Feature Graph is a system that we are using to categorize every asset on TurboSquid. This new system not only provides a better search result for assets, but Feature Graph creates better listings and product placement. No longer are you subject to a small set of categories that may or may not accurately describe your model — Feature Graph has over 13,000 categories.
Improved Publishing & Search Results
Let’s start with the asset “apple.” As a homonym, this can be taken in multiple ways: is it an Apple iPhone or an apple that is a fruit? The old ways of searching for “apple” would have resulted in products of both types – iPhones and fruits. This distinction can now be made thanks to Feature Graph. If you want to search for apple, simply select the fruit from the drop-down menu, based on your intent. Once you have made your selection, you will only see apples of the fruit variety in the the search results– nothing else.
Another example of the benefit of Feature Graph can be demonstrated by a search for “hot dog.” This instance proves that the keywords used to describe some products can actually harm the visibility of an asset. When an artist uses “hot” and “dog” as a keyword that describes an asset, the old system would display the keyword search for “dog.” This is clearly the wrong result, as the asset is not an animal. Feature Graph does not rely on keywords to determine what an asset is, so it properly identifies a “hot dog” as food and places it into the correct category. The outcome is a search results page that no longer includes hot dogs in the mix when a customer or artist searches for “dog.”
There is also a hierarchy tree set up for all assets. Let’s use “clownfish” as an example; if a customer were to type in animal, sea creature, fish, coral fish, anemone fish, fishes, tropical fish, arcanthurus, amphiprioninae, clown fish, or clownfish, they would see this asset in those lists:
This helps your product’s visibility and reduces the amount of spam and incorrectly-keyworded assets from showing up in those categories.
As many of our artists have experienced, CheckMate enforces a strict pricing policy, put into place partially to prevent undercutting. Feature Graph gives the CheckMate Inspectors a way to more accurately determine the average selling price of all assets of the same type of model. This information will provide the information needed to help TurboSquid to fend off undercutting, especially as we continue to view each model submitted against comparable assets.
Help Us Improve Feature Graph
While the number of categories continues to expand, there will likely come a time when a specific category does not have representation with an asset. This is bound to happen as we strive to categorize all of the objects in the world. We are currently developing a tool for artists to add brands to Feature Graph that aren’t yet listed This is where you, our artists, come in: help us to better categorize your assets. Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the product ID or URL, as well as suggestions for the specific category or brand name that you feel best represents the model. With your help, along with our own research, we can categorize every asset on TurboSquid, making it a place that allows your assets easy visibility and ultimate profitability.
Many artists have commented to me that their 3D models in CheckMate Pro v1 already meet the CheckMate Pro v2 standard. That’s great news, and we want you to have that later certification date along with the shiny new badge for all your models.
To submit your Pro v1 models for Pro v2, you can do one of two things:
Reupload your native file in the product to automatically trigger a reinspection for Pro v2.
Or, if you have a lot of models to submit, open a support ticket with the subject “Upgrade Pro v1 to v2″ and list the product IDs you want to upgrade. We will manually trigger a reinspection on our end.
Please note that any 3D models you submit for Pro v2 in this way will go through a full inspection for the new specification.
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.
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 pole on a surface
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.
Since we released CheckMate Pro v2 on June 15, many artists have risen to the challenge and improved their 3D models to meet the updated specification. We’ve also heard from some artists with questions about how certain 3D models could possibly fit the new requirements.
We take these questions seriously. Every week, the CheckMate team reviews these concerns and looks for ways to refine the specification to achieve the goal of “better 3D models on TurboSquid” and make it possible for models in every category to be certified. Based on your questions, we’ve added refinements to the specification for certain types of objects.
We are also working on training videos and articles to help you meet the requirements, and to give our inspectors tools for helping you meet them.
Because of your feedback, we’ve added these points to the specification:
One-sided planes representing leaves do not have to be subdividable.
Edge flow and subdividability are not necessary on small, insignificant objects. Screws, bolts, rivets, wires, and other pieces that are very small in comparison with the overall model size can be created with any poly modeling method.
Closeup wireframes are required. If the topology of detailed areas isn’t easy to see in the full view of the model, you must provide closeup wireframes of those detailed areas. This will apply to the majority of CheckMate Pro v2 models.
One-sided thin objects with opacity maps do not have to be subdividable. For example, in a 3D model of a tree, if the leaves are small planes with texture/opacity maps applied, these planes do not have to be subdividable. Note that if the same leaves are created as boxes with opacity maps, this rules does not apply for CheckMate Pro v2, as these are not one-sided objects. If the boxes are thick, the sides of the object will be invisible, which is not good quality. If the boxes are shaped to fit the leaf shape, they should be subdividable. Note that this point applies only to objects which are very thin in real life and which can be reasonably be represented with a one-sided object, such as leaves, decals, paper, etc.
The model cannot include openings (borders) in the geometry that cause parts of the model to become see-through. An example might be a slice or crack where two parts of a hard surface come together, as with a cell phone or motorcycle. If we can zoom in and look through the crack to see the universe beyond, this is a fail. This is a common problem with subdividable models that don’t have sufficient holding edges where two parts meet.
The percentage of triangles (three-sided faces) is not a deciding point on realtime models. Realtime models have to have the most efficient geometry possible, so understandably there are a high percentage of triangles.
Guidelines for Meeting the Pro v2 Specification
These next points are not in the specification, but are just guidelines for artists.
