How To Prepare A Model For The Internet
This tutorial will cover how to get a model ready to be published on the internet and receive maximum ratings, for free or for sale. Also includes seller's tips. This tutorial is for Maya, but the techniques can be used in other applications.
Preparing The Model
This section covers what you have to do to make sure your model is presented as best as possible.
Step one - Make sure the model is finished. Go over the model carefully. One of the reasons models get bad reviews is that they are unfinished. Once you have verified that it is finished version of the model, save it as model-name_final.mb. That way there will be no confusion later on.
Step two - Name all of the pieces of the model. This is especially important if you are selling a model. Each piece should be properly named. The name should be "part name_left or right". The big reason you name stuff is so when they're in the outliner, for example, they can pick out each piece of geometry by its name. A quick way to rename multiple objects with the same name is to...
1. Set the status line to rename.
2. Select all of your pieces of geometry.
3. Enter the name of the parts. It will name them "name#".
Another thing to help file organization is to group objects. Example: If you have a car engine but don't feel that it is necessary to name every piece of the engine, group it and call the group engine.
Step three - Delete history, optimize the scene (delete unused nodes, shaders, etc.),.
Step four - Check for hidden geometry and delete it.
Step five - If there is something that you want to tell people about in your scene, it is a good idea to take advantage of the notes function in Maya.
1. Go to create>locator.
2. Select the locator, Go to create>anotation... Call it readme.
3. Select the readme annotation and, under notes, enter the notes you want on your scene. Example: rigging information, etc.
Preparing The Models Texture
This is why it is very important to use your projects in Maya. If you don't know about projects in Maya, please read my tutorial.
Step one - Make sure all of your textures are in your sourceimages folder and your mb files are in the scene folder. Any textures that aren't in the sourceimages file are much more likely to get lost.
Step two - In Maya, make sure that all your of file nodes link to the textures in the sourceimages. A quick way of seeing all the file nodes in Maya is to go to window>rendering editors>hypershade. Click on the tab textures.
Creating The Zip File
All of the files will be zipped up before they are published. This reduces file size, therefore reducing upload and download time. Also it will save whoever is downloading it having to download the files individually. The steps below can be changed, but the concept should stay the same.
Step one - Create a new folder in your documents. Name it the name of the model.
Step two - Create two folders inside the new folder: scenes and sourceimages.
Step three - Copy your Maya files into the scenes folder and the textures into the sourceimages.
Step four - Select both the scenes and sourceimages folders and, in the file browser, go to file>send to>compressed (zipped) folder.
It is important to add a readme file inside the zip. This is where we'll include the instructions on how to unzip the compressed file.
Step one - The readme file shoould be a txt file, not a rich text document or anything like that. You could write one in windows notepad.
Step two - Here's my format for a readme file; you can copy this and use it for your own project.
To install these files
1. Right click on the file and go to
extract all... and click next.
2. On the next screen, click browse.
Locate your current projects folder.
This is the location where the scene
folders and textures will be placed.
3. Click next.
4. That should do it.
Step three - Save the readme file as readme.txt and, in the file browser, drag it onto the compressed zip folder.
Make sure that the zip file isn't corrupted, or it will have trouble unzipping on someone else's computer. Test it out on your own. Make that sure you follow your instructions exactly how they read in the readme. If you find you can't easily uncompress the folder into the directory, you should probably rewrite the instructions.
Working With Additional File Formats
Whenever you publish a file on the internet, it is important to have as many file formats as you can possibly export. What I do is create a folder called OBJ_version, or LWO_version, etc.Then I put all the files for that file format in that folder and drag the folder into the zip file with the rest of them.
Creating preview Image(s)
Most of the time when you put an model on the internet, you have the option to create a preview image, or images. These are things you should take note on before you start rendering your preview images.
1. How many images am I allowed?
2. What's the maximum size in pixels?
3. What file formats are accepted (most are JPEG )?
Step one - In Maya, open your render settings window (window>rendering editors>render settings).
Step two - Go down to image size and set the size of the image to what you're allowed; always set it to the maximum allowed size.
Step three - On the viewport menu set, go to view>camera settings and check resolution gate.
The resolution gate lets you see what the image will be cropped like when rendered.
Step four - Render the preview images from the angles that you want (always make sure they're the most flatttering angles for your model), save them as bitmaps (not a JPEG, even if the site requires JPEGs). The reason we do this is because when Maya saves a JPEG, the compression quality is quite bad. It is best to use a 2d editing program to save the files as JPEGs. It doesn't matter where you save these rendered images.
Saving As A JPEG In Adobe Photoshop
Step one - Open the file in Adobe Photoshop.
Step two - Go to file>save for web & devices...
Step three - I recommend that you use one of the presets in the save for web & devices window. JPEG High is probably your best choice.
Step four - Click save, enter the name of the file and put it in the same folder with the rest of the files.
Saving As A JPEG In Gimp
Gimp is a free program for 2d image editing. Click here to download Gimp.
Step one - Open the file in Gimp.
Step two - Go to file>save as...
Step three - Click on "select file type"; set it to JPEG.
Step four - Click save. Set the quality between 85 and 95. This will get you good results on the web.
Uploading Your Files Onto The Website
This varies. Each website does it differently. It's best to use the instructions they include.
This section covers tips on selling models.
Good places to sell modelswww.the3dstudio.com
1. It is extremely important that your model has clean geometry.
2. Include the .mb and .ma in case they need to open it in another version of Maya.
3. A lot of sites ask for the poly count of your model. To find the poly count on your model in Maya, go to display>heads up displays>poly count. The poly count is the same number of how many faces there are.
4. Your geometry should be in the center of the scene.
1. Since most websites selling models let you have as many preview images as you want, take advantage of this. If you can sell a potential customer on the fact that your model was well made and accurate, you're much more likely to get sales.
2. Save as the highest quality JPEG as you can. Most sites will lower the quality of the JPEG compression on your images.
3. Show wireframe. Wireframes not only look cool, but they show your model was well-made. Sometimes the best wireframe can be a screen shot of the Maya viewport with "wireframe on shader" on. To get a snapshot of the Maya viewport, use a program like Wink.
4. A good rendering is key. You don't want to have GI or GL noise on your rendering. Get the cleanest rendering possible. It is worth the wait.
5. An occlusion style rendering in a set of preview images is always good. To learn how to set up an occlusion rendering, read this tutorial.
1. Don't price your models too low or people will think there is something wrong with them.
2. See at what price other people are pricing their models. If you feel your model is better than theirs, your price should reflect that.
3. It is very rare that you make a model that is so well-detailed that it's actually worth more than $1,000. One of the main reasons people use these model stores is to save money on production costs.
4. Adding texture to a model greatly increases its value.
1. Don't misrepresent your model in preview images. Make sure that the preview images are exactly what the model looks like when they download it. If you want to put your model in a scene that's not included in your model, make a big deal of mentioning that it is not included (#1 cause of bad ratings).
2. Keep everything organized (if somebody's buying the model, they'll like the fact that they don't have to spend 5 hours cleaning up the scene).
3. Write a good model description.
I hope this tutorial sheds some light on how to publish models on the internet. Not everything was covered here, but I think the majority of it was.