Jersey-based start-up Umolab has launched an interesting new online marketplace specialising in models of real-world objects for use in architectural visualisation or other CG work demanding a high level of realism.
Not just quality, but accuracy
The site’s unique selling point is that the models on sale are not just of a minimum standard of technical quality, but accurate recreations of real-world world objects – in many cases, of specific brands and models.
Umolab vets each model submitted, scoring them by what it calls the ‘ARQ’ (Accuracy, Realism, Quality) system, and filters multiple versions of the same item, so only the highest-rated is shown in search listings.
The company generates the images of the models used in the sales listings itself “straight out of the render engine”. According to Umolab, “no Photoshopping occurs at all, so you know what you see is what you get”.
Each listing also shows the method by which the model was created, with icons indicating whether it was generated from 3D scans, reference photos or modelled by hand.
Interesting ways to browse models
As well as searching by type, users can also browse models in a number of more unsual ways, including by brand, style, the room of the house in which they would appear, material or colour.
Most of the assets currently available on the site are available as OBJ and FBX files, and as scene files for 3ds Max and V-Ray. Umolab says that it aims to add support for Maya and Cinema 4D in future.
Conditions for sellers
Umolab only accepts assets that are exclusive to the site, and items must remain available for sale for two years once accepted: factors that, according to Umolab, are reflected in its relatively high rate of commission.
“We realise it’s a big ask to put your faith in a new start-up and commit to selling your items with us. Because of this, we are prepared to offer 75% to anyone submitting their items before September 2013.”
The site also offers other services for content creators, including a ‘Most Wanted’ list of objects not yet present in the database to encourage artists to create models that are likely to sell well.
All in all, it’s an interesting premise, and one clearly distinct to other online marketplaces. A glance at the homepage suggests that the models on sale are of a higher standard of consistency than most other sites: how useful Umolab will prove as a resource in the long run will depend on how quickly it can expand its database.