3D assets and other services – How the digital world can help you with a deadline

3D assets and other services – How the digital world can help you with a deadline

The year 2020 has been momentous if anything. In the world of 3d, we’ve seen some developments underway that promise faster workflows, more accessible software, and new ways of interacting with digital media in three-dimensional space. We’re also challenged more than ever to work flexibly and produce quality content within shorter time frames, possibly outside the physical proximity of our teammates and collaborators.

Now more than ever would be a good time to take advantage of the many resources online- from 3d Asset libraries, industry level open source software, render farms and more- to help us land more jobs, or get our digital content ready as soon as possible.

As 3d artists and designers in the CG industry, we may soon find ourselves amidst growing competition, and in more project-oriented work than a stable monthly income. Investments in hardware may be less feasible for some time, and we may need to land more projects to get by. For some, now might be the time to focus some energy on original content. In any case, we are looking at a new decade of uncertainty, but we face it armed with all the resources our digital world has to offer.

3d assets, Scans and Textures

3d Models, textures, volumes and hdri maps are crucial to most projects, but can be costly. Unfortunately without pre-existing assets, projects can take twice as long or more to finish, which could mean inability to meet deadlines. Fortunately there are several places these assets can be found at low cost or even for free.

3DBee.IT

For Interior Architectural visualization, 3DBee.IT offers a growing library of high-quality 3d models, materials, and optimized scans for furnishing, appliances, ornamentation, and food. While the service is subscription-based, affordable credit packs are available for on-demand purchases, and many of their assets are available for as little as $5 or free.

Textures.Com

Textures.com is one of the oldest and most extensive repositories for tileable textures for 3d, as well as mattes and recently, 3d assets. While the platform is subscription-based, a free account grants 15 credits every month that may be used for many of the assets available.

3d model haven

Texture haven

Hdri haven

These three platforms are repositories for models, textures, and hdri maps respectively, and are donation based. The sites are run by open source advocates, Greg Zaal, Rob Tuytel, and Cameron Casey. All the assets are available to download for free with a CC-0 license, which means they can be used for any purpose without the need for accreditation. The sites are sustained by the community through support on Patreon, and grants from companies like Epic Games.

Third-party services

GPU server rental

Xesktop

Xesktop is a remote GPU server rental solution that provides access to high powered GPU rental servers for $6/ hour. This can come in handy for offloading heavy computational tasks from a personal workstation, and as an alternative for GPU rendering when a render farm isn’t justified. Users may choose between servers equipped with 10 GTX 1080 Ti Cards with 11GB vRAM or 8 Tesla V100 cards with 16GB vRAM. Xesktop also offers 24/7 support and a free hour for trial and set-up.

A workstation set up is stored as a virtual image so that users can return to their existing projects at any time.

Render Farm

GarageFarm.NET

GarageFarm.NET is a render farm that offers competitive pricing and 24/7 Live Support for its users, as well as a proprietary scene preparation plugin for popular 3d software and Render Engines. They have also recently announced new support for GPU rendering on their farm. The difference between GPU rental and using a render farm is that with the former, a user has direct access to a GPU workstation and can work on projects there. The latter is meant strictly for rendering. With GarageFarm.NET, new users get $25 worth of starting credits, and often give coupons and promotions that can double the starting amount. They are also open to subsidizing a considerable amount of rendering in exchange for participation in case studies and project showcases as well as other content contributions.

For large scale projects, they give huge discounts for large top-ups. Refer to their pricing page for more information.

Software

3d dccs can be expensive, and upgrading to the latest release, or maintaining subscription might have to be postponed in light of recent events. Fortunately, viable open-source or freeware alternatives are available as partial or total more sustainable alternatives for tools crucial to our pipelines.

Blender

Blender is an open-source 3D creation suite. It has grown to be a formidable tool for every part of a 3d production pipeline: modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, motion tracking, and video editing. Despite being a bit of an underdog in its earlier years, Blender is now recognized as a viable 3d package for industry-level use. Not only is it used by notable studios, but it has also garnered the interest and support by way of a financial grant from many industry-leading companies such as Ubisoft, Epic Games, and Nvidia.

Quixel Mixer

Quixel Mixer (previously known as Megascans Studio) is a tool that blends scanned surfaces together to create tileable texture-sets for Film and Games. The recent 2020 updates provide features akin to Substance Painter’s fill layer system, where more control is afforded users by way of paintable masks and mesh maps. Mixer is also available for free, without restriction.

