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Interview With CGTrader's Dalia Lasaite

CGTrader Adds eBay-like Auction Functionality with Recent Relaunch


One of our favorite 3D model sales marketplaces, CGTrader, recently relaunched their site with a fresh new look and a smattering of new features.

Dalia Lasaite, was kind enough to answer a few questions for us on CGTrader's behalf in the following interview:

First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us!

Since some of my readers might not be familiar with the site, let's talk about the basics for a moment; CGTrader has a much different sales model from some of the other 3D marketplaces—can you tell us a little bit about what sets you apart from similar sites, and how your commission schedule differs from a place like Turbosquid? What are the advantages for both your customers and your sellers?

CGTrader was founded by Marius Kalytis, who is a 3D designer himself. When selling own models, he was frustrated with the fact that most of 3D model marketplaces were charging a 60% commission or more. This reduces the motivation of the artists to create and sell professional level 3D designs - and therefore reduces both supply and demand of 3D models. In order to change the situation, Marius started CGTrader - a designer-friendly marketplace.

CGTrader works in the following way. Uploading 3D models is free and the authors receive 100% of the sales proceeds directly to their account. However, once the model is sold, it becomes inactive - and the author has to pay a flat activation fee to put it back on sale. The activation fee depends on the price of the model - but on average our authors receive over 90% of royalties.

This model is obviously attractive to the sellers as they receive more proceeds for their sales. However, it is also very beneficial for the buyers. The sellers are typically willing to offer a lower price to the buyers, at the same time receiving higher profits than elsewhere - which is a win-win for both sides.

You guys just relaunched the site with a new design! Congrats on the successful relaunch, and on CGTrader's recent two year anniversary. The new design looks great, and from what I understand you guys added some new features in the relaunch—can you give us an overview of some of the new tools?

Yes, we did a complete redesign of the platform. There are quite a few improvements to make trading 3D models easier for both buyers and sellers. First of all, we introduced the "make offer" button, whereby the buyer can offer own price for a desired model and negotiate directly with the designer. This model is similar to eBay for physical goods.

Secondly, we made uploading and publishing the models significantly easier. Thirdly, we introduced a few community features - that help to comment and interact directly with the website and other designers. Finally, the design of the website has changed completely as well, making it easier and more convenient to use.

I love the idea of direct contact and negotiation between artist and buyer!

How's the early feedback been on that feature? Any success stories to report?

We have seen very enthusiastic uptake of this feature by the buyers. Since the launch over a week ago, almost half of the sales come via the make offer button. However, these sales are not only focused on lower price. In some cases the buyers want to buy a few models from a single seller and this helps to agree on a bulk discount.

In other cases, the buyers ask for additional services from the seller and offer additional fee for that. So it is a good way of landing jobs as well - and we see that direct interaction between buyers and sellers is very powerful.

Aside from the recent update, is there anything else in the works that users should be excited about in the coming months? (Or is it all top secret?!)

It is top secret, but we will share it with you! We are working on a number of features. Top priorities right now are adding additional publishing options and improving customer side functionality.

CGTrader is competing in a relatively crowded section of the industry, but definitely strays from the established model. What were the goals and ideas that prompted you guys to start CGTrader? It seems like fairness is one of the central themes.

That is correct - we wanted to create a marketplace that facilitates direct interaction between buyers and sellers, instead of acting like a middleman and charging hefty fees.

CGTrader aims to make buying and selling models more attractive and expand the market by providing the best commercial conditions for buyers and sellers.

Do you have any tips for someone thinking about jumping into the world of 3D model sales? Are there certain categories of models that typically sell well, or ways that successful artists set themselves apart from the crowd?

Yes, we see a few trends when it comes to selling successfully. For example, the models that have high demand and low supply on CGTrader are quality models in Space and Science / Medical categories.

However, irrespective of the category, quality and proper presentation is probably the most important. We recommend the artists to provide many preview and wireframe images, as well as textures, multiple formats, and exhaustive descriptions.

In that same vein, do you think it's more beneficial for an artist to specialize in a specific niche, or spread their models out across as many categories as possible?

It depends on whether artist is willing to model different categories or would like to focus on one. Modeling a single category is easier, as one can develop the necessary, focused skills, and the work can be more streamlined helping model more products faster. When modeling multiple categories, the work might be more creative, but it is definitely more difficult - so it probably makes sense to choose a few areas and specialize in them.

Both specialized designers and generalists sell on CGTrader. It is hard to say which strategy performs better - but we definitely see that quality models are preferred irrespective of the field.

CGTrader recently ran a 3D modeling competition with some pretty great prizes!

Do you have any plans to host future contests?

Yes. In fact, one competition will be coming soon.

It will be a print-ready 3D model competition - as you might now 3D printing technologies are developing very rapidly now, and we hope to encourage designers to take the plunge and try out modeling for this technology. Further information will be coming soon - so stay tuned!

That's exciting! I've been doing quite a bit of reading on 3D printing recently—there's just an incredible amount of potential surfacing as that tech expands and evolves.

Anyway, thank you so much for talking to us! Before I wrap things up, is there anything else you'd like to touch on that I forgot to bring up?

We would like to encourage all designers who have not started selling models online, to try it out. It is a great way to earn income on the models that are just sitting on the hard drive - as well as share them with other designers around the world.

There you go!

Really hope you guys enjoyed the interview, and if you haven't already done it, be sure to go check out the great things they're doing over at CGTrader. And if you're a modeler, this is a perfect place to start getting your stuff out there! Do it!

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