Selling Tips For 3D Modelers and 2D ArtistsThursday, December 13 2018 by Ryan W Knope
In this age of 3D Design, things are rapidly changing. There are infinitely more models for sale, more spots to list them and greater demand for smarter products that are lower resolution, albeit greater detail.
We also have emerging technologies that are changing the face of what the buyers really need in the end. Much of the market is flooded with older models where people raced to get them up first. These models are starting to see sales dwindle in place of the new age models that embrace the oncoming hot technology that is going to push aside the traditional way we as 3D Artists once worked.
There are also many simple things that assist in the quicker production of products, along with a higher amount of sales. Throughout this article we are going to touch on these topics. We will start with the front end (What the buyer views on the sales website) and work our way to the back end (What the user receives and how it is set up).
Working The Front End – Listing Your Products
There are quite a few things that you can do while listing a product that help yours stand out and make them easier to find. Additionally, advertising your products in your blog, website and social media platforms is extremely beneficial.
Start out with as much detail about your product as possible. The more information that you supply the buyer the better. Including a bunch of render previews, along with Wire Frame, Shaded with Edged Faces and Ambient Occlusion definitely helps. This allows the user to see from all angles, what the geometry looks like and oftentimes Ambient Occlusion will show if there are discrepancies within the mesh, such as normal issues, pinching etc.
For the product description do not just include the file type and standard data. Let the buyer know if the stack is intact or if everything has been collapsed down to edit mesh or edit poly. If the modifier stack is intact in the native format, then the end user has the ability to modify the product quicker to his or her needs. Also, name your objects and place your objects in properly named layers.
Mention all of this within the product description, especially if it is a scene, rather than just an object.
Below is an example of a preferred product description. You can see that it mentions the actual real world product name and model number along with a lot of the 3D Model info.
The text within the listing should also be variated between each site that you sell on. So if you are selling on another site and starting up a shop on RenderHub, you really need to change the wording and the way it reads. This is mainly because search engines like Google scan for repeat or copied listings and in the process negates one of the listings or drops it lower on the search.
Of course I have been at times guilty of not doing some of these because it takes more time up front. In the long run you will be happy you did though. In my experience these noted items create products with a longer shelf life and higher sales.
File formats are also a huge influencer to purchase. The more file formats you have, the more likely a buyer is to find one without having to request it to be exchanged to another format. Oftentimes the buyer needs the model right away to meet a deadline and does not have the time to wait.
If you plan to have a large catalog then it may be in your best interest to purchase conversion software that will ease the pain of the conversion and testing process. I have used “Okino PolyTrans” in the past and it has worked great, although the price of the software, plus the cost of addons / plugins makes it an investment.
Always test the exported files in as many major applications as possible. If you have access to Maya, 3dsmax and Cinema 4D then try them all. Often the software applications deal with geometry, materials and textures differently. This could save major headaches in the long run, along with the not so cheery feeling of taking back returned items.
There are also convertors that are free online, although I have not delved into those.
On top of 3D file formats, also consider the texture file formats. For example, if you are selling a model that has a blue texture, but the buyer needs one in red they will have to put the extra work in. If you include a .PSD file that has color variations it will be easier for the end user. Make sure to mention the variations within the .PSD and also show some examples of the variations. This is an easy way to appeal to a larger audience.
As far as pricing, I still believe there is a “You Get What You Pay For Attitude”. Products that look really great but the price is too good to be true often sends up a red flag. I sell 3D models, but I also purchase a lot of models each year because of quick deadlines.
Often when I go for the one that looks too good to be true, there is an issue. Then I need to spend extra time either fixing it or trying to get a refund. Moderately priced models seem to sell and work the best in my opinion. When listing a product for the first time look at the other comparable models and price accordingly.
The Back End – Developing Your Products
In a lot of ways, this is your most creative front. Thinking both inside and outside of the box is a great idea. A lot of buyers are going to be thinking inside the box, so you do want to use the “In The Box Conventional Methods”, although thinking outside of the box adds value in the current and provides longevity for the future.
Look Into Trends, Holidays and Events
If you are sitting around wondering what you could model to sell, look for holidays coming up or major world events on the way. The Olympics, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and the World Cup are a few examples.
These models may not have high sales all year long… although they usually make up for it with the quickness during the related events. Make sure to list your product at least a month prior if you are going to create models for themed events such as this. Otherwise you may miss the rush of sales. Just like it takes time for modeling, it takes your client time to integrate the product and they will have to do their final sendoff before the event.
If you have several models that would work within a set, then definitely create the set and also list them as single assets. This gives the buyer a choice of spending a bit less in the long run and you reap the benefit of a high monetary sale up front. Always reduce the price enough for it to appear worthy of an impulse sale.
When creating the previews, create the main preview showing all the contents within the pack, then show each item separately from a few angles. Often it will be necessary for a lot of previews, but it is worth it in the end if you sell a pack for a couple hundred dollars. Additionally, try to list details about each of the assets in the set if they are packaged separately. The product description of packs are generally longer because of describing each product. Take the time to discuss each one and it will help it sell.
When considering sets, I also strongly consider full scenes. I have had a lot of luck selling full scenes, with merchandise, equipment, lighting, etc. A few years back a friend of mine who is in the industry laughed at me for this. As time went on, I had the last laugh on this. Over half of my sales has come from full scenes of restaurants, stores and more.
There are several big benefits for the buyer in this situation. If they like the previews and use the same software then they get the following:
- Ability to dissect the scene setup and apply it to their own layout.
- A multitude of equipment, furniture and merchandise that they can utilize right away.
Look into emerging technologies. Those that are on the cusp of mainstream or a few years off could be extremely beneficial with keeping ahead of the curve. Also look at current explosions in the technology we use.
Currently we are witnessing the explosion of Virtual Reality, Dome Theaters and Architectural Visualizations / Walkthough’s being produced in UnReal, Unity and other engines. We have also seen the emergence of Substance as a major force.
Hone your skills in Substance and PBR technologies to keep your models relevant for a longer period of time. Otherwise your models will not age as well. In my personal opinion. Everything is shifting slowly but surely to real time rendering. Embrace that and move with it.
Double Benefits From Your Collection
There are also ways to double the benefit of your models. For example, if I have created a multitude of interior models, creating a plan or isometric pack as a .psd, .tif, or .png adds another use of what you have already created. For those working in the “Hospitality Field” these sets prove very valuable. Often these firms need a quick plan in Photoshop. With this in mind they purchase libraries of plan view items. With working in the hospitality field I have seen this many times over. I have sold many of these packs and they are definitely in demand for artists that have to create quick 2D plans or isometrics with nice detail.
About The Author
Ryan Knope has been in the 3D Industry since 1997 and has been selling 3D Models since 2006. From 2006 to the time this article was written he has amassed over $96,000 in model sales as residual income by listing occasionally.
He runs Ryan Knope Visualization out of Denver, Colorado USA and has written in many publications, such as a monthly columnist for 3D Artist Magazine (18 Printed Issues), 3D Graphics Tutorial Collection, Instatuts, CG Arena, Mastering 3D Graphics and more. He has a love for Architectural, Interior Design and Hospitality renderings.
Nice article. There is some good advice here. :-)