Frequently Asked Questions About StemCell

Creating StemCell content is a new process and can be confusing at first. We’ve compiled a list of questions we often get from artists to help make learning the process easier

General Questions

What are some of the benefits of creating StemCell 3D models?
Creating a StemCell model comes with a range of benefits. A StemCell model will be available to a much wider range of customers and will have more visibility than an average model. Even though the workflow might be slightly different from your usual methods, the benefits outlined below show why it is worthwhile to create StemCell Content.

  • StemCell models will automatically be converted into native files for 3ds Max (V-Ray and mentalray), Maya (V-Ray and mentalray), Cinema 4D (Physical Renderer), Unity, and Unreal. As more outputs are developed, the conversion will be automatically completed and added to the product.
  • StemCell models receive a search boost similar (and in addition to) CheckMate models.
  • StemCell models are able to be syndicated to other platforms (PixelSquid, Adobe Felix, Envato, and more coming soon) to bring in new customers and revenue for the artist.
  • A new StemCell badge will be added to models to increase their visibility in search. A new search filter for just StemCell content has also been added.
  • The StemCell specification is based around widely accepted industry standards (including PBR textures) which makes the content more desirable for customers.
  • TurboSquid will soon be promoting native game engine content more, and StemCell models with Unity and Unreal outputs will be featured more heavily.
  • StemCell is just beginning, so ever time more conversion outputs and syndication partners will add even more value.

Are all artists eligible to submit models for StemCell?
No. Participation in the StemCell program is limited to artists in the SquidGuild.

How do I submit a model?
To submit a model for StemCell, create a job in StemCell My Products. A full training page on submission can be found here.

What upgrades are planned for StemCell?
We are working hard to add new software packages and render engines to our conversions. We will make announcements to artists as we make upgrades.

Is the license different for StemCell models?
The StemCell license differs from other licenses that you give to TurboSquid. We are investing a lot to create new markets and revenue opportunities for TurboSquid artists. The license grants us the ability to do basically everything we can do towards this end — licensing traditional customers, selling imagery, and everything else we can think of that we might do — for a minimum period of four years. The royalty rates for websites that TurboSquid owns, such as Free3D and CGStudio, are at your standard rates. For new StemCell syndication opportunities outside of TurboSquid, the royalty will be 50% of the money that TurboSquid receives.

How does StemCell interact with CheckMate?
StemCell and CheckMate are aligned in their goals, but artists do not need to meet our CheckMate quality standard in order to produce a valid StemCell file (but you can get a powerful boost in search results if you qualify for both!) Ideally, you will want to build to the CheckMate modeling standards, so that you have a certified model that also can flow through the StemCell conversion process. The conversion process is designed to preserve all the technical settings required for CheckMate Lite and Pro. If the model file you submit meets the CheckMate requirements, all of the StemCell output files will, too.

Publishing Questions

Should I mention that this the model is StemCell in the description?
Stating that a model is StemCell-certified is not necessary as all StemCell-certified products will have a badge similar to the CheckMate badge.

Should all output files be published to the same TurboSquid Product?
Yes, all of the output files should be published on the same product. Customers will be able to find the product and choose which format they need.

How do I publish a finished StemCell model on TurboSquid?
Once the product is finished converting, the job in Squid.io will ask you for a TurboSquid Product ID. Enter the ID for the product and the servers will automatically add the conversions and renders to that product.

Is there a sample product which shows a good way to publish a StemCell model?
TurboSquid has published an example product that was created as a StemCell model. You can look at the TurboSquid asset to see how it is presented.

Modeling Questions

Which software should I use to create StemCell models?
The final model needs to be submitted from 3ds Max, Maya, or Cinema 4D with no special plugins required. However, any modelling software can be used to create the original geometry. Support for submissions other software packages will be added in the future.

Is there a polycount limit?
There is no hard polycount limit, but the base geometry should be as optimized as possible, especially if you are submitted for game engine conversions. Game engine models will be converted to Unity and Unreal for use in games, so a minimal polycount will be ideal for customers.

Can I use smoothing modifiers on my model?
Smoothing groups need to be included on the model. The smoothing group information will be transferred to the other packages. Smoothing modifiers (i.e. TurboSmooth) will also be preserved.

StemCell Limitations

Does StemCell support rigged models?
StemCell does not support rigged models at this time. However, you can submit static or t-posed versions of a model.

Does StemCell support hair or fur?
StemCell does not support hair and fur modifiers or plugins at this time.

Does StemCell support displacement maps?
StemCell does not support displacement maps. Normal maps should be used instead.

Can I use a bump map instead of a normal map?
StemCell does not support bump maps and a normal map should be used instead.

Does StemCell support SSS materials?
StemCell does not support SSS materials at this time.

Can I submit models that use refractive or transparent materials?
Yes, refractive and transparent materials are accepted, but they have to be created using a metal rough workflow. We detail how each supported map type should be setup, for example you can read about Max VRay setups here. Other DCC/renderer combinations are also documented and can be found on the left navigation bar, under StemCell Textures & Materials.

Texturing Questions

I can’t load my metallic textures into my native application. How do I check my metallic workflow textures when I am making them?
Any rendering software which supports PBR can be used. Marmoset Toolbag is a simple, easy viewer, but you can also load the model into Unity or Unreal to check the texture. We’ve created a training guide about how to work with Marmoset Toolbag.

I am going to create both Specular and Metallic textures. Which set should I create first?
This depends on your personal preference as an artist. If you are creating textures using software like Substance Painter or Quixel Suite, it is very easy to export PBR Metallic textures first. However, many artists are more comfortable painting textures by hand in Photoshop and find that creating the Specular textures first is easier.

What software packages can I use to create textures?
You can create textures in any software you are comfortable with. Many artists find that Substance Painter and Quixel Suite are good tools to create Metallic textures. If you do use Substance Painter of Quixel Suite, be aware the the Spec/Gloss textures will have to be updated after being exported.

Do I need both metal and specular workflow textures?
Having both metal and specular workflow textures is not required. Specular workflow textures are required to convert the model to DCC apps (3ds Max, Maya, etc), and metal workflow textures are required to convert to RT applications (Unity and Unreal). StemCell models can be submitted which only use one texture type, but this limits the number of output conversions produced.

When should I use a blend material?
Blend materials should only be used when a single surface which cannot be split apart has different IORs for dielectric and metallic materials. For example, a surface with chipped paint showing reflective metal underneath will require a blend material. More information can be found on the Blend Materials Page.

How should I texture glass materials?
Glass materials should be textured like any other material. All of the texture maps are required (base color, roughness, etc.) and a transmission map should be used to create the transparency. If you’d like to tint your glass, put the tint color in the base color map, more details on different glass setups is coming soon!

Converted Model Questions

The converted models look different from each other. Is this normal?
Because of the way lighting and textures are calculated in different programs, there is always going to be a slight difference between the converted versions. A subjective rule-of-thumb is that an accurate StemCell model will have conversions that look at least 90% like the original. However, if the renders of the converted versions are drastically different, that means that something in the model does not follow the StemCell specifications. Any major difference is usually caused by incorrect texture values. More info about textures can be found in the StemCell Texturing Guide.

If I don’t like one of the conversions, do I have to publish it?
You are not required to publish every converted file, but sales will be better if you publish more conversions. If one or two conversions look broken, there are probably texture updates required.

Can I edit the converted files?
The converted files should not need to be edited. However, if you do make changes which affect the render output, new preview images will be needed.