TurboSquid 3D Modeling Blog

3D Modeling

Artist Spotlight: HKV Studios

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 by

blog_preview_HKVStudiosWhile the TurboSquid catalog is very diverse, it’s obvious that cars are some of our most popular 3D models.  Among the artists who specialize in sleek details and shapely chrome, stands HKV Studios, whose catalog is made up entirely of vehicles, both vintage and new.  This month, we’re featuring their BMW i8 model, and we had the pleasure of chatting with Artem Kabanov, the creative director and founder of HKV Studios.  In our Featured Artist Interview, Artem talks about what draws him to car modeling, as well as his long relationship with the CheckMate Standard.

HKVStudios_assets

 

How did you get your start as a 3D modeler?

I started my 3D artist career 10 years ago. It started from the hobby that wasn’t really linked with my education and specialty, which is economics and management. I always liked everything connected with machinery and engineering. When I was a kid, I liked to construct toy models of various vehicles – cars, trains, and helicopters. They had moving parts and engines, and they functioned just like the real ones… well, at least I believed they did. :)  3D modeling gave me a new opportunity to actualize my hobby.

 
Do you have any advice for other modelers?  What do you think is your biggest priority when making 3D models?

My advice is to find your passion that you would like to re-create in 3D. If you work with passion, this gives you an inexhaustible source of energy to improve and create the best products on the market.

When I model a car, I try to re-create every curve of the body as accurately as possible. I understand that behind any car design lies hundreds— or even thousands— of hours of artists’ and engineers’ work. You have to respect that work if you are getting into 3D car modeling.

 

 

Your catalog is amazing– lots of cars, and they all look fantastic.  What do you like about modeling cars?  Are there any models that you find particularly challenging to build?

I have loved cars as long as I can remember. They are my true passion.

I enjoy modeling concept cars the most. Those are the cars that stand at the peak of the technical progress. They’re considered to be technically revolutionary, which is underscored with a futuristic exterior and interior design. For example, Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, and BMW i8: those cars looked and felt cosmic, or ultra-futuristic, three years before they hit the market, so they really brought the whole industry to another level.

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

I started working with CheckMate when it was in beta. There were lots of grey areas there at that time, but overall, the process of certifying my first models went smoothly. Since then, the procedure has improved greatly thanks to implementation of the CheckMate queue into the dashboard design, as well as the number of scripts that are available for download and use. I do think there is a long way to go before the process becomes perfect, but what I see right now is that TurboSquid moves very confidently, with large steps, in the right direction.

If we speak about numbers and if the CheckMate certification pay-offs, my answer is undeniably positive. CheckMate models stand higher in the ranks and they have an attractive look that garners more views from potential customers. Customers are already convinced about the quality of CheckMate products, so their choice between certified or non-certified models, in most cases, is obvious.

The 3D industry improves as the customers’ requirements grow. In order to be a successful vendor, you should improve your techniques in accordance with those requirements. CheckMate really became a “bridge” between customer desire and artist vision. It is good to see that CheckMate Pro evolved to introduce V2. This allows us to create up-to-date models to keep the customers 100% satisfied. I look forward to the next updates!

 
How long have you been with TurboSquid? Would you recommend us to other 3D artists?

I have sold with TurboSquid since September 2005, so, almost nine years now. This is truly a great experience, which has changed my life tremendously. Selling through a website, worldwide, sounded unbelievable ten years ago.

TurboSquid and the 3D industry have evolved significantly. I enjoy watching the Throwback Thursday posts on the TurboSquid Facebook— it gives you a vivid look at how far the industry has jumped in ten years.  It is really great to be a part of this industry and, for sure, I advise everyone to join our great TurboSquid community and help us improve the industry together!

 

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

TurboTips: An In-Depth Look at Falloff Maps

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 by

Falloff maps are an extremely powerful tool for artists to utilize when creating procedural shaders. They are essential when trying to create any realistic shader that is reflective or has color changing properties like chrome, metals, and pearlescent paint.  In order to use Falloff maps effectively, it is important to understand how the map works.

