Who exactly buys 3d models?

Even though I am a hobbyist, total beginner and up to a few weeks done everything in Sketchup, I always made my own 3d models. Whether I want to make a room, a town or whatever, I always model everything by myself, except perhaps trees, but I used the trees in unity or whatever game engine I am using.

So, if I as a total beginner don’t mind modeling everything, even though it takes a lot of time, why would a professional spend hundreds and thousands of dollars online to buy models they can make themselves a 100 times better and faster than I can?

I’d like to make models and sell them, I just can’t understand why would professionals (since average joe’s don’t use cgtrader and such) even buy them, if they are perfectly capable of creating the same models for free.

Sure there is an occasional person trying to develop a indie game, without almost any 3d modeling skills, but I doubt that a few people like that are powering the sales on 3d market sites.

You need to consider the value of your own time.

Imagine you have a project that pays you 20€/h. Now imagine you need a model that would take you one working day to make i.e. ~8 h. If you can get a model of the same quality for less than 160€ it would be worth buying it.

For the same reason a baker doesn’t grow his own crop.

Well perhaps if we are talking about complicated models, cars and such, then it makes sense (although it’s still pretty expensive), but a lot of models on 3d markets aren’t really that complicated even for beginners to make, chairs, fences…

That answers the “why” part of my question, but I still don’t know the “who” part, who buys them mostly? I suppose architects to show their clients Arch viz stuff, game devs and anyone else?

Visual artists, animators, really anyone in the 3D(and 2D) art profession could have a need to buy them. I sell game models, but I’ve also personally bought complex skull and brain models for help with rendering for 2D art.

Ok let me give you an example.

Let’s say I get 500€ for an interior visualization. I get a steady stream of work, so as soon as I finished one project I can start on the next one. I can model all the chairs, sofas, beds, everything, for every single scene, time and time again. unwrap, do cloth sim, PBR textures, everything. I can do that. Or I can buy a couple of archviz assets for 700€-1000€, the costs of which I will have recouped in 2 projects and which is tax deductible anyway, and just assemble the scenes, speeding up my workflow, allowing me to be more productive, earning more.

This is just archviz as an example but it applies for everything you get paid for. Not even in 3D but in every line of work. Why spend money on a new computer to render 2 minutes faster? You could just have a coffee instead.

The answer is that (human) time is the costliest factor of all and even tough I have the skills to model everything myself I won’t do it until it is absolutely necessary and then I will make sure to get paid the time it takes.

Do you think a paying client cares if you modeled everything yourself? And if he does, he’s better paying for it or you are putting yourself out of business.

I’d like to make models and sell them, I just can’t understand why would professionals (since average joe’s don’t use cgtrader and such) even buy them, if they are perfectly capable of creating the same models for free.

Let’s say you build an asset, it takes you 5 hours. You’d like to earn 50€ per hour of your work, so you have to earn at least 250€ for selling this asset. You put it on gumroad for 10€ and hope to sell it at least 25 times to break even, everything after that is profit. If you are living somewhere where 10€ per hours is much, or even less, then all the better for you.

Let’s assume I can model the same asset faster than you, because I am so damn professional :slight_smile: It takes me 2 hours. I value my time the same as you do, 50€ per hour. So I can spend 100€ of my time to do it myself or buy yours for 10€. Easy choice, isn’t it?

Now you also see why it is important to always be busy and to have the next thing to work on (and get paid for). Turnover is key.

But not all assets are created the same, I’ll gladly spend money on them but they have to be premium quality. For example a chair is often not simpy a chair but a specific producer, modeled to measurements. Add quality unwrapping and texturing to that and it takes quite some time.

Making your own models works fine for the simple stuff, but I don’t think just anyone can learn to make advanced 3d models in just a few hours. I’ve been using Blender for years and only just recently made a decent human model. Admittedly that was mostly because I didn’t understand topology and didn’t bother figuring it out because I thought I knew everything, but that was still a skill I had to learn, and will certainly have to refine a lot more later. It might seem like you can already do everything, but in a few years it becomes apparent why this is a skill not every video game developer has the time for.

Time is money, and some people would rather spend their money than their time.

Okay, I wrote up a whole long thing providing reasons why a big company would do this, basically, in short, it’s easier to buy a sandwich from subway than to make it yourself. And chances are the subway sandwich is going to be better than whatever you try anyway. Which just means a big company with the money would rather spend a couple hundred bucks on a 3D model than make it themselves since a couple hundred bucks probably is just a drop in the bucket for them.