The growth of virtual reality devices market and the associated demand for new virtual reality experiences has increased theÂ demand for low-poly 3D models, according to a report released last week.
Sales of “low poly” models significantly grew in 2015 and is likely to record robust growth in 2016, driven by growth in the virtual reality devices sector,Â according to the report, which was published byÂ CGTrader, an online marketplace for 3D graphics based in Lithuania.
Low polygram 3D models have lower resolution than those intended to be used for print or computer-generated images.
Low poly is the smallest category of models on the CGTraderÂ platform but sells 4.9 times and 2.9 times better than CG and print-ready models, respectively, the company reported.
According to data from SuperData Research, the number of virtual reality device users is expected rise to 55.8 million in 2016 from just 6.7 million in 2015. AndÂ 71Â percentÂ of all VR headsets in 2016 will be mobile-based, the research firm predicted, andÂ 76Â percentÂ of VR content will be in games.
Mobile devices and games both tend to favor low-polygram, heavily-optimized 3D models,Â Dalia LaÅ¡aitÄ—, co-founder and CEO of CGTrader, told Hypergrid Business.
â€œGrowth inÂ low-polyÂ model demand is driven by growth in virtual reality, augmented reality,Â and gaming markets,”Â she said. “3D design accounts for around 30Â toÂ 50Â percentÂ of the cost for virtual andÂ augmented reality app development and 3D model marketplaces can reduce this cost by up to tenÂ times.”
With gaming engines now effectively free for independent developers, it’s become easier than ever to get into the business, she added, which also helps drive demand.
Low polygon 3D models are important to virtual realityÂ since it requires two images to be rendered at 90 frames per second. On aÂ PC, that translates to six times the hardware requirements of regular games.
Mobile-based applications have even tighter constraints, since smartphones have less processing power than PCs.
The company also released some pricing information, which can be helpful for 3D designers trying to decide what to charge for their products.
According to CGTrader, most buyers of the 3D models areÂ independent developers looking for models in the $25Â toÂ $39 price range, followed by large studios buying more expensive models, priced at $100 or more.
In fact, while theÂ $25Â toÂ $39 listingsÂ account for just 17Â percentÂ of models uploaded to the platform, but constitutes 24Â percentÂ of sales. ModelsÂ in the $10Â toÂ $15 price range are 16Â percentÂ of all listings, butÂ 20Â percentÂ of sales and models priced $100 and up are 5Â percentÂ of listings andÂ Â 7Â percentÂ of sales.
About half of all low polygon models sold fall into theÂ character or human categories, followed by architecture, weapons or military and animals.
â€œThe highest priced models that were actually bought fall into the following categories — military and weapons,Â watercraft, andÂ aircraft,” said LaÅ¡aitÄ—.
In addition to price and category, the number of products listed is also a factor that affects sales.
Uploading aÂ fourthÂ model nearly doubled the odds of making a sale, and the tenth model increased the odds by another 50 percent.
Having more images for each model can lead to higher sales, as well. For example, models that have between six andÂ nine pictures have a 1.76 higher chance of selling. Uploading a model in more than one file format helped sales as well, the company reported.
â€œThe three most popular formats are .MAX, .FBX and .OBJ,” said LaÅ¡aitÄ— . “We have the most game ready models uploaded in these formats. Having a model available in a few formats is beneficial for designers, so we encourage artists to upload models in several most popularÂ formats.”