If you’re having trouble making the edge flow work on your model, consider breaking it into separate objects. Look at how the real-world object is made. If the real-world object is constructed of separate pieces, then you should probably model it that way, too. In years past, we learned to model objects as all one piece, and how exciting it was to learn techniques that made this possible! But this approach is not always the best way to make 3D models in 2013.
Don’t mix subdividable objects and realtime objects in the same model. Decide on one objective for your entire model, and go that way only.
3D text almost always has to be edited before it can meet the Pro v2 requirements. Whether you edit the underlying shape or the 3D model itself, you can (and should) make better geometry out of the default text your 3D program produces. Add chamfered edges so the customer can subdivide the text. If you think the text doesn’t need to be subdividable because the customer will never render a close-up, then consider using a texture, decal, or normal map instead.
Try for the best topology possible. Our inspectors are trained to look for this point specifically: “Is there any obvious way to make the topology better?” If so, the inspector will advise you on how to do this. Our goal is to make your models so good that customers won’t be able to resist them.
CheckMate Pro v2 topology
We expect that subdividable models will have more geometry than the minimum necessary to make the shape. There is no problem with adding extra edges to create good edge flow. On the other hand, excessive geometry is not allowed. Try for the minimum necessary for good edge flow. Our inspectors will help you achieve this.
If you really like modeling with the minimum polys necessary without regard for edge flow, then make realtime models.
If you have to subdivide the model more than 2-3 times to get a smooth rendering at 1200×1200, then you probably need more detail in the base mesh.
Subdividable vs. Realtime
Several artists have suggested that we split the Pro v2 specification into two completely separate specifications, one for subdividable and one for realtime. We have considered doing so, but there are still far more similarities between the two than there are differences. Both require clean geometry (no isolated vertices, etc.), real world scale, excellent textures, accurate product information, and so on. If, at some point in the future, we find that there’s far more divergence in the specifications for these two types of models, we will of course split the specification. But for now, we find that one specification with exceptions for realtime models works best.
I’ll have more answers to questions about architectural models and edge flow in future blog posts, and we’ll have more edge flow training videos soon. In the meantime, I hope this helps answer your questions about CheckMate Pro v2.
We are always looking for ways to improve the CheckMate certification process. Often, the only thing that prevents a model from being certified is a small error, like a spelling mistake or typo. In cases like these, it would often just be easier for TurboSquid to make a quick fix to the product.
Beginning Wednesday, August 22nd, TurboSquid will begin fixing small mistakes in the product preview for models submitted to CheckMate including:
Correction of spelling and capitalization mistakes in the title and/or description, as well as punctuation errors
Updates to the polygon and vertex counts (if they are almost correct)
Addition of any missing keywords that could help with search results
What we won’t be changing is any of the presentation content – only obvious errors that will result in added time to the inspection process.
For those artists not interested in allowing TurboSquid to make small fixes to their products can opt out of the program. Simply open a support ticket with the subject “Opt out of CheckMate Fixes” and select the category of “Certification” and you will be removed from the service.
We do feel think that this will help to speed up the certification process for many, and we look forward to inspecting your future submissions!
We’ve long had a requirement for CheckMate Pro that all texture paths be stripped out of the 3D model file. We’ve now added the same requirement to CheckMate Lite:
2.1.4 No texture paths referenced by model. Any texture paths must be stripped from model file. See Texture References.
And we’ve added this requirement to both CheckMate Pro and Lite:
18.104.22.168 Each archive must be a flat file structure with no folders or subfolders. See Texture References.
We’ve added these requirements because of the many Support calls, tickets, and chats that we get about this issue. Many customers, especially those new to 3D, get confused when they see unfamiliar folder path in a texture reference. Experienced customers, who replace or change textures on more than 50% of the 3D models they purchase, like all the bitmaps in a single folder so they can easily do a visual scan through the images.
We’ve discussed this issue with many TurboSquid artists, and got some useful suggestions such as putting all the bitmaps in a single Maps folder or instructing customers on how to extract files into a single folder. But the goal of CheckMate is to make the customer experience as smooth as possible, and the most direct way to accomplish this is to strip texture paths and deliver everything in a flat file structure. We’ve created videos on how to do this in 3ds Max and Maya, which you can find in the Knowledge Base article Texture References.
If you’ve already got models in CheckMate, we aren’t requiring you to update your texture paths or archive files with a flat file structure, but we encourage you to do so. If a customer contacts Support about the model (asking about strange texture paths, complaining that the archive file created unwanted subfolders on their system, etc.) then we will require you to fix the file at that time.
1.7 Payment Information - In order to have 3D models CheckMate Certified, the publishing member must fill out accurate and up-to-date Payment Information for the TurboSquid account.
This is actually a requirement for all publishing members at TurboSquid. While we run regular general checks on new artists, we check up on this requirement immediately when an artist submits a model to CheckMate.
3.1.5 Unwrapped UV Image Requirement – The Product Preview includes at least one image of the unwrapped UVs if one of the following options is selected for the model’s Unwrapped UVs attribute:
This update clarifies which models need to have a thumbnail image of the unwrapped UVs.
3.5.3 In the Geometry field, one of these two choices is selected:
Polygonal Quads only
This update clarifies which choices for Geometry under Step 1 of the Publisher are acceptable for CheckMate Pro.