posted this on June 23, 2011 07:40
Q: What is CheckMate Certification? A: CheckMate is TurboSquid's quality-checking and assurance program for 3D models. Please see What is CheckMate? for a more detailed answer to this question.
Q: Why is TurboSquid certifying models? A: By survey, the majority of our customers told us that they'd greatly prefer to buy 3D models that have been quality-checked. We also asked you what makes a 3D model top-quality, and we created a process to check models for these attributes. Customers are more likely to buy models that are quality-checked, and artists that do quality work are rewarded with higher sales. All the while, the TurboSquid catalog experiences in an overall improvement in quality. Everybody wins.
Q: On the Product Preview page, why do some file formats have a CheckMate badge while others don't? CheckMate certification is awarded on a per-format basis, meaning some file formats in a product might be certified while others are not. A file format's lack of certification might have nothing to do with the quality of the file itself; for example, TurboSquid does not certify exchange file formats like 3DS, OBJ, and FBX under any circumstances. Please see CheckMate in Product Preview for further information.
Q: Why is the certification program called CheckMate? A: We chose the name CheckMate because it shows the nature of our partnership with you, as your "mate" (buddy, pal, friend) that checks 3D models for you and gives them a stamp of approval. The term "checkmate" also signifies the end of the game--the guessing game about 3D model quality, that is. When you shop for Checkmate models, you're sure to get the high-quality models you need.
Q: What are the benefits of buying CheckMate Certified 3D models over uncertified models? A: CheckMate Pro models work in just about any production pipeline without you having to do any further work on them, saving you valuable time in your workflow. While CheckMate Pro models are more generally more expensive than comparable uncertified models, they are guaranteed to have an unparalleled level of quality.
CheckMate Lite models provide you with a guarantee of reliability and accuracy, so you can be sure of what you're purchasing before you buy.
Many of the uncertified models in our catalog are of very high quality. The CheckMate seal simply tells you that we've checked the model, and we found it to meet our Pro or Lite standard.
Q: Which file formats does TurboSquid certify? A: We currently certify the following formats:
3ds Max (.max)
Cinema 4D (.c4d)
LightWave (.lwo, .lws)
Maya (.ma, .mb)
Softimage (.hrc, .scn, .xsi)
Q. Why don't you certify other file formats? A: We chose the five most popular application-specific file formats as a starting point for our CheckMate Certificaiton program. We plan to certify Blender, Rhino, and other application-specific formats in the future. We do not certify exchange file formats such as OBJ, FBX, 3DS, and DAE as there is no specific application to test them in.
Q: Can I trust a file listed under Additional Formats in the Product Preview? If the format isn't certified and other file formats are certified, does that mean that format failed the CheckMate test? A: An uncertified file format (listed under Additional Formats) in a CheckMate model is usually of very good quality. The fact that it's uncertified can mean one of many things:
The file format is not certifiable because it's an exchange file format (eg. OBJ, FBX, DAE) or for an application we don't currently certify (eg. Blender, Rhino, Revit, Sketchup).
For CheckMate Pro models, if the model was exported to that format from its native file format, it might have exported with ngons or too many triangles to quality for CheckMate Pro.
The file format has one or more non-critical problems that keep it from passing CheckMate, but you can still use the model. One example is misaligned coordinates, where the model is lying on its side when you open the file. You can simply rotate the model and work with it from there.
If you are considering purchasing a CheckMate model so you can use one of its Additional Formats, and you want to know exactly why that file format didn't pass certification, please contact Support and they will be glad to look at the model for you before purchase.
Q: How did you come up with the standards for CheckMate Pro? A: CheckMate Pro is intended to be quality standard so high that it is difficult or impossible to imagine an improvement to the model. To find out what "high quality" means to our customers, we conducted broad, extensive surveys as well as one-on-one interviews with our top customers. Every part of the standards came from customer responses, even the product preview standards.
We also strove to balance customer requests with reasonable demands on artists. For example, a fairly large percentage of customers want all their models to have unwrapped UVs all the time, including buildings and vehicles. This is a lot to ask of artists, and it wasn't true for all customers. For this reason we set this requirement only for characters, the one category with an overwhelming percentage of requests for unwrapped UVs.
We also debated the standards internally among our own staff, which includes several longtime 3D artists who definitely did not agree on everything. A lot of thought, care and passionate discussion went into these standards before we released them to you. In addition, we expect the industry to grow and change in the years to come, and we plan to update the standard periodically to reflect these changes.
Q: How did you come up with the standards for CheckMate Lite? A: The CheckMate Lite standard encompasses the baseline, common-sense modeling and presentation practices TurboSquid has been promoting since its inception. We would like all 3D models for sale at TurboSquid to meet at least the Lite standard, whether they are marked as CheckMate Lite or not.
Q: What is the return/refund policy on CheckMate models? A: Our standard return/refund policy applies to CheckMate models, with the added factor of the CheckMate guarantee. Any CheckMate model is guaranteed to have the attributes of its standard. If it doesn't, you are entitled to a full refund on the model.
Q: Will there be other levels of certification at some point, or is this it? A: There's definitely room for growth in certification. For example, at the moment we're not certifying exchange formats like 3DS, OBJ, and FBX, and we might add something to the CheckMate program in the future to address this. We are also considering certification for specific industries such as films, games, and architectural visualization. So the short answer is, there will probably be other kinds of certification efforts in our future, but not in the near future.