If you’ve made a call to our Support Desk, it’s very possible that you are already familiar with Member Services Agent, Jordan Cressy. In this issue of Meet the Squids, Jordan shares her thoughts on talking to customers, and shares her dream of talking to animals.
First of all, what do you do when you’re away from the Support Desk?
I like to overestimate my ability to DIY. My house is littered with half-finished projects and art supplies. I really like music. I sing and play a little piano. I also love to write… I like to write children’s stories.
I have a corgi named Raleigh. I am a little obsessed with corgis. My corgi has a lobster outfit, ‘nough said.
What does a work day look like for you?
I answer questions. Well, I try to answer questions. I am the liaison between questions and answers (fancy).
I answer chats, phone calls, and tickets from our customers. Generally, if one of our members tries to contact us, there is a one in five chance (sometimes one in three) it will be me! I do my best to help our members get the information they need. I want to help!
Another big part of my job is to hunt down fraud, like Buffy. That’s what she was doing, right?
What’s your favorite thing about working at TurboSquid?
I am just a 3D girl in an 8 bit world: a Super Mario World! (otherwise known as the Member Support desks) My other favorite things about TurboSquid include: Endless Hot Tea, and the soda fountain (this is less important to me, but my friends are so jealous!).
Mostly, I get to learn about some really awesome stuff with some great people! Because what is cooler than 3D?
Pretty much nothing! What’s it like working with TurboSquid customers?
It is really nice when we have customers who appreciate what we do. Most of our customers leave feedback, but it is always really great when customer sends us a message of thanks. We also have a couple of characters who we all know by name. It’s funny because we are really a very small group, so most of our customers know us and we know them. That said, I am sorry that I sometimes don’t remember names… But if you come in to chat or call and say “Hey! I am the guy with the Elephant model in Maya” I’ll totally remember you!
As artists, you’ve been given a sneak peek into our evolved categorization system, otherwise known as Feature Graph. Now that you’ve had a chance to test drive it, we’re letting you in on another secret. The current content publishing process has allowed artists the ability to suggest keyword tags that you feel best describe your 3D creations. While this function isn’t going anywhere, we are refining how tags are processed and translated into Feature Graph assignment.
In order to fully understand Feature Graph’s keyword safety net, here are the three types of bad keywords that we’re hoping to avoid:
Lazy keywords happen when we forget to add the correct tags to an asset. For instance, a car could be tagged Nissanand Skyline, but the tag sedanis forgotten, making it difficult to assign this asset to the correct category. Adding keywords up the category chain also helps improve assignments, so adding vehicleand carto that asset would help it get assigned correctly down the line.
Fluffing keywords gets in the way of good assignments. For instance, a Dodge Charger could be tagged with coupe, vehicle, and car, but it was also tagged with filler keywords like drift, drag, rally, and racing. A real car could be tangentially involved with drag racing, but for filing purposes, a car is just a car.
We’ve seen a lot of “free association” keywords, as well: scooters tagged with road, highway, or urban; fruit tagged with tree, seeds, plant; and food tagged with restaurantor kitchen. All of these items and their descriptors are only tangentially related, but when you’re tagging an asset, consider what your customer is realistically going to look for. From what we’ve observed, customer searches are quite specific. When looking for a scooter, the customer is going to type the word scooter, or perhaps a brand name. When they’re looking for a cake, it is unlikely that they will search for kitchen.
These filler keywords can file an asset into a category where it does not belong, causing overloaded searches (which is frustrating for customers). Always keyword for what your model actually is, not for what it could be.
Spam keywords are similar to fluffed keywords, but in this case, the keywords are in direct competition with each other: for instance, tagging a phone with both iPhoneand Blackberry.
Spam tagging is unfair to your fellow artists in the search results, and it’s bad for customers, as it causes messy search results that make it very difficult for them to find exactly what they need.
A few other tips:
Your tags should be almost always be nouns (or proper nouns). When looking for a scooter, a customer will not type in adjectives like speedy or shiny.