Unreal Engine

Unreal engine is a 3d creation tool and game engine centered on game development and real-time rendering. The software is also made available for free by Epic games, under very liberal terms of use. Many industries turn towards the advantages of real-time rendering in terms of speed and immediate visual feedback during production and Unreal’s continued development in realtime rendering promises closer levels of realism to traditional rendering with every release.

Since UE requires some serious GPU power and no straightforward way of distributing the render process across a network, GPU rental services can come in handy for those without dedicated GPUs looking to render animated sequences from directly within the engine.

Image manipulation software is integral to 3d creation as an auxiliary means of texture map creation and editing, and postprocessing. Luckily, there are a few capable tools available under open-source licenses or similar.

Summary

While these resources are just as useful under normal circumstances, the huge advantages of leveraging services and platforms such as these are the time saved in content production and the flexibility in allocating budgets towards what is most profitable in any given situation.

With the state of many industries unpredictable in times like these, it’s a comfort to know that many alternatives exist, and are a google search away.

The 3D tasty challenge

The 3D tasty challenge

We at 3dBee.IT are celebrating our first birthday with something delicious!

Grab your aprons, roll up those sleeves, and prepare for our first ever 3d challenge! Choose any of our available 3d models and scans, and whip up the tastiest masterpiece you can muster!

The theme is simple – Make It Tasty

We’ll be making some of our food scans and a few of our models available to download and use for the purposes of this contest, along with all of our already free assets in the library. Whether it be a sumptuous photorealistic food shot or an out of the box rendition of a colony of apple creatures crossing a vast and mysterious chopping board frontier, we want to see a feast for the eyes and imagination! Crispy details, flavorful color schemes, and a meaty story are the ingredients for success in this competition. Surprise us!

Post your entries on Instagram and use the #3dtastychallenge hashtag to let us know, and if your entry is favored by our digital AI clone of Gordon Ramsey, you and two runner-ups will be rewarded with mouthwatering prizes!

3D still life examples

Super specific mechanics and terms

– Download our preselected assets for the contest here

OR

– Register and Download any of our Free 3d Assets and Scans over at 3DBee.IT (if you use Max or Sketchup with Arnold, F-Storm, V-Ray, or Corona you might want to check out our asset manager app)

– Create a 3d scene around these assets. Anything goes, as long as it looks great, and doesn’t leave a bad taste in the mouth (nothing NSFW or otherwise offensive)

– Render a single image and post it on Instagram or Artstation with the hashtag #3dtastychallenge and tag 3DBee.IT. If you prefer to live in the fringes of society, that’s cool. Email it to us over at [email protected]

– By participating in the contest you agree to let us share your work on our social media channels and other promotional efforts.

Awards

1st place:
– One-year 3DBee subscription
– $300 worth of rendering on GarageFarm.NET
– $150 wired to your PayPal (or personally delivered by a guy wearing a mask of a Hollywood celebrity of your choice)

2nd place:
– One-year 3DBee subscription
– $200 worth of rendering on GarageFarm.NET
– The consolation in the fact that while you aren’t first, you aren’t third either

3rd place:
– One-year 3DBee subscription
– $100 worth of rendering on GarageFarm.NET


Judging criteria

– Creative interpretation of the theme: 50%
– Technical skill in lighting, composition, etc: 50%

Deadline for entries: July 19, 2020 July 26, 2020

Update: Due to the participants’ requests, the contest is extended by one week. The entries can be submitted until July 26th.

Things are still pretty tough for a lot of us these days, but when life gives you lemons, why not make a cool render out of them? Come join! It’ll be great, and you get some pretty neat assets for free to boot.

For additional questions, email us at [email protected] or send us a DM at https://www.facebook.com/3dbee.it/ or https://www.instagram.com/3dbee.it/

Best of luck! See you at the Hive!

3DBee.IT app guide

3DBee.IT app guide

Welcome to our little hive!

We’re excited to see what you create with the 3d models and scans in our asset library, and we hope that through in the use of our service your interior visualizations become a much more productive experience.

Topping Up Your Balance With Credits

Our assets are purchased through a credit system. To avail of credits, simply head over to
https://3dbee.it/, login, and select “my account” in the header.

The account page is where you can keep track of your balance, and purchase more credits.
Hit the “buy credits” button to purchase credit packs or an annual subscription.


An annual subscription not only allows you unlimited downloads of assets but also $100 worth of rendering credits over at our mother company, GarageFarm.NET.


