TurboSquid 3D Modeling Blog

3D Modeling

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.

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.

 

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