In this week’s edition of Turbo Tips, we’ll explain the ins and outs of Falloff map parameters.  For our purposes, we are demonstrating with 3ds Max, but the ideas and concepts can be used in many other 3D programs.

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TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 4

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 by

It is very easy to zone out and work away without thinking about your scene, naming, or organization. Before you know it, you have a few dozen cloned objects named Box#### or a Material Editor full of textures named # – Default, and if you take a break, you may not always remember what’s what, or what’s applied to where.

Our Turbo Tip of the week (and possibly of the year– this advice is that important!): keep things simple by naming and organizing as you go.

For now, this will be our final post in our series on Scene Optimizations & Best Practices.  If you have a topic or question you’d like to see addressed in a future edition of Turbo Tips, check out the bottom of this post to find out how to get in touch with us.

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Not So “Generic” Post

Friday, February 7th, 2014 by

I’ve been asked my opinion on one of our competitors going “Generic”. My first thought was that it was an interesting choice of words on their part.

TurboSquid is an ardent supporter of fair use of 3D models, and that will not change. We will continue refining our handling of cases, how we label items, and so on. I personally engage with each case and concern about items sold on TurboSquid. Some gray area does indeed exist, and it is a personal mission of mine to do my best to make that as black and white as possible. That will help everyone: artists, manufacturers, and TurboSquid.

It takes thought, engagement, and respect towards people who are worried about TurboSquid’s intent and our artists’ intent. Fair use is ethical. Our artists are ethical. Our customers are ethical.

I’ve been insulted by lawyers many times, but when they figure out that we are a professional company, that our artists are professionals, and our customers are professionals (who include a huge number of news outlets), the conversation changes.

Bottom line: these folks become reasonable when they understand we respect their intellectual property. You would be surprised about which things people care about. It is *not* obvious. That’s why I want to participate in discussions and work with them. I purposefully do not invite TurboSquid’s lawyers. The reality is that the internet has run ahead of current legal frameworks that originated from the notion of copying books hundreds of years ago. That said, legislatures do not want to make stupid legislation that harms progress. Courts don’t want to make historically bad decisions when the nature of intellectual property itself is changing.

That leaves rational people to the process of solving this as a business problem, not a legal problem.

TurboSquid has worked a lot with big companies in strategic capacities. We have had many people try to acquire TurboSquid. Instead, we chose to keep our independence. Solving the problem of managing fair use is exactly the kind of problem we can tackle. But a big company that has a legal department, and that doesn’t care about visual 3D, just doesn’t need the headache.

If you are an artist with your content taken down from another site, let’s avoid the spin — content that was taken down is obviously not selling now. This is a loss to you, not a new opportunity.  We created SquidGuild Bridge last year at the request of people who wanted to participate in CheckMate and higher royalty rates. If it makes sense for you, we’re happy to have you join.

Remember, as an artist, you are responsible to make sure that you publish content for which you own or have the rights to publish — all of those rights. Artists warrant to us that they have these rights, and we tried to make this clearer in our publisher recently, and our license revisions. If you don’t own the rights from a manufacturer, for example, to generally sell a 3D model, then you must list it as editorial use only. TurboSquid does not protect you from your own infringement. Some artists selling on their own sites have been tracked down and contacted directly by big companies, and those artists acted as they saw fit. On our site, TurboSquid does a very good job keeping the peace and talking sense into all parties when there is conflict.

On a personal note, I know we (and I) pissed off a lot of artists when we started the SquidGuild and changed our royalty rates in 2009. It was hard to be criticized, but I understood why and knew that a meaningful number of artists felt like we broke their trust. The competitor I mentioned earlier took this to a level that was really out-of-bounds, with outlandish accusations about what we were doing and future conspiracies about what would happen and how we would keep changing royalty rates and all kinds of things.

