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3D Modeling

Artist Spotlight: Tornado Studio

Monday, January 27th, 2014 by

blog_preview_TornadoStudioWhile the world’s Olympians get ready for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Tornado Studio takes the gold medal in 3D modeling with this downhill skier, our newest featured image.  We were happy to get to talk with Martin Kostov, the founder and CEO of Tornado Studio, whose team has contributed a lot of great CheckMate models to the TurboSquid catalog.
TornadoStudio_assets

How long have you been an artist, and how did you get started in 3D?

I have been a 3D artist for more than 10 years now.

While I was in high school I came a across an image of a satellite in space that I thought was a real photo. To my surprise, it was a 3D rendering and that astonished me. At that point I decided that this was what I want to do in life. Not long after I started exploring 3ds Max, I found about TurboSquid and the possibilities of selling 3D assets.

 

Do you have any advice for other modelers? What do you think is most important for artists who make 3D models?

We are all in this together– try to find your own part of the market, make only products that you would buy if you were the customer, and never copy other people’s work.

The main advice I have for people who want to be successful is to take the time to study references and create quality products. If you do end up making a product that other people have as well, at least try to make it better looking and match the price, or go higher.

 

How long have you been with TurboSquid? Would you or have you recommended TurboSquid to others?

I’ve been a seller on Turbosquid for the last 9 years or so, the market has grown and changed a lot since then, but my answer to, ” Where should I sell my 3D stock? ” hasn’t changed at all. TurboSquid is the only place I would sell my models, even if I was starting again today, knowing what I now know.

 

What has been your experience with CheckMate? Do you have any opinions on CheckMate Pro v1 versus Pro v2?

My team and I were one of the first vendors to try the CheckMate certification process before it was even public. My reaction then was… that this kind of differentiation for the quality of products is exactly what the market needs. Now, a few years later, CheckMate has proven to be the right path for anyone who is serious about selling 3D.

TurboSquid has shared statistics from the CheckMate sales, relative to the sales of the other 95% of the models, and you don’t have to be an expert to see that the future is in certified 3D stock. Clients want to buy a product that will do the job they need, without problems, and this is what Checkmate guarantees.

Even moreso with the new Pro v2, the quality standard has risen yet again. TurboSquid is doing an amazing job in leading the new developments in the industry and we at Tornado Studio feel privileged to be in the Squid Guild and sell exclusively in the best 3D market place there is. If there is something I would recommend for Checkmate V3 is that submissions for CheckMate certification be checked for “copycat” and “defective pricing” signs.

 

You have a lot of sports equipment in your catalog. Do you have any must-watch winter sports? What events to you like the best at the Winter Olympics?

We at Tornado Studio are big sports fans– we love watching and playing sports. My personal favorite discipline from the Winter Olympics is Ski Jumping. I can only imagine what feelings the athletes experience while sliding down the ramp and jumping in the air. If I ever get the chance to ski jump myself, I would gladly try it out.

 

Want to see your CheckMate Pro Certified Model featured on the TurboSquid Home Page? Anything is possible if you just SUBMIT YOUR MODEL!

TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 1

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 by

Keeping your scene clean and organized is important while making any 3D model. A well constructed scene will make modelling and editing your own model easier, and it may encourage customers to buy your product. The examples below are from 3ds Max, but these concepts can apply to any 3D package.

 

1. Organize Objects

If a 3D scene is difficult to navigate and/or modify, then editing a model within that scene can become extremely frustrating for the person attempting to use the model. (And this frustration is usually enough to make someone look elsewhere for a model that is easier to edit and use.) Industry professionals want a model that is ready for production and is quickly editable to fit their needs. No matter how great the model looks, poor scene organization can make it unusable to them.

Bad Organization_1

The treadmill model (pictured above) is a good example of an object that shouldn’t be combined or merged into one single object. Merging the model creates lots of subobject elements that are very difficult to sort through and edit. Not only would it be difficult for you to go back and adjust the model later, it would also be difficult for the customer who purchased the model.