Select Add to cart to make your purchase, and proceed to checkout to seal the deal!

*If you’re still unsure about making a purchase, search for the FREE assets we have in the library to download free 3d models and test our service out.

Downloading assets

There are two ways you can add our 3d models and scans to your scene: By downloading them directly from our website or by using our asset management app.

Downloading directly

Once your balance has been updated, head over to the asset library by clicking the “asset library” on the header of our page.

Select an asset you want and on the popup, simply hit “add to my library” to get your copy.


After hitting “add to my library” you will see the prompt as shown above. Hit “buy asset” to confirm the purchase.


You will receive this prompt once the purchase is complete. At this point, you may now hit “download” on the pop up to save the asset locally.

You will receive your asset as a zip folder containing an FBX, and the maps assigned to each Material ID on the mesh.

The maps are numbered according to the material ID, and for additional guidance for more complex assets, you can refer to the included .xml descriptor file.

From here you can import the FBX to your DCC and link the maps accordingly.

Downloading from the 3DBee app

Our App currently supports 3ds Max from 2016 up, and the following render engines:

  • Scanline
  • Corona
  • V-Ray
  • F-Storm
  • Arnold

We also have working support for SketchUp with the V-Ray engine and encourage you to give the app a go if this is your DCC of choice.

In the “my account” page, you will find links to the app installer for your operating system. Simply click on a link to receive the file.


Installing the app is straightforward, and the install wizard will help you along.

Once the 3DBee App is installed and launched, be sure to launch either 3ds Max or Sketch Up and load your scene. In the app, log in with your account credentials and browse through our assets.

When you have found the one you need, select it and hit the blue button on the app’s toolbar.


The button will be named either “buy” or “add” depending on whether you have already purchased the asset, or if it is available for free.

When hitting “buy” you will be prompted to confirm your purchase. Check “use real money” (this just means you will be spending credits) and then hit “confirm and buy”.


The asset will download and once the download is complete, you may select on the preview on the right side of the app, and drag it into your scene.

Position your asset where you like and left click to confirm the placement.


That’s it!

We highly recommend taking advantage of the app so you won’t need to manually set up shaders and textures for your assets.

If you aren’t a Max or SketchUp user, feel free to download directly from our site, and sit tight! Support for more DCCs is on the way!

Thanks for reading, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Happy Creating from all of us at the Hive!

3D asset bundles by 3DBee.IT

3D asset bundles by 3DBee.IT

As we’re slowly nearing the end of this unfortunate global ordeal, and into an uncertain future, the question of how we regain our bearings looms over us all. We at 3dbee.it are just as uncertain, but we’ve been working to prepare ourselves, and you, for new projects that need doing, and (we never thought we’d say this) new deadlines that need beating.

We’ve put together some bundles of 3d assets suited to add that extra touch of detail to your visualizations, and are offering them at the cost of a couple of coffees!

Without further ado we present to you our discounted 3d asset bundles:

set of 3D bundles

The Coffee Lover Bundle

Nothing tops off a pantry like the essential ingredients for that sweet, sweet brew of liquid motivation. In this bundle is everything you need for a good cup of Jove, from an espresso machine down to the beans.





The Baker bundle

What gives off that special lived-in in vibe to your home kitchens? Some food and appliances! The baker asset bundle contains some of our bread scans, a container, and a dainty retro toaster among other things. Here are the assets in detail.




The Juicer Bundle

Renders of springtime out in the patio, or a garden cocktail party would be perfect for this asset bundle! Accentuate your scene with some fresh fruit, pitchers and glasses, and a blender to depict home in the midst of a pleasant get-together.




The Collector bundle

Tabletops, shelves, counters, or nightstands – what wouldn’t benefit from some lovely figurines? Add even more visual interest to your interior close-ups with this fine assortment of figures and statuettes.




The Modern Chair bundle

Chairs chairs chairs, deceptively simple but a real-time guzzler to model, and you’re bound to need a few. Worry no more! This bundle is comprised of various options for your seats and could come in handy for almost any room visualization.




Little Tyke Bundle

A collection of essential modules for a quick child’s room for expecting clients! Furnish a Child’s room in no time with this themed bundle!




The Burgundy Bundle

Created based on The Anchorman franchise, this 3d asset bundle has all the components for a Parlor, Cabin, or generally any manly man cave that needs some quick sprucing.




Market Haul Bundle

A modest paper bag filled with various fruits and vegetables might seem trivial, but this could easily be what turns your render from a simple visualization into a living breathing story! Honey, I’m hooooomee!