Always spell check your keywords! Misspelling scooter as skooter will make sure that your asset does not show up in the appropriate search. And, of course, make sure you are tagging in English.
So, what does Feature Graph’s tagging capabilities mean for you? You will still have the ability to suggest tags, however, please be aware that adding non-relevant or competing keywords may return strange or incorrect results within the Feature Graph assignment process. Using the example above, tagging a cellphone with the terms iPhoneAND Blackberrycould slow the process of your item being properly categorized, and therefore would not be immediately available on the site.
A well organized site and a fast, clean search makes sure that your assets will be seen where they’re meant to be seen. With the safety net built into Feature Graph’s keyword system, our customers will be able find exactly what they want, when they want it… and, of course, having a properly tagged catalog can eventually help us find the gaps in products, so our artists can know what to create next.
C’est magnifique! Our new featured model is one delicious dish by TurboSquid artist ms_Dessi. Her work is well known around the TS offices for rich detail and a delicate hand, so we were happy to have a chat with her for this month’s Artist Spotlight. Find out more about ms_Dessi, her long history with CheckMate, and what paths brought her to 3D modeling, in our interview below!
How long have you been an artist?
Drawing was a hobby for me when I was still in school, but it wasn’t something I took seriously. I preferred to study exact sciences, so I got a technical education in engineering.
After several years of work as an engineer, I realized that it wasn’t satisfying, and I seriously thought about trying another profession as an interior designer. So, around the year 2000 was when I decided to try an art-related field instead.
How did you make the leap from interior design to 3D modeler?
By the time I was working as an interior designer, I became familiar with 3ds max. I would create interiors with free models, but after awhile, I got bored just pasting the models into a scene. I wanted to try to make my own.
Creating my first model (I think it was a sofa) was difficult, but very interesting. The process fascinated me. I continued to build upon the same models, gradually bringing up their level of detail. Of course, my first models were created using online tutorials, but after awhile, I just didn’t need them anymore, and I continued to create models without them.
What’s the most important thing for artists to keep in mind when making 3D models?
In 3D modeling there a lot of important components, so it’s very difficult to say which is the most important.
But in any case, I think one of the most important things is to create the correct geometry, which is well implemented in the specifications of CheckMate Pro.
It’s also important, in my opinion, to make as many fine details as possible with a model’s geometry, rather than its texture (such as the edge of the crease with flower petals).
And never forget about the other equally important components of 3D modeling, such as texturing, the creation of realistic materials, and visualization.
We noticed that most of your models were of flowers, furniture, and food. Recently, though, we saw a new addition to your catalog… can you tell us what inspired you to make this amazing Golden Hind piece?
I just wanted to make a model that was completely different from all my other models. I’m interested in a nautical themes, and I wanted to do an old sailing ship. When I saw the Golden Hind galleon, I just fell in love with it. It took a few months for me to make the model.
Going back to your catalog, can you tell us what you like best about modeling flowers?
Mostly, I like the texture and creating the materials. I’m always trying to improve on my materials, because I feel like I haven’t yet created a realistic, ideal material for petals and leaves. I have to keep making it even better.
You had one of the first CheckMate Pro models, a roulette table. What has been your experience with CheckMate? Do you have any opinions on CheckMate Pro v1 versus Pro v2?
I’m glad that I’ve participated since the beginning, and it’s been a very rewarding experience. I have only positive things to say about CheckMate. However, I’m still in the process of studying CheckMate Pro v2– but I find it interesting, and I’m trying to make a model for it.
How long have you been with TurboSquid? Would you recommended TurboSquid to others?
I’ve been with TurboSquid since September 2009, and I immediately liked the site and its organization. I uploaded a few models of furniture and curtains and just waited to see what would happen next.
After about 4 months, I started to get my first sales. Even if the first sales didn’t come in steadily, I was glad for them. That was when I became more interested in, and even excited about, TurboSquid. I began to make more models so that my sales would keep going up.
