Introducing CheckMate Certification

Matt Wisdom 3D Modeling, CheckMate, Company, Site 19 Comments

I have an exciting announcement for our entire 3D community. After two years of development, TurboSquid has released its CheckMate Certification program for 3D models. CheckMate Certification allows artists to submit their highest quality models for review and inspection by TurboSquid staff. Models that pass the standard are marked with a badge so you can easily search for and spot our best 3D models.

Big Ben 3D Model

Up until now, quality in our catalog has varied too much from one model to the next. We are addressing this problem by establishing universal standards: CheckMate Pro for the highest quality, and CheckMate Lite for basic reliability. We’re sending out a press release on this groundbreaking program, and we’d like to give you a little more background on how we came to decide on CheckMate as the next important step for TurboSquid and the 3D industry.

The Stock 3D Industry’s Problem

The lack of generally accepted standards for 3D model quality has been a major problem in our industry. Customers don’t know what they’re truly buying, and artists don’t know what customers care about in a model. While our industry and TurboSquid have seen consistent growth, we haven’t come close to tapping into stock 3D’s true potential because customers get deeply frustrated if they have to repair a model or even talk to customer support – like everything, models should always “just work”. So if the field of photography has long had standards for composition, contrast, and clarity, why doesn’t 3D modeling have standards, too? It’s time for somebody to step forward and try to solve this problem.

The Solution: CheckMate Certification

CheckMate Certification is a whole program that includes the standards themselves, a submission process for artists, model inspections from our in-house team with personal feedbcak, artist training materials, and display of CheckMate badges in search results and in product previews. We’ve assembled a sizeable team to make this happen, including a large group of trained 3D inspectors to conduct manual inspections alongside our automated tools. You can find out all there is to know about the program on our CheckMate info page and in our Knowledge Base. You can also read our CheckMate Certification FAQ to find out more.

How Did TurboSquid Determine the Standards?

We surveyed customers and artists extensively to compile the CheckMate standards. We started with discussions with artists in our blog and forums, and moved on to survey and interview customers in a wide range of disciplines. For example, in one of our surveys, we asked customers how they felt about a variety of 3D model attributes. Below you can see some of the results, showing the percentage of customer respondents who considered each attribute important. These attributes all became part of the CheckMate Pro standard. We also got feedback from customers about product information and presentation in product previews on TurboSquid. More than anything else in a presentation, customers want better and higher quality images. So, as part of preparing for CheckMate, we developed and released a high-resolution thumbnail viewer and turntables which dramatically increase the amount of detail customers can see before they buy. As part of our intense push for quality, these types of images are required for CheckMate Pro models. Lastly, TurboSquid ran a six-month beta program with top customers and artists to fine-tune both the standards and the inspection process. Feedback from our artists was invaluable in developing a working certification program. From the beta process emerged a second standard, CheckMate Lite, a less rigorous specification that requires wireframe thumbnails, full product information, and a model that renders and works. Early customer feedback on CheckMate has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, many customers who participated in our surveys and beta said they’ll never buy anything other than CheckMate models, which is a great validation of the effort made by TurboSquid’s artists and our team to bring standards to this industry.

The Future

It’s time to end the game of guessing what a quality 3D model is. We named this program CheckMate for just that reason. TurboSquid has always had the widest variety and largest catalog of models, but we now have a clear brand in CheckMate to help customers know what they’re buying. CheckMate will demand more from artists who create and publish their 3D models, and more from TurboSquid in inspecting and certifying these models. But this work will create new value for our customers, and will open up stock 3D to new customers who wouldn’t have considered it an option in the past. We look forward to a new era in the stock 3D industry, and we invite you to be a part of it. Please tell us what you think by commenting below.

Comments 19

  1. How exciting:

    In fact, many customers who participated in our surveys and beta said they’ll never buy anything other than CheckMate models,

    And since I am not in the Guild I cannot participate in even the Checkmate Lite program thus in theory resulting in a significant drop in sales. Is it about time to leave the wonderful land of Turbosquid which I have been apart of for almost a decade? Quite possibility!

  2. @Plutonius3D: Well, you know the answer to that one! We would love to have you in the SquidGuild, as you know. And even if you don’t join, you can use our Best Practices and CheckMate specifications to improve your work, wherever you put it for sale.

  3. This is the worst move you made towards the non-SG vendors. It’s absolutely obvious what your point is: get in the guild or get out ! Well, there are people who might consider the first option unacceptable (and your methods rather unethical).
    I understand that business are tough, but I was hoping they are fair, too.

  4. Requiring a squidguild membership is a smart move. Gain more exclusive content, gain more customers, facilitate a pricing structure all leading towards profit and growth.

