3D Modeling for Profit | 2
3D Modeling for Profit
N: What happens when you want to build a model when the plans or drawings are virtually non-existent and there are only ¾ view photographs?
Tom: "Comparing that to a 2003 Silverado, if you’re guessing at the dimensions, it’s going to be a problem, because when somebody buys that, chances are that they’re going to be compositing it with a real car or truck and then the inaccuracies are going to show up in a big way. Now if there are no source materials, then those kinds of problems are going to be less likely to surface, because you’re not going to be compositing it with the genuine article. In that case, all you can do is look for photographs and make comparisons. Another option is to compare resource material with people who have built kits of these models."
N: How do you determine what types of models to create?
Tom: "The best idea is to go where your interest lies. In our experience, what sells are highly accurate models. And in our publishing packet offers really good advice. Real world things, highly detailed things such as the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower are good things to make. And during the creation process there will be times where you have to make decisions about compromising data and detail, but the models that sell the best are ones that are true to life."
"As an example, the cars that we have, which command the highest price, are actually digitized from real cars. Digitizing is one option, but it’s definitely a skill and the equipment can cost many thousands of dollars. But the end product would create a highly accurate model which we’d quite often list for $3495.00. Now if somebody needs a digitized car and we don’t have it, they have to find it somewhere else and they’ll easily pay 3-4 times that, minimum. And if they want the undercarriage or interior, the price goes way up."
"As to what to model, I recommend that developers create highly detailed models, rather than one highly detailed model and five models that they can knock out pretty quickly. It would be better to create a Statue of Liberty or a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee than a spaceship or a cartoon animal. There’s no debate about what a Jeep Grand Cherokee will look like, but if you create a cartoon dog and someone needs that for a film, it would be pure coincidence if you had the same vision."
"Be aware though, when building a detailed model, you can go to extremes. If you want to build a Jeep Grand Cherokee, don’t spend any time on the engine, the undercarriage or the interior, because you could easily spend as much time on the interior as you could on the exterior of the car itself."
N: Why wouldn’t you do that?
Tom: "Part of the reason is to maximize the return. If you could create two exterior views in the time it would take you to create one car with an interior, or if you could create three cars in the time it would take you to create one car with an interior and an engine, then it’s better to create the three cars. This is because many more people care about having the exterior of the car and they can deal with reflections off of the windows. They really don't open the hood; they show the car driving along a road. Also, most customers don’t really care if a car has an engine or not."
"These issues also come up when we talk about textures. A model is going to be worth a lot more money if they can be translated into different formats. And the more complex you make the textures, the more difficult it is to translate. And this is an important topic, one that we feel is one of our competitive advantages. We have a product here called Deep Server, which came from Right Hemisphere. Deep Server allows us to do translations on-the-fly on our website, meanin that you can choose a model and get it translated to a format that you want at the time of purchase."
"There are other translations that we do that Deep Server can’t handle, but being able to translate a model is definitely important. We have models that are created in Max and they have textures, they were mapped in Max and that’s great. People like models with textures, but it’s like creating the car with an interior. It’s better to create two models. A lot of people in the professional end of the market are going to be doing something with these models after they get them. They’re not going to buy them, then just plug-and-play. Textures are one of those things that they’re going to be very particular about themselves."
"Texturing can take a tremendous amount of work and I don’t think that there’s a real big payback. The reasons are:
- People don’t want to pay for it because they’re going to be doing it themselves, and
- It doesn't translate very well."
"Depending on how it’s done and how complicated it is, there are always exceptions. Sometimes, all we can do is give the customer the geometry and the textures files and they’ll have to do the application themselves. And how much can you charge for that?"
"It’s nice to have the textures, but they’re not worth very much. Most of our customers come from the professional ranks of film, video, universities, government, etc. And what I’m telling you is valid for that group but is not the grand truth for everybody. There are so many consumers out there of 3D content. And some people want a model that’s ready to go. They don’t want to worry about it; they don’t know how to texture models, nor do they have a texture artist available. And for those consumers, it’s great to have a texture file."
Created: June 5, 2003
Revised: August 8, 2003