The only thing that we could do (that we were willing to do) was to stay the course with our original intent and over time earn back trust from those artists. The royalty rates stayed the same, we have invested in trying to create great content, and we have many more opportunities on the horizon. We have not abandoned our core business, and believe that the future of the industry is not in a race to the bottom on pricing, and it is not in printable 3D. At least, not for people who love making incredibly photoreal models.

The future is in taking the work we love, working in the apps we love, and reaching a much, much broader audience. TurboSquid has made a huge number of investments to make this happen, and they will roll out when they are ready. 3D is hard to do well, but it will have its day, and it will be big.

~ Matt

TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 3

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 by

For viewport navigation, grouping and selection sets are the way to go. Both can be as big or small as you want. Like layers, groups are retained when merging scenes, while selections are saved per scene.

This is the third part of our four-part series on Scene Optimizations and Best Practices.  For our purposes, we are demonstrating below with screen shots from 3ds Max, but these fundamentals can be applied to other software packages.

3. Working with Groups

Good Organization_0

Groups are very useful for scene organization. Rather than combining objects into one big object, group all the objects together. Unlike attaching or merging the objects together, the group can be opened, allowing you to work at the object level or closed for easy selectability of the entire model.

Subgrouping

Groups can also be stacked inside each other to organize the object up into larger more logical pieces. Above, you can see that the object has been broken into 3 groups within the Main Object Group. All individual objects are still editable by opening the groups. Usually having groups inside of groups is only necessary for models with many parts that need to be organized for easier navigation.

 

4. Selection Sets

Selection_Dropdown_1 Selection_Dropdown_2

Selections sets are another useful option for simplifying scene navigation. With selection sets, you can select everything you want, the same way you would a group. So if you have a set of objects that you need to select often, and for some reason you don’t want them grouped, simply type the name of the set into the Selection Set space. That selection will be stored in the drop down for easy reselection without grouping the objects or merging them into a single object.

 

4.1 Managing Selection Sets

ManageSelectionSets_1

ManageSelectionSets_2

 

You can edit selection sets from the Manage Selection Sets menu. Access it from the Edit menu or the icon next to the selection set creation box. You can view all objects within each selection set, add objects, or remove objects from this menu. Other options are also available by right clicking on the object names in the window.

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.

TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 2

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 by

Navigation using the layer editor is something every artist should do, or at least know how to do; it’s a powerful tool when it comes to organizing a scene. The layer editor makes it quick to select objects and groups, and offers a variety of other controls. Layers are retained when importing or merging scenes together, so its important to understand how to organize them efficiently.

This is the second part of our four-part series on Scene Optimizations and Best Practices.  For our purposes, we are demonstrating below with screen shots from 3ds Max, but these fundamentals can be applied to other software packages.

2. Using Layers

LayerEditor

Compared to the layer editor on the left, it may seem that the layer editor on the right is less organized, but it’s only because there is more information. That’s a good thing, since objects can quickly be hidden, frozen, or selected from the Layer Editor. It’s also important to note that all the names are short, yet descriptive enough for you to know which objects you are working with. This makes the scene very easy to navigate.

The “Lights” layer contains all the light objects and lighting components in the scene. The “StageLayer” contains all the floor and camera objects that make the scene. The “Gym_410” is the layer that contains all the parts of the model so it has the name of the model, which is required by the specification.

 

2.1. More, or Less

Layers_1

To make the layer editor less busy, a layer can always be collapsed when not in use. Right-clicking on an object name brings up a variety of options, including access to the Object Properties. Layers are extremely useful when working in a scene to isolate major components of the scene from each other.

You can see in the left side image above that the 3 layers the file has been separated into are collapsed. When working on just the model, you can easily hide the two other layers from being visible, so you only see layer “Gym_410” contents in the viewport.

Layers_2

Adding new layers, editing layers, and organizing existing layers can be done by using the buttons at the top of the Layer Editor menu.

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.

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