Welcome to 3dbee.it – your resource for quality 3d assets! We’ve put together a base room and some assets to help you take our service for a test drive. This is a step by step guide to get you started.
In the app, select the base room asset and hit “add” on the top panel of the app’s UI.
Assets that are “added” are now part of your library and can be downloaded.
These assets are 100% free, and none of your credits will be used in this process.
You’ll then see the “add” button change to “download”. Hit “download” to download the base room asset.
Step 5: Add the room to your scene
When the download completes, simply select your asset and either drag and drop it directly into your Max viewport, or hit the “+” icon to merge it into your scene. Piece of cake!
Repeat the process for any other asset you’d like to add to your scene later. Our app will generate the shaders with the textures of each asset for your render engine, so all you need to do is layout, light and render!
Imagine yourself at the cusp of your very own success story.
Looking back at nights divided between work and sleep, you’re almost giddy with each second rendered of your client-commissioned magnum opus. As a short film, everything about it just clicked. The concept, the style, the shots. The client was clear and, for once, had next to no significant comments for revision. In fact, it was you who was particularly engaged this time around: fixing this, scuffing that; though not enough for it to be dangerous.
In the nights since you started, a new aspect of the work hovered above you. Each night, it would unfailingly brush against your wakeful thoughts, heavy with suggestion and promise. It must have done something because, these days, you’ve solved all the problems in each of the shots concretely as they came while carrying the tacit confidence that the work, in its eventual whole, would make the cut.
It did. Knowing you, you won’t lose sight of the running list of things you need. Professional-looking digs. New hardware. An orthopedic chair… The staple necessities of a humble 3D legend inching his way to get better. Although certain that the inevitable fame wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) get to your head, you catch yourself blushing at the idea of a feature in 3D Artist or somewhere as prestigious. Besides, the client agreed to give you full credit and didn’t need an NDA; all you have to do is upload it on your profile.
You’re seasoned enough to keep a cool head, but the trickling elation of having finished is nearly impossible to stifle. The oncoming downpour is, of course, your perfect execution of the short, your raison d’être, that will springboard you from the dilettantes and the muck and into the 3D spotlight.
Ah, yes. Now you’ve really gotten yourself going. Gone will be the days of you hanging on the sidelines scrambling for clients and rent. Soon, clients new and old shall clamor to enlist your services (among them, your landlord), and likes will rain down upon your Artstation profile. Soon, dear reader, recognition. The idea of being featured among the all-time 3D greats has become a distinct possibility.
Feeling sentimental, you trace the development of the project’s past iterations all the way back to the beginning gestures of the drawing board. Everything, it seems, has led to this prized event. With only 30 minutes left before the sequence is completed, you turn to head out and pop open a cold one for a job well done. After all, you’ve also recently succeeded in drinking in moderation.
But wait. At the corner of your eye, you spot an asset you must have overlooked: a small white chair with a subtle, yet tasty corduroy finish. It takes a beat for you to realize it’s not one of your own models and may need accreditation. You rush back to your workstation and scroll frantically through your depraved Internet history. In it, there’s an online 3D library featuring that same chair.
According to copyright law, the artist reserves all rights for the work upon its creation. You, a self-respecting artist yourself, decide to remove the chair from the short entirely. (Legal jargon is beneath one such as you.)
Compositionally speaking, the scene isn’t any less without the chair; in fact, it looks better. Although just to be sure, you scan the playthrough. To your horror, the protagonist’s best friend makes a herculean leap across the room to hide behind the chair at the 45-second mark, right about when the protagonist returns home to her promiscuous husband. How you have forgotten such a crucial plot point is beyond you. If only it hadn’t looked so darn good, you would have cursed your heightened sense of drama!
No matter. The beer’s going to have to wait; your window to fame is closing. There’s not a moment to lose.
You begin checking online forums on what to do. You find a single comment on the relevant thread by a certain “CG4evs” about Creative Commons Licenses, dated a year ago. Explaining that each license is a creator’s permission for others to use the original work in different ways, CG4evs concludes, dryly, that “any self-respecting artist would use them.” On any other night, you would have come up with an equally dry, if not scathing, retort. Tonight, however, you shake off the insult, leave him a downvote, and dive straight in.
Thankfully, Creative Commons privileges accessibility, and are likely aware of how seldom people understand legal documents, let alone read them. So, while each license has its own legal code, also available are readable versions called Commons Deeds designed to be understood by anyone but a lawyer. Right as you make some headway, you find a page in the CC website that simplifies the legal matters even further.