Bad Organization_3

Bad Organization_4

 

If an artist wants to edit any part of this model, they would need to go into element mode to sort through the different pieces looking for all the parts that make up what they want to edit. Then, they will have to hide the unselected elements within the object to get a full view of the pieces they want, or detach the elements into a new object. This makes it very inconvenient and time consuming for the end user to make changes. Combining your model into a single object makes more work for everyone.

 

1.1. Naming

Good Organization_2

Name all objects and textures in the scene. The names must be descriptive enough so that anyone could look at the layer editor and quickly select the desired object. Never leave anything as the default name such as Cylinder03, Object05, Map #6(VrayMtl).

Naming

You can see in zoomed image above that every object has been renamed descriptively after separating the model out from one single object. If you select any of the names like “Console_Screws”, the descriptive name gives you a good indication of where to look on the model for this object. The first word indicates what larger part of the model to look; “Console” . The second word lets you know specifically which part of the model will be selected; “Screws”. You will also notice that naming this way makes selection very easy from the layer editor since all parts of the model will sort alphabetically.

 

1.2. Intelligent Combining & Merging

Good Organization_3

Merging multiple objects into one larger object should only be done when it logically makes sense. For example, the screws on the back of the console are combined into one object named Console_Screws instead of having 13 individual screw objects.

Calvin Bryson is the Senior Technical Artist at TurboSquid, and a 3ds Max expert.  If there are any topics you’d like to see in a future edition of  TurboTips, let us know in the comments below, or Tweet your question to @TurboSquid with hashtag #TurboTips.

 Next week in TurboTips: Using Layers, Part 2 of 5 in our series on Optimizing Scenes & Best Practices

TurboTips: A Guide for PSD Structure

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 by

Photoshop is the most commonly used program in creating textures for 3d models, but what about the customer who needs to edit these textures ?

The majority of TurboSquid customers edit the textures of a model after purchase, and more often than not, they are using Photoshop to do so.  Letting the customer know that a well-organized PSD is included with your model can make it more attractive to a customer (and potentially increase sales).  In this edition of TurboTips, we’ll show you how to structure a PSD for easy use.

When a material uses several bitmaps in different channels (Diffuse, Specular, Normal, etc.) the bitmaps should be placed in a PSD file, with each texture map on a separate layer, organized for easy workflow.

PSD1

In the PSD file, use folders and Copy Merged rather than collapsing layers. Using folders and Copy Merged is to work non-destructively, allowing you to use a group of layers as a single layer, instead of collapsing. Copy Merged allows you to paste a flattened or merged copy of your selection allowing you to keep the original layer composition unchanged.

Using Copy Merged makes texture modification much easier if it needs to be edited it the future, or if the model passed on to another artist. Photoshop’s History can only go back so far and once you close the program, you are stuck with the saved changes.

psd2

Folders also allow you to clean up and organize the PSD for easy navigation, or moving groups of elements.  The Photoshop file folder organization should be broken down into texture specific maps:

  • Main folder names should be the full word, abbreviation, or representing letter of texture map (EX: Diffuse, Diff, or D). Keep the naming consistent for all maps in the PSD.
  • Subfolders within the main Map folders should be used when necessary for organization. For example, multiple grunge layers should be put into a folder called Grunge inside the folder.

psd3

All Photoshop layers should be named short, descriptive names, so that others would be able to quickly identify layers and edit them. (See images for examples.)

We strongly recommend that you NOT use the PSD file for texturing the model directly. Save out the individual bitmap files in a format such as PNG. Name each file with a descriptive suffix, referencing which map it is.

Calvin Bryson is the Senior Technical Artist at TurboSquid, and a 3ds Max expert.  If there are any topics you’d like to see in a future edition of  TurboTips, let us know in the comments below, or Tweet your question to @TurboSquid with hashtag #TurboTips.

