Our Search page now includes a tool to specify Poly Count for 3D models, giving customers the ability to search for low-polygon models within the parameters of their choice. The definitions of “low-poly” and “game-ready” change so frequently that it makes sense to allow customers to enter poly count ranges for their specific needs.
Why am I excited about this? Because the Poly Count search tool will lead to more artists getting CheckMate certified. CheckMate has always been open to low-poly 3D models, but some artists felt they had to put the words LOW POLY on their Signature Images so customers could find them. The new Poly Count search tool removes this concern, so low-poly models can have Signature Images that meet the CheckMate requirement of “no text on Signature Images”.
But most importantly, customers who have strict poly count budgets now have a tool for finding exactly what they need.
What is a Birds of a Feather? It’s an informal gathering of like-minded 3D artists to discuss a topic of interest. At the Birds of a Feather meeting at Siggraph, Michele Bousquet from TurboSquid will host a discussion of 3D modeling standards, including our own CheckMate standard.
TurboSquid would like to invite all customers and artists to attend this meeting. Besides getting to meet 3D artists from around the world, you’ll be helping TurboSquid and other companies improve 3D modeling standards into the future. You can RSVP at our Facebook Event Page.
Last week we had the second meeting of the CheckMate Advisory Board, a group that meets quarterly to discuss development of the CheckMate standard. The goal of the CheckMate Advisory Board is to keep the standard relevant to the constantly evolving needs of 3D production artists, not only for TurboSquid but for the industry as a whole. In between quarterly meetings we discuss the standard online, forum-style.
In attendance were James Ogle, Viken Majoulian, Chris Bernier, Carlos Cristerna, and Rob Wright. We got several great takeaways from the meeting, many of which will eventually find their way into the CheckMate Pro standard.
Best bitmaps for textures: EXR, TIF
Worst: JPG. Most board members deemed JPGs useless for their pipelines.
All UVs should be unwrapped and non-overlapping, even simple objects.
Different objects can have different textures, and the UVs for any one texture must be non-overlapping within that texture space. In other words, the UVs for one texture can overlap the UVs from another texture, but within one texture space there should be no overlaps.
Good to show the model textured with checkers so a potential customer can see that the mapping is nice and even.
Creasing values don’t export, so they aren’t useful for keeping sharp edges for production pipelines. Sharp edges need to have a double edge built in even at the lowest levels so the model will stand up to subdivision.
For a complex model (such as a vehicle), it’s good to have three versions available:
Background/Low poly – Very rough, like a game model, for use in background. Low poly with only major forms modeled, the rest done as textures. Example: tire treads are Diffuse-mapped but not Bump-mapped.
Medium – Good for medium shots. Major details modeled, but some textured. Example: Tire treads are bump-mapped.
Hero/Hi Poly – Every detail modeled. Example: Tire treads are modeled.
TurboSquid is looking into providing some examples of these three cases, so TurboSquid artists can choose to create each one as individual products if they like.
Whenever possible, show the reference materials used. Ideally, the artist uses photos he/she owns, so they can be delivered with the model.
When this is not possible, at least state what reference was used. Example: “I used the pictures on the Peugeot website for reference.” This increases the model’s credibility.
Include a thumbnail of the wireframe over the reference photo to show how they match.
If artist owns the reference photos, include a few that can be used to generate new textures if necessary.
Show a thumbnail of the model next to a cube mapped with a 1 ft or 1m ruler. This helps confirm the scale.
In the Description, always give the unit scale used.
Naming convention is needed for files, objects and textures.
Layers are desirable in the 3D model file, especially if there are multiple objects in the scene that can be organized by textures. An example is a building where could be a layer for all glass objects, and another for brick.
One of our Diamond CheckMate artists, dimosbarbos, had an interesting experience yesterday. A nostalgic customer found this great image of a Lasonic TRC-975 boombox through Google, and was thrilled at the idea of reliving his youth with this classic music maker. And all for just $79! Unfortunately, what the customer wanted was a real boombox and not a 3D model, even if it is Checkmate certified.
It might seem surprising to you that such a “clean” rendering could be mistaken for the real thing. It’s true that this model doesn’t show the scratches and wear that are so common in the amateur photos on Ebay and CraigsList. This rendering bears more resemblance to a product shot displayed at a manufacturer’s website, where photographs are often touched up to make the product look super-clean.
For example, check out this image of a similar (and more recent) Lasonic boombox. Comparing the two images, you can see why the customer thought the TurboSquid boombox was real. And still in great condition, too!
Actually, customers thinking our 3D models are real is a common occurrence, particularly around the holiday season. It’s so common that we made a video about it last December! When shopping for holiday gifts, a $15 iPod is just too good to pass up. Apparently, the same goes for a $79 boombox that brings back joyful memories.
June was a great month for CheckMate models, which accounted for just over 16% of 3D models sold at TurboSquid. When you consider that less than 3% of our 3D model catalog is CheckMate Certified, it’s clear that CheckMate models have an advantage when it comes to sales.
Top VFX Professionals from Weta Digital, CNN, and Electronic ArtsAdvance the CheckMate Industry Standard
June 12, 2012, New Orleans, Louisiana – TurboSquid, the world’s source for quality 3D models, announces the formation of the CheckMate Advisory Board to guide the future of the CheckMate 3D modeling standard. TurboSquid created the standard in 2011, and since that time, a variety of 3D model customers have sought to participate in the standard’s ongoing development. In response, TurboSquid convened a powerhouse of artists to form the CheckMate Advisory Board to take on this responsibility.
Board members include industry leaders from distinguished studios such as Weta Digital, Electronic Arts, CNN, Blur Studio, and The Mill. The first meeting allowed for a high-level discussion of topics, ranging from topology and texturing needs to in-house archive and resource management. “We’re proud to be invited onto the Advisory Board to help review the Checkmate standard,” says James Ogle, Lead Modeler at Weta Digital. “We’re happy to share our experience and contribute to criteria that will make the Checkmate standard valuable to a production of any size.” (more…)