How TurboSquid has empowered artists by building an accessible library of 3D models
How did TurboSquid start? We were working on TV commercials and 3D plugins in New Orleans in the late Nineties, and we had collected lots of 3D models from various projects. These were taking up hard drive space and we figured there were lots of other companies with similar stashes. The use of 3D was starting to grow, and we figured if we could connect people to those existing libraries of models, we might be onto something.
What was the industry like when TurboSquid started up?
There were a few existing 3D libraries that you could purchase on CD-ROM, but no real concept of a two-sided stock marketplace. We also launched the site right in the midst of the dotcom crash, back in April of 2000, so we weren’t on very stable ground. Our biggest challenges were building up inventory, and convincing studios that they didn’t need to build everything from scratch – stock 3D could be a huge shortcut.
The biggest milestones for TurboSquid over the past two decades One of the most rewarding things we’ve seen is the number of artists who have been able to turn to sell on TurboSquid into their full-time job. We’ve met artists from all over the world, and the impact we’ve been able to have on their lives has been amazing. Stock 3D, especially early on, had the reputation of being a bit like the Wild West. Artists around the globe were building content without any real guidelines about how the content should be built. In 2011, we started working with representatives from companies like Weta Digital, Electronic Arts, Blur, Neoscape and more to come up with a standard specification that would give our artists clear guidelines on what industry veterans expected in a model. That turned into our CheckMate certification process and really started us moving down a path towards simplifying the use of 3D models.
3D models evolving Continue Process
The move towards standardization finally feels like it’s happening. As 3D continues to expand i11to just about every industry imaginable, you’ve got major technology and retail companies invested in making sure that the 3D content works wherever they need it. Our long-term vision has been that using a 3D model should be as easy as using a photo, and it feels like things are moving more in that direction.
What’s next for TurboSquid?
Working with enterprise companies to help them manage their own 3D libraries with Kraken, our 3D asset management platform. Major retailers and product companies have libraries of hundreds or thousands of models, and they’re coming to us to help them manage that complexity.