TurboTip: Quad Cylinder Cap Plug-in for 3ds Max

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 by

Welcome to TurboTips: where we give you quick tips that will make your 3D modeling easier, cleaner, and better.  This week, we’re taking a look at a Quad Cylinder Cap Plug-in for 3ds Max.

quad_cap_example

Vertices or poles with more than 5 edges can cause a variety of issues with a 3D model. Using these vertices should be avoided whenever possible, especially on curved surfaces, because they can cause render issues, edgeflow problems, and can cause the model to break when distorted. (more…)

Making a Quad Sphere, Part 2: Softimage & LightWave

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 by

We’ve already covered how to make a quad sphere for CheckMate Pro v2 in three different programs (3ds Max, Maya, and Cinema 4D).

In case you missed it: The default sphere is problematic because of the two poles. By itself, a standard sphere does not seem to pose any problems, but when it comes time to subdivide, the differences in polygon density at the equator and at the poles produces pinching, and squashes the sphere around the equator.

To round out our list, we’ve put together tutorials for two more programs: Softimage and LightWave.

 

Softimage Quad Sphere

1.  Go to the model module

xsi_01

 

2.  Create a cube

xsi_02

 

3.  Suggested specifications – Length: 8; Subdivisions: 12 x 12 x 12

xsi_03

4.  Create a sphere (Note: the cube should be bigger than the sphere)

xsi_04

 

5.  Suggested specifications – Radius: 3; Subdivisions: 24 x 24

xsi_05

 

6.  Keep the sphere and the cube at the same location

7.  Select the cube

8.  Go to Modify > Deform > Shrink Wrap

xsi_08

 

9.  Select the sphere (you can use the Explorer to do this)

10.  Right-click on the viewport

xsi_10

LightWave Quad Sphere

Click any screenshot below for full resolution.

1.  Under the create tab, look on the menu for “Primitives” and select “Box”

lw_01

2.  At the bottom of the program, select “Numeric” or hit “n” to bring  up the Numeric window

lw_02

3.  Choose the desired width, height, and depth you need to create your cube.  Be sure to add as many segments as you want or need for the cube.

lw_03

4.  Go to the “Modify” tab at the top of the program.  Then at the menu under “Transform,” go to the “More” tab.

lw_04

5.  Select “Spherize”

lw_05

6.  Enjoy your quadsphere

lw_06

Previously: Making a Quad Sphere (for 3ds Max, Maya, and Cinema 4d)

 

Making a Quad Sphere: 3ds Max, Maya, & Cinema 4D

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 by

We’re going to go over how to make a quad sphere in 3ds Max, Maya and Cinema 4D, for CheckMate Pro v2.

The default sphere is problematic because of the two poles. By itself, a standard sphere does not seem to pose any problems, but when it comes time to subdivide, the differences in polygon density at the equator and at the poles produces pinching, and squashes the sphere around the equator.

Click any screenshot below for full resolution.

 

Comparison of a Polygonal Sphere and a Quad Sphere

Here are the spheres unsmoothed.

comparison_01

When the spheres are smoothed, they both deform in different ways.

comparison_02

You can see how the Polygonal Sphere’s smoothing causes problems once a shader is added.  Little ridges are created at the top of the sphere.

comparison_03

You can see the ridges with a chrome material applied also.

comparison_04

While the effect is subtle, you should be able to see the faint star pattern within the normal sphere at the poles where the lighting and reflections get distorted as the sphere is subdivided. Moreover, it can’t simply be fixed by removing every other edge that’s converging to that one vertex to make the pole faces quads. The distortion is a direct result of the fact that it’s a curved surface where the pole exists.

As such, a far better approach is to build a quad sphere, which not only eliminates this pole problem entirely, but is completely CheckMate Pro v2 compliant. Here’s how you can accomplish this quickly in each of the major 3D applications.

(more…)

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