    Business wise, it’s savvy.

    Fundamentally, however, it is unethical. I’m not anti-capitalism, or anti-business, but there is a special flavor of capitalism that I do not like, and it is being used here. Exclusive control of resources to guide profits. I’m not saying this is anything out of the ordinary in the business world. But being legal and common, and being ethical, are not always in alignment.

    As a customer I don’t want sites to thrive on exclusive models. Exclusive content means expensive content to me. If I were to become a vendor, a single venue cuts out a lot of people that might purchase my models. Requiring specific pricing tiers, the same. There are hundreds of model sites that people visit, and some of them have not heard of turbosquid. Exclusive models don’t sell elsewhere, because they’re not for sale.

    One could opt to not join the guild, but it has already been stated that many customers will never choose a model not signed off by checkmate. So again, I would lose potential customers.

    The only party with gain here is Turbosquid. CheckMate is a very well made product of profit without consideration of both vendors and consumers. I hope that its form and function changes soon.

  5. Thanks for all the comments. I appreciate the questions, as these are ones we’ve asked ourselves. We’ve looked at certification from many different angles since we started developing the program two years ago. Here are some of our reasons for doing things the way we did.

    We’d eventually like every model on our site, whether from a SquidGuild or non-SquidGuild artist, to meet the Lite standard at the very minimum. Then we’ll be offering our customers a truly quality shopping experience. If they want cheap stuff, they can go to Google Warehouse or another site that specializes in that. But our customers have asked repeatedly for higher quality in presentation, thumbnails, product info, and the model itself with quads, real-world scale, etc. So we’re endeavoring to give our customers, the ones who are already shopping at TurboSquid and telling their friends and co-workers about us, exactly what they’ve asked for.

    Regarding the exclusivity of CheckMate to SquidGuild, we have a lot of models to get through on our site, and we’ve simply chosen to start with the models created by our most loyal members, the SquidGuild. We had to start somewhere, so why not there?

    As for whether it’s fair to customers, stock 3D has a more or less self-regulating price structure. A stock 3D model has to cost substantially less than it would cost for an artist to make it from scratch; otherwise, customers won’t buy it. So “exclusive” isn’t going to cause prices to go up. However, “quality” might, especially when customers (by survey) perceive that a model that’s been checked for certain quality points is “worth more” than a non-checked model. The customer gets what he/she wants, the artist makes more money.

    I just wanted you to know that we did think through the decision to start with SquidGuild models. Customers can start shopping for CheckMate models as we build up that category, and can start seeing how models that meet the standards fit their workflows. Non-SquidGuild members are free to follow the standards and improve their own work, with the idea that eventually they’ll be eligible for a badge, too.

    And thanks for the comment that CheckMate is a well-made product. We worked very long and hard on it (including a six-month beta with both artists and customers) and we’re very proud of it.

  6. If I may ask: What percentage of customers actually filled out the survey? Just curious

    Of course I really think it is going to be awfully hard to open each model and check if it meets the checkmate criteria. All the models that have been published and the models that are continuing to be published, it sounds like a daunting task!

  7. Hi there,

    I don’t think main objective was crush non-SquidGuild members and force exclusivity, but finally give a solution to product inspection, something that TS needed long time ago, and I wish myself: Let it know to customers they can buy my models with confidence; with the grantee that is a verified product.
    Of course you should feel that is a move against you as non-exclusive members, in the other hand we get more benefit to have more reasons to remain part of the Guild.
    Undeniably that is also convenient business strategy, and that’s what companies do.
    (Every online service tremble every time Google launch a new product, and we all love Google)

    Not long ago, without exclusivity programs, 3D stock sites content look all as mirrors of each other; That’s a boring experience from costumers point of view; Why they need to go for models to other sites if they will find the same products everywhere. Maybe exclusivity programs will bring a wide colorful range of choices for customers.
    Check for other marketplaces to see how aggressive and impersonal they deal with their content providers. (like: stock photos, game publishers, etc) At least TS faces directly with us and discuss its decisions, sooner or later.

    Doing a quick search you can see how many models already have CheckMate badges, 546! Is a low number for 6 months of beta program, so is a slow process the certification, then is compressible to start with SquidGuild first, even with Diamond level only.

  8. Post

    I think the point for us is really this — TurboSquid has to raise the quality of 3D models. The customer experience of shopping around dozens of sites with little quality control run by very small companies already exists. Our industry has done pretty well with this.

