If you do 3D modeling you might want to see this.

posted on model request forum

“I am technical training designer in a small company in Alabama, USA. We are producing the hardware and software for toll road operations. At this point in time we are developing modules for our customers to train the toll collectors to operate the training . We are working now on a 3D simulator, which depicts the traffic through the toll plaza. I myself work with Maya software, however, at this point in time since we are under a deadline, we are interested in purchasing some working files (*.ma) with various car models ready for animation. I was wondering if you had something like that you could offer us. If so, please let me know. Thank you very much. If interested, pleas contact me at vsavchenkova -at- unitedtoll.com

now look at the site. and the prices.


Wow, thats low-end stock photography prices!


“We presumably need a freelancer to model a car in 3DS MAX, exterior and interior, based on sketches like attached document (wished complexity). Could you please tell me the approximate price first? Thank you Look forward to your rapid reply.”

probably cost $100.

this only cost $89

electronics $50

appliances $49

might send my own sketch. see what i get. cheap enough to see.

For God’s sake, why are these guys lowballing so badly??

A fair price should be equal-to or just-under what it cost to actually build the model (ie. hours x average $ rate of a high-end 3d modeler) since what the buyer is actually benefiting from is the speed (ie. don’t have to wait to get something modeled.)

Maybe half that considering that the buyer doesn’t get an opportunity to request customization.

But $100?! That’s not good for anybody but the buyer…

This could have serious reprocussions for ID firms who are profiting from high hourlies for 3D modeling, and hoping to pay down their high-dollar investments in hardware and software.

theyre not low-balling. $100 in some places is 2-3 months pay. an old PC. cracked copy of Max or Maya or whatever. good living for them. i dont think IDers focused on software understand whats happening.

Retail price, multiple customers purchasing. That is why the prices are low. Create the model and hope for a return on the back-end. Nice concept for the slow times, thanks…Wait, when do I have that much free time…

That’s like saying that it’s okay to buy a stolen car because in some places $10,000 is considered a lot of money.

I do agree that CAD monkeys are quickly being commoditized via globalisation and as such the costs will go down.

But when costs go down that low, that quickly, you’ve got a potential disaster in the making, and suddenly “value” means nothing.

at first i thought same thing. multiple sales. but hang out on videogame software forums with indy developers. or indy filmmaking forums. (both my hobbies). independents looking for models. they call $100 too much. esp game devs who need lots of models. no one knows how hard it is to make these. some marketing people i’ve met think software is pushbutton. lack of education is same for modeling as for Industrial Design.

i know modelers who sell like this. usually only sell 2 or 3. still cheap. market not big enough. diff reasons for that. but this is all new. wait couple years.

not condoning buying models made with warez. dont like sending jobs overseas. just saying its happening. curious to see how it works. and learn by trying one maybe. better to know. and you can see companies already buy them. why not. lots of Asian manufacturers still use pirated software themselves.

yeah. things changing. but like CG said in other thread Design skills are different issue. these guys only copying.

I agree with the copy thing. You can get CG guys that don’t know a thing about design to redo something already developed. It’s a different ball o wax if you’re doing the thinking and development. For projects that I get that are pretty much translating something into a different media (computer most likely), I charge much less, and it’s a lot quicker to do. The guy from Devry would be able to do the same work. So would the high school goof-off tech geek.
Now, if they want me to actually think, figure things out, and design something, that’s a whole different pricing structure. Not just anybody would be able to come up with the same valueable concepts.
it’s still an incredibly low price, I imagine they’re definitely making it up with sales volumes.

that domains server in thailand. the car above done by a russian.

“average Russian yearly income ($3,900 based on purchasing power parity)” in 2003. if he only sells one each only needs to make one/week to get $5200/yr. can be done w practice. better living than most. in Thailand average income is only $2400/yr (1994 - probably little higher now). can do a model every two weeks and make decent living there. not so cheap by their standards.

hmmmmmmmm… i wonder if i’m too old to apprentice as a heavy equipment operator?

… I’m probably over qualified, huh?

If automakers start getting wind of this I have 3 words for these modelers:

Cease and Desist

They can get in some deep doo with some corporate lawyers for selling their “product”. There’s definately some grey areas here, but look at it this way, if Revell decided to produce and sell a Porche Boxter model at Toys R Us without permission, they’re looking at a huge lawsuit. Same goes for matchbox cars, action figures, you name it. Not only that, but even if these modelers don’t state the make/model of the vehicle, if it looks similar enough to an actual vehicle by say, Ford, Ford can go in there and threaten a law suit.

Why do you think that in Grand Theft Auto all the cars are a parody than the real thing? To avoid copywrite infringement. Rockstar Games is being sued by some Haitians that took offense to Haitian gangs in the game, what’s next, copywrited cultures/nationalities?

Here’s another gaming case in point. Some big fans of Battlefield 1942 (First Person Shooter PC title) got together to create a GI Joe modification of the game. Many people create mods of games, FPS ones in particular. These guys were doing it as a hobby, non-pofit, strictly for fun and learning. Hasbro swooped in on the developers of the mod and served them with a Cease and Desist after only getting about 25% through the mod. Hasbro stated that they may not create or use any logos, characters, vehicles or close representations thereof resembling the GI Joe product line.