As always our library continues to grow, and we’ll be coming up with more solutions with your asset needs, so stay tuned, and most importantly, stay safe!

Till next time!
The bees

The 3DBee.IT asset digest: assets for kitchens

The 3DBee.IT asset digest: assets for kitchens

Kitchens can be one of the trickiest spaces to visualize from scratch. Apart from racks, tables modules, and chairs, there’s a multitude of appliances that are essential to the room but can be a real challenge to model. Our bees have your back, though! Here is a list of our highlighted assets for kitchens.

Appliances

Perfect for almost any kitchen home, these assets were made with the utmost care and attention to detail. Save yourself hours of modeling by adding these appliances to your scenes instead!

A Retro Style Blender for any homemaker’s kitchen!
Can’t have a kitchen or pantry without a reliable coffee machine to brew that sweet nectar of productivity!
For the more discerning coffee drinker, here’s a lovely espresso machine!
For the busy bee, here’s a compact Gas Stove!
A stylish Nordic Kettle for when you feel like brewing tea in your turtle-neck sweater.
Compact and versatile, here’s a modern oven for any kitchen space!
A Retro Toaster to soften up your kitchen space.

Modules

Here are some collections of modular storage units based on popular interior design styles

Contemporary

Scandanavian

Modern

And that’s a wrap for this first monthly roundup! We’ll be keeping you posted of any new developments at the end of each month, and for more assets and freebies, be sure to browse our entire collection over at 3DBee.IT!

Planning for Success: How to estimate and manage time when working on your archviz project?

Planning for Success: How to estimate and manage time when working on your archviz project?

A 3d project can mean anything from a simple still shot, to an animated sequence, and is seldom a straightforward task. As a freelance 3d generalist, you often need to take on many roles notwithstanding actually being your own manager. It can be overwhelming at times, but as with any complex problem, the solution lies in tackling things one piece at a time, instead of its entirety. Here’s how you can manage your 3d jobs without feeling like you’re up against insurmountable odds.

Study the brief closely

Before firing up your 3d suite weapon of choice, it’s good to think of what you’re expected to deliver, the work that it entails, how long you have to work on it, and why you’ve been selected to do it in the first place.

Let’s use a common scenario to elaborate on this.

Scenario

You’re tasked with creating an interior render. You’ve been given a blueprint for the room, as well as some references for a style the client would like for the visualization, and two weeks to produce three distinct shots. With a brief like this you could break it down as follows:

DELIVERABLES: three shots of a furnished interior scene, modeled to scale.
DEADLINE: two weeks
YOUR ADDED VALUE: Photorealism. You think the client chose you because of your keen attention to detail.

Now it’s time to start breaking the project down into objectives you need to reach to produce the final work, and figure out what sub tasks each objective entails:

  • Create the room – model from blueprint, add thickness and bevels to walls, check measurements, check topology, UV unwrap
  • Furnish the room – populate room with assets based on the interior design style specified in the brief
  • Layout – stage your shot, taking into consideration the flow of light in the room, use of space, and what element of the scene you would give focus to.
  • Lighting – add lights to emphasize textures, simulate the actual light sources of the room, both man-made and natural. Check exposure etc.
  • Textures and shading – find the right textures that will recreate the look from the references provided, consider the IOR values for each material type in the room, create displacement where necessary (bricks, rocks etc), refine ( add surface imperfections, etc)
  • Rendering – plan for turnarounds, tweak settings to minimize render time without sacrificing quality where possible
  • Turnarounds – find ways to make your workflow non destructive to anticipate turnarounds, consider compositing
  • Final rendering – kick off renders, wait
  • Post – color grading

At this point you should have a clear idea of how much of your time each task would take, and plan your working hours accordingly. Some of the tasks are iterative, some tasks may require more time because they are less linear than the others. Let’s go through the list again:

  • Create the room – 6h
  • Furnish the room – 2h on average per asset, +2h spent searching for references, and a total of 10 assets needed = 22h
  • Layout – 3h
  • Lighting – 5h including tweaks
  • Textures and shading – 2h per object on average
  • Rendering – 8h including testing and tweaking
  • Turnarounds – anticipate 11h to be safe
  • Final rendering – kick off renders, wait 2.5h per shot
  • Post color grading – 3h

Now everything is on the table, and all that’s left before actually rolling up your sleeves is to consider what it is you can deliver to your client that will really impress him or her. Working with this scenario, you really shine in making your renders look like they already exist in the real world. This means the more of your time you can spend on perfecting your materials and textures, and lighting the scene to really make those details pop, the better!