    The next level of success is really based on changing the whole experience. We want the best quality models, and the cleanest experience buying them. Customers come in and out fast, get just what they want, it works like they expect, and they are very happy. We want customers to be so sure of the value that they are getting, that they will purchase way, way more frequently than they used to.

    It’s been an enormous effort. If we do it right, it will bring enormous value for our customers, our artists, and our company as a whole.

    The fact is that most artists don’t want to manage their portfolio across a dozen sites. They want to spend their time creating models and increasing their skills, and we are going to invest in them as much as we can.

    But for artists that want to spend energy selling across many sites, that is (and always be) open to them.

  9. checkmate is great Idea when we talk about standarts that affect the model it self like size, naming scenes object…
    and I adopt this in alot of my models
    (like this one–/557681)

    I just don’t like the white background idea and I don’t find that my thumbnails are hard to read by customer I also find that it is very usfull to write on thumbnails that the model is animated, rigged, or low poly and I am sure that also the customer find this usfull when he search for an animated or rigged model.

    some times I also add flag on the thumbnail for model that are specific for a country I think this also can help to make the choice of the model.

    Finally I really hope that TS review the white thumbnails rules (the presentation is for the seller and it is a mirror of his personality) and I am sure that if they do checkmate will get a very big succes.

    I hope also that we will not be forced to adopt it (if sales get low because this program).

  10. At this point, if sellers that are not exclusive with Turbosquid are not allowed in the checkmate program, not only will not raise quality across the board but may also mislead clients into thinking that checkmate models are the best ones from all points of view.

    Can you honestly say that this model is better than this one ?

    The first one is obviously missing a lot of details and the overall geometry (although it may meet the criteria for checkmate pro) does not look as it should be.

    Just my 2c.

    Best regards,

  11. Alex: “but may also mislead clients into thinking that checkmate models are the best ones from all points of view.”

    That is a concern of ours and we’ll have to see it works out in the long run. We do not want for someone to think “Oh, that’s not CheckMate, it must be bad.” We only want them to think that something that is CheckMate Certified has an extra bonus to it. For a customer looking at the two models that you linked, they may well say the one not certified looks better for what they want. The customer just knows that the CheckMate one has been certified and definitely passes certain requirements. Its Pro, which means those requirements are really quite high, separate from the overall visual beauty and complexity of the model.

    One thing to consider is that there are already 250,000 models on the site. Not anywhere near all artist are going to go back in and edit the geometry of all their models to get certified. But, most new models will be created to meet the spec.

  12. One thing is clear: for customers, ChechMate program is all about quality. It is not about loyalty, about rewarding some artists or about segregation on subjective criteria.

    Deciding that a certain group of artists may get the CheckMate badge and another group may not is wrong and, above all, as Alex said, incorrect towards the customers.

    This is true, you don’t say products from non-SG artist are of bad quality, you only say products from SG artist are better.

    Well, I think customers are not stupid. They will understand that this CHeckMate badge doesn’t always mean better quality.

  13. I think CheckMate program will get the same future than Game ready summision, cose many costumers buy formats like OBJ, FBX and 3DS sometimes more than MAX or Maya, TS Is the best 3D modeling site In BIG part for costumers and Artists, so whats the point to be gold or diamond If they got the same priorities on a Checkmate list? there are many things to see before that this program works

  14. For an operating time in program CheckMate, I faced various problems and each time thought not to participate any more in her, but through what that time I came back to her again. It first of all great work, both for artists and for inspectors. For me it is better when I know that my model has passed check. I hope that this program will have good results, for all who participated in her.

  15. This topic had not long ago 16 comments, the latest two being from ms_Dessi. One of them was rather negative about your CheckMate program. I see now that this comment disappeared. Is it a divine miracle, or it’s just a subjective and selfish act of censure, trying to re-model the reality the way we like ?
    Just wondering…

    1. ms_dessi made a harsh comment here when she was frustrated about something. When the problem was resolved quickly, she regretted her blog post and requested that we take it down. No divine miracle here, just our Support team at work.

  16. Hi, Sandu Bublic, I have asked to remove the first comment. But not because to my problem quickly have reacted, and it is a little for other reason. Although responded really quickly. I actually approximately 3 times faced with some problems during inspection of models. That comment concerns these cases, and especially to the last. But as also there are inspectors with whom to me it was pleasant to work Jacque Mollay, Corey Cambre and James Capps. Taking an opportunity, I want to tell them thanks. They have checked up many my models. And I wouldn’t like to cross out this positive experience, after one unsuccessful inspections.

    If program CheckMate has lacks, but not so much as it has been told by me in the first case. Sorry, that thanks to my emotions, I have misled you. Probably has affected pressure from expectation of start of program CheckMate.

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