Posts Tagged ‘real-world scale’

3D Modeling Standards: Real-World Scale

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 by

With regard to scale, a digital 3D model is a funny thing. If the file says the building is 3 meters tall, the model renders the same as if it were 300 meters tall (unless the scene uses scale-sensitive lighting, but most scenes don’t). Scale becomes important only when you merge the 3D model into a scene, a very common practice with TurboSquid customers. If a bunch of merged models are at different scales, the customer has to do extra work to make all the models work together, which involves guesswork (fast, but inaccurate) or time-consuming research to figure out exactly how big that thing is supposed to be.

The number of 3D models at TurboSquid that aren’t at real-world scale is surprising, especially when you consider how easy it is to model to scale in the first place, or to change the scale when you’re done modeling. Most 3D models can be re-scaled quickly and accurately with a few mouse clicks. Models with rigging or dynamics aren’t as easy to scale, but the vast majority of 3D models at TurboSquid consist of geometry only, which responds accurately to scaling.

If your models are already at real-world scale, be sure to mention this in the product description. Customers strongly prefer real-world scaled 3D models over the who-knows-what-scaling-was-used types of models. And if your models aren’t to real-world scale, you can improve your sales by making them so. Check out the videos below to find out how to check and change a 3D model’s scale in 3ds Max or Maya.

Both programs have a default scale. Maya uses centimeters (1 unit = 1 cm) while 3ds Max uses “generic” units that default to inches or centimeters depending on your geographic region (1 unit = 1 in or 1 cm). 3ds Max users that want maximum compatibility for exported file formats are best off using centimeters or meters for scale. In 3ds Max, you can always model in your preferred scale and change it later; if you model in inches, for example, then when you’re done you can change the units to centimeters using the tool shown in the video, and all measurements will convert automatically. Both 3ds Max and Maya also have tools for messing with the way the program handles unit scales under the hood, but it’s a bad idea to change these settings unless you have a definite reason for doing so. If you stick to the tools shown in the videos, you’ll be safe.

Are your models at real-world scale? Do you feel this gives you a competitive advantage at TurboSquid?

Selling 3D Models: TurboSquid Publishing Best Practices – Real-World Scale

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 by

Welcome to the first installment of our guide to help you become more successful as a vendor on TurboSquid. Over 9+ years, we’ve gotten a LOT of feedback from our clients, and we feel it’s important that we share this information with you so that you work smarter before publishing and can be more successful after you have content for sale through our library. So, let’s dive into our first topic:


With more 3d animations relying on dynamics in one form or another; for example rigid body dynamics to destroy buildings or entire civilizations, soft-bodies for cloth, hair and other “squishy” bits, fluid dynamics for water, smoke and fire and much more, and global illumination rendering becoming more prevalent, it is becoming more critical that vendors consider the scale of the content they post for sale. In many cases, it is no longer simply enough to make the model “look right”, because it might be imported into a scene that needs real-world scale in order to function properly, whether as part of a specific render or as part of simulation system. This can be especially frustrating for a client who purchases your content (especially architects and designers, who use our library more often these days), so do your best to consider the following things while modeling:

1. For real-world content (i.e. cell phones, flower pots, speakers, tables, etc.) do a little research to make sure its scale is correct. Measure it! Check your units setup and use the built-in measuring tools to ensure you’ve got it set up right. The old adage “measure twice, cut once” can be updated for TurboSquid vendors to read “measure twice, publish once”. There is little use for a 10-foot tall cell phone, even if it is amazingly detailed and richly textured. Likewise a 150 foot long table will have a cloth sim behave very strangely unless the client who buys it wants it for a giant’s home. Check this video out to see what I mean:

Here are some other tips regarding real-world scale that we often see overlooked in many tutorials:

2. If you’re using image planes as guides to construct your content, make sure they are not only set up on the origin (which is just good modeling practice – but that’s a publishing topic for another day), but that they are to the right scale too. It makes little sense to do all of your modeling only to discover that your brand new car model with all its detailed bits and pieces is 30-meters long (unless you’re designing a SUPER stretch limo!). That will take a bit more of your time to scale down properly after the fact and opens up the potential for mistakes.

3. In concert with the previous tip, if you’re providing a model (as opposed to a scene or collection of objects), you should try and ensure that it is centered at the origin of the construction planes so on import, or merge a user doesn’t have to hunt for it.

That’s it for now. Next time, we’ll cover another crucial aspect of publishing – Model Naming. Until then, Happy Publishing!

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