Let’s go through the list one last time and see where you might speed up some stages so that you can allocate even more time to achieving your trademark photorealistic renders!

Creating and furnishing the room

Your modeling skills, though great, can take the backseat where possible, because having to get the geometry down and then unwrap, texture and shade every piece of furniture in the room would not only be tedious, but also eat a lot of your time. A practical solution would be to find a 3d asset provider that suits your needs, and provide some automation for material creation so you don’t spend time plugging textures to your shaders.

By using an asset service you get models that are made by professionals, and can rest easy knowing the meshes will be clean and have proper UV maps and textures. You also have the possibility of auditioning different pieces for your client, which should land you some bonus points! While assets need to be purchased, it’s always a good investment to build up your own library of models you can use in future projects too!

Let’s say you’ve spent the 6h you anticipated for building the room from the blueprint, but have now reduced what would have been 20h to create the furniture assets thanks to an asset service. That’s 20h extra to spend later on!

Layout

What makes a good layout isn’t always quantifiable, but you can eliminate some of the guesswork and iteration by simply borrowing ideas from interior photography and design. It can help to add a proxy human figure to your scene to get a sense of the logistics of the room, such as walking space, and work from there. Working with pantone guides can also speed things up, since you can arrange your furniture by how well their colors work together.

Lighting, texturing and shading

Here’s where the time you saved using an asset service really pays off. Once you’ve established how the natural and built light sources interact with the space, and checked exposure and white balance, you can focus on really making your textures pop. Add some realism to your renders by first identifying which assets would be the point of focus and are closer to the camera. Then, see what areas of these models might be good to highlight. A light source might be shining directly on a tabletop, which could be an invitation to give the surface some detail maps such as dust, to help make the room feel less sterile. Maybe a coffee mug happens to be in front of the camera in one of your shots. Subtle fingerprints or even a lipstick stain on the rim of the mug might lend some character to the scene.

With more time on your hands, you can now be as meticulous as you like, creating extra maps or adjusting shader values to your heart’s content! Outlining some interesting shapes with a backlight isn’t out of the question either, especially for a 3d artist (wink).

Initial renders and turnarounds

If you haven’t spent all those additional 20h on refining your scene (I mean, come on!), this is another stage they could come in handy. Lower samples and a denoiser often can do the trick for render previews, and in some cases, taking advantage of real time rendering might also be viable, but thanks to your planning ahead, you can cut less corners in your initial renders. Many render farms provide a sizeable amount of render credits for new users. You can render all your shots simultaneously, with generous render settings, and get an estimate of what it’s going to cost you to render the final shots, for free! If you anticipate many turnarounds, it might be worth reducing the output size of your frames to a fraction of the final size, and using the render times to calculate the final cost later.

Compositing know-how can be a lifesaver in terms of creating variations in color, mood and even in mixing and matching elements in your shot (within reason). Cryptomattes, render layers, render passes and shadow-catchers are some very important compositing tools that can prevent you from having to re-render the whole scene for every minor change.

Final rendering and Post

We’re in the endgame now, and things are looking sweet as pie. Though you should make some last considerations before you launch your render jobs. The results of your initial renders would have let you know whether your files were uploaded to the server properly, and if there were any bad frames. If there were any issues, it’s important to get in contact with your render farm’s support team so that they can either monitor your jobs with extra care, point you in the right direction to fixing issues, or fix them for you, if the issues were caused by the infrastructure in any way. Keep the communication lines open, and do what you can on your end to avoid issues in the first place.

A good rule of thumb is not to have your assets scattered across different directories, especially if they’re in different network drives, for example. While some render farms provide some pretty sophisticated scene preparation plugins, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. It’s also a good idea to launch a render of a particular shot as soon as your client gives the go, instead of waiting for all of them to be approved. That way, some shots will finish earlier than others and allow you to begin your final color grading and post adjustments right away.

And that is how you might tackle a big archviz project from start to finish! The key takeaways are:

1. Break down your tasks according to your pipeline
2. Get an estimate of the time it would take for each task
3. Find ways to shorten each task without sacrificing quality in the end result
4. Anticipate your client intervening
5. Take advantage of third party services and tools
6. Create more time for yourself in areas of production where you excel

We hope you enjoyed this article, and if it was of any use to you let us know. Happy creating!

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