could have better topology, there are several easy ways to change the geometry to meet the specification. These changes won’t affect the overall shape of the geometry, but will avoid any possible problems with poles.

Solution: Reroute the edges

If your topology has poles on a surface, you can usually find ways to re-route the edges to have better edge flow. Sometimes this will require more edges, but that’s okay. If a guarantee of no artifacts from poles means the poly count is a little higher, customers don’t mind. They also like to be able to select a series or “loop” of edges with tools within their 3D software.

Six-sided poles on a curved surface

Six-sided pole on a surface

No 6-sided poles and more ease of selecting edge loops around the holes.

No 6-sided poles and more ease of selecting edge loops around the holes.

There are often several ways to reroute edges. The example above is just one. Considering the ease of selecting edge loops can often point the way to ways to reroute your edge loops.

When you submit your 3D model for CheckMate Pro v2, our inspectors will assist you in improving your geometry by pointing out areas that should be fixed, and suggesting alternate ways to route your edges.

 

The CheckMate Difference – July Sales

Thursday, August 8th, 2013 by

Sales of CheckMate models continue to be on the rise, for one simple reason: customers love them! CheckMate models make up just over 5% of our 3D model catalog, but account for 23% of sales revenue.

CheckMate 3D Models Sales

With our new Feature Graph category system, we have a greater need than ever for  CheckMate certified models. We want at least one in each of our 14,000+ categories. Submit to CheckMate and join the wave!

 

Siggraph 2013: TurboSquid and CGSociety

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 by

On July 24, TurboSquid got together with CGSociety at Siggraph to present a panel called “Teaching CG and VFX Online”. Four instructors talked about the challenges they’ve overcome using online training to teach computer graphics, and then the panel opened up a discussion with the 40-odd attendees.

Michele Bousquet talked about how TurboSquid uses YouTube’s Closed Caption option when creating CheckMate training videos for artists. TurboSquid creates an accurate English language version of the audio so our many non-English speaking artists can use the auto-translate feature to read subtitles in their own language.

Presenters Michele Bousquet, David Luong, Bryan Wynia, Ara Kermanikian

Presenters Michele Bousquet, David Luong, Bryan Wynia, Ara Kermanikian

Other panelists talked about the importance of frequent submission and review of students’ work, daily online contact with students to give feedback, and the ability to approximate live training with webinars.

The panel was organized by Kirsty Parkin at CGWorkshops, the CGSociety arm that offers online workshops in a variety of VFX subjects.

Presenters with Kirsty Parkin and Andrew Plumer of CGSociety

Presenters with Kirsty Parkin and Andrew Plumer of CGSociety

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