I am just wondering why people or companies purchase 3D models in the first place despite their cost.

I have been planning on making 3D models for sale and I have browsed through websites selling them like TurboSquid or CGTrader, but I start to think about how people use 3D they purchased. I mean, the collection of 3D models on these websites are huge and there are hundreds and thousands of amazing artworks, but I just can't figure out why companies buy them.

For instance, some models are shops like a Starbuck outlet, a skyscraper or industrial buildings. Why people buy them? Are they for rendering? (but what's the purpose of rendering a single building) Are they for product demonstration? (but then it is almost impossible to find the exact building that matches the companies' requirements) Are they for animating? (but a scene usually composed of quite a number of buildings and buying lots of them would be really costly)

This situation confuse me even more when I am looking at expensive, high-end, realistic models. They look stunning but why on earth will someone buy a single high quality 3D model for? (Like a futuristic lazer gun)

I hope someone can answer it specifically on the reasons to purchase 3D models, I have watched some videos regarding this issue but they just give explanations that I just cannot understand (like buying a single cat model for animating :O ) Any help is appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ People buy things they either cannot create otherwise, or which provides an acceptable trade-off in cost to acquire versus time to create. I think this is exactly where the 3d model market is aimed. $\endgroup$
    – rcgauer
    Jan 29 '18 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ I have bought a couple models before from TurboSquid. The main reason is time. I work for a medical company. When the boss comes in and needs an animation in 2 days I dont have time to waste spending 5 hours modeling some medical device when I can just buy it for $50 or so. It would cost the company more to pay me to make it than just buy it. It saves me time and the company money. $\endgroup$
    – icYou520
    Jan 29 '18 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ Open ended questions that are meant for discussion and opinions are better asked in forum like blenderartists.org/forum. To understand how to make better use of this site please take the tour and read through the help center section. Particularly How do I ask a good question? and What types of questions should I avoid asking? $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Jan 29 '18 at 16:43

The main reason is because it's cheaper to buy the final model than it is to pay an artist to create the model. Since the model can be sold any number of times as well, the original creator benefits despite selling it for less than it cost them to make. I've used models that cost over \$200, but would otherwise take well over a week to create, and that's assuming I could find all the references needed to create the model.

As to the types of models and their uses, that depends on the situation entirely. I would imagine a lot of the models like buildings are used as backgrounds for ads or commercials, or as background models for animations. Depending on the situation as well, the models could be used as the focus of the animation, but as you mentioned that is pretty rare as finding exactly what you need can be tough.

I can (try to) lay out a hypothetical situation to make things more clear. Say a company wants a 30 second ad created involving a flyover of a city and the camera then drops to a parking lot where something happens. Assuming none of this can be filmed in the real world, there's a lot that needs to be created. Let's say that it would take a single artist 2 weeks to create the entire shot from scratch. If the artist gets paid \$200 a day (probably on the low side) and works 6 day weeks, you have a total cost of \$2,400. That's not including any textures or references that may need to be bought. Now lets say there is a 3d city scene available for \$500, plus a parking lot scene for \$200, And a fleet of cars for the lot for \$400. Some background images could be used to speed things up, adding \$50, and some sky HDRi's for \$100. We're now sitting at \$1,250, but there's probably a couple days work for the artist to add it all together and create the final elements or modify the bought ones. Say that adds another \$400. We can round the total cost to be \$1,500, or \$900 less than paying the artist to do everything. This isn't entirely accurate of course, as it's just some random numbers and times, but the point is that despite the costs of the models, which can seem high, time is money, so it's a matter of what is the cheapest.

  • $\begingroup$ Most times it is cheapest to pay the artist, use the artwork, and also get a license to re-sell the artwork. Most artists do not know how much to charge and sometimes this way it is possible to get an artwork that pays for itself and is free. So to all reading my comment - be confident and set prices accordingly, I sure didn't when I started out:) It's easy to get intimidated by price of online un-original assets. $\endgroup$ Jan 29 '18 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ That is a very good point. I guess I was thinking more along the lines of initial costs only, but I obviously overlooked something. Appreciate the advice too :) $\endgroup$
    – Brenticus
    Jan 29 '18 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ Really inspiring. I thought hiring part time artist to make models would cost less than buying each item you want, but looking at your hypothesis it seems it is actually more sensible for companies to buy models online. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Benson
    Jan 30 '18 at 2:37
  • $\begingroup$ As Jerryno correctly pointed out, it can be as you imagined as well. I do know from experience that it can be as I stated, as I've worked with $250 models that wouldv'e taken at week minimum to create not including finding references and ensuring accuracy. $\endgroup$
    – Brenticus
    Jan 30 '18 at 2:52

I'm working on a large animation project and I'm using 3D models because they save a lot of time -- and of course I can't do anything. It's better to focus on the animation and the story development, while using excellent models that would take days or weeks for me to produce, maybe with not the same quality.


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