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Khronos Blog

TurboSquid adds glTF to supported formats for its StemCell initiative

TurboSquid is the original 3D asset marketplace, and the glTF Working Group at Khronos has invited the TurboSquid team to share their experiences while adopting the glTF format.

The demand for 3D content is growing quickly, and new formats, applications, and tools are appearing at a rapid pace. TurboSquid was founded in 2000 as the world's original stock 3D marketplace and provides the largest platform for professional artists and animators to publish and purchase 3D model content for their productions. With an artist community of over 60,000 who have published more than 680,000 3D models, we’ve helped save time by ensuring that customers don’t have to rebuild what is already available through our marketplace. Our team also has to stay on trend to support the industry, and after eagerly watching the development of the glTF 2.0 specification, we’ve added full support for the format.

The broad adoption of glTF by Microsoft for their “3D for Everyone” initiative means that 3D is now available to millions of users around the globe as a consumption format across multiple platforms, and that people with relatively little 3D knowledge will begin using 3D content in everything from PowerPoint presentations and Remix3D in Windows to consumer VR and AR applications.

In the rise of 3D content, the expectation is that the content should just work and that avoiding a clunky user experience is critical. Instead of forcing artists to learn to generate another format or trying to do brute-force conversions as needed, TurboSquid has taken a different approach to delivering glTF 2.0 content. Over the last three years, our team searched for ways to make it easier for everyone to make and consume 3D models, regardless of their pipeline, platform, or renderer. Those efforts resulted in our StemCell specification for model construction, which standardizes how models are built and consumed. Our ultimate goal is to make buying a 3D model as easy and predictable as buying a stock photo.

The concept of StemCell is simple: Artists should only have to build a model once using their 3D application and renderer of choice, bake down their materials into both PBR spec/gloss and metal/rough outputs, and provide those files to TurboSquid. From that point, automation servers inside of TurboSquid convert that 3D content into every other supported 3D platform and renderer, provide validation renders for each conversion to the artist for quality checks, then publish all converted formats as a product for sale to customers. Moreover, as new formats emerge, that same StemCell file can be re-processed, making it even more valuable for artists now, since it has the potential to reach new customers in the future.

StemCell Data - Automated Processing - Distribution

StemCell content is designed to provide that calibrated consistency through PBR materials, and glTF 2.0 is the perfect complement to support these modern, real-time workflows. It is lightweight, utilizes current PBR material standards, has broad support from all of the major 3D application providers, and willgive artists using TurboSquid another opportunity for success and exposure within a whole new segment of the market, while providing customers with the confidence that what they buy will work in their productions. By generating glTF output from StemCell source files, customers can readily consume this real-time transmission and rendering file type instead of forcing them to deal with yet another interchange format.

Stemcell library to glTF 2.0 Content

TurboSquid plans to convert its entire existing StemCell library (which currently encompasses several thousand models) into glTF 2.0 content, and all new StemCell models will automatically flow into glTF as part of our automation process. We’re also exploring ways to provide even more highly optimized StemCell glTF models that will contain multiple levels of detail (LODs) so that customers can have a choice based on their desired output platform. Thanks to glTF, we foresee that the 3D ecosystem is set to grow at an unprecedented rate, and that artists building StemCell models will be able to quickly reap the benefits.