Technically, in the eyes of corporate lawers, these modelers can find themselves in some trouble if they don’t have permission, website disclaimers don’t seem to be cutting it anymore these days.

yep. but for Russian modeler selling to architecture firm in U.S. suing him might be a problem. or a Chinese guy doing this. no copyright laws there. auto companies can sue companies redistributing models in U.S. (like game devs), but if model is only used for a presentation when will Ford or GM see it? archi forums have plenty of model requests. these models are prime for architectural simulation and renderings.

and what about commercials? its good PR. auto companies want their product shown in background. will they complain if Gucci model exits their car in glamour commercial? doubt it. can understand GTA not getting support. but that might be exception not rule.

heard about the GI Joe mod. others too. modders sometimes dont think. they copy. just like these modelers. original design is rare.

havent thought about corporate interests much. good valid point. worth giving more thought.

It’s interesting to imagine a future where product manufacturers start to earn more on licensing virtual versions of their products…

The manufacturers would be smart to nip this in the bud now by offering licensed versions of their own CAD files.

interesting aside, somewhat related to this discussion:

just heard on the bbc yesterday a report linking one Superbill, a counterfeit US $100 bill (it’s so perfect that most experts can’t tell it’s fake) to the north korean govt.

we’ve seen so many “design”/copy jobs go oversees recently, especially to asian markets, this is almost funny! they may as well make our money too…

regarding virtual licensing, i’m somewhat in favor of it. sure it will mean less jobs for copyers out there, but will make the work of real designers and problems solvers so much easier.

a little story below…

one avenue of freelance i’ve been stepping into lately has been copying products for the packaging industry. somebody wants a new fancy plastic package for their little doohicky. these get vacuu-formed in the thousands or multi-thousands. ok, i’m not a big fan of the non-recyclable plastics industry, but i thought i’d get my feet wet for the experience, as i’m interested in doing some low yield vacuu form for personal projects.
thing is, the clients are just salespeople, usually unrelated to the company of product origination, and have no concept of what it takes to just “make this or do that”.
so i’ve got to reverse engineer some crappy hair brush that has to snap into place in the plastic packaging. i don’t have a digitizer, and this is low budget. i do it the old fasioned way with a contour template, pencil, paper and my flatbed scanner. then i’ve got to tweak the model to allow for plastic offset and shrink. if i could just get the source files from the original designer who made the thing in the first place, would sure make my job easier.
wait a sec, why don’t they just go to that person in the first place? couple possible reasons here:
-there IS no sourcefile!!! the damn thing was probly made the old fashioned way in the first place, no solidmodeling, no nurbs (but the styling is soooo nurbs i’m not sure about this answer)
-or maybe business being what it is, the original co. doesn’t want to release souce files due to fear of having it’s brushes copied easily?
-another answer brings us full swing back to the topic of copying again: some co. has a product to sell, let’s say it’s a hairbrush. it’s already been manufactured. in fact they are already selling it. it’s even got it’s own packaging. another company wants to copy this brush, exactly. all it needs is a brush, some good moldmaking and casting facilities, and last but not least, some good packaging! but they don’t have a vacuu form facility, so they shop it around. that’ s where my client comes in. he’s in the vacuu form business, but knows next to nothing about cnc. that’s where i come in, knowing a bunch about cnc and whatnot…

there is so much stuff like this out there. someday, i give it 5 to 10 years from now, every single real thing will have it’s virtual double (i don’t mean just a decent 3d model, i mean something that will output to cnc nicely, direct to fabrication let’s say.) lot’s of work for modellers, and even more time and energy for designers to devote to the things that count.


Just remember the $100 isn’t for one model. They might sell it to many people, say 10 people, thats $1000, which means they arent really undercutting. If they tried to sell 10 at $1000 it probably wouldnt happen!

two things i’ve learned.

few months back i REALLY looked through some cg competition entries. only 1 in 50 was decent. low-cost 3d software means lots of people trying. few are succeeding. the tidal wave is looking to be a 10 footer. for now at least.

other thing is a thread i read last week. people who sell this way were talking. not ONE sold more than two models. so my earlier comment that low price is not low in Russia is more valid imo. there is no volume purchasing going on. no game devs want me-too models. and wont pay for good work. still. i see signs of change. but still the case since its becoming a Normal-Mapped game world. real sales are probably in advertising/arch visualization (but hang on those boards and see how many “share” their models).

what i suspect is that there are a few individuals doing very well with this. that car example guy is probably one. he’s plugged into a lot of channels i see. this then goes back to the IP issue. this may become an issue soon as exploitation of CAD data is becoming a topic - new apps showing up for conversion (yesterday news) and increased chatter about plugging real products into games (and with n-map models, the CAD data is prime).

buy them from me …only in 3ds format not textured …@ 90USD/-


Buy wat?

and then there are the ones no one has to worry about…