And yes, I recommend TurboSquid to 3D modelers who would love and appreciate their hard work!
Want millions of people to see your best 3D model? TurboSquid attracts customers and artists from all over the globe, and we’re always on the lookout for our next featured model. Find out how to have your work spotlighted on our homepage!
Please note that CheckMate Pro v2 Tool 2 checks only for points specific to Pro v2. You will still need to run Tool 1 to check for specification points brought forward from Pro v1 such as quads, isolated vertices, etc. Tool 1 is the Pro v1 script, renamed to Tool 1 to differentiate it from the new script for v2.
It takes a certain type of person to understand the needs of both our 3D artists and our customers who work in the arts industry. Support Agent, Logan Dixon, fits that bill with a trained artist’s eye and a naturally helpful disposition. This week, we’re delighted to present our interview with Logan, who tells us about his strangest support moment, as well as his encounter with a stranger from the spirit world.
Ok, Logan, spill it! What’s the strangest support call you’ve ever received?
I once got a call from a guy who purchased a model of a big Viagra bottle, who was asking me about where to put his shipping information and if it was really discreet shipping. I ended up having to tell him we don’t sell real physical Viagra that he can use, and I refunded him.
What do you like most about working at TS?
My favorite thing about working at TurboSquid would have to be the excitement of being a part of something profound… and I mean that in more ways than one.
For instance, I get to communicate with and help art departments from major companies and organizations, assisting them with their orders for upcoming projects. That’s a very rewarding experience, even if I play a small part.
To be honest, I think I just really enjoy helping people. I suppose that’s why I am a Support Agent.
Our Support Agents are known to be quite busy. What do you do when you’re not at Squid HQ?
I am a traditional 2D artist, and you can often find me in my studio working away at my latest painting or drawing. Perhaps some day I will step into the realm of 3D but for now I will stick to my brushes.
Feel free to check out my website (that is in need of an update): logandixon.com
I think one of my more rewarding pieces was “Becoming of Medusa” which features my sister as the model for Medusa. It’s a fairly large drawing that took me at least a month to complete. I find re-visiting classic stories and changing them to fit the message you would like to convey
Word around the cereal bar is that you have quite a fascination with the supernatural. Any close encounters with the paranormal?
Yes, in fact, during my summer abroad in Sorrento, Italy, I had a ghostly visitation nearly every other night. I am completely serious when I tell you that a ghost crawled into bed with me and would stroke my arm and speak into my ear. Then, some mornings, others on the trip experienced cold hands grabbing their feet. My last day there, I woke up one night and saw the spirit move to my roommate’s bed. After a couple of minutes he jumped out of his sound sleep, swinging, saying, “Get off of me!” and he stormed out the hotel and spent the rest of the night out on the terrace.
Do you have a favorite 3D work from the TurboSquid catalog?
I originally saw this statue in Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli in Naples, Italy, during a summer abroad, studying painting. This model by Clay Master brought back that memory I had of realizing the whimsical nature of this statue.
In Product Support, we have noticed that there are frequent issues with artists’ exchange formats (FBX, OBJ, .3DS, DAE). When exporting these exchange formats, there are a few things that you should address.
Many artists use VRay materials and don’t convert their models into a standard format before exporting into one of the exchange formats. If you export a model with VRay materials attached, it will cause the materials to default to the color gray when importing the model into another program. Also, the texture paths on the VRay export will be erased. If you convert your model to a standard format before exporting, it will be easier for customers to adjust materials and add lighting.
Customers purchase from TurboSquid because they are on a tight deadline and need something right away. If customers have to contact support to re-convert an improperly exported model, the customers have to wait longer and sometimes miss their deadlines. This type of experience makes them think twice about purchasing from TurboSquid in the future.
We have some tips that you can use to export to an exchange format that customers will love and be able to use with ease.
Below is a tutorial (with many helpful images) that will take you step by step through our recommended process. You can click on any photo to get the full version and see exactly what’s going on. We hope it helps, and if you still have questions, feel free to ask us in the comments.