In case you missed it: The default sphere is problematic because of the two poles. By itself, a standard sphere does not seem to pose any problems, but when it comes time to subdivide, the differences in polygon density at the equator and at the poles produces pinching, and squashes the sphere around the equator.
To round out our list, we’ve put together tutorials for two more programs: Softimage and LightWave.
Softimage Quad Sphere
1. Go to the model module
2. Create a cube
3. Suggested specifications – Length: 8; Subdivisions: 12 x 12 x 12
4. Create a sphere (Note: the cube should be bigger than the sphere)
5. Suggested specifications – Radius: 3; Subdivisions: 24 x 24
6. Keep the sphere and the cube at the same location
7. Select the cube
8. Go to Modify > Deform > Shrink Wrap
9. Select the sphere (you can use the Explorer to do this)
10. Right-click on the viewport
LightWave Quad Sphere
Click any screenshot below for full resolution.
1. Under the create tab, look on the menu for “Primitives” and select “Box”
2. At the bottom of the program, select “Numeric” or hit “n” to bring up the Numeric window
3. Choose the desired width, height, and depth you need to create your cube. Be sure to add as many segments as you want or need for the cube.
4. Go to the “Modify” tab at the top of the program. Then at the menu under “Transform,” go to the “More” tab.
In our Meet the Squids series, it seems we’ve also managed to cover many distinctive facets of New Orleans culture (food, drink, music, and numerous organizations), and this week’s interview with Eric Arvidson, CFO, is no exception. Eric is one of the voices of the beloved New Orleans’ listener-supported radio station, WWOZ, now in the midst of its annual membership drive.
Eric offers his thoughts on why he loves WWOZ, and talks to us about one of his more… fiery hobbies.
What does your day typically consist of?
A typical day consists of emails, spreadsheets, planning, and meetings. Each day can be a bit different, but the overall goals are to make budget projections and make sure we pay our artists each month. Much of my time is spent helping others do their job, and sometimes that means staying out of the way!
What’s your favorite thing about working at TurboSquid?
Working at TurboSquid is always a challenge and each day presents something new. I enjoy that we try to keep the “corporate rules” to a minimum. But when it really comes down to it, distilled down to its essence, what makes TurboSquid cool is the people – employees, artists, friends and family. It is fun to see everyone working from so many different angles, for a common goal.
NOLA Burners’ 2012 project, Bebe Brulee, was featured at Burning Man. Eric says, “I love to create big art structures and then burn them down. Of course, we do it on purpose (and safely), but I think that scares my wife sometimes…”
WWOZ is in the midst of its membership drive - why do you think WWOZ has become so important to New Orleans? Oh, and when can you be heard on the air?
I think WWOZ is the voice of the culture of New Orleans, and as they say at the station, they are the Guardians of the Groove. New Orleans has such a unique and robust music scene and I think it is vital that there is an outlet for local musicians and sounds be heard. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful radio station that pushes that out, all over the world. I am not regularly scheduled on air, so you just have to keep listening to hear me next!
One more thing! Tell us about your favorite model from the TurboSquid catalog.
I love this Sea Stallion. Just a cool looking, big helicopter.
We’re going to go over how to make a quad sphere in 3ds Max, Maya and Cinema 4D, for CheckMate Pro v2.
The default sphere is problematic because of the two poles. By itself, a standard sphere does not seem to pose any problems, but when it comes time to subdivide, the differences in polygon density at the equator and at the poles produces pinching, and squashes the sphere around the equator.
Click any screenshot below for full resolution.
Comparison of a Polygonal Sphere and a Quad Sphere
Here are the spheres unsmoothed.
When the spheres are smoothed, they both deform in different ways.
You can see how the Polygonal Sphere’s smoothing causes problems once a shader is added. Little ridges are created at the top of the sphere.
You can see the ridges with a chrome material applied also.
While the effect is subtle, you should be able to see the faint star pattern within the normal sphere at the poles where the lighting and reflections get distorted as the sphere is subdivided. Moreover, it can’t simply be fixed by removing every other edge that’s converging to that one vertex to make the pole faces quads. The distortion is a direct result of the fact that it’s a curved surface where the pole exists.
As such, a far better approach is to build a quad sphere, which not only eliminates this pole problem entirely, but is completely CheckMate Pro v2 compliant. Here’s how you can accomplish this quickly in each of the major 3D applications.
This week in our Meet the Squids series, we’re talking to Paul Teall, General Manager of the Content Group. In addition to his management duties, Paul also has a secondary job title at TurboSquid: commissioner of the office’s cutthroat Fantasy Football league.
What do you do with your time outside of work?
I’m relatively new to New Orleans, so I still love exploring the city with my family. There’s so much to do here – we’re all still thrilled to be discovering new things about the city.
I’ve had a couple of jobs in the video game industry, and I’ve got a side project centered around that – gamejobhunter.com: It’s a site that’s focused on helping people get a job making games.
What does your day at TurboSquid typically entail?
Working with the CheckMate team to help expand our certification efforts! The team is working incredibly hard to make sure that our quality of our catalog continues to rise. I’m also working on a few more very cool projects, but it’s a little too early to discuss those yet.
Do you have a favorite thing about working here?
I love the people that work at TS – we’ve got a really fun and talented team. Being in downtown New Orleans is also great. We’ve got a lot of cool restaurants and bars nearby, which keeps things interesting.
What else do you get to do at TS HQ?
One of my unofficial job duties is acting as the TurboSquid Fantasy Football league commissioner. Our league has gotten pretty intense over the years – we’re up to 16 teams, and the competition is ruthless. I get to publicly shame people that forget to set their rosters, which is always fun.
Is there anyone in the office who’s doing particularly well this season? Now is an acceptable time to praise them, or throw some shade.
Ted Sedberry is actually 9-0.
How much does everyone hate him right now?
Probably a lot.
Ed. note:Without shaming anyone too hard (I’m super nice like that), we also talked about the highs and lows of the league, with Paul citing the “fall from grace, for our Super Bowl champ of two years ago.” So I had to ask…
Is there a Loser Bowl trophy?
They get $50 and a year of living with the shame of a Loser Bowl “championship.”
Before we go, tell us about your favorite model in the TurboSquid catalog:
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.