You gather that there are six core CC licenses that the chair might fall under, while each license is made up of one, two, or three out of four base conditions. You quickly jot the following.
Licensors (the self-respecting artists) allow others to reuse, tweak, or modify the original licensed work. The only requirements are that the licensor is credited in the manner specified and not done in any way to suggest or demonstrate endorsement.
You need to attribute someone—that you know for sure. You have no qualms about sharing your work under the same CC BY-SA license either if need be. On to the hard parts. CC BY-NC is game over, but you can’t fathom the owner of the chair to be so stringy.
You compare the chair with the source image. To the average viewer, they may as well be one and the same. Your scrutinizing eye, however, notices an angle adjustment from the corners of the seat that slightly splay the legs and flatten the chair.
You figure it may be easier to find a legal workaround than spend another minute getting technical. But it’s also 3am. You think you may be in denial. The words of CG4evs seem to echo throughout your studio. You begin taking the term, “derivative,” terribly out of context. Your fidgeting has gotten you alternating between tabs in your browser, checking all sorts of media on the galleries you frequent.
All around are works properly cited, properly licensed; works made and shared by people who are, in a word, self-respecting.
All works, that is, except the chair.
You throw up your arms. The abrupt shift of weight causes your chair to creak. Your back hurts. Your eyes are heavy. And your throat, parched. You snap your head back to the door. The sun is hardly up: no one will know if you relapse; you can have that beer anyway. Hell, you could have three, though a liter or two may be cheaper. You could also, maybe, drive out to the convenience store, buy a pack of smokes, listen to Kid A—
A ping. It’s your email. You click it dismissively; after all, you’ll only have Internet for so long before the next billing. You rub your eye and lightly slap your cheeks. As your vision comes into focus, you see that the email is a notice of expiry for your free trial to a blog that provides 3D assets. A shiver runs from the back of your head like an electric current before you palm your face.
You visit the website. It’s the same one you pulled out of your depraved Internet history not a few hours ago. In the About page, there’s a link to a FAQ where a user named CG4evs asked about how copyright works in such a platform, dated four years ago. “It doesn’t. You buy it and it’s yours,” says surRenderordie56. CG4evs has since deleted his reply.
A beam of morning light enters the room. As you take a breath, you notice a birdsong amid the passage of cars. Relief: it’s quite uplifting.
A week later, you notice your short gaining some traction. It’s even received its first, albeit simple, comment. CG4evs writes, “Nice… You have my respect, sir.”
In our Planning for Success article, we attempted to encapsulate the entire pipeline of an interior visualization project through a typical brief and timeline. We covered every stage of production and brought to light some time saving methods, often involving the use of third party services and providers. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look into one of those timesaving third party solutions, and how to make sure your investment reaches its fullest potential. We’ll be talking about 3d assets, and the importance of putting them up against a set of standards to ensure your investment is well placed. If you’re an experienced modeler just looking to save time, feel free to skim over what follows. If modelling isn’t your forte, read on!
Having access to one or several repositories for 3d assets can take hours off of our projects and allow us to stay flexible in the midst of frequent turnarounds, as well as give us more freedom to allocate our time wisely across the different phases in realizing our interior scene. The more well made each asset we use is, the more seamlessly we can incorporate it into your visualization. There are many qualities in a 3d asset and asset provider service that contribute to how much time it can save us on our projects, and we may want to consider at least some of them as we peruse the many repositories in the giant digital bazaar that is the internet.
Topology is a term used to describe how faces or edges are used to create the form of a model, and is probably the biggest determinant of a production ready asset. Here are some things we can consider when looking at a model’s topology:
Subdivision – a technique that allows us to non-destructively add more resolution to a model. A common application for this in interior visualization is when we have a round table that will eventually be positioned as a point of focus, close to the camera. At a very close distance we may want to smoothen the contour of the rounded surface a bit more, because when seen up close, we begin to see that the shape is more of a decagon than a circle. Were the table situated in the midground, this would have been acceptable, since a high resolution model would add to the computation time needed to render the scene later on. This is why many assets come in what would be a middle resolution model, which would allow us to only apply subdivision for close shots, but otherwise be good to use out of the box, so to speak.
Though not necessarily inevitable, subdividing a model or a mesh produces some smoothing, especially in corners and junctions. In many cases this is a desired outcome, but there are precautions we would take to make sure we maintain crisp edges where we want them, and that’s where topology comes in.
When looking through assets, we want to see holding edges around places we don’t want smoothed. This is so that if we applied subdivision to the asset for whatever reason, we don’t get unwanted results.
Poly count – Poly count is directly influenced by subdivision, and is really just how we refer to the number of polygons a mesh contains. As mentioned earlier, a mesh with more resolution (or polygon density) than needed to represent a particular form can add to the render time of your scene later down the line. Because we’ll likely be working with quite a few assets in our projects, paying attention to the poly count of an asset is a must if we want our scenes to render in time for those deadlines!
The number of sides in polygons – All meshes are made up of polygons, and most meshes are made with either triangles or quadrangles. For film and visualization, we tend to favor models made with quads, because they behave the most predictably when subdivided. In some cases the careful use of triangles can help in optimizing the mesh in terms of its poly count, but in others, the use of triangles can lead to artifacts when subdivision is applied. Ngons on the other hand, are faces that contain five or more sides, and are better avoided entirely. Ngons are a sure fire way to get some artifacts in renders, or even in textures. They may not cause trouble on flat surfaces, but better safe than sorry!
Let’s take a round table asset from 3dbee.it as an example and let’s examine its mesh.
The topology on the table top allows enough resolution for the circumference of the surface, but reduces the amount of faces nearing the center of the surface. Topology like this gives us smooth contours where needed, and allows us to subdivide the table top while keeping the polycount reasonable.
The faces are all quads. The holding edges around the top and bottom of the table top, as well as the corners of the legs and base will retain the desired shape of the model after subdivision.
On the left is a similar tabletop with the same number of vertices around the circumference of the mesh. The polygon density across the surface is not optimized, and will consume more memory than necessary during render time. On the right is a less dense mesh, but the smoothness of circumference is compromised due to the unoptimized topology.
We might find ourselves with the perfect bunch of assets to furnish our room, but then get a note from the client with a request to change the lacquered wood finish with something a bit more raw. The fix would simply be a matter of finding an appropriate tileable texture set but to our dismay we find that the wood grains aren’t flowing naturally along our surfaces. This is a possibility that can easily come to pass with assets that were mapped haphazardly. Sometimes we might have purchased a model that didn’t contain any image textures initially, and haven’t been unwrapped at all. While it shouldn’t take that much time to fix issues like these, it’s worth checking an asset provider’s website or contacting them directly to ask about the UV mapping of their meshes.
Many assets available online might be presented in a way that might suggest that they would look as good after we’ve added them into our scene. This may actually be the case for some, but certainly not all of them.
Much like the situation with UV’s, we can find ourselves mislead by the beautifully post processed preview images of certain assets and purchase them only to discover that the model only comes with a basic color map, and has no means of accounting for the properties of the surfaces in the model. It’s always a good idea to check for what maps are included in the assets you get to avoid any brutal disappointment in the midst of an incoming deadline.
Remember that texture sets consists of maps created for different kinds of shaders. Maps created for PBR shading are the norm these days, so keep that in mind if you’re using a render engine that doesn’t support the PBR workflow.
Because the main goal in using premade assets is to save time, the less tinkering that is required of them to produce a good render, the better. This is why beyond the assets themselves, an important consideration is how quickly they can be set up within your scene. Assets that come in universal 3d formats such as FBX or OBJ may need some relinking of textures to shader inputs, which is an acceptable inconvenience considering we didn’t have to do any modeling or texturing ourselves, but these days there are services in the market that allow us to bypass this tedious process entirely.
Asset services sometimes also provide asset managers that allow us to interact with their libraries, and add our purchases directly to our scene fully textured and shaded for our render engines. While this might seem trivial to some, the minutes spent on integrating individual assets to a project will stack, and result in a sizeable amount of lost time.
Assets are heavy hitters when it comes to saving time in a project, but a little prudence goes a long way in avoiding situations in which we end up spending more time than we would have had we done everything from scratch. The number of asset providers is increasing, and so is the likelihood of us finding what we need online. This is why it becomes more and more important for us to be able to determine what sort of assets we need for a given project, relative to their cost and quality.
We made the assets and base room used in some of the bedroom renders available for free on our online asset manager. We invite you to have a go at testing our service with these assets. To learn more about how to use our service, head over to our How it Works page. Once you have registered and downloaded our app, look for the category FREE and an asset called “Bedroom Base”. This is the room we used to build an interior scene for this article.
We hope this article helps with finding and determining quality assets you can easily incorporate into your visualization. Happy creating from all of us at 3dbee.it!