Posts Tagged ‘standards’

Best Practices: Floating Signature Images

Monday, December 20th, 2010 by

Now that we have a new off-white background on the Search page, you have an opportunity to really make your product stand out. With a Signature Image rendered against a RGB 247,247,247 background, your thumbnails will appear to “float” on the page.

Of course, the floating trick works only if the image shows the entire model, and neither the model nor its shadow bleeds off the edge of the image. We recommend you make these Signature Images at 1200 x 1200 so customers can see a hi-res version of exactly the same image they’ve clicked on.

See our Knowledge Base for more about making Signature Images.

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?

3D Modeling Standards: Ngons

Friday, November 12th, 2010 by

Our posts here on the best 3D modeling practices for different industries have garnered a lot of comments and opinions. One common theme is the question of quads (4-sided polygons) vs. ngons (polygons with more than 4 sides).

We’ve heard from both customers and artists on this matter. Some customers tell us that they absolutely must have quads and triangles, while others don’t care if the model has ngons. Unfortunately, when an artist publishes a 3D model for sale, there’s no way to tell which customers are going to want it. This means the safest course of action, if you want maximum sales, is to make a 3D model with quads and triangles only.

Ngons (left) and quads (right)

When I’ve mentioned this before, I’ve gotten responses ranging from “Of course! I always use quads,” to a very strong reaction from artists that seem to take this as a personal affront. “How dare you tell me how to model!” they say. “I’ve been using ngons for years, and my clients never complain. I am good at what I do, and I am a professional. I am insulted that you would insinuate otherwise!”

First of all, let’s all calm down. No one is saying anyone is unprofessional or a lousy artist. All we’re saying is, if you want to sell more 3D models, use mostly quads plus a few triangles where necessary. If you’re fine with the sales you’ve been getting on your ngon models, then don’t change a thing.

For artists that do want to update their 3D models, we’ve prepared a couple of videos on how to detect and change ngons to quads and tris in 3ds Max and Maya. Both these packages have tools for easy detection, and even some degree of automation for the process.

Do you find these videos helpful? Do you plan to change your existing models to use quads and tris only?

3D Modeling Standards: Object Names

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 by

When I talk to TurboSquid customers, one subject comes up over and over:  default object names.  Having logical object names for each part of a 3D model makes a big difference in customer satisfaction.  A customer who’s just purchased a bucket load of 3D models isn’t going to be happy about having to pick through each model and figure out what everything is.

The stuff of customer nightmares

Intelligent object names matter especially to customers when:

  • The model has a lot of individual parts
  • The customer merges the 3D model into a scene with many other objects, which is what customers are likely to do with a 3D model made up of just a few objects

While it’s important for 3D models with lots of parts, it’s also important for models with just a few parts.  Hmmm … call me crazy, but this seems to cover just about every 3D model out there.

Both 3ds Max and Maya have automatic renaming tools that make bulk renaming quick and easy, but only if you already know what you’re working with.  If the model is unfamiliar, this can take a long time.  We’re talking about 15 minutes of your time versus an hour or two of customer time per model.  This is the main reason customers find this problem so frustrating. They buy stock 3D to save time, but then inattention by the original artist ends up costing them time.

Still not convinced? Listen to what one of our customers has to say about default object names.

The message is clear: If you want to deliver a professional product and charge a professional price, name your objects. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference. If it doesn’t matter to you, you can skip it — but it’s hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to take advantage of such an easy way to improve their models.

One more thing: If you have taken the time to name your objects, be sure to mention that in your Product Description. All other things being equal, this professional touch can give you a definite edge in sales.

Hitpoint Studios

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 by

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting TurboSquid customer Hitpoint Studios in Hatfield, Mass. Hitpoint specializes in branded online games, utilizing Autodesk Maya to animate characters for gameplay. Their most recent project was for AXE to promote their line of men’s grooming products. The game, World’s Manliest Rituals, is referred to internally at Hitpoint as “the game where TurboSquid models chase you.”

The game features young men being pursued by numerous creatures, including those shown below. Hitpoint rigged and animated the models in Maya.

Hitpoint is housed in an old structure in rural Massachusetts, close to a number of colleges that provide a steady stream of talent through their doors. Hitpoint artist Maya Gounard, a specialist in animal movement and behavior, was kind enough to take the time to talk with me about what Hitpoint looks for in a 3D model. Her interview is one of many we’ve been doing over the last few months to get more info on what our customers want and expect from their purchases.

Maya was very forthcoming in telling us what Hitpoint looks for at TurboSquid. The video above is just one of many that will come out of this terrific, informative visit.

3D Modeling Standards: Folklore or Fact?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 by

There was a time not too long ago when hardly anyone knew what a 3D model was. Then Toy Story came out in 1995, and it got a little easier to explain to my mother what I do for a living. Fast-forward to the release of Avatar this year, and suddenly everyone is interested in this 3D stuff.

All the while, as 3D artists continued to model away, rough standards emerged for the construction of 3D models. But while it’s pretty easy for anyone to spot a good rendering, it’s not so easy to get a handle on all the components that make a 3D model good under the hood.

The rendering looks fine, but...

...what does the topology look like?

Experienced artists use the term topology to describe the construction of a 3D model, the arrangement of polygons and edges and how they flow. Unfortunately, there’s no Standards Bureau for 3D Modeling—definitions of “good topology” are passed around like folklore on forums or given as part of on-the-job training in a specific industry. But what works in one field might not work in another, which makes for confusing and even conflicting standards for 3D models.

To help sort this out, we asked customers from all kinds of industries to spell out their own standards for both stock 3D models and custom work. Several of these rules came up as common to all production fields, from architectural visualization to game development and broadcast.

  • No ngons (polygons with more than four sides)
  • Mostly quads (four-sided polygons) with a few triangles as needed
  • Built to real-world scale
  • No coincident or overlapping faces
  • Normals flipped the right way

Now that 3D modeling is no longer a new art, is it time for firm professional standards to emerge from the folklore? Would enforcing professionalism in such a manner